Mercedes-Benz India aiming to reclaim the numero uno spot from BMW; may also launch the A-Class at sub-Rs. 20 lacs pricing

Monday 08 October 2012, 12:10 PM by

The Indian arm of Mercedes Benz, the German automotive marque, has revealed intentions to reclaim its top position in the country's premium luxury passenger car market. The company is believed to be working towards bringing low cost models at the Indian shores, such as the A-Class hatchback and other sub-Rs. 20 lacs offerings.

Mercedes-Benz India has planned to invest a whopping amount of Rs. 250 crore towards developing its new product portfolio for the domestic market till 2014. The company believes some 40 per cent of its entire Indian fleet will come in a sub-Rs. 25 lacs price slab in the next half decade or by the year 2022. Further, the German auto major aspires to launch several mass puller products in the Indian sector by financial year 2015-16, towards its quest for outpacing the sales of its direct rival BMW.

According to Peter Honegg, Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mercedes-Benz India, the company will soon introduce its A-Class hatchback somewhere in 2013. The upcoming A-Class is expected to come laced with an aggressive pricing of less than Rs. 20 lacs in the country. Reportedly, the German auto major may also launch a new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) sharing the same platform installed in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. When enquired about the company's stance on introducing a sub-Rs. 20 lacs priced vehicle, Honegg said, “Yes, we are thinking in this direction. I will not eliminate the case that we will have a car below Rs. 20 lacs.”

Highlighting the company's future plans for the Indian market, Honegg said, “In the next 5-10 years, 40 per cent of our new models will be below priced Rs. 25 lacs. The premium segment, which is in the range of Rs. 20 lacs to Rs. 30 lacs, is witnessing good growth in India, while the luxury segment above that is flat.”

Mercedes-Benz lost its market leadership to its fellow German automotive player BMW Motors in the Indian premium luxury car segment in 2009. Currently, Mercedes-Benz India is chased closely by another German brand Audi, which is expecting to sell 8,000 units this year, besides enjoying its most fruitful period in the country.

Commenting on the stiff competition between the three German automotive giants in the country, Honegg said, “Globally our target is regain the number one position by 2020. In India, we will be fighting for number game much ahead of it. By 2015-16, we will have the entire range of products from premium to luxury in India and that is when we will look at competition again.”

Reportedly, the company has planned to strike the perfect chords with the Indian audience by introducing low cost models, for putting into action its resurgence movement against the likes of BMW and Audi. Mercedes-Benz India is aspiring to launch new competitive products dedicated towards the young Indian car enthusiasts, as a major chunk of luxury vehicle sales are contributed by the people from 30-45 age group range. Recently, the company launched its B-Class Sports Tourer in September 18, 2012, of which the entire initial batch of 3,000 units was booked in advance.