After recording flat growth in sales in 2016, Mercedes-Benz India is targeting double-digit growth in the current year on the back of its flagship E-class model unveiled earlier this year, apart from a slew of new product introductions.
Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the introduction of the new GLA — a luxury compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) — Michael Jopp, vice president, sales and marketing, Mercedes Benz India, said, “This year, we are expecting double-digit growth in our sales figures. H1 has been very successful.”
In 2016, the country’s largest luxury car manufacturer sold 13,200 vehicles – a figure that almost matched the previous year’s numbers. However, this year, on the back of the E-class model which was unveiled in February, the car maker aims to shift gear.
“The main driver for growth this year will be the E-class that we launched in March. E-class will be our best selling model, we can say for sure because reception has been extremely well,” Mr. Jopp said.
“Also we have a wide portfolio of SUV which has been driving our growth. Basically, all models are contributing to growth now,” he added.
The carmaker unveiled four variants of its GLA compact SUV. Prices were 4-5% lower as a result of GST, Mr. Jopp added.The price of the 2-litre petrol model of the new five-seater GLA Class d 200 begins from ₹30.65 lakh and goes up to Rs 36.75 lakh for the 2.2 liter 4 Matic diesel variant. This new GLA Class, rolled out from its Chakan plant near Pune, is the seventh model unveiled this year.
“More models will be launched in the remaining part of the year,” he said.
The product is aimed at the younger generation that aspire to own a luxury SUV.
“What clearly differentiates the GLA from its competition is its design, its very sporty, very appealing to younger people and at the same time, it looks like a compact SUV – it gives higher seating position,” Mr Jopp said.
“Its a very attractive package, basically catering to young families. For many people, it is entry into the Mercedes-Benz world. Its also caters to outgoing people, who wants to demonstrate.”
Mr Jopp said SUVs are a very important part of its growth strategy and its share of its overall portfolio has gone up to 40%. Sedans constitute 30-35% of its portfolio and compact cars, 25%.
The new GLA comes with six airbags, excluding driver kneebag and achieved a 5-star rating in Euro NCAP safety rating.
Source: The Hindu