Luxury car makers battle it out in the growing Indian market
The Indian luxury car market is small but is growing at a fast face and this presents a great opportunity to the luxury car makers from around the world who are increasing lining up their offerings and setting up shops in the country.
German companies in the segment, Mercedes-Benz and BMW appear to be battling for the pole position. BMW which entered the country three years ago has grown at a rapid pace and passed rival Mercedes-Benz backed by its popular 5 Series.
BMW succeeded in selling 3500 units in less than three years while Mercedes-Benz was left behind because it decided not to bring the new E model that had been launched in Europe almost a year ago and stocked an older version in India resulting in customers moving to rivals.
The trend appears to be changing and now the Indian customers will not have to wait for years to get the new models in the country. The sixth-generation 5 Series (F10) model launched just two months ago is already in the country to strengthen the position of the country.
Mercedes-Benz which was one of the first premium carmaker set up branch in the country is bullish on the Indian market, expressed Benz India Managing Director & CEO Wilfried Aulbur. The company was the early entrant into the market is only recently being challenged by rivals like BMW and Audi.
The company expects the luxury car segment to have double-digit growth and sees significant sale potential in the coming years. The high duties on CBU (completely built units) import is a challenge for the luxury car segment as a whole. If these duties are reduces it will help push up volumes and increase more production into the country.
Mercedes Benz India has reported record sales of 521 units in the month of July in India. The company was able to sell 288 units in the same month in 2009 and hence recorded an increase of over 80 per cent.
The number of vehicles sold in the highest ever monthly sales since the company first stepped into the country fifteen years ago. The high sales were driven by E class models with 212 units sold in the month followed by sports utility vehicles (SUV) with 62 units. During the Jan-July 2010 period, it sold 2,922 units compared to 1,670 units sold during the same period last year.
BMW is known for and still set the standard for vehicle dynamics. On the other hand Mercedes Benz cars win on providing more comfort to the customers. Both the companies have worked on the area they are weaker than the rival until now and have significantly narrowed the gap to almost nothing.
On the pricing front the 5 Series is cheaper on some comparisons like 530d is priced at Rs. 45.9 lakh and E350 CDI at Rs. 49 lakh.
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