With younger customers and high disposable incomes, the market has evolved much in favour of luxury manufacturers that have capitalized on the opportunity with their range of compact luxury vehicles on offer. Witnessing huge demand for its products, Mercedes-Benz India saw sales grow by 25 percent in the period from January-June 2014, compared to the same period last year and has been closing in on Audi, the country’s largest luxury manufacturer by volumes.
The jump in Mercedes’ sales comes from the success of the A and B-Class premium compact models. The automaker registered sales of 4717 units in the first half of the year, while Audi India is said to have sold a little over 5000 units during the same period. Closing in on the gap, Mercedes plans to dethrone Audi from the top spot with its new line of products. Experts also suggest that if the sales momentum is consistent, the gap between both the automakers will diminish in the coming months.
However, Audi too has a trump card planned as part of its line-up in India. The company will soon launch the A3 premium compact vehicle in three bodystyles including a sedan, cabriolet and hatchback, the latter two will come next year. The A3 will be attracting a huge set of first time luxury car buyers that will help build volumes in the next couple of months. Mercedes on the other hand plans to extend its compact range of vehicles and most recently launched the CLA45 AMG, its most affordable AMG in the country. The Stuttgart based giant also has the GLA crossover and the CLA sedan planned for launch in the next six months.
Mercedes-Benz has also expanded its network presence across the country with over 64 outlets in 36 cities and has been tapping tier II and III markets. The automaker launched three new AMG performance centres earlier this year and has 8 more outlets planned for launch in the next half of the year. Keeping up with demand, Mercedes is in the process of expanding its production facility to 20,000 units a year, making it the largest luxury car manufacturer in the country.
Audi on the other hand witnessed sales grow with the launch of the Q3 SUV in the last fiscal. 2014 was one of the best years for Audi as the carmaker registered its best ever annual (10,002 units) and fiscal sales (10,126 units) and is looking forward to maintain that growth this year as well. Despite Mercedes closing in, the new A3 is expected to widen the gap further, providing a competitive lead against Mercedes-Benz. Audi has also commenced assembling the A3 in India to price the vehicle competitively and meet the expected high demand.