The Telegraph
Sunday , September 30 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Premium focus on entry slot

Calcutta, Sept. 29: Premium car makers are banking on entry-level models to drive volumes.

According to Debasish Mitra, director, sales and marketing, of Mercedes Benz India, the entry-level segment this year will witness a 15 per cent growth over last year and grow 70-80 per cent in 2013.

BMW had started the trend of introducing entry-level cars with its sports activity vehicle X1 in 2011 at a lower price tag of Rs 22 lakh.

Audi brought in its baby SUV Q3 priced at Rs 26 lakh.

Mercedes launched the B-class for Rs 22.5 lakh.

Of the 25,000 cars sold by premium car makers in 2011, 3,000 units were BMW’s X1. In 2012, with the entry of Audi’s Q3 and Mercedes’s B-Class, this number is likely to swell to 4,500 cars, which is a 15 per cent growth.

The growth will be 70-80 per cent in 2013 when the Q3 and the B-Class will see a full year’s sales. Compared to this, cars priced beyond Rs 30 lakh will see a growth of 0-1 per cent in 2012, Mitra said.

“The number of people buying premium cars is growing. Today, a well-paid salaried professional is wanting to buy a premium brand. We want to tap this market and jack up volumes in three years,” Mitra added.

Mercedes is also planning to bring in more new-generation compact cars. Its hatchback A-class is set to debut next year followed by the GLC-Class, which will compete with the X1. BMW, too, is slated to bring in its 1 series and Audi its A3 in 2013.

Mercedes further intends to launch the E-Class and C-Class sports models during the festive season.