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Mercedes-Benz expects single digit growth

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Mercedes-Benz India, a subsidiary of German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz, on Friday said that its growth expectation for the second half of the current calendar year has come down to 5-10 per cent from its earlier projection of 15-20 per cent due to the current market slowdown.

"We were bullish for a 15-20 per cent growth, but seeing the current slowdown in the automobile segment, our growth projection is now limited to 5-10 per cent," Peter Honegg, managing director and chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz India, said.

He pointed that the impact of the increase in import duties from to 80 per cent from 70 per cent on completely built units (CBU), the vehicles are now costing 30 per cent higher from the actual price, which is pinching the customers and a major concern for the luxury car makers.

Mercedes-Benz may consider restructuring of portfolio breakout of the petrol and diesel vehicle variants, by increasing the diesel variants.

"Last year, we have changed our diesel and petrol car manufacturing ratio to 90 per cent and 10 per cent from the 60 per cent and 40 per cent respectively two years back. And if the government changes the excise duty structure, we may further consider the restructuring," Honegg said.

Replying to a query on the possible hike of excise duty on diesel cars, he said, "A hike in diesel prices by Rs 2-3 per litre is acceptable over the hike in excise duty on diesel cars. As the latter will further dampen the demand."

Honegg was here to launch Mercedes AMG performance edition in the Indian markets.

The move from Mercedes Benz of bringing in a performance edition of the C-Class comes at a time when Audi recently launched the performance edition of its A4 in the form of Audi S4 and is gearing up to launch the new 3-Series in the Indian market this year.

The luxury car maker has plans to launch its entry level hatchback car, Mercedes Benz B-Class, in the Indian markets by end of this year, and to launch its A- class series in 2013.

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