Companies

Mercedes plans volume models to regain top spot

Roudra Bhattacharya New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017

Mercedes Benz

To take on BMW with B-Class large hatch launch by year-end





Mercedes-Benz is planning multiple launches of volume-models in India from this year, in a strategy to gain back the number one luxury car brand spot from BMW.

The B-Class large hatch will be the first to enter by end of this year at a price just below Rs 25 lakh, Mr Debashis Mitra, Director of Sales & Marketing at Mercedes-Benz India, told Business Line. This will closely be followed by the A-Class in early 2013 and the BMW X1-competitor ‘GLC' compact SUV by 2014.

“There are two segments for brands like us – luxury and premium. In the premium segment, Mercedes will showcase its new design philosophy with the A-Class concept at the Auto Expo,” Mr Mitra said.

Youthful image

Though the carmaker had a 16-year head-start over BMW (entered in 2007) in the domestic market, Mercedes had lost the number one spot to the compatriot company for the last three years. Over 2011, it then worked on a resurgence strategy, where it has strengthened its marketing to a more youthful image

“We unleashed the new face of Mercedes in India from last year, such as the performance face with the F1 association and the driver academy. We wanted to first build the brand in the luxury segment and then go for volumes, as the reverse is not good idea,” he said.

Sales in 2011

With a 30 per cent sales growth at 7,430 units in 2011, Mercedes has emerged a leader in the C-Class (competes with BMW 3 series and Audi A4) and S-Class (against BMW 7 Series and Audi A8) segments.

Among the three major luxury car brands, the third being Audi, though it still came second in the year behind BMW (gained largely on sales of X1).

“The year ended on a good note, given the economic situation. We did well with our SUVs, as well as sporting cars such as the SLS AMG and SLK,” Mr Mitra said.

He added, “We have been focussing on performance models, rather than the volumes. This next of growth – volumes – will come now. We are very serious about India and are stepping up our investments significantly.”

For auto expo

At the Auto Expo, Mercedes will launch the Roadster (convertible) version of the SLS AMG supercar and showcase various concepts including a fuel cell vehicle (runs on hydrogen gas). It will also show a variant of the S-Class sedan – the S600 Pullman used globally by Presidents of many countries.

>roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 03, 2012

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