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The Good Life

Cruising Your Way
Luxury automobile brands are redefining interiors by giving them a personal touch

Anushka Gupta

Audi A8 L with crimson red interiors and wooden inlayed steering wheel

With personalisation being the new trend, products are being tailor-made to suit the holder’s wishes and reflect their personality. Luxury car companies have, in this light, started providing car customisation services to tinker with design elements, effectively engraving a part of oneself in the cars.

True to its premium positioning, Mercedes-Benz offers individualisation services in all its Benz Dream and AMG models. The company’s online service, Designo, allows customers to customise every little detail in the car’s interiors such as the material, stitching and colour of seat covers, colour of the trim, the type of steering wheel, the provision of massaging seats, apart from the option of giving the interiors a theme-centric makeover. Such personalised cars are developed in Germany, and then imported in India. Designo has also been adopted as an app, where customers can check available customisations and their respective prices. The cost of customising cars depends upon the model and the type of changes desired. About the growing market for Designo, Mercedes-Benz India CEO and MD, Roland Folger says, “The Designo platform enables customers to make their Mercedes-Benz truly their own, which reflects their personality, style, taste and affluence. Around 15-20% of customers of our imported range of cars opt for individualising services and we are increasingly seeing more of this in India.”

Audi, too, isn’t lagging behind in this segment. Rahil Ansari, head, Audi India says, “A large chunk of car buyers expect their favourite brand to be more than just a car. They want their cars to be an extension of their own personality. The concept of individuality is a new fixation for a large number of car buyers.” Audi offers customers a pre-selection of exclusive materials and colours with options to customise the seat upholstery, head-rest and even the stitching colour or piping. One can choose a front seat with ventilation and massage functions and five levels of intensity. Everything from mats to gear knobs can be customised. A wide range of inlays are available in different patterns, which reflect one’s personality. Its designer feature, Freedom, gives one the liberty to customise cars till it meets one’s expectations. Audi’s A8, which resembles a lounge, is a superlative luxury model with bespoke qualities.

Another luxury brand to contribute to the line of bespoke interiors is BMW. BMW Individual, the company’s customisation portal, lets its customers choose the type of leather and engraving for seat covers and the colour of the trim among other options. Like the name suggests, the portal fine-tunes the BMW cars to an individual’s taste. Vikam Pawah, president, BMW India says, “Customers in the Indian luxury car market are undoubtedly interested in high-end features and customisation. The BMW Individual collection offers a seemingly limitless repertoire of possibilities to make their vision a reality.”

These efforts have helped transcend premium automobiles to more than just a thing of luxury. Lending a personal touch makes cars a commodity that is valued not just for its brand name, but also for their emotional connect.

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