German luxury carmaker Audi could bring its Mini-rivalling small car, the A1, to India. The head of Audi's India operations, Rahil Ansari, hinted at the possibility of introducing the A1 if the government relaxes import norms for luxury cars.
The government is mulling over allowing foreign carmakers to import vehicles without having them undergo homologation if the vehicles have already been certified by international testing agencies, according to a report by Times of India.
The move, which will allow automakers to import 2,500 units per annum, is reportedly aimed at encouraging local manufacturing and will enable them to test waters for their models and gauge customer response before establishing local assembly operations.
Ansari told Autocar India that he hopes the move is passed, as it will give the company a great opportunity to test the demand for its models, especially in new segments. "It is a favourable development and we hope it is passed soon because it will also allow us to give customers the choice of a wider variety of cars," he said.
The recently revealed second-generation A1 is expected to draw new and young customers to the brand in international markets with its low-slung proportions and sporty styling further accentuated by elements such as twin tailpipes, larger air inlets, and a larger rear wing.
The A1 gets an infotainment system with a 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen on the higher trims, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and wireless charging. Powertrain options include a 95hp, 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, and a 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol units making up to 200hp. Audi is not offering a diesel engine.
The introduction of the A1 could heighten activity in the luxury hatchback segment in India, which currently has models such as the Mini range, which has seen decent success, as well as the VW GTI.
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