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Luxury car companies beat slowdown, ride on double-digit growth

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  • Jul 15, 2015
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The mass car market may still be stuck in first gear, but luxury cars are vrooming to growth in 2015

Audi Q7 luxury SUV is one of the much awaited launches of 2015


The mass car market may still be stuck in first gear, but luxury cars are vrooming to growth in 2015. The top three luxe marquees Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW which together command around 90% of the Indian luxury car market are all looking at top-gear growth with market leader Mercedes-Benz clocking a 41% increase in sales in January-June (H1) 2015 compared to the year-ago period. With more than 40 new cars and SUVs lined up for the entire year 15 each by Mercedes-Benz and BMW alone in the segment, marketers expect another year of "strong double-digit growth" for India's luxury car brands.

Take Mercedes-Benz: The company sold a record 6,659 units in H12015 compared to 4,717 units in 2014. That included a 43% jump in the second quarter of the calendar at 3,093 units and 100% growth for the brand's SUV portfolio in the first six months of calendar 2015. Said Eberhard Kern, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India: "We sold almost the entire 2012's volume in the first six months of 2015 and expect another year of strong double-digit growth for Mercedes-Benz. We have two exciting quarters ahead of us with as many as nine product launches (six have already been launched) and 12 new dealerships to be inaugurated. We are quite confident of maintaining our pace on high speed into the second half of 2015."

Arch rival and fellow German brand Audi, too, is looking to "exceed targets for the year", said Joe King, head of Audi India. The company, which lost its top spot in India to Mercedes-Benz this year, has already rolled out some new products like the A3 Cabriolet, RS6 Avant, the new Audi TT and new Audi Q3. It is now "moving towards consolidating market share in the luxury product segments", added King. "With a slew of products like the new A6 and the new Q7 slated for launch, we are confident of yet another record year in India," he added.

New launches apart, the luxe brigade is also pushing for greater dealer density and increased localization to drive growth and profitability. BMW, for instance, has already increased "the level of localization at BMW Plant Chennai up to 50%", said Philipp von Sahr, president, BMW Group India.