Benoit Tiers, managing director, Audi India tells Sourya Biswas why the new Audi A4 will bring driving pleasure to the highest level (View exclusive domain-b video interview with Benoit Tiers)
First of all, what does the Audi brand stand for?
Obviously, Audi stands for luxury, innovation, technology and sophistication. We are a luxury-car manufacturer and we bring to India our luxury products.
How has the market for premium automobiles changed in India and what has been Audi's response to that?
As you know, India is a very booming market and luxury products in general, not only cars, are growing at a very tremendous rate. The luxury car segment is growing by more than 30% every year and we expect this growth to be sustainable in the near future. Audi has a very strong commitment to India, and that's why we decided not only to bring cars to India, but also to assemble cars in India…and we just started to assemble the Audi A6 in our plant in Aurangabad. And as for further plans in India, we will have much more commitment with new products…. and also assemble more products in India.
You are showcasing the new A4 at the Auto Expo. What's new about the new A4?
First of all, the new A4, as it says, is a brand new car…. the whole car is new, from its chassis to its design to the interior to its equipments. It's definitely a luxurious car, a high-technology car, and it's also - a fact very important for India - a very comfortable car. The new A4 has the largest room space in the rear for each passenger in its segment. And we know our customers here in India…most of them have chauffeurs…they don't drive themselves…so he will enjoy the A4, which has the biggest space in its segment for the passenger. What is very interesting also, is we discovered when we came to India, that our customers, over the weekend, sometimes they like to drive themselves. And for this the Audi A4 is having a unique feature that we call ''Drive-select''…. from one button the driver can change the behaviour of the car from a comfortable mode to a very sporty mode. So you can imagine our customer being driven the whole week in a comfortable mode sitting at the rear, pressing a button on Saturday night, and then himself driving the car as a sporty car. It's two cars in one actually.
So basically it's not only a great passenger car but also a great driver's car?
Yeah, it is very important for the Audi brand that drivers are enjoying the car. And the Audi A4 will bring driving pleasure to the highest level. This driving feature is also only one part of the pleasure of driving the Audi A4. In this car, for instance, we have reduced the front overhang of the car. So there is less space between the front of the car and the front axle…. this brings to the driver a much more precise driving and handling of the car…it is just one of the features that the new A4 will bring to the market.
What's so special about the special ''Quattro'' drive?
Quattro is a unique feature from Audi. Since years now Audi has developed this four-wheel drive capability of Quattro…not only on a SUV like most of the manufacturers can offer, but also our saloon cars and Avante estate cars can feature Quattro. This brings to these cars unbelievable grip to the road an a very high level of security, especially on wet rods…you can imagine India during the monsoon…that having a Quattro is an extremely good advantage to keep the car on the road and give the highest level of security, of safety, for the passengers.