The luxury car segment in India constitutes 1.4% of the overall passenger vehicle market. Market leader Audi has an estimated share of 28% followed by Mercedes at 26%.
Audi saw an 8% growth in sales in 2013-14, crossing the 10,000 unit mark for the first time but in a dampened overall economy, it was its slowest year since inception. The three pointed star, on the other hand, is in the middle of a revival in India thanks to its portfolio of small cars that helped it grow by 37% to 9,541 units.
This is the first time Mercedes has outpaced the industry after the entry of BMW and Audi in the middle of last decade. The firm had lost out its leadership position to BMW in 2009 and was number three behind Audi and BMW in 2012-13.
“We have witnessed a surging demand for the new S-Class, ML-Class and GL-Class, all of which are currently waitlisted,” said Eberhard Kern, MD and CEO, Mercedes Benz India.
The battle between the two is set to intensify in 2014-15. While Mercedes will launch a new compact sedan CLA and compact crossover GLA along with the new generation C Class this year, Audi will respond with its own compact sedan A3 that will also be its cheapest offering in India.
“We look forward to consolidating our position while growing profitably,” said Joe King, head, Audi India. “We will be launching the Audi A3 Sedan later this year. Globally, the Audi A3 has been a great success and I feel that it is the right product for India.”