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Mercedes-Benz hopes double-digit growth

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Mercedes-Benz, the German luxury automobile maker, hopes to continue with a double digit growth this year too.

During the calendar year 2011, the company sold 7,430 units of its luxury cars in the country, compared to 5,819 units sold in the previous year, accounting for a sales surge of 27.69 per cent year-on-year. A significant part of its sales have been from the tier II sand tier III cities. For the company its models C-Class and E-Class sedans account for a major chunk of the sales.

On the company’s sales target and plans for the year 2012, Peter Honegg, MD & CEO, India Private Limited, said, the company hopes to see a strong double-digit growth, well over 10 per cent, during the year 2012 too.

For increasing its sales, the firm has been opening dealerships at a frenetic pace to catch up with the top selling luxury car maker BMW. Mercedes-Benz claims that it has the densest network among luxury car makers in the country today. The company has been opening 15-20 dealerships every year, said Honegg. Meanwhile, the company said, the recent Budget had put paid to many of its plans and forecasts because of the duty hikes. With about 50 per cent of the cars sold by the company in India being CBUs (completely built-up units attract a much higher duties of over 100 per cent), the prices of cars have risen quite a bit. Meanwhile the high rates of interest too is having an impact. “It could fall towards the second half of year and could help with the sales,” hoped Honegg.

Meanwhile, the country may not get to see some of the cars from its stables such as the Smart, the micro car from one of its divisions, any time soon. But, a Smart electrical car a possibility, said a company official. The company, on Wednesday, opened its largest dealership in South India with the opening of a 65,000 square feet facility that has seen an investment of Rs 30 crore towards sales and service. The company has a network spread over 31 cities with over 70 touch-points. across the country.

It’s customer engagement initiatives like the ‘Star Lease’, organising the ‘Star Drive’, opening of Trendz concept stores, inauguration of AMG Driving Academy and rolling out of the ‘Star Showcase’ across the country has helped the company expand its footprint, said the company.

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