Interview: Santosh Iyer, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India

We speak to Santosh Iyer post the launch of their two new Mercedes-AMG vehicles - the E 53 4Matic+ and E 63 S 4Matic+. The company has been adding more and more vehicles to their AMG portfolio.

By:Updated: Jul 17, 2021 8:52 AM
Santosh Iyer with the new Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

‘We aim to maintain our lead in performance cars in India’

This week Mercedes-Benz strengthened its AMG portfolio in India by launching the AMG E 53 4Matic+ and the AMG E 63 S 4Matic+. It now has 11 AMG cars, and AMG is the highest growing segment for Mercedes-Benz in H1CY21 sales. Santosh Iyer, vice-president, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India, tells FE’s Vikram Chaudhary why the company is focusing in performance cars (in addition to regular products). Excerpts:

How many AMG car models you have in India?

We have a diverse offering of 11 AMG products in India comprising the 35, 43, 53, 63 and GT series; we offer the largest portfolio of performance cars in India across body shapes.

Why are you focusing on AMG cars?

Having expanded the AMG portfolio to new customer groups with the 35 and 43 series, our focus is now to strengthen the pure performance products, especially in the 63 series, which continues to remain the core model series for AMG globally. We aim to cement our position as the clear market leader in the performance segment in India.
This year one of the focus areas is made-in-India AMG cars.

What is the rationale behind making AMG cars, which don’t sell in large numbers, in India?

In the performance car category there are two segments: One is the purists—those who experience our performance cars on the track (they have their own events, own clubs, and they own cars such as the AMG GT 63). But there are also prospective customers who love performance motoring but may not be able to own a car such as the AMG GT 63 (because of its high price). Making entry-level AMG cars in India reduces their sticker price substantially. For example, if we import the AMG A 35 sedan, it may cost Rs 80-85 lakh, but by localising it we can price that car in the range of Rs 60 lakh. This brings in a new set of customers to our fold who see value in the product, and maybe later can graduate to more expensive AMG cars.

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