Mercedes-Benz continued its hold on the Indian luxury car market, maintaining top position for the third year in a row in 2017 with record sales of 15,330 units, beating rivals BMW and Audi. The company, which sold 13,231 units in 2016, said it was able to clock 15.86 percent increase in sales on the back of new products and a robust customer-centric approach in 2017, which was otherwise a “challenging and a year of missed opportunities” for the industry.
In 2017, BMW Group reported sales of 9,800 units as against 7,861 units in the previous year. Audi, on the other, had posted sales of 7,876 units as compared to 7,720 units, a growth of 2 percent. Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover’s sales in India stood at 3,954 units as against 2,653 units in 2016, an increase of 49 percent.
“Last year was one of the most challenging years for the industry and also a year of missed opportunities. In spite of that we could sell a record 15,330 units,” Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Roland Folger told PTI.
He said the changes in tax rate structures post GST implementation had a major impact on the luxury segment. After fixing a GST rate of 28 percent with 15 per cent cess on large cars and SUVs, the government later on revised it and hiked the cess by 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively in September.
“What we saw in July and August last year was that due to lower taxes we had much better sales,” Folger said, adding had the challenges not been there, the company’s sales could have been much better.
He said the company commands around 40 percent of the luxury vehicles market in India. In terms of growth drivers, there was all-round performance across segments with the sedan, the SUV and AMG achieving double-digit growth, Mercedes-Benz India said.
“The decision to introduce long wheelbase E-Class was strategic and highly successful. We are in particular very satisfied with the strong growth in volumes in the C-Class, E-Class and the SUV segment which remains the mainstay of our portfolio,” he said.
When asked about the outlook for 2018, Folger said at the moment there were no reasons to be conservative, and considering India’s potential there should be the good growth of the industry provided policies remain constant.
“Our 2018 strategy, ‘The Best Keeps Leading’ is based on this market success and confidence and aims to further deepen our commitment for our patrons,” he added.
The company will launch Mercedes-Maybach S 650 at the upcoming Auto Expo. Besides, it will introduce new products, many of which are without a predecessor in India along with a range of new products from AMG portfolio.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.