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Sumant Banerji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 04, 2013
More than three years after giving up its pole position in the domestic luxury car market, Stuttgart-based Mercedes Benz has overtaken fellow German rival Audi to emerge as the leader of the pack that also includes BMW, for the July-September period.

Mercedes registered a 58% growth in sales during the quarter at 2,696 units against last year's 1,703 units. The growth came largely on the back of the launch of its small cars - A and B Class - earlier this year. Mercedes sold 1,011 units in September, crossing the 1,000 figure in a month for the first time ever in its almost two decade history in India.

"This is not a big surprise for us. We knew that the second half will be very good for us," said Eberhard Kern, managing director and CEO, Mercedes Benz India. "In the first three months we grew by 5% and followed it up with a growth of 32% and 58% respectively in the following quarters. We are geared up for the festive season."

Audi sales grew by just 5% between July and September this year at 2,545 units against 2,417 units last year. However, Audi, which overtook BMW to become the number 1 luxury car maker last fiscal, is still ahead of Mercedes for the consolidated nine months of 2013. During that period Audi sold 7,391 units at a 15% growth against Mercedes' 6,461 units, a 31% growth over the same period last year.

"We are pleased to have consolidated our No. 1 position. We are confident that we will be the first luxury car manufacturer in the country to cross sales of 10,000 units in a calendar year," said Joe King, head, Audi India.