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Business – Mercedes loses crown to BMW, sales decline over 10% in India

NEW DELHI: German luxury carmaker Mercedes on Monday said it has lost leadership position in the premium segment in India to rival BMW and reported

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a decline of 10.43 per cent in sales in the country for the last year.

However, the company is expecting a double digit growth during this year on the back of a host of new launches.

“We are behind BMW in 2009 because of limited availability of our E-Class car … I don’t want to focus on leadership. We want to have a profitable growth,” Mercedes Benz India Managing Director and CEO Wilfried Aulbur told reporters here.

The company sold 3,247 units in 2009 against 3,625 units in 2008 in India, he added. Rival BMW sold 3,619 units in 2009.

“We see a very strong growth in 2009 and it will be a blockbuster year for us. We are very bullish and we expect, it will be a high double-digit growth,” Aulbur said.

When asked if the company would try to push its sales by offering discounts on its models to overtake BMW, Aulbur said, “The focus is on profitable growth, overall discount is detrimental and it is not our focus. Just to generate volume is not a good strategy.”

The company today launched a new version of its luxury sedan S-Class and sports utility vehicle GL in the country priced at Rs 95 Lakh and Rs 64 lakh respectively.

“The S500L will be unassembled at our plant and it will be the most expensive luxury sedan ever produced in India. We will import the GL350CI as a complete built unit,” Aulbur said.

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January 4, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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