After trailing Audi India, Mercedes-Benz India has finally overtaken its German peer both in India and globally in 2015. Both carmakers, which had crossed the 10,000 unit mark in 2014, have notched their best-ever sales numbers in India last year. In 2014, the gap between the two players had narrowed down to 650 units. Now, with both companies having declared their 2015 sales numbers, it is amply clear that Mercedes-Benz India, which sold 13,502 units compared to Audi India’s 11,192 units, is the clear winner.
The Stuttgart-headquartered Mercedes had lost out to the VW Group’s premium brand in India for three consecutive years previously. However, a barrage of new launches and expansion of its dealership network in the country helped Mercedes-Benz India post a sharp 32.4% rise in sales in 2015 and thus dethrone Audi as the leading luxury car brand in India. The carmaker launched 15 new models in 2015 alongside opening 15 new dealerships in the country.
Sales figures for the other player in the German triumvirate – BMW India – have not yet been disclosed by the company.
On the global sales front, Audi AG achieved a new sales record in 2015 with deliveries increasing by 3.6 percent to around 1,803,250 vehicles. But Mercedes-Benz has done better by selling 1,871,511 vehicles (+13.4%), while posting its fifth record year in a row.
While the VW emission scandal did hamper Audi’s brand equity globally, Mercedes-Benz made the most of the situation by going on a product offensive globally. The carmaker pipped Audi for global second place at the end of 2015, on the back of buoyant demand for the C-Class as well as strong China sales, behind the highest selling carmaker BMW (in 2015).
Expect 2016 to be an exciting year for luxury car enthusiasts in India (if the government doesn’t play spoilsport with new regulations). Mercedes-Benz India has already announced that it would launch 12 more products this year and while Audi India also has a host of new launches up its sleeve. Given the growing competition and volumes in the Indian luxury car market, it would be interesting to see who races ahead in the luxury car battle this year.
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