German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has witnessed a dip in the number of units sold between January and March - the first quarter of the year. The sale is down 14.72 per cent in comparison to the same period last year. The company, which had retailed 4,556 units in the January-March period of 2018, has sold 3,885 units in the same period this year.
Speaking to media, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Martin Schwenk said, "We are satisfied with our sustained sales performance despite facing strong macro-economic headwinds". As a fundamentally strong brand, the company remains bullish on the mid to long term prospect of the dynamic Indian market, which it believes has immense potential to grow, Schwenk added.
Despite the current tough market conditions, Mercedes-Benz India, which sold 15,538 units in 2018, is hopeful that it would be able to sell more this year. The company claimed sales in India are currently muted, but is expected to grow in the second half of 2019 after the General Elections in the country.
The company, which in mid-March launched its AMG C 43 4MATIC Coup, with a starting price of Rs 75 lakh (ex-showroom India), also said it sees a higher growth rate for its performance cars though the absolute volume remains small.
According to Schwenk, sales are okay so far but they are not indicating any growth story at the moment. "We see customers still coming to the showroom, showing interest in the products but we see hesitation in purchase," he said.
Currently, the overall automobile market sentiment is weak with customers holding back discretionary spends, high interest rates and tightening of financing by non-banking financial companies.
The year 2019 is significant for Mercedes-Benz as the company will be completing 25 years in India and this milestone will be marked with a product and service offensive.
The newly launched two-door AMG C 43 4MATIC Coup is powered by a three-litre V6 petrol engine, producing 287 kW of power and 520 Nm of torque, which accelerates the vehicle from standstill to 100 km per hour in 4.7 seconds. This is the second product introduction by the company after the launch of V-Class in January out of the total 10 new products planned for the year.
The company has been successful with its AMG product strategy in India, which comprises a wide array of performance cars under the 43, 45, 63 and the GT ranges.
With the launch of this latest AMG, Mercedes-Benz India now has over 15 AMG performance cars in its portfolio. This is the first time that Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC Coup is being launched in India.