German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz has beaten compatriot BMW in the race for the top spot in the Indian luxury car segment in the first seven months of the year with a massive 79.31 per cent jump in sales.
Mercedes Benz, which was overthrown by BMW last year from its numero uno position, sold a total of 2,921 units in the January-July period, as against 1,629 units in the same period last year, as per data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
BMW on the other hand sold a total of 2,718 units in the seven-month period compared to 2008 units in the same period last year, a growth of 35.35 per cent.
In 2009, BMW emerged as the top luxury car maker in India with a jump of 33.78 per cent at 3,619 units in 2009. It had sold 2,705 units in 2008.
Mercedes on the other hand sold 3,247 units in 2009 against 3,625 units in 2008, a decline of 10.42 per cent.
Industry watchers are keeping a close eye on the two auto giants, unsure who would ultimately end the year on the number one position.
"It is really hard to tell who will become the number one as the difference between the two is not much," an analyst, who asked not to be identified, said.
It was true that Mercedes had lost focus for some time, but it has come back strongly. On the other hand, BMW has just got a new India head and everyone is eagerly looking at him what new strategy he comes up with, he added.
Another German firm, Audi is also gradually increasing its strength in the segment, selling 1,535 units in the January-July period, as against 981 units in the comparable period last year, a growth of 56.47 per cent.
BMW has an assembly facility at Chennai having an annual production capacity of 3,000 units. It rolls out the 3 and 5-Series sedans in petrol and diesel variants from the plant. It also plans to start assembling the SUV X1, once it is launched by the end of the year.
Mercedes Benz has its plant at Chakan in Maharashtra, where it produces models, including C Class, E Class and the S Class, with an annual output of 5,000 units.