Luxury car market leader Mercedes-Benz India has reported sales of 2,948 units in the January-June 2020 period, down 55 percent year on year (January-June 2019: 6,561 units). However, the sizeable YoY decline can be attributed to the fact that the automobile industry is facing several market challenges, more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s worth noting that Mercedes-Benz India exhausted its BS4 vehicle stocks well in advance of the April 1 deadline (which reflected in Q1 2020 sales), and has witnessed an encouraging month-on-month recovery after a calamitous April, which saw zero cars being sold. June 2020 showed first signs of a gradual recovery buoyed by a rejuvenated SUV portfolio.
While the C-class, E-class and GLC remain the chief volume drivers for Mercedes-Benz in India, 57 percent of the company’s sales in June came from its SUVs, and in what is an encouraging sign, the all-new GLS –launched last month at Rs 99.90 lakh – is off to a strong start as well, making up 22 percent of June sales.
According to Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, “We remain cautiously optimistic as we gradually ramp up our sales amidst the prevalent market challenges triggered by the pandemic. We are glad to witness a slow movement from previous months and we expect this trend to gather momentum. However, recovery will be slow and we currently expect customer sentiments to revive going forward, though the market conditions would continue to remain challenging. Our focus remains on generating demand and support the customer on their purchase decision with innovative financial solutions like WishBox 2.0.”
Schwenk added, “Run-out of some of the key BS 4 volume models and also Covid-19 related restrictions led to sales challenges in H1. However, we will further grow our product portfolio in the next couple of months. The availability of BS6 volume models, launch of new models combined with an expected revival of customer sentiments should help create demand.”
Highlighting the importance of digital sales platforms, the Mercedes-India boss commented, “Our online sales platforms under the #MercFromHome campaign have been receiving strong customer traction ever since its launch. With more than 8,000 leads in Q2, this is an encouraging sign as it underscores an emerging trend in the customers’ mind shift towards digital consumption of luxury cars.”
Mercedes-Benz India is hopeful of seeing sales numbers rise towards the end of the year, as it has lined up a couple of volume-driving models for launch in the second-half of 2020. Set to arrive in the third quarter is the all-new A-class Limousine (which will replace the CLA) and following the sedan will be the second-gen GLA towards the end of the year. Also due for launch in the coming weeks is the all-electric EQC SUV, which is set to become the first full battery-electric vehicle from a luxury carmaker in India.
BMW India, which was just 21 units away from matching Mercedes-Benz India’s sales figures for the first quarter, is yet to reveal sales figures for the first-half of 2020.
READ MORE Mercedes-Benz India sales recover in Q4 but down 10% in 2019