Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz plans to launch its entire range of E and C class cars in India by the end of the year to recapture its leading position from BMW in the Indian market.
Launching two fresh e-class models, the 350V6 and the 350CDI, in Kolkata, yesterday, Debashish Mitra, director of sales and marketing and a member of the board of Mercedes-Benz India, said January has been a month of aggressive launches (See: Mercedes-Benz reinforces its E-Class with E 250 V6 and E 250 CDI BE) .
''We have made six launches in 20 days, four for immediate sales and two showcase models, and there are more launches lined up,'' Mitra said. ''By this year-end we plan to introduce all the E and C class models in India,'' he said.
The leader in the Indian luxury car market for years, Mercedes saw itself overtaken by BMW last year in the market. For the 12-month period ended December, BMW sold 3,619 cars in the country, against 3,247 cars sold by Mercedes.
Terming the competitor's lead a "product cycle issue", Mitra said, "We had only limited completely knocked down (CKD) kits of the E-Class, which sold faster than we thought. We could sell only 686 kits when the demand was for around 1,000, and we sold 1,600 cars in the C class." The company imports the kits and assembles them at its Pune plant.
Mercedes ended 2009 with a 38-per cent market share in terms of sales, against BMW's 40 per cent. Audi, the third German luxury carmaker with an assembly plant in India, accounted for the rest.