The COVID-19 pandemic might have crippled the luxury car demand in 2020 but that has not made the segment players go into their shells. Instead, India will see 35 to 40 launches of such exotic cars before the end of this year.
The enthusiasm by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, and Volvo comes on the back of a near-total wipe-out of demand during the previous year where industry sales are believed to have dropped by 40 percent compared to 2019.
Some of these companies have also announced a price hike in the range of 2-5 percent across models to beat the cost pressures which has already come into effect. Though sales in 2021 are expected to be better than 2020 the rivalries among the luxury car players will only intensify as they aim to expand their market shares.
Mercedes-Benz, the leader of the pack, has promised to introduce 15 models including facelifts, full upgrades, and models that do not have any predecessors currently. The optimism comes despite a 43 percent drop in 2020 volumes compared to 2019.
The A-Class limousine, the new GLA AMG GT Black Series, new S-Class, and an updated E-Class are some of the launches planned by the German giant who has managed to retain the numero uno position in the luxury car market for the sixth year in a row.
Martin Schwenk, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, “2020 was a very challenging year but looking at the way demand bounced back in the last quarter (December) we are confident of a much better 2021. We are expecting luxury car demand to grow by 40 percent growth over the next two years”.
BMW saw a lower contraction in volumes than Mercedes in 2020 and has so far shown more urgency in getting on with the new year. In the first two weeks of 2021 BMW has already launched two new models. The 220i M and the Mini Paddy Hopkirk Edition have reached the showrooms.
The facelifts of 5 Series and 6 Series GT along with 3 Series Gran Limousine are some of the other launches planned by BMW. The company, which is the second-largest luxury car player, saw a 32 percent drop in 2020 volumes to 6,604 units compared to 2019.
Volkswagen-owned brand Audi has six more launches to go for the year after launching the A4 sedan a few days ago. Audi has not revealed sales for 2020 but is aiming for double-digit growth this year. The heavily delayed e-tron fully electric car, updated versions of Q3 and Q7, along with the new A3 and the all-new S5 Sportback are in the pipeline for India.
Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has lined up half a dozen launches for the year. The fully imported, all-electric car from JLR, Jaguar I-Pace will be first off the block. This will be followed by three models from Land Rover, Discovery, Range Rover and Defender Plugin Hybrid before the Jaguar XF facelift is welcomed.
Swedish luxury car brand Volvo will also jump the electric vehicle bandwagon with the scheduled launch of the XC40 Recharge later in the year. It will be the fourth launch overall in the EV space by a luxury carmaker. But the XC40 introduction will be preceded by the launch of the S60 sedan in a few weeks.