Oh Lord, Won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
Unlike Grammy Lifetime Award Winner Janis Joplin, Indians aren’t waiting for divine providence to provide them with this coveted automobile. They are going ahead and buying it like never before.
Within first five months of this year, Daimler Chrysler India has sold 1033 cars, at over over 200 every month. Not a small number for a product which targeted at the top most echelons of the society in a country that now flaunts 83,000 millionaires as per the latest World Wealth Report.
In 1999, the company sold barely 740 cars. But in the last few years, growth has been continuous and impressive. In 2004, the company sold 1815 cars. This number increased to 1915 in 2005. There was an increase of over 10% in sales in 2006 when the sales touched 2121 cars. So on average, in the ten years of its operations in India, the company has sold anything between 18,000-20,000 cars.
Buoyed by this response, the company is increasing its retail presence in India — in the last one year, it has opened centres in several small cities including Madurai, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Kolhapur and Bhubaneshwar. As of now, company has around 30 dealers in India, 15 of which are exclusive showrooms.
While the company is broadening its product portfolio, its best-selling models continue to remain the entry level C class which is priced between Rs 25-29 lakh and E class which is priced between 38-48 lakhs. In 2006, the company sold 883 C class and 893 E Class varieties. The same figure for the first five months of 2007 are 338 and 442.
The company which has an assembly unit near Pune, also launched a compact car which has received good response. This four seater, two door car is targeted at youngsters and is priced between Rs 1.2-1.6 crore. In fact, several of Mercedes paraphernalia like golf kits, watches, sun glasses have received very good response. For instance, the Mercedes cycles which may cost anything up to Rs 3 lakh have found several takers. “This is a pleasant surprise even for us,” says Dewan.