The German luxury automotive company had announced its plan to roll out 12 new models in 2016 and so far introduced eight models.
Roland S Folger, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-Benz India, said the first nine months have been exciting and the volumes continue to be strong in spite of the uncertainty created by the regulatory environment, particularly with regard to diesel vehicles in the NCR region.
“We have sold more than 9,927 vehicles during the first nine months in spite of the problems we have had to face with regard to diesel cars in Delhi. Last year (2015 January-December), we sold 13,502 cars, registering a growth of over 32 per cent over previous year. If the current numbers are any indication, while we do not forecast numbers, we may end up at about the same numbers we achieved in 2015,” he said.
Referring to the impact of Goods and Services Tax, which is to be implemented from April 2017, Folger said: “we are still not clear as to its impact on the automotive sector, that is, whether the prices will be lower or higher.”
“Second, the GST implementation will also impact the suppliers. Therefore, we need to wait and watch as to its impact and accordingly, we will have to plan for future,” he added.
“To some extent, the diesel ban has been offset by increase in petrol car volumes. But the numbers could have been much more but for the diesel engine related issues. As a part of our plan, we have created a strong portfolio of petrol cars in the same segment, where diesel cars were available, thereby providing an option for the buyers,” he said.
Speaking after the launch of a new dealership, Silver Star in Hyderabad, he said on day one, the dealership will deliver about 30 Mercs, a record in itself.
Amith Reddy, Managing Director of Silver Star, said they invested about Rs. 37 crore in the new dealership spread over 70,000 sq.ft and draw from experience of managing several dealerships across different manufacturers.
Merc had announced plans to add 10 new dealers during the year and till now has added seven, with three more to be added soon. Merc in India has a network of about 87 outlets.
Referring to Bharat Stage VI norms, Folger said they were ready to roll out their entire range of diesel and petrol cars by 2018.
Folger said they have so far introduced nine models made in India, with localisation of over 60 per cent.