Mercedes-Benz India, the luxury car market leader, has launched a slew of aggressive schemes for owning or leasing a vehicle to attract buyers in a dull market.
A ‘Wishbox’ scheme includes a zero and lower down payment plan; also, an aggressive offer that allows customers to own two cars in a span of four years. With the new offers, the India arm of the German entity hopes to ‘financially empower the customer’ and ‘invoke confidence and create additional traction’.
The automobile market in India is currently facing one of its worst slowdowns in two decades. An overall slowing in consumption, exacerbated by a liquidity issue, has weighed on sentiment, pushing auto sales into a slow lane for a year.
Luxury cars — defined as those priced above Rs 2.5 million each and accounting for only 1 per cent of total passenger vehicle sales — haven’t been spared. Mercedes sales in India saw a year-on-year drop of 18.6 per cent to 6,561 units in the first six months of 2019. “We are introducing some industry-first mobility solutions with the aim of bringing back the much-needed customer confidence, by offering them financial flexibility related to their car purchase,” said Martin Schwenk, managing director, Mercedes-Benz India.
The Wishbox has five primary features, named Key-to-Key Change, 25-25-25-25, Zero Down Payment, Star Agility+, and Comprehensive Insurance.
Applicable on its GLE and GLS SUVs, the Key-to-Key offer allows two upgrades at no extra cost, even as the customer always gets to own the latest product offering. The 25-25-25-25 scheme is a finance offer under which the customer makes a down payment of 25 per cent of the value of the car and then three annual payments of 25 per cent each.
The zero down payment offer is another finance scheme which aims to lower the entry barrier for buyers by reducing the down payment. The regular down payment goes up to 40 per cent, including margin, tax and insurance. Under the new scheme, the customer pays only the road tax and avails of equated monthly instalments (EMIs) at a low interest rate for 60 months.
‘Star Agility+ offers up to 40 per cent lower EMI costs, inclusive of maintenance, warranty and assured buyback. For instance, if someone is opting for a C-Class vehicle with a three-year loan tenure, the standard loan EMI would be Rs 135,000 (without maintenance). Instead, under the new programme, the EMI will be Rs 82,000, including maintenance. Comprehensive Insurance offers two years of a complementary insurance programme.