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Audi to assemble SUVs in India by March 2010

German luxury car maker Audi today said it will start assembling its Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Q5 in India by March next year and is expecting its sales to grow by about 70 per cent in 2009.

"We will start local assembling of our SUV Q5 at the Aurangabad plant. This year we are expecting to sell 200 units of the car, while it should go up to 500 units from next year," Audi India Managing Director Benoit Tiers told reporters here.

The company currently assembles its luxury sedans A4 and A6 at its Aurangabad plant.

The Indian subsidiary of Audi would start a new line of production for the SUV with an initial capacity of 500 units per year, he added.

On investment in the new line, Tiers said it would be a part of the 300 million euros that the company has already committed to invest in the country.

The company had last year sold 1,050 units of its all models and in the beginning of this year it had set a target to cross 1,500 units.

"We have already sold 1,128 units this year. If everything goes well, I hope and we have a good chance to sell 1,700-1,800 cars in 2009, which will be an increase of about 70 per cent," Tiers said.

When asked about the company's plans to assemble a bigger SUV than Q5, Tiers said, "We are also discussing about the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) assembly of the bigger SUV Q7, but no decision has been finalised yet."

The company is expecting Q7 sales to cross 450 units this year, he added.

Audi today launched an advanced version of its SUV Q7 in the country priced between Rs 53.4 lakh and Rs 55.2 lakh. It has also offered a non-homologated version of Q7 at 42,696 euro.