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Mercedes India to launch 15 models this year

Buoyed by the record sales growth last year, German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch 15 new models in 2015 besides adding 15 new dealers to partly cover the Tier II cities.

The company sold 10,201 cars registering a 13 per cent growth on the back of about 10 launches as compared with an overall growth of 3-4 per cent in the Indian luxury car market in 2014.

In January, sales momentum further picked up with a 25 per cent growth compared with January, 2014, particularly helped by the new CLA launched three weeks ago apart from the entry level SUV Mercedes GLA.
“The year 2015 is going to see the launch of 15 new models, addition of 15 new dealers and the new luxury customer connect initiative covering 15 cities,” Eberhard Kern, managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, said while expressing confidence that sales would continue to register a double-digit growth. The new launches would include the high-performance AMG sedan, which was launched in Europe in April last year.

When asked if the company would be able to maintain the January sales growth level for the entire year, Kern said much of the growth of the luxury car market would depend on what the annual Budget would offer to the country's automobile industry.

According to him, the tax burden on a luxury car buyer goes up to 180 per cent depending on the models and, therefore, the price of luxury cars was higher in India than elsewhere. “We hope to see some measures to boost the industry including tax rationalisation with regard to some of the unreasonably high taxes, steps to boost investments as well as the ease of doing business,” he said.

The company today launched its C-Class diesel variant in the south, starting with Hyderabad as it has been a predominantly diesel car market with such cars accounting for as high as 90 per cent of the total sales.

Though currently brought as CBUs from outside India, it would start manufacturing the new C-Class diesel soon, according to Kern. As it is 80 per cent of the cars sold by Mercedes in India are diesel models owing to the higher fuel efficiency that comes with the advanced diesel engine technology offered by it.

Responding to a question on the sidelines of the new launch, Kern said they would be able to strengthen the company’s position further this year. Currently, it enjoys a 30 per cent market share giving it the number one position in the Indian luxury car market.

The C 220 CDI Style is priced at Rs 40.61 lakh and C 220 CDI Avantgarde at Rs 43.66 lakh ex-showroom in Hyderabad.