The largest luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India today said its September quarter sales marginally declined to 3,327 units from 3,420 units in the same period last year.
However, on quarter-on-quarter basis, it could for the first time this year arrest sales drop with a 12 per cent jump compared to the previous three-month period.
Since last December through this August, none of the auto companies could sell most of their models in Delhi NCR, which is the country’s largest auto market, following a Supreme Court ban on above 2-litre diesel models.
The ban in Delhi, which used to contribute almost one-third of Merc’s total sales, forced the company to introduce petrol variants of all its models.
The ban had Merc’s sales declining by 1.5 per cent to 9,924 units from 10,079 units in the first nine months of the yar, while for the September quarter its sales declined 2.7 per cent primarily due to the higher base effect and the apex court ban.
In the year-ago period, the German car major had reported 34 per cent growth in sales to 10,079 units in the first nine months of 2015, while in the June 2016 quarter its sales stood 2,975 units.
The company attributed the higher q-o-q sales in the September quarter to the resumption of sales in the Delhi NCR after the Supreme Court lifted the December 2015 ban on high-end diesel models late August, new product launches and the onset of festive sales.
This is the first quarter in 2016 that the company, which has the largest capacity amongst the luxe carmakers, could report positive numbers.
“The higher sales in the reporting quarter were driven by the SUV portfolio comprising the GLA, GLC, GLE, GLE Coupé, GLS and G Class,” Roland Folger, managing director and chief executive at Mercedes-Benz India said.
“We are delighted to see green shoots emerging in our sales volumes compared to the previous quarter. Though the resurgence of sales is still slow, we are confident that it will gain pace in the remaining months. New products, especially the SUVs, combined with our strategic network expansion will boost customer sentiments, and we are confident of sustaining the momentum gained,” Folger added.
On SUV sales, he said the third quarter saw “SUVs volume jumping 45 per cent, followed by the sedans. The introduction of the localised GLC was a strategic move and we are encouraged by its strong response, and expect more customers to decide in favour of the GLC.”
The GLE Class was the highest selling SUV in the quarter followed by the GLA, the GLS and also the newly launched GLC, he said.
He said the company will launch three more models before December, having already rolled out nine so far. A fortnight ago, the company had launched the locally assembled GLC Class SUV, taking its local manufacturing portfolio to nine now.
“The GLC in particular witnessed high preference and we expect this trend to continue with the interest around the locally assembled GLC gaining traction across the country. We expect the GLC to emerge as one of our highest selling models,” Folger said.
Amongst the sedans, the C-Class emerged as the highest selling closely matched by the E-Class, he added.
Merc entered the country in 1994 and pioneered the luxury car market here with the setting up of a 20,000-unit production facility spread over 100 acres at Chakan near Pune in on 2009 at a cumulative investment of over Rs 1,000 crore, making it the largest by any luxury carmaker in the country.
Its locally produced models include Maybach S 500, S Class, E-Class, C-Class, CLA luxury sedans and the GLA, GLE, GLS and GLC luxury SUVs, while its its CBU models the A-Class, B-Class, CLS, E-Class Cabriolet, S-Class Coupé, GLC and the S 600 Guard a range of other Guard vehicles, AMG G 63 and a range of AMG performance cars.