Mercedes Benz looking at over 10 percent growth in sales

Kolkata, March 8 (IANS) Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz India is expecting to clock “significantly over 10 percent growth” in sales in the current year, a company official said on Wednesday.

“We are hoping to clock significantly over 10 percent growth in sales in 2017. January and February sales have already increased over the corresponding month last year.

“2016 brought some challenges for us with diesel car ban in Delhi and demonetisation also had short term impact on sales. Despite all these, we sold 13,231 cars in India in the last year, maintaining the sales volume of the previous year,” said car maker’s VP (sales and marketing) Michael Jopp.

He also said that considering the challenges that the car maker had faced in 2016, it did well. However, the sales volume in the last year declined by 1.8 percent compared to sales in the previous year.

Jopp said demonetisation had impacted its sales in the month of November but later it bounced back. “November sales were bad as the demonetisation created uncertainty in the market. The period was not that long and in December, we saw bounce back, otherwise, we would not be able to sell excess of 13,000 cars,” he said.

In the luxury segment, the German car maker has a market share about 45 percent.

“We have been the number one in the (luxury) segment and expanded our margin by more than 40 percent over the next largest competitor in the segment in the last year,” Jopp said, adding that aggressive product expansions, offering petrol and diesel variant across models, widening of the network contributed to the robust sales in the last year.

“Currently, the car maker has about 89 outlets across 41 cities,” he said at the launch of new E-Class sedan here.

According to company official, the E-class sedan which is the India’s highest selling luxury car comprises of about 34 percent of the total cars sold by it in India till date.

“We have received more than 500 bookings for the new car within a week,” he said.

On the impact of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, Jopp said: “In the GST regime, we are likely to fall in the highest bracket (of GST rates). We urged for lower tax for our cars. At this point of time, it is speculation unless the final rates are announced.”

“We hope the GST will be implemented in July and it is likely to create some uncertainty in the market but hopefully, it (uncertainty) will be removed as quickly as possible,” he added.

–IANS

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