Luxury Cars – 2021 will be one of the most product intense years: Mercedes-Benz India
Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz has said that its third quarter sales were at pre-Covid levels. To accelerate growth in 2021, the company plans to launch around ten models and 2021 will be one of the most product intense years.
Mercedes-Benz India sold 5,007 units during January to September 2020 period as compared to 9,915 units during the same period last year. During the festive period of Navratri & Dussehra Mercedes-Benz India delivered a record 550 cars and the company says considering the challenges faced this year, 2020 festive sales underlined the buoyant customer sentiment and the company is satisfied with the customer demand for its products.
Mercedes-Benz claims a dominant market share of about 40% in the luxury car industry.
Santosh Iyer, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India said that Mercedes-Benz was not immune to the pandemic and the company had sales de-growth in the second quarter. The company temporarily shut its production facility, which was reopened on May 6.
Sales gradually started recovering wherever markets unlocked and business stabilised. “Our January-November sales numbers are as per our expectations and we have seen month on month sequential growth,” said Iyer, adding that they recovered by around 25-30% on average month wise since June.
Company’s third quarter sales were at 80 percent of pre-Covid levels and October-November sales indicate that the company has reached pre-Covid levels.
It may be noted, the luxury car segment was specifically impacted with zero sales in April and almost 85 per cent de-growth in May.
On the product launches, he said, the company had stuck to its product introduction plan for 2020 and launched 10 new products round the year. There were some delays due to the pandemic. While it launched the EQC in 2020, the launch of the A-Class Limousine and GLA is planned in 2021.
“We will have one of the most product intense years in 2021,” said Iyer, adding that 2020 tested the company’s resilience and market expertise and he is glad that despite not having some of its volume models for the entire year, the company was able to maintain customer interest in the products and brand.
Iyer said he is cautiously optimistic about 2021 on the backdrop of new product line-ups. The customer sentiment has been resurgent since Q3 and the company had a good festive period similar to last year’s levels. “However at the same time, we are yet to completely overcome the challenges triggered by the crisis as the pandemic is not yet over and the situation is very dynamic,” siad Iyer.
Speaking about the used car market, he said, Mercedes-Benz India is the market leader in the luxury pre-owned (POC) business and this is the ninth year of POC business in India. The company had sold more than 21,000 pre-owned cars till date.
“Our POC business has grown by 20% y-o-y and it outperforms the new car sales under the current challenging circumstances,” said Iyer.
Another interesting aspect of the pre-owned car business is the contribution from online sales. The POC business got a boost with the launch of the company’s e-commerce business and it has seen online sales for pre-owned cars receiving good demand both from metro and non-metro markets, accounting to about 15% of sales volume.
The company sold more than 350 pre-owned cars through its online store after the pandemic and it expects this number to grow in 2021.
Speaking about manufacturing in India, Iyer said, company’s manufacturing facilities in India cater to the domestic market and are not aimed at exports. The company added two new products to its local production portfolio, including the AMG GLC 43, which kick-started its AMG localisation.
“We also upped our investment in our manufacturing facility by Rs 400 crores to Rs 2600 crore, underlining our commitment to the Indian market,” said Iyer.