PUNE: German automaker Mercedes-Benz is now selling more cars in India than ever and expects a series of measures underpinning its "Year of Excellence" to drive sales forward, the company's head of Indian operations has said.
Eberhard Kern, MD and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, told Firstpost that the company has launched seven marques for Indian customers, is expanding its outlets to lower-tier cities, and expects its A-Class model to appeal to younger buyers.
"We are also conducting the Season II of Young Star Driver programme which encourages the youth who want to succeed in motorsports. This is in addition to our successful AMG Driving Academy," he said.
The company has invested heavily in its network of dealerships to modernise them and make them attractive for its younger customers, he said, adding that "the new design language of Mercedes-Benz represents a futuristic trend".
Interestingly, over half (55%) of the company's Indian sales come from markets outside the two large metropolitan areas of Delhi and Mumbai, it emerged.
Mercedes-Benz now has "full-fledged" dealerships in cities like Karnal, Coimbatore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Rajkot, Indore, Mohali, Raipur and elsewhere, and it views these newer markets and customers as its potential growth engine in the long-term.
"Our top three models comprise the E-Class, the C-Class and the M-Class, with E-Class still remaining the highest selling luxury sedan in India," he said.
He added that the company sold over 4,700 units in the first six months of 2014, which represented "healthy" year-on-year growth of 25% and expressed confidence about maintaining strong growth amid difficult market conditions.
Perhaps these measures will help Mercedes to regain its title as the number one luxury auto brand in India, a position it lost five years ago.
Data sourced from Firstpost; additional content by Warc