Mercedes-Benz devising strategic moves to regain market leader status in Indian market
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It was almost three years ago that the German luxury car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz lost its market leader position to its compatriot BMW in the luxury car segment. In 2011, the bleak streak of bad luck continued as the car maker with three pointed star lost its second position as well to Audi India. This series of constant slip downs has caused the Mercedes-Benz to take some corrective measure to regain its market share and position in the respective segment.
The slow growth rate of the Indian economy has made a come-back to strike the automotive industry and has affected the sales volume in luxury car segment of India. Other factors that have further dampened the sales over the last year include ever-rising petrol prices and slow market growth. According to an observation by Kotak Wealth Management and Crisil, compared to 18 per cent demand for BMW in the country and 14.8 per cent for Audi, Mercedes-Benz has the lowest demand statistic of 12.5 per cent.
Mercedes-Benz has an image of being old-man's car with individuals in the age bracket of 40-60 years was at its target. On the other hand, BMW and Audi are being preferred by the younger individuals, which form a majority of population in India. Mercedes-Benz did realise the potential that lies with the youth and is gearing up to launch its new B-Class Sports Tourer Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) to target these buyers. The new car will compete with likes of Audi's compact SUV, Q3 and BMW X1, both in terms of price and performance. Towards the beginning of 2013, the German car maker may also launch A-Class in India, which will be a hatchback albeit the most expensive one of that.
The car maker is also looking forward to establish new dealerships in different regions other than the four major metropolitans. It will also organise road shows in smaller cities to enhance its brand presence. And if the company realises demand for its cars in such cities, it will expand the base and set-up outlets in the Tier II cities. Mercedes-Benz has already opened showrooms in cities like Bhopal, Ludhiana, Surat, Indore, Nagpur and Coimbatore. The auto maker has pinpointed some other cities as well to foray into, in near future. The German luxury auto giant who is presently perched on third position hopes to regain the pole position earliest by the year 2020.
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