German luxury car giant Mercedes Benz is banking on its premium small car, the A and B class, to retain its hold on the Indian market and arrest its slide down the pecking order in the country.
The firm lost its number 1 position to BMW in 2010 and has been trailing the industry growth rate for the last 3 years. The Stuttgart based firm is targeting a three-fold increase in sales to 25,000 units by 2015 and a 10-fold increase to nearly 1 lakh units per year by 2020, largely on the back of these small cars. The first of these is scheduled to be launched by the end of this year.
“These two premium compact cars would be game changers for us,” said Debashish Mitra, director sales and marketing, Mercedes Benz India.
“Others have moved ahead of us largely because they have launched products in segments where we are not present. By 2014, we will have our full lineup of cars in India and should be able to grow faster than the market.”
BMW had nudged ahead of Mercedes in 2009 and consolidated its position at the top with the introduction of compact SUV X1 in 2010.
Third placed Audi, which has closed the gap with Mercedes in 2011, will also launch a similar-priced entry level SUV Q3 this year, and is eyeing the number 2 position. Mercedes’ own competitor to these SUVs, the GLC, is still under development and is likely to hit the Indian roads only by 2014.