Merc beats Audi

Mercedes-Benz regained its leadership in the Indian luxury car market in 2015 after six years, edging past rival Audi with a lead of over 2,300 units. BMW , the third luxury German brand, finished the year at the No. 3 slot.
Mercedes has been riding on the back of fresh designs and a string of launches. The company sold 13,502 units last year (at a growth rate of 32%) while Audi managed to sell 11,192 (3% growth). BMW is yet to announce the final sales numbers, though these are expected to be under 10,000 units.
A stronger dealer network and as many as 15 new launches last year saw Mercedes-Benz widen its reach in the market, especially as it attracted younger buyers.
Joe King, head of Audi in India, said the company will in troduce more products.
But the journey for Mercedes has not been easy , especially as it was identified as a brand more popular with the older generation. A completely refreshed and contemporary styling worked for the brand, which saw the average age of its buyers come down to 37 years from the 45 years till just a few years back.
But the ban on diesel vehicles with engine capacity of over 2,000cc in the Delhi NCR region is a worry. Mercedes has seen all its diesel variants being counted out in the critical region which accounts for 20% of its India sales. At the same time, Audi and BMW have seen a majority of their vehicles duck the ban as many of them have diesel engines under 2,000 cc.

Car sales topped a record 20 lakh units in 2015 as new models and improved buyer sentiment helped purchases. Industry players, however, said full recovery is still some time away as companies hope for a stronger turnaround in the economy to aid volumes.
Car sales had been slow over the past few years, and managed to show signs of improvement only after the entry of the BJP-led Narendra Modi government in May 2014 as it promised economic reforms and quicker decision-making.
While the sentiment has improved, especially after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) eased interest rates and fuel prices softened, more needs to be done, say industry officials. Full year numbers released by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) estimated car sales in 2015 at 20.3 lakh units, a near 10% growth over the 18.5 lakh units sold in 2014. This also bettered the previous record of 19.9 lakh units sold in 2012. New models such as Maruti's Baleno hatchback, Hyundai's Creta SUV and Renault Kwid mini have helped improve the traffic at car dealerships. Efforts towards revival have also been easier as companies threw in discounts to lure buyers.
Sugato Sen, deputy director general at Siam, said auto makers are concerned about continued weak demand in rural and semi-urban areas, where two years of deficient rains have hurt agricultural activity and income.
Motorcycle sales are already feeling the heat of weak rural demand as industry volumes declined to 1.05 crore units in 2015 against 1.09 crore units in the previous year.The category gets a big chunk of its volumes from the rural and smaller towns and cities.
Scooter sales, however, bucked the trend as they were helped by a surge in demand in metros and bigger towns.Total scooter sales increased from 43.2 lakh units in 2014 to 48.8 lakh units in 2015. Another critical category that rode on the economic revival was commercial vehicles where sales were up 8% at 6.5 lakh units against 6.1 lakh units in 2014, Siam said.

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