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India’s Luxury Automobile Market – 2014

India’s Luxury Auto space has seen a positive movement in 2014 vis-a-vis the flat growth of passenger car sales. Sales of Luxury Auto makers such as Audi, Mercedes, BMW & Volvo are estimated to have grown by 9% v/s less than 1% growth in overall automobile market.

While Management Punditz have been extensively tracking the data of passenger car sales, retrieving luxury car sales figures has been a challenging task. The luxury car makers seldom share data and the data is shared only when these companies have to project their growths or achievements. This behavior is also being questioned by SIAM and analysts fraternity as well. The confusion also lies whether the data shared by these manufacturers are for offtake or retail – majority of the times whichever data is higher is being shared and makes it all more difficult for us to interpret.

Source: ET

However, 2014 figures were as expected – it was a year of growth for automakers with new launches, both in luxury space & passenger cars. Audi & Mercedes benefited from the launch of the new products and were able to project considerable growth over previous year. Audi led the rankings with sales of 10,851 units, which was 650 units more than second in race Mercedes-Benz (10,201 units).

BMW was the biggest laggard in this space – BMW managed to sell only 6812 cars which is 7% lower than 2013. No exciting launches by the automaker proved to be the shortfall for the German major.

But the company which made a majestic comeback was Mercedes-Benz! Don’t be surprised if MB jumps to the numero uno slot in 2015. The German car maker was on a product offensive strategy and has worked superbly for the auto giant. These points were instrumental for growth of Mercedes-Benz in 2014:

  1. 1. Seven products/upgrades launched in first half of 2014 (like New S-Class, C-Class Grand Edition, GL63 AMG, etc) and 7 more product launched in the second half (say CLA 45 AMG, new E350 CDI, GLA 45 AMG, New C-Class etc).

  2. 2. ‘Excellence in Network’ strategy – Focus on strengthening the reach in India. A record 14 outlets were inaugurated in 2014 which allowed the car maker to access the prospects in Tier-1 Tier-2 cities as well. Don’t be surprised to see Mercedes outlets in cities like Surat, Bhubaneshwar, Raipur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Mohali, Karnal and Nashik!

Mercedes Benz has similar plans in 2015 – It plans of launching 15 new vehicles in 2015 and also open 15 new dealerships this year! Mercedes is also planning to invest 10 Billion Rupees to double production capacity to 20,000 units a year.

The rankings in the luxury car space has become all more competitive and the German giants are fighting it hard to reach the no.1 slot. However, India is a tough market to crack and only the best will excel. It will also be interesting to assess the growth of the likes of JLR & Volvo in the coming years. For 2015, we believe it’ll be the ‘Best or Nothing’ 🙂

EDIT: As predicted, Mercedes Benz has already gained substantially in the first quarter of 2015 and leads by 385 units from its rival Audi. The product lineup for MB has never been such exciting and the German giant has aggressive launches scheduled for 2015 as well. The dealer network is equally impressive and this is how it fares vis-a-vis rivals: MB-68 outlets, Audi-35 outlets & BMW-56 showrooms/outlets.

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