Mercedes Benz India posts 43 pc decline in sales at 7,893 units in 2020

German auto major Mercedes Benz on Wednesday reported 43 per cent decline in sales at 7,893 units in India in 2020, impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which had led to the temporary shutdown of business but maintained its leadership position in the luxury car segment.

Mercedes-Benz India, which had sold 13,786 units in 2019, said its sales in the fourth quarter of 2020 grew 40 per cent over the preceding quarter, continuing the strong sales recovery trend as India recovered from the COVID-19 induced disruptions.

To carry forward the momentum, the company has announced a Rs 400 crore investment last year on local manufacturing of products, plans to introduce 15 fresh products, including new models and facelifts of existing models, this year starting from the second quarter.

"2020 remained an unprecedented year for the industry, and we are glad to make a strong sales recovery for us and our dealers. We are particularly satisfied with the strong Q4 performance registering a 40 per cent growth over Q3, and continuing the sales momentum from the preceding quarters," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO (chief executive officer) Martin Schwenk told reporters in a virtual conference.

Despite facing prolonged market headwinds, Mercedes-Benz pursued its product strategy, introduced 10 new products that received overwhelming customer response, he said, adding the company also accomplished significant milestones in the form of introducing the first-ever luxury electric vehicle in India, the EQC, and rolling out the first 'Made in India AMG', GLC 43 Coupe.

On the outlook for the ongoing year, he said, "We remain cautiously optimistic and are confident of continuing the sales momentum gained, despite facing pandemic triggered market upheavals.

" Mercedes-benz india is cautiously optimistic, and we back it up with 15 new or renewed products and innovations in doing business. 2021 will be a product packed year, which we are confident will translate into excitement for customers and our dealer partners." Schwenk said the company expects its growth in India to be 40 per cent over the next two years.

Stating that its motto for 2021 is 'reimagining excellence', Mercedes-Benz India said it plans to accomplish this by "introducing some of the most desirable products in the Indian market, creating a personalised 'physidigital experience' and offering a highly differentiated and best-in-class retail experience." "In addition focusing on sustainability initiatives will be a key pillar in reimagining excellence," the company added.

In the first quarter of 2020, the company had sold 2,386 units and it plummeted to 563 units in the second quarter due to the lockdown. It sold 2,058 units in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter clocked 2,886 units, a growth of 40 per cent as compared to the preceding quarter.

"The Q4 sales performance continued the sales recovery witnessed since Q3 2020, buoyed by the availability of new products, strong festive season and an overall positive customer sentiment, influenced by the gradual unlocking of the markets and stabilisation of businesses," it added.

While the overall product portfolio witnessed good traction, Mercedes-Benz India said its long wheelbase E-Class sedan continued to be its single highest-selling model in 2020 while the GLC was the most popular SUV in the portfolio.

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