Land Rover has launched the Range Rover Evoque in India. Starts at 47.5 lakh (around £60k) with choice of petrol and diesel engines available.
Yes, a starting price of around £60k for a Range Rover Evoque in India seems rather steep (and that’s plus Octroi – local sales tax).
After all, in the UK you can jump in to an Evoque from a shade under £28k (for the 2WD Evoque eD4 Pure), and even the top of the range Evoque Si4 Dynamic with an auto ‘box comes in at just £40k (until you dive in to the options, and then it’ll be nearer £50k).
So what’s going on with the Evoque in India? Is it a jewel-encrusted Maharaja version aimed at India’s ancient aristocracy? Or is it a gold-plated version with huge wheels in bright colours designed to attract Bollywood money?
Actually, it’s just the joy of import tax in India for cars, even when your cars are built by a company owned by a giant Indian conglomerate (Tata).
So every complete car imported to India sees at least 100 per cent added to its cost as the Indian Government grabs a huge slice of revenue, to ‘encourage’ car makers to set up shop in India and to protect the indigenous car industry.
Which means that although Land Rover will certainly make sales from the status-symbol-seeking wealthy middle classes in India, JLR products won’t fly out of showrooms in Mumbai until JLR start actually building cars in India.
But that’s a double-edged sword. There’s a real cachet in owning a foreign luxury car, and building Land Rovers and Jaguars from scratch in India runs the risk of seeing them being perceived as ‘lesser’ products as a result.
The way round that is to import cars as CKD kits, where all the bits of the car are produced in the UK, packed on a palette, shipped to India and assembled locally. Then the import duty drops to 30 per cent and, in the case of the Evoque, could see prices starting at £40k.
Land Rover are already doing exactly that with the Freelander 2, with CKDs arriving in Pune from Halewood and being bolted together for the local market.
And if reports that JLR are planning sending CKD kits of both the Jaguar XF and Range Rover Evoque to India in the next eighteen months are right, early buyers of the Evoque in India could end up paying a lot more for their cars than those buying in a year or two.
But that’s the joy of being an early adopter.