HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Audi leads, Mercedes plays catch-up with new launches

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 30, 2014
First Published: 00:11 IST(30/7/2014) | Last Updated: 02:24 IST(30/7/2014)

German luxury carmaker Audi with stood pressure from its country rival Mercedes to stay ahead in the race to the top of the luxury car market in India in the first half of 2014.

The Inglostadt-based firm did not officially disclose its sales during the first half of the year but industry insiders said Audi’s sales increased by over 7% to around 5,200 units. That was nearly 500 units more than Mercedes’ tally of 4,717 units — 25.5% more than the same period last year.

“This has been a year of many firsts for Audi. We completed our best ever annual sales of 10,002 units units in 2013 and financial year sales of 10,126 units in 2013-14. As the year has progressed we have seen our brand grow and become even more popular amongst luxury car buyers,” said Joe King, head, Audi India.

“We have seen continuous growth in year-to-date sales as well as quarterly sales. Given our performance to date, we are confident of achieving our target of double-digit growth in India this year.”

After losing its leadership position in India to BMW a few years ago, Mercedes has gone back to the design boards.

And, the launch of Mercedes’ hatchbacks A and B Class last year had given it some momentum to edge past BMW in 2013. But with Audi set to launch its most affordable sedan A3 next week and Mercedes readying a counter with its compact crossover GLA two months later, the race for the pole position is hotting up.

“Our growth strategy is paying-off as we have been able to maintain our key focus of growth and sustainability in the Indian market amidst challenging market conditions,” said Eberhard Kern, managing director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.

“The first six months of sales growth reaffirms our strong brand premium and competitive edge in terms of offering continuous product innovations, boasting of a benchmark production facility, extending an enriching after-sales experience and strengthening its qualitative network presence,”  Kern added.

“With some of the most fascinating products lined up in the remaining two quarters, including the much awaited GLA-Class, Mercedes-Benz is all set for another year of strong growth,” Kern said.

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