Demonetisation might have affected the Indian automotive sales charts in November and December but 2016 as a whole seems to have been a mixed bag year for the Indian luxury car makers. The Indian luxury car and SUV market saw a steady growth overall in terms of sales for most auto makers with big new launches, new variants and of course, new brands finally entering the scene.
Mercedes-Benz like last year keeps its number one position in the Indian market with 13,231 units sold in 2016. However, this figure is 2.01 percent lower than the year before. In 2015 Mercedes-Benz India sold 13,502 units. Of course, the slight drop in sales can be attributed to the various factors. The Supreme Court’s ban on registration of diesel vehicles over 2.0 litres in the NCR brought sales in this crucial luxury market to a complete standstill. The additional 1 percent tax that was levied by the government on cars that cost more than Rs 10 lakh earlier in the year also drove prices up for buyers while later in the year, Demonitisation saw a sharp decline in November and December sales figures. Speaking on the 2016 sales, Roland Folger, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, “2016 was a year of market challenges but despite facing such challenges, it is quite satisfying for us to have made the best of the opportunities that we had. In 2016, we retained the customer’s trust and loyalty and emerged as the most preferred luxury car brand in India.”
Rivals BMW on the other hand saw a 14 percent growth in sales as compared to last year. The luxury carmaker sold 7500 BMWs and 361 Minis to bring the total to 7861 cars for the year 2016. Speaking on 2016 sales, Frank Schloeder, acting President of BMW Group India said, “2016 has not been an easy year for the automotive industry and that applies equally to BMW Group India. During the course of the year, developments in the Indian economy and policy framework shook the mechanisms of the auto industry. BMW Group India was faced with challenges no less than any other automobile manufacturer and was confronted with strong pressure from the beginning of the year. Despite a challenging business environment, BMW Group India has increased sales and market share.”
Volvo Cars India also saw a steady increase in sales in 2016 with the launch of the new S90 sedan and the XC90 SUV still doing well in the market. Volvo sales were up by 11 percent as compared to 2015 with 1584 units sold in 2016. Volvo also updated most of its other cars last year including the V40 hatchback and V40 Cross Country.
2016 also saw the long awaited entrant of the Jeep brand in August. Currently, Jeep sells the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee in India including the V8 6.4-litre Hemi powered Grand Cherokee SRT all of which are completely built units (CBUs).
2016 has been the best year for Tata owned JLR in terms of global sales. In fact, with 5.83 lakh vehicles sold globally, the JLR group set its own personal sales record with Land Rover selling 4.35 lakh units and Jaguar selling about 1.48 lakh units. In India, Jaguar had three major launches this year with the new XE, XF and their first ever SUV, the F-Pace. Jaguar’s official Indian sales figures haven’t been released yet.
Audi India too has seen a good year with the German automaker steadily holding on to its second place in the luxury car market in terms of overall sales. The Ingolstadt based carmaker launched several new products this year including the flagship R8 V10 supercar in India.