The Indian auto market is under turmoil and luxury carmakers which account just 1 per cent of the market share are the first ones to bear the brunt of macro-economic headwinds. Mercedes-Benz which is the largest-selling luxury car brand in India has witnessed a sales decline of 18.60 per cent in the Indian market in the first half of calendar year 2019. The company has sold 6561 units in the January-June period this year against 8061 units which were sold in the same period a year ago. According to the German carmaker, high interest rates, inflationary hikes, liquidity crunch and rising import costs took a toll on sales. That said, the company still claims leadership position in the Indian market.
Commenting on sales performance, Martin Schwenk, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, "We are glad to maintain the leadership position in the luxury car market by sustaining our sales performance despite facing continuous macro-economic headwinds and a temporary limited availability of volume models. We expect sales to recover gradually from the third quarter, however, conditions would continue to remain challenging. We are excited to retain our customers' loyalty and sustain the market leadership by continuing our customer centric initiatives. As a fundamentally strong brand, Mercedes-Benz continue to remain bullish on the mid to long term prospect of the dynamic Indian market."
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB continues to the bestseller for the company followed by the C-Class and GLC SUV. In the same period, sales of AMG models have gone up by 47 per cent. Ahead of the recent budget session, Mercedes-Benz along with SIAM and several other carmakers had requested the budget committee to reduce the GST rates on cars measuring above four-metres to 18 per cent. Companies were expecting to absorb the price hike with tax reduction which could have helped them to control the prices and in-turn would have improved sales.