Luxury car sales in the 9 months to September hit high gear despite cess setback

By Swaraj Baggonkar

Mercedes-Benz, the country’s largest luxury car-maker, ended September with the best-ever sales growth with volumes rising 41 percent in the July-September period.

Sales during nine months (January-September) for Mercedes this year is already 90 percent of what it sold in the whole of last year. Similarly, BMW too saw 90 percent its total sales of last year in just nine months this year.

Mercedes-Benz clocked sales of 11,869 units during the nine months so far, recording a growth of 20 percent whereas BMW, the country’s second largest luxury car maker, recorded 17 percent growth in sales at 7,138 units.

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Such a robust growth has come despite the unprecedented increase in cess last month of up to 7 percent on all cars that are not classified as small cars. Luxury cars got a major boost when the government said that July 1 will be the roll-out date for Goods and Services Tax.

Every manufacturer decided to give away the benefits even before it was formally rolled out resulting in a long waiting list for a number of cars. Prices of the same cars had to be revised upwards when new cess was slapped on them.

Roland Folger, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, “Growing by a record 41 percent in Q3, we are glad to better our Q2 performance and continue to receive customer preference. The unprecedented demand for the Long Wheelbase E-Class Sedan, in particular, has contributed immensely to our sales success.”

Audi, one of the three luxury car brands from Germany, on Thursday, launched three models under the A5 brand – A5 Sportback, A5 Cabriolet and the S5 – with prices starting at Rs 54 lakh. Audi, however, predicts that it will sell this year only as much as it sold last year.

Luxury car growth has been double this year compared to other passenger cars that has grown by under 10 percent. With the exception of Maruti Suzuki, the country largest car maker, which posted growth of 17 percent in this year so far, and Tata Motors most of the other car makers have seen muted growth.