Mumbai: Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) India, the local arm of the British luxury car maker, has begun assembly of the XF saloon with a 2.2 litre engine locally, making it Rs.6.5 lakh cheaper than its existing 3 litre XF model that costs Rs.51 lakh, according to vice-president Rohit Suri.
JLR has made the 2.2 litre engine variant available in the country for the first time, Suri said in an interview on 19 January.
With an entry price of Rs.44.5 lakh, the new XF competes with the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6, which are priced at Rs.39.62 lakh and Rs.38.25 lakh, respectively. The India arms of both the German firms assemble these models locally.
“JLR is slow with its assembly plans compared to its German rivals BMW, Mercedes and Audi,” said Puneet Gupta, principal analyst at sales, forecasting and market research firm IHS.
India attracts a duty of around 120% on imported cars. Local assembly halves the duty—one of the reasons luxury car firms have been increasing the number of models they can assemble in the country.
The XF is the second JLR model after the Freelander 2 to be assembled at the company’s factory near Pune. JLR sold 2,393 units in India in 2012, up 32% from a year earlier. Suri declined to comment on the next model from the JLR line-up that would be put together at the Pune factory. “It is evaluating options,” he said.
Meanwhile, JLR has plans to increase the number of sales outlets to 22 in 20 cities from 17 in 15 cities by the turn of the calendar year, said Suri. The company plans to introduce several models in 2013, including the Jaguar XJ Ultimate, the new Freelander and the F-Type, encouraged by the response to its models.
Gupta said volumes for JLR in India may not rise as substantially as they will for the German firms, most of which either already have, or plan to have shortly, models priced between Rs.15 lakh and Rs.30 lakh.
Aided by new models, the luxury marques owned by Tata Motors Ltd have been expanding sales at a brisk pace globally. India’s contribution has been marginal in overall sales.
JLR Plc sold 358,000 vehicles, up 30% compared to last year. Present in 177 markets globally, China is the largest market for the company. Sales in China surged 71% in 2012 to 71,940 units. The UK was the next best where it sold 68,333 units, up 19%. The US was third best with 55,675 units, up 11%.
According to JLR’s Suri, India is the only market where Jaguar and Land Rover models have equal share. In most other markets, volumes are led by Land Rover models.
The Jaguar product range in India includes the XF, XFR, XKR, XKR-S and XJ. The Land Rover range includes the Freelander 2, Discovery 4, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Sport and a new Range Rover.
India sold a total of 25,000 luxury cars in 2012, an increase of 25% over a year ago. The number is forecast to touch 35,000 by end 2013, according to IHS estimates.
Tata Motors shares closed 5.5% lower at Rs.323 on BSE on Monday while the benchmark Sensex was up 0.31% at 20,101.82 points.