Mercedes Benz has targeted five-digit annual sales figures for India, and with the increasing competition they are facing from rival brands like Audi and BMW, they are doing everything they can to meet this sales target. We had recently reported about the two new models, Mercedes was planning to bring to India, now Mercedes plans to bring small cars in the market, trying to introduce its product range to a different customer base.
The CEO and MD of Mercedes Benz, Peter Honegg, was recently quoted as saying that they are currently in talks with their German office to introduce small cars in their B-Class and A-Class range in India, as they could have a great potential in this market. The mini multi-purpose A-Class car is the company’s entry level car in most of their markets, whereas their small B-Class car is meant to be a family car and uses the same suspension and engine.
Honegg who overtook India operations this year, said that Mercedes would be previewing their SUV, B-Class model and A-Class concept at the 2012 Delhi Auto Show in January. Their new B-Class model is an upgraded version of their existing model, whereas the A-Class will be available by 2013 or 2014.
India is a predominantly small car market, and their small car offerings will help them to capture a larger market share from BMW, which has been leading the luxury car market since the last two years. Honegg said that the Indian auto market is expanding at the top-end as well as the entry level segment. They plan to strengthen their market share in this multi-crore market by lining up several launches this year from their sporty AMG range which begins at Rs. 1 crore.
They also need to increase their network as soon as they can, so they will be setting up new outlets in those markets where they sell at least 50 cars annually. They are also planning to make some changes in their portfolio, which is at the moment filled with a lot of petrol version models. This is because of the fact that their rival’s sales are mostly dominated by diesel cars. They also plan to focus more on customer experience.
There were also reports of Mercedes building their first brand centre in India at Gurgaon. This brand centre will showcase all 40 Mercedes products and it is to ready by this year. They are also planning another brand centre for Mumbai, along with increasing their local content and assembling models beyond S, E and C Class in India. They currently need more suppliers not just for their Indian market, but for their other Mercedes factories as well. For this they need Indian suppliers to meet the global delivery schedules and quality.