Mercedes-Benz, which rolled out a souped up version of its popular compact sedan CLA Class on Wednesday, said demonetisation has not really impacted sales as yet although it has lowered footfalls at dealerships.
"In the medium to long-run, demonetisation is a very positive step as it will definitely take out a lot of black money in the system. "From a sales point of view, of course there is less footfalls at the dealerships as customer sentiment has taken a hit. But I am not worried about it at all as I hope by Christmas, things should get clearer," Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO Roland Folger said.
He further said, "Demonetisation, GST are not going to impact our business plans here. But having said that, we have not finalised our 2017 plans yet as there is no clarity at all on anything now. Probably, we will get clarity when the rates are finalised and there is more clarity on implementation side."
Explaining why he is not bothered about the impact of demonetisation, he said, anyway more than 95 per cent of sales are financed and there is negligible cash payment happening at the Mercedes dealers' end. But yes, sentiment has been impacted which does not mean there is a crisis situation now.
Folger also said, the CLA is the 12th product from the the company this year, but the firm will be launching one more model this year as against the original plan of 12 models.
However, he did not name the new model. The new CLA is the ninth model to be manufactured by the company at its Pune plant and the fourth model to be added to the local assembly line this year-after the GLS 400, GLE 400, and the GLC 220 class.
The company had launched the first model of the CLA in January 2015 and in eight months time, its local production from Pune, making India the only other market outside Europe to do so.
The new CLA Class comes in four variants - two each in diesel and petrol, with engine capacity of 1.99 litre to 2.14 litre, and the ex-Mumbai price ranges from Rs 31.40 lakh to Rs 43.68 lakh.
While the stylish new CLA 200 d Style is priced at Rs 31.40 lakh, CLA 200 d Sport comes at Rs 34.68 lakh and the CLA 200 Sport is priced at Rs 33.68 lakh.
Describing the CLA Class as a landmark in automotive design, Folger said the car carves out a niche for itself with its sporty style and interiors. He added that the new model, being rolled out from the Pune plant is ready for sale at dealerships from today.
Folger said the CLA remains one of the best sellers in the new generation cars portfolio of Merc and underlines the compact sedan's popularity, especially amidst the younger generation.