Wide shutdown of key markets and expected meltdown in demand notwithstanding, India's biggest luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz will go ahead with its planned ten launches for the year, a top company official said.
The company on May 27 launched the fifth and sixth launch of the year, C 63 AMG Coupe and the AMG GT R, priced at Rs 1.33 crore and Rs 2.48 crore (ex-showroom), respectively.
"Dealerships in Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai have reopened. In fact more than 75 percent are already operational. We will remain on track and proceed with planned launches. There will be some delay and we will try to improvise," said Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.
Despite tepid car sales in the Indian market, the AMG range saw a 54 percent growth in sales in 2019. Delhi is the largest market for AMG models, followed by Bengaluru and Mumbai. There are now 15 AMG car models on sale in India, all of which are imported from Germany.
Mercedes has already launched S Coupe models between January and March this year.
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"We have bigger models to come such as the GLS and EQC, we will have all the launches we had planned for. However, there was no work at the factory for two months and the supplies from Germany were not available. So everything is delayed but we will get the cars after prioritizing our own production and global production ramp up," said Schwenk.
The launch of its first all-electric car EQC has suffered a delay because of the nationwide lockdown. The car, which was showcased in January this year, will be commercially launched closer to the festive months of the year.
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"We had originally planned it for April but we had reschedule it. When we bring it we would want to have a reasonable number to begin with because we want to generate a momentum with it. We will bring it well before the festive season," said Schwenk.
The luxury car industry slumped 21 percent last year to little over 35,000 units from around 45,000 units clocked in 2018. Sales of Mercedes-Benz, which has around 40 percent market share in India, went down by 11 percent to 13,786 units compared to 2018.
"We have real chance to revitalise the business by coming out with the right product offering. It will depend on how the situation is developing. I hope we achieve some level of normalcy during the festive season. There is no chance of coming to the levels of 2019. We will have almost three months of no sales," added Schwenk.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak here