Monday, 30th October 2017

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Premium cars fail to pick up speed

Strong macro-economic headwinds in the second half of the year contributed to lower growth, including a hike in interest rates, fuel prices and insurance prices

By Anasuya Basu in Calcutta
  • Published 14.01.19, 12:15 AM
  • Updated 14.01.19, 12:15 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Mercedes Benz India continued its lead in the Indian premium car segment for the fourth year in a row by achieving its best sales for the January-December period of 2018 at 15,538 units. (Shutterstock)

The premium car segment in India is in the slow lane, with overall growth crawling to 3.4 per cent.

Mercedes continued to be the top seller for the fourth consecutive year but its growth rate has slowed down to 1.4 per cent over 2017. Ingolstad-based Audi registered a contraction of 18 per cent.

Only the BMW Group among the German trio has posted a healthy growth of 13 per cent over 2017.

Jaguar Land Rover has grown 16 per cent and Volvo India by 30 per cent.

Strong macro-economic headwinds in the second half of the year contributed to lower growth, including a hike in interest rates, fuel prices and insurance prices. However, many saw a turnaround in the fourth quarter, which makes the players optimistic about 2019.

Mercedes Benz India continued its lead in the Indian premium car segment for the fourth year in a row by achieving its best sales for the January-December period of 2018 at 15,538 units. Mercedes-Benz’s sales volumes grew 1.4 per cent.

Martin Schwenk, managing director & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, said: “We are satisfied with our sales performance in 2018 despite facing strong macro-economic headwinds in the second half, resulting in low consumer sentiments that posed significant sales challenges. We, however, made a strong comeback in the fourth quarter and were able to achieve a year-on-year growth.”

BMW Group India has delivered its best performance till date in all its three brands — BMW, MINI and Motorrad. The group has sold 11,105 cars in 2018, a growth of 13 per cent over 2017. BMW India achieved its highest sales of 10,405 cars, an 11 per cent growth. BMW Mini recorded a growth of 66 per cent with 700 units. BMW Motorrad has sold 2,187 motorcycles in its first full year of operations.

Audi recorded 6,463 deliveries in 2018 compared with 7,856 units in 2017 — a contraction of 18 per cent.

In north India, where Audi records its maximum deliveries, its largest dealership closed, affecting sales. It also faced “supply restraints in selected models because of the European market shift to WLTP (worldwide harmonised light vehicle test procedure) cycle and a resultant phase in and phase out of vehicles”.

“The luxury segment was under pressure owing to financial market development, the changing customer sentiment and other reasons such as changes in policies on taxes. We at Audi India faced some unforeseen business challenges during the year, which led to reduced deliveries in 2018. However, we managed to consolidate our position while earning profitable growth for our dealer partners,” said Rahil Ansari, head of Audi India.