Luxury car maker Mercedes Benz is expecting double digit growth this year from India and would be focusing on Tier II and III cities, a top company official said today. We expect a doubledigit growth this year in India, Mercedes Benz India Managing Director and CEO Eberhard Kern told reporters in Kochi .
While the growth last year was 32 per cent in the country, the German luxury car maker has already touched 25 per cent from JanuaryJune 2014. He said 4,717 units of Mercedes Benz were sold in the six month period in the country, against 3,765 during the period last year.
In Kerala, 281 were sold in the first half of this year against 581 cars sold last year during the period in the state. The car maker will focus on Tier II and III cities by opening new dealerships and offering world class service in these cities. Mercedes Benz draws 55 per cent sales from smaller towns compared to a compound 45 per cent sales from metros like Delhi and Mumbai, he said.
Upbeat about the Kerala market, he said sales of luxury cars was growing faster in the state and 35 per cent growth has been registered from JanJune. The luxury car market was stagnant and was declining a bit. However, since May this year a positive trend was being seen in the total market. Since the Lok Sabha elections, there is positive sentiment, he added. Eight new products have already been launched and two more would be launched by December this year.
Fourteen new dealerships would be added this year in the country. The car maker is doubling capacity at its Pune plant by 20,000 units at an investment of Rs 250 crore. Asked about the Kerala government’s recent decision to hike taxes on luxury cars by 20 per cent, Kern said, Taxes in India are the highest in the world. We can’t do anything about it. We have to accept and live with it. It might affect business, he said, adding, total tax collection will come down if volumes go down.
In the short term, demand could be affected, he said. Kern was here to inaugurate a 22,000 sq ft showroom where 19 cars can be displayed. There are exclusive zones for accessories, customer lounge, cafe and kid’s play area, S Sivakumar, Managing Director Rajasree motors, said. This will be one of the largest sales outlet of the car maker in the country.
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