German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday reported record sales in India at 4,697 units during the first quarter of 2023, a 17 per cent growth over the year-ago period, with its top end vehicles priced above Rs 1 crore seeing accelerated growth.
Mercedes-Benz India, which had sold 4,022 units in the same quarter last year, launched its hybrid AMG GT 63 S E Performance model with price starting at Rs 3.3 crore (ex-showroom Delhi) as part of its strategy to accelerate sales of top end vehicles (TEVs).
For the fiscal ended March 31, 2022, the company posted its highest-ever sales at 16,497 units as against 12,071 units in 2021-22, a growth of 37 per cent.
"Overall, our growth story continues with a record quarter and a record fiscal year...Double digit growth continues for us in 2023," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Santosh Iyer told PTI.
He said, "When I look at the composition, the top end vehicles (TEVs) actually showed more than 100 per cent growth in quarter one at 107 per cent...So the juggernaut with the top end vehicles continues also in quarter one."
Mercedes-Benz India's TEVs include S-Class Maybach, GLS Maybach, top-end AMGs, S-Class and GLS SUV, which are priced over Rs 1 crore (ex-showroom).
The company, which posted record sales in 2022 at 15,822 units, had sold over 3,500 units of TEVs, growing at 69 per cent.
"We as a brand are highly focused in India and worldwide to grow the TEV segment. The India strategy only further resonates," Iyer said, adding that the growth of the company's TEV sales is also a "clear reflection of the changing luxury car market in India".
Earlier, he said the composition of the luxury market used to be dominated by entry level luxury cars, but has "changed, at least for us".
Also for electric vehicles, he said, "It reflects the changing profile of customers. They now prefer to combine sustainability and luxury at the top end level. This clearly shows the changing profile of Indian consumers also."
In keeping with its strategy to accelerate the TEV sales growth, the company on Tuesday launched its hybrid AMG GT 63 S E Performance model, which is the most powerful production car by Mercedes-AMG. It uses technology already tested in Formula 1 racing.
It is powered by a combination of a 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine and an electric motor generating 843 hp, capable of accelerating from 0-100 kmph in 2.9 seconds.
Iyer said all Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance customers will get the key handover from multiple Formula 1 racing world champion Lewis Hamilton.
On the current demand situation, Iyer said at present Mercedes-Benz India has an order bank exceeding over 4,000 cars.
"The order bank situation continues to be strong. Our focus is on delivering them and that's the reason for our best-ever quarter and also best-ever fiscal. It's not only about taking bookings and waiting, but we are also able to sell a significantly high number of cars," he added.
Asked about the new product launch plan, having pushed some of the launches scheduled for the first quarter of 2023 to the second and third, he said, "Right now, we are launching one car. This quarter, our idea is to launch an additional one or two cars if possible. Our launch continues. We remain committed to the 10 launches for this year."
In order to avoid long waiting period, the company is ramping up availability of parts and components to start producing more cars by working with its supply chain to optimise parts availability as much as possible.
Already, Mercedes-Benz India said it has reduced waiting period for its models.
The current waiting periods for A-Class, C-Class, and E-Class models are zero to three months, while those of GLE, GLS and S-Class are two to six months.
For the company's electric vehicles, the waiting period at present is two to six months while those of G-Wagon and GLS Maybach are between 816 months, it added.
On the growth outlook for the fiscal, Iyer said the company is confident of posting a double digit growth.
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