The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
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Premium car sales pick up

New Delhi, April 4: Premium car makers have wriggled out of the grip of a slowdown in the auto industry to post strong sales during the three months ended March.

Audi India recorded its best quarterly sales at 2,740 units, an increase of 4 per cent over the year-ago period when it sold 2,616 units. Rival Mercedes-Benz India reported a 27 per cent increase at 2,554 units from 2,009 units a year ago.

“Our success and robust growth of 27 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 amid challenging market dynamics is a clear indicator that our customers have appreciated our ‘Year of Excellence’ strategy,” Mercedes-Benz India managing director and CEO Eberhard Kern said.

Mercedes had been focusing on expanding its dealer network and after-sales service. “We will continue to create new benchmarks in modern luxury to drive sustainable growth in India,” Kern said.

Mercedes witnessed a robust demand for the new S-Class, ML-Class and GL-Class, which are on the waiting list even after being produced locally.

“Additionally, our new generation car portfolio, comprising the A-Class and B-Class, continues to witness significant demand,” Kern said. The C-Class and the new E–Class continue to drive volumes.

Officials at Audi said sales for 2013-14 grew 8.29 per cent to 10,126 units compared with 9,350 units in the previous fiscal.

“The double achievement of selling 10,000 units in a single fiscal and calendar year validates the strength and stature that the brand has achieved in India,” Audi India head Joe King said.

The company is looking to consolidate its position while growing profitably, he added. “In line with our top-down strategy, we will be launching the next big Audi – Audi A3 Sedan — later this year. Globally, the Audi A3 has been a great success and I feel that it is just the right product for India and will further delight customers across the country,” King said.

Audi India’s sales grew 18 per cent to 1,404 units in March, its highest in a month in the country. The company had sold 1,104 units in March 2013.

“Audi India was the only manufacturer in its segment to pass on the full benefit of the excise duty reduction to the customer. The customer has appreciated our gesture as shown by the March sales result,” King added.