Even with the luxury car market facing a slowdown; German giant Mercedes-Benz posted a higher than expected growth rate by 27 percent in the first quarter of 2014. With the soaring demand for its vehicles, Mercedes India is asking for a higher allocation of models for 2014 from the German headquarters, to meet the demands of its customers. Currently, the ML, GL-Class luxury SUVs along with the flagship S-Class demand a three month waiting period in the country. The company is also planning to expand its lineup with the launch of six new cars later this year.
With Mercedes posting positive growth globally, there is a huge demand for its products from other regions as well; which leads to regions competing to get increased allocation. In the first quarter of 2014, the company sold about 2500 units in India, which is also the best quarter ever for the company. The launch of the A and B-Class compact cars also added to the demand, which exceeded the expectation of the company, growing by 32 percent with over 9000 units sold. The automaker was competing against rival Audi for the number one position who posted sales of 10,000 units in the country last year; it’s highest till date. BMW on the other hand posted a decline of over 20 percent with 7327 units sold in 2013. The luxury market stood at 33,000 units in 2013.
Since the beginning of this year too, the fight has largely been between Mercedes and Audi for the numero uno position. However, in terms of growth, the market is expected to remain sluggish this year as well and could grow by 7-10 percent, which is quite low when compared to the past few years. Still car makers are optimistic that the market trend could change in the second half of the year, after the general elections are over.
Mercedes is also looking forward to expand its AMG range of performance vehicles in India, with about 200 units sold annually. The company recently launched the GL63 AMG SUV in the country and now retails a performance lineup of AMG cars which include C63, E63, SLK55 and G63 AMG among others. The performance car market in India sells about 500 vehicles per year and Mercedes wants to be a leading player with its range of AMG vehicles. The Stuttgart based automaker is also expanding its showrooms for AMG models to other parts of the country.