Mercedes-Benz is looking at about 20 per cent of its total sales this year to come from pre-owned car sales despite sourcing of used vehicles remaining a challenge, according to a senior company official.
Mercedes-Benz India had sold more than 3,000 pre-owned cars last year and is witnessing robust demand for such vehicles with the holding period coming down to about 10 days as compared to 30 to 45 days earlier.
"Still 18 to 20 per cent of our total car sales will come from used cars. So last year, if we did 16,000-odd cars, I will say 3,000 plus cars were used cars, about 20 per cent. Similar ratios will continue, I would say at 20-odd per cent," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Santosh Iyer told PTI.
He was responding to a query on the sales of the company's pre-owned cars.
The company sells its pre-owned cars through the "Mercedes-Benz Certified" channel, which is located at all dealers' locations and are actively selling and trading-in cars.
The Mercedes-Benz Certified business witnessed steady traction growing by 20 per cent in Q1 2023, owing to growing aspirations and also supported by increased supplies of pre-owned cars, Iyer added.
He, however, said it's very challenging to grow the contribution of the pre-owned cars to the total sales beyond 20 per cent because of the availability of the vehicles.
"Pre-owned car sale is a function of the new car market. To a large extent, the biggest challenge is the availability of a pre-owned car today when the new car is waiting for three to six months," he explained.
The customers don't want to now give out a Mercedes-Benz and drive a mass market car, and they wait, he said.
Also, Iyer said customers also find buyers within their own circle and transact when someone wants to buy quickly.
"So many of the transactions actually don't happen via us as they happen directly between customers. So our dealers and our partners find it a big challenge to source a car, but once you source a car, the average time a car is with us is now hardly a week-10 days, it used to be 30 to 45 days of holding period for a used car, because these cars are flying at a good pricing."
On the reasons behind the growth of the company's pre-owned cars, he said, "There is a trend of first-time luxury car buyers opting for a certified Mercedes-Benz buoyed by a strong brand trust, completed with transparency and robust processes."
In terms of geography, he said, "Major metros remain our key growth drivers contributing close to 60 per cent of our pre-owned business. However, it is encouraging to see aspiring customers in smaller metros showing high interest in luxury cars, opening new growth opportunities for our certified business."
The long-wheel base E-Class is the highest selling pre-owned car for Mercedes-Benz India.
On the overall sales growth forecast for 2023, Iyer said, "Our outlook is as committed at the start of the year, we still continue to forecast double-digit growth for us for the rest of the year."
He further said in 2022, the company had record sales and a double-digit growth, on top of it "should make this another record year in our history".
In the first quarter of 2023, Mercedes-Benz India had posted sales of 4,697 units, a 17 per cent growth over the year-ago period. The company posted record sales in 2022 at 15,822 units.