Mercedes-Benz India stages a tremendous comeback under the leadership of Eberhard Kern

Wednesday 21 August 2013, 12:04 PM by

Recent past has been good for the German car maker Mercedes-Benz with Lewis Hamilton winning the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix and the firm performing exceptionally well in India for the month of July 2013. Industry experts have drawn a direct conclusion from these developments, which says that the aggressive policies of Mercedes-Benz have boosted their cause to a great extent. It is believed that the firm gives a lot of credit to Eberhard Kern, who became the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-Benz India in 2012. Kern has been greatly influential in staging the turnaround, which saw Mercedes-Benz overtake fellow rivals Audi and BMW.

Eberhard Kern had already worked for Mercedes-Benz in countries like Russia and Taiwan. He believes that the situation in India was quite similar to the one the firm faced in Russia, thereby helping in devising suitable strategies. Notably, when Kern took the reins of operations for Mercedes-Benz in Russia in 2005, the sales were below 5000 units. After a lot of hard work from Kern and his team, the sales began to rise steeply until the country was hit by financial crisis.

Mercedes-Benz India stages a tremendous comeback under the leadership of Eberhard Kern |
Mercedes-Benz India stages a tremendous comeback under the leadership

Since his arrival in India, Kern has been pretty aggressive and explicit in talking about the firm's plans to facilitate growth. Sources close to the firm have stated that the turnaround in the fortunes of Mercedes-Benz can be attributed to addition of new dealerships, development of financial services and launching of new models. Kern and his team have also managed to invoke a response from rivals on social media platforms like Twitter, the most notable being Audi India's Michael Perschke.

The revival strategy of Mercedes-Benz, called 'Year of Offensive', involved numerous sub-sections. This policy involved the launching of new models, upgrading the current ones, expansion of the dealership network, making an investment and establishing a captive financial unit. As a result of the implementation of this policy, Mercedes-Benz was able to surpass BMW in the first quarter of 2013. The performance of the firm reached another level when it clocked a sales count of 705 units as compared to Audi's 810.

Mercedes-Benz India stages a tremendous comeback under the leadership .

Analysts have spotted a clear effort on the part of Mercedes-Benz to target price sensitive buyers of the Indian economy. By launching the likes of the A-Class and B-Class, Mercedes-Benz gave itself a head start by galloping ahead of rivals BMW and Audi. On seeing the response for the B-Class and A-Class, Audi launched the Q3 S whereas BMW will come up with the 1 Series in the near future. In addition, Mercedes-Benz is expected to bring new generation vehicles like CLA Class and GLA compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in the future.

According to company officials, the luxury car segment in India is still growing, which means the scope is terrific in coming years. "We expect the luxury car market to touch 2,80,000 units by 2020 and will make up for 4 per cent of the overall car market," said Kern, when asked about the firm's plans for the future.

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