E: What is the expectation that the brand has with the Audi Q5 facelift?
EC: The expectation we have, due to the representativeness of this model within the segment, continues to be high. In 2019 it represented 20% of our sales. And now, of the almost 7,400 units that we have sold in 2020, 1,115 have been for Q5. We want to maintain the same sales levels that we saw in previous years. We have to monitor the effect that the industry has in general terms due to the pandemic. Fortunately we have fallen less and have had good results in the last two months and for that reason we believe that the new Q5 will be well received by the Mexican market.
E: Different Q5 engines are produced at the Puebla plant, including a hybrid plug-in that is not yet available in the Mexican market. Are there plans to launch it soon?
EC: Plug-in hybrid technology offers a double benefit, on the one hand, there is fuel savings on journeys shorter than 50 kilometers, and on the other, there is no need to stop if the battery runs out because you can continue with the gasoline engine . In addition, to charge this type of battery you do not need a fast charger, you can connect it at home. We are fighting to have the homologation of this vehicle in the market. However, for now, the production we have goes to other export markets that have stricter emissions regulations such as Europe or the United States.
E: What will be the company’s approach to battery-powered models? Do you plan to launch more electric or more plug-in hybrids in the future?
EC: Unlike plug-in hybrid models, electric cars do need to be charged once the battery runs out because there is no internal combustion engine to support it. But the charging infrastructure that we have today in Mexico is made up, above all, of chargers that are not fast charging. After the launch of our first electric, the e-tron, we have installed chargers of this type in 23 of our dealerships nationwide, and we are working, together with the other brands in the group, to expand our charging infrastructure. Today, the Audi e-tron that we offer in Mexico has a range of more than 350 km, with which you can move around the city without any problem, even for several days before having to recharge the battery again, but to the extent As we increase the charging infrastructure, it will be more feasible for electric cars to be used to move longer distances. But it is a significant investment.
E: Are there plans to launch more electric models in the short term?
EC: We already have one, the e-tron, and we will be introducing other electric cars next year. One of them is going to be extremely emotional.
E: How is the pandemic going to transform the sale of premium cars?
EC: This pandemic definitely changed the way cars are marketed. It is something that we had already anticipated would happen. It has happened little by little. Years ago we changed the first contact, which used to be at the dealership, by searching for information on the web. Then came the virtual configurators that allow you to show a 360 view of a car. And now online gadgets have become relevant to being able to generate a sale. We still have to evolve as a market to be able to achieve a completely digital sale. But we have already taken the first steps. The pandemic has forced us to innovate, to seek new ways to be close to consumers.