The Indian luxury car market continues to feel the pressure of a slowing economy. The country’s largest luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India today announced sales of 9,915 units in the first nine months of 2019, down 15.89 percent year on year (January-September 2018: 11,789).
The company says it "achieved satisfactory sales performance boosted by the September sales under continuing strong macro-economic challenges from earlier quarters. Mercedes-Benz is confident of its sales performance and firmly maintaining its lead in the luxury auto segment. Mercedes-Benz India is also going to commence its product offensive from Q4 to take advantage of high customer interest and positive sentiment."
The volume drivers for Mercedes-Benz India in the January-September 2019 period remained the Long Wheelbase E-Class. The C-Class sedan and the GLC SUV also contributed to the sales volume and there was a strong demand for the GLS SUV. The Dream Cars segment however grew the highest by an impressive 160% and outperformed other segments in H1 2019.
Crosses 10,000-unit sales mark in early October
The company, which announced sale of over 125 cars on Dussehra in Mumbai and 74 cars in Gujarat during Navrari, says it has crossed the 10,000-unit mark in the first week of October (year to date), and that it "will have an intense product offensive beginning Q4 2019, going into 2020."
Martin Schwenk: “On the back of a strong September performance, we have already crossed the 10,000 units mark in the first week of October, and are confident of maintaining this growth momentum."
Commenting on the sales performance in the first nine months of the year, Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said: “We are glad to maintain our market leadership in the luxury car market despite facing strong macro-economic headwinds from the earlier quarters, and also having a higher base in the segment. We are equally excited to witness great consumer feedback on our products in September. On the back of a strong September performance, we have already crossed the 10,000 units mark in the first week of October, and are confident of maintaining this growth momentum by leveraging the upbeat customer sentiment. Of particular satisfaction has been the 160% growth in the 'Dream Cars' segment, which once again underlines the luxury customers’ strong faith in the three-pointed star. We are hopeful and expect sales to rise slightly in the full year.”
“Our market performance in September has been backed by the introduction of innovative and customer-centric mobility solutions like Wishbox, and also by the varied support measures we have taken for our dealer partners. These strategic steps have helped us in retaining the customers’ loyalty, dealer sustainability and also in maintaining our market leadership. As a fundamentally strong brand, Mercedes-Benz continues to remain bullish on the mid- to long-term prospects of the dynamic Indian market,” added Schwenk.
Will Q4 2019 be better?
With three months to go for the end of 2019, and the festive season underway, will luxury car sales pick up? Given the ongoing market sentiment and slower offtake than in 2018, it does not seem likely.
Mercedes-Benz India sold a record 15,538 units in calendar year 2018, posting a growth of 1.4 percent over 15,330 units sold in 2017. Although the German carmaker witnessed strong demand for its models in the first half of 2018, volumes came under pressure in the second half and weighed on overall growth. In fact, the slowdown in growth also affected the total luxury vehicle sales since Mercedes accounts for a large share of the total market. Mercedes ended 2018 as the country's highest-selling luxury carmaker for the fourth year straight with a 38 percent market share in the luxury vehicle segment.
Taking the second spot in overall sales, the BMW Group sold 11,105 units in 2018 (including Mini), up 13 percent year-on-year. Jaguar Land Rover India sold 4,596 units – its highest ever in a year, recording a growth of 16.23 percent; and Swedish carmaker Volvo sold a record 2,638 units, up 30 percent, albeit on a lower base.
Also read: Mercedes-Benz records double-digit growth globally with best-ever September and third quarter