Under key to key change, owners of GLE and GLS can upgrade to the latest model within four and a half years, while S-class owners can upgrade to a newer model within five years.
By Shashank Dipankar
Mercedes-Benz (MB) India is rolling out the red carpet for buyers so that they don’t defer their purchases in the current environment. The luxury carmaker introduced value-based financial programmes under the umbrella ‘Wish Box’ last month to aid sales. One of its offerings under the Wish Box scheme is ‘Key to Key’ where a customer can drive an existing GLE, GLS or S-Class and upgrade to a brand new generation after 18 months, without any additional down payment or even any increase in EMI.
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Commenting on the same, Mercedes-Benz India managing director & chief executive Martin Schwenk said: “This has found a lot of customer interest and we have seen more than 100 conversions in last month alone. MB India is highly agile and our customer orientation helps us in retaining our strong market presence and leadership.” The programme also includes other schemes like 25-25-25-25 scheme, zero down payment, star agility plus and the comprehensive insurance plan.
Under key to key change, owners of GLE and GLS can upgrade to the latest model within four and a half years, while S-class owners can upgrade to a newer model within five years. Owners of these 3 models models can upgrade maximum twice at zero cost within the time period.
The 25-25-25-25 scheme allows customers to make a down payment of 25% of the value of the car followed by three annual payments of 25% each. Within the zero down payment scheme, customer will only pay for the road tax and EMI at a rate of 4.99%, the cars included in the schemes are MB CLA, GLA, GLC, GLE, GLS and S-class.
Under Star agility plus programme, customers will pay up to 40% lower EMI costs, inclusive of maintenance, warranty and assured buybacks. Comprehensive insurance is where customers are being offered complimentary two years insurance programme which provide customers with a reduced cost, leading to lower equity requirement for them.
Like the broader market for automobiles, the sales of luxury cars, too, have declined by 20%. However, Mercedes-Benz has managed to retain its marketshare by deploying innovative methods to keep the consumer engaged and dealers motivated. MB has has retained its market share of approximately 40% in a falling market and its mainstay models continued to remain on top of customer preference.
The company also sees a gradual improvement in customer sentiment. Schwenk believes that the current downturn is temporary and not structural and with an onslaught of new products starting October consumer sentiment could revive.
Mercedes-Benz is also supporting its dealers to help them tide over the current challenging market conditions. Its main focus has been on working with the dealers to increase profitability and support them with access to working capital. Impetus was also given to reducing the stock levels of the dealers. Dealers of MB have invested close to Rs 50 crore into setting up new dealerships or upgrading existing ones in the past 12 months.
Speaking about the measures taken by the company to address slowdown, Schwenk said, “While we have adjusted our planning from Q1 onwards, our investments into our dealerships and expansion continues, this has ensured we stay invested into our customers and we remain bullish on the market.”
Speaking about above mentioned programmes, Schwenk said, “A function of all these, despite having fewer launches, has helped us staying ahead of the curve and on top of customer trust and preference.”