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‘EV import duty cut may spur domestic demand’

Reducing import duty on electric vehicles (EVs) will help boost domestic demand by enabling automobile manufacturers to bring in more models, thus paving the way for local manufacturing, said Balbir Singh Dhillon, head of Audi India.

“The local manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs) can start only once we have a certain threshold volume is reached,” he said, adding, “Till that time, we will be importing the car.”

“I am 100% sure that if the government reduces the import duties, we will be able to not just bring in more models, but also sell more and that will make us reach the threshold volumes faster,” he said. He added that the car maker had been urging the government to re-look into the issue positively not just for EVs, but also for the entire automobile sector. Noting that import duties in India were among the highest in the world, Mr. Dhillon said that these were as high as about 110%.

The German luxury car maker, which expects electric vehicles to account for 15% of its sales in India by 2025, on Wednesday unveiled two more EVs — Audi e-tron GT at ₹1.79 crore, and the Audi RS e-tron GT at ₹2.04 crore — taking the total number of such vehicles in its India portfolio to five.

“We are taking forward our journey of electric mobility…This is our fourth and fifth electric vehicle launch since July ’21. The Audi e-tron GT and the Audi RS e-tron GT are the ultimate brand shapers from Audi,” he said, adding that the earlier three models — the Audi e-tron 50 & 55 and the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 — had sold out in India.

Replying to a query, Mr. Dhillon said while state governments were proceeding in the right direction with moves such as reduction in registration taxes for EVs, the most important aspect that would impact the long-term electric mobility in India was the charging infrastructure.

“So if the government is able to, let’s say, incentivise the company’s working on the charging infrastructure in the next three to five years, it will change the whole scenario, and switching to electric mobility will be a dream come true for a country like India in such a short span of time,” he added.

Mr. Dhillon said that during the first eight months of the current year, the luxury car segment had grown by about 47%, and Audi India had seen a 115% growth. “We are only going to look forward and upwards from here on with more model launches planned this year and the next year. I believe we will continue to see high double-digit growth even next year.”

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