Mercedes Regains Numero Uno Position

A close-up of the signature Mercedes logo _0016
The other day we were just discussing as to who would occupy the numero uno position. Would it be BMW or Mercedes? And now, we have the results. Mercedes-Benz was pretty successful in selling off its new products in the C-Class and E-Class. The car maker has regained the first spot in India’s luxury car market beating German rival BMW who had grabbed the title last year.

While Mercedes sold 1,644 units from January to April this year, BMW managed to sell 1,621 units. Last year, Mercedes was defeated by just 8 cars. This year, BMW has been defeated by 23 cars. In the month of March, BMW had recorded unusually high sales. During all other months, Mercedes sales were ahead. The Stuttgart-headquartered company which proudly sports the prestigious three-pointed star had struggled a lot last year when insufficient availability of vehicle kits for the E-class had affected overall sales.

As Mercedes-Benz was about to launch the new E-class in India towards the end of 2009, it had to reduce supply of the previous-generation model of the same car in spite of high demand for the car. The car maker had launched the all-new E-Class in November last year at Rs 46.89 lakh followed with the launch of the E-Class Coupe version of the car priced at Rs 54.83 lakh. While the E-class sedan is being rolled out from the Chakan plant, the coupe version has been brought as a fully-imported unit.

Mercedes says that it is on the threshold of double-digit growth. Around 25-35 per cent of its sales are out of the tier-II locations. These are the pockets that have significant industrial development where qualified businessmen are managing turnovers in the Rs 60 Crore to Rs 200 Crore range. The unique three-year warranty and roadside assistance programme has further enhanced sales.

With the competition growing year after year, the battle between Mercedes and BMW is only going to intensify this year. BMW is all geared up to stretch the production at its Chennai plant by adding a second shift. Both car makers are confident and cheerful about their new launches. Demand for these cars from the rich-and-famous class is growing stronger by the day. BMW is looking at the greener side. The car maker is confident that the difference in sales will be wiped out by around August.

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BMW has replaced the ageing version of the 5-Series executive sedan with an all-new model. This new car, competing with the Mercedes E-Class, has been priced at just Rs 38.9 Lakh, going up to Rs 45.9 Lakh for the higher-end version. This car has been selling really well and will see delivery by July. BMW expects sales to comfortably cross 4,000 units this year. The car maker believes the luxury car market to grow to 11,000 units in 2010, compared to around 9,000 units in 2009. While BMW witnessed sales of 3,614 units last year, Mercedes sold 3,247 units.

BMW India’s ex-managing director Peter Kronschnabl had said that the company had achieved the target of being the number one luxury car player in India a year earlier than projected. It had earlier set the target of 2010 for the purpose. BMW looks at advancing and strengthening sales with the launch of the X1, an SUV that will bear a tag of around Rs 25 lakh. It is the one that was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo in January.

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