BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi to launch hatchbacks in India image

After a bad reception in China, German luxury automakers plan to introduce their hatchback models to India.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will introduce their small cars in India starting this year, Bloomberg reports. Mercedes-Benz will introduce the A-Class in mid-2013, followed by BMW with its 1 Series, while Audi may introduce the A4 from 2014. India is the world’s largest hatchback market, and a failure here would mean that luxury brands should stick to making cars only for wealthy customers in emerging markets.

India’s luxury car market may explode by 2020, with growth rates expected to quadruple from last year’s level, compared with global growth of 40 percent, IHS Automotive estimates. J.D. Power & Associates expects India’s car market to be the world’s third largest by that year.

“You will not get growth from the matured markets so emerging markets such as India, Korea, Brazil, Russia and China are very important,” said Philipp von Sahr, BMW’s president for India.

Audi this month said its sales in India rose 63 percent in 2012 to 9,003 cars. The company sold 405,838 vehicles in China, up 30 percent versus 2011. New car sales in China, the world’s largest car market, totaled 19.3 million last year, while India deliveries were at 2.77 million.