German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz on Monday announced that it has elevated Santosh Iyer as the managing director & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India. Iyer succeeds Martin Schwenk who will assume the responsibility as the president and chief executive officer, Mercedes-Benz Thailand. Both these appointments will be effective from January 1, 2023.
On his new role, Iyer says, “Mercedes-Benz is at the cusp of transitioning to an exciting, electrified future and it is a privilege for me to steer the brand, introduce emerging trends and continue to define new benchmarks for our customers. We have a fantastic winning team comprising our colleagues and Franchise Partners with proven records, and I am eager to continue this winning story.”
Iyer, who is currently serving the company as vice president, sales & marketing, has been associated with Mercedes-Benz India since 2009. With more than two decades of diverse experience in the Indian automobile industry, Iyer has worked across across sales, marketing, retail, customer service and corporate affairs. In 2016, he took up the responsibility as vice president, customer services & retail training business.
He played an instrumental role in the turnaround of the Customer Services business, successful implementation of new initiatives like MB Tyres, Parts Trading and setting up the Mercedes-Benz Academy.
Iyer took over as the vice president, sales & marketing since July 2019, leading Mercedes-Benz’s digital transformation of the business and achieving the highest ever-online sales penetration. Subsequently, he also played an active role in conceptualizing and implementing the industry benchmark ‘Retail of the Future’ business model.
During his tenure of heading sales & marketing, the company said that he has laid a strong foundation for data analytics and pioneered online sales with its share exceeding 15% of total sales. Graduate in Commerce from Mumbai University, Santosh is an MBA from University of Indianapolis and holds a Masters in Corporate Governance and Compliance from the University of Lake Konstanz, Germany.
The company statement also stated that Martin Schwenk contributed in formulating the brand’s growth strategy that includes market introduction of key ICE products, pioneering luxury EV journey with the EQC, transforming the retail network strategy with MAR 2020 retail format, and successful implementation of the ‘Retail of the Future’ business model in India.
Speaking about his stint in the India market, Schwenk says “It is truly a dynamic market with immense potential and offers opportunities, making my stint enriching and rewarding. The strong brand loyalty and leadership of Mercedes-Benz in India is remarkable and inspires our customer centricity and customer commitment. As the company transitions into an exciting future with emerging mobility trends and unending possibilities, I am thoroughly convinced Mercedes-Benz will achieve new heights with the passion, vision and dynamic leadership that Santosh drives in.”
The German luxury carmaker recently said that it expected sales in India this year to surpass its pre-covid numbers as it battles a chip shortage and logistic bottlenecks.
In the first two quarters of the calendar year 2022, the company sold around 9,000 units. That is compared to 15,538 units in 2018, followed by 13,786 units in calendar year 2019, before covid-19 pulled down sales. The company sold 7,893 and 11,242 units in 2020 and 2021.
Continuing its focus on electric vehicles (EVs), the company said that it expects 25% of its total sales to come from EVs over the next five years.