Not only luxury car but super luxury car segment is also growing in India: Mercedes CEO

S Ronendra Singh | | Updated on: Mar 04, 2022
Martin Schwenk,  Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mercedes-Benz India

Martin Schwenk,  Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mercedes-Benz India

Says the company has almost 15-20 per cent of sales volume coming from super luxury car segment

The country’s largest luxury car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz India, on Thursday has launched yet another ‘Made in India’ vehicle – the Maybach S-Class 580 4MATIC – showcasing the brand’s manufacturing prowess in producing the most exclusive world-class products in India. The Maybach S-Class 580 4MATIC is priced at ₹2.50 crore (all India ex-showroom prices). The company also launched Maybach S-Class 680 4MATIC that starts from ₹3.20 crore. The S580 4MATIC engine generates an output of 370Kw (503 hp), with a displacement of 3982 cc and maximum torque of 700 Nm. It can do 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, while the top speed is 250 km/h and some of the safety features in the Maybach S-Class include 13 airbags. BusinessLine caught up with Martin Schwenk, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mercedes-Benz India, on the sidelines of the launch. Edited excerpts: -

We have seen that the market for luxury cars have grown over the last few months. Mercedes also grown with 11,242 units in January-December 2021, the highest in the industry. Do you think the trend would continue now?

Not only luxury car but the super luxury car segment is also growing in India and the company has almost 15-20 per cent of sales volume coming from that segment and expect it to continue this year too. The S-Class, GLE/GLS-Class and AMG, have strong growth rate and when it comes to Maybach, we have seen successful growth over the years...when we announced that we would bring key products in Maybach, we had almost instantly sold these cars. So it makes sense for us to tap this potential market also, especially with locally produced products like Maybach. The domestically produced units significantly stepping up and I think has are substantial additional volume potential because of the price.

What kind of customisation can be done locally here and do you see E-Class or S-Class customers progressing to this segment?

The customers can get an energising packages like folding table and many additional functions. There is a whole list of options because we are offering all kinds of materials which are available. We are using recycled products also which makes up almost 70 per cent of parts in the car and of this 85 per cent of the materials used are also recoverable. Generally, all our products are already designed in a way that it can be looked at how much of the product can be recycled eventually and recovered.

Do you think there would be some impact in the industry due to the current geo-political issues in the world, especially with crude oil prices skyrocketing and already raw material prices were high?

Generally, we have a strong order bank and we not been able to fulfill all the orders. For example, we are not taking any fresh order for the G-class because we have sold out for this year entirely...we have quite some constraints in the supply chain, apart from semiconductor shortage which is there already. Corona restrictions were also there from the tier-I, II and III suppliers, which is improving now. So, we are quite satisfied with the supply side now, and hope to fulfill the couple of thousand orders (cars) which we could not fulfill yet. On the geo-political issue, I think it is hard to assess at this point in time...we can just expect that it will have less impact on saw oil prices, raw material prices certainly have an inflammatory effect, and it might have additional supply constraints. But, I don’t think anyone is in the position to evaluate that as we are in an ongoing crisis situation here.

On the electric vehicle front there seems to be an intense competition coming, especially with Audi and BMW launching more products. What’s your plan ahead to face the challenges?

I personally think we have a great opportunity in the luxury EVs market. We were the first one to bring and selling successfully and we have learnt a lot on how to expand our network. Now, we plan to launch the locally produced EQS (a full-fledged car with longer range) in the fourth quarter this year. We see a significant volume potential here because we see more and more customers who are ready to have an EV as an additional car and we have the first mover advantage.

“ Generally, all our products are designed already in a way that it can be looked at how much of the product can be recycled eventually and recovered.”Martin SchwenkManaging Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mercedes-Benz India

Published on March 04, 2022
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