Top automobile manufacturer Daimler Chrysler is upbeat over registering a 17 per cent growth in sales of its luxury cars in the first three months of this year.
Wilfried Aulbur, managing director and CEO, Daimler Chrysler India, told a news conference here that the company recorded sales of 690 vehicles in this period.
Presenting Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI L and Mercedes-Benz CL-Class at the brand showcase in Hyderabad, he said the company had sold 2,121 vehicles during 2006, a growth of 11 per cent over 2005.
"We are expecting higher growth this year," Aulbur said, refusing to give figures.
While the S320 CDI L car costs over Rs 7 million, the on road price of the CL-Class is Rs 13 million.
According to the CEO, south India was a significant market, accounting for 30 per cent of their total sales in the country.
"Hyderabad is a hotspot for us. Not because of just information technology but also because of good infrastructure," he noted.
"There is incredibly high demand for our products in the country. India shining is happening as people want to have luxury, comfort and safety. The young entrepreneurs, IT professionals and successful businessmen are increasingly fascinated by Mercedes-Benz," he said.
While pointing out that the Indian automobile market, especially in the luxury segment, was behind countries like Russia, China and Brazil, Aulbur was confident that the Indian market would grow fast in view of the boom in sectors like IT and real estate.
The foundation stone for DaimlerChrysler's new plant at Chakan near Pune is to be laid on May 9. The plant, coming up on 120 acres of land, will be commissioned in the beginning of 2009.
"Diesel is also emerging as a preferred fuel for passenger cars. We are very optimistic of the demand for the new S-Class diesel for Hyderabad and the south Indian market," he said.
Also on display at the event were locally built S-Class, E-Class, C-Class and the completely imported SLK-Class, CLS-Class and M-Class cars.
The company has its presence in south Indian cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai and Cochin.