Mercedes-Benz India stares at lacklustre growth



Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz, which registered a growth of 35 per cent last year, will have to be content with flat growth this year.

According to Manas Dewan, general manager, strategic planning and corporate communications, Mercedes-Benz India, this would be the first time that the company is facing the prospects of a flat growth rate since its entry into the Indian market in 1996.

The number of cars it is expecting to sell this year, said Dewan, will not differ from that of last year’s. Last year, the German luxury car manufacturer had sold over 7,400 cars in India. Earlier, the marketing head of Skoda Auto had also hinted the growth of Skoda Auto in India this year was expected to dip when compared to the previous year.

Manas Dewan attributed the flat growth projections to couple of reasons. “Overall, slowdown in global economy has impacted sentiments, making buyer cautious resulting in customer deferring his purchase decision.” Dewan added that with rising fuel prices and cost of borrowing moving up, it has impacted liquidity (availability of cash) in market, thereby hitting the auto sector in general.

Mercedes-Benz competes with its two German peers, BMW and Audi, in the luxury segment in India.

Manas Dewan revealed that the company having experienced the luxury car market in India, now has plans to enter the premium markets as well.

The company would soon be launching B-class and A- class Mercedes-Benz series in the Indian market as a step to register footprints in the premium category. While the B-class Mercedes, priced around Rs 25 lakh, would be launched next month, the A- class Mercedes, priced around Rs 20 lakh, would be launched by the third quarter of 2013.

Dewan said that with the new launches in the Indian market, the company is eyeing the premium segment.

Meanwhile Mercedes on Saturday organised a “Star Drive Experience” for their customers in Chandigarh. The Star Drive Experience is a customer engagement initiatives that offers customers an opportunity to understand the handling of critical road situations in a safe and controlled environment.