New Delhi: German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz expects ”substantial” growth in India this year driven by a line-up of 15 products and sustained demand recovery being witnessed from the fourth quarter of last year, according to a top company official.
The company, however, sees reaching its peak level of 2018 in India, only in 2022, due to supply-chain constraints especially in Europe.
“Overall, I think we can really assume that the momentum which we have seen in the fourth quarter is continuing… With the reduction of COVID-19 cases, a lot of normalcy has happened. We have seen very strong demand in all our range.
“I would think the festive season plus new products have triggered that and would continue in 2021,” Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Martin Schwenk said.
He was responding to a query on the company’s outlook for the ongoing calendar year.
Schwenk further said, “We have 15 products in our pipeline. With (the ongoing) demand we should have a good chance for recovery and substantial growth in 2021.”
In 2020, the company had reported a 43 per cent decline in sales at 7,893 units in India, as compared to 13,786 units sold in 2019.
Giving a perspective of how the demand recovery has been steady and strong in the second half of 2020, he said, “We have seen in the fourth quarter of 2020, a 40 per cent increase compared to the third quarter.”
In the first quarter of 2020, the company had sold 2,386 units and it plummeted to just 563 units in Q2 due to the lockdown. It sold 2,058 units in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter clocked 2,886 units, a growth of 40 per cent as compared to the preceding quarter.
When asked how long it would take for Mercedes-Benz India to reach its highest ever sales of 15,538 units in 2018, Schwenk said, “2018 was our best year which we had and I don’t think that we will achieve it in 2021. I think we will achieve that in 2022.”
Giving reasons, he said, “What limits us at the moment is more of the actual production start. We have requirements for support from Europe and there are still some concerns with travels… At the moment there are some constraints…”
Stating that global demand has picked up better than expected, he said some of the company’s high sellers such as GLE and GLS SUVs are facing constraints.
“We have order banks on these vehicles and we have one to three months waiting period on GLS. That is caused by multiple constraints in the system itself,” Schwenk said adding the company is hoping that after the first quarter of 2021 these things would be resolved.
Commenting on demand sustainability, he said India’s key economic indicators are looking good which is helping in creating positive consumer sentiments, especially the business people who are key customers of the company.
“At the moment we have stable demand, positive development on the demand side. I can clearly see that new products and improving customer sentiments created the demand… I think we will see continued demand,” Schwenk said.