German brands dominate; JLR and Volvo Cars impress
The luxury cars segment is set to report its highest ever annual volumes of over 30,000 units for the calendar year 2013.
Luxury car-makers managed to buck the trend of falling sales by launching low-priced models, expansion of network beyond metros to woo first-time buyers with schemes and offers, and aggressive marketing campaigns.
In 2013, German brands continued to dominate, but Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Volvo Cars made strong inroads. Other brands such as Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin also upped the ante.
Audi, which hit the Number.1 slot in Q1 of 2013, is expected to retain that with highest ever annual sales achieved by any luxury brand in the country so far. “We are confident that we will be the first-ever luxury car manufacturer in the country to cross sales of 10,000 units in a calendar year,” said Joe King, Head, Audi India. The brand of four rings sold 9003 units in 2012 in India. The year 2013 saw established luxury brand Mercedes-Benz making a strong comeback with its offensive strategy. The German luxury car brand is set to occupy the Number Two position with expected highest ever annual sales of about 9,000 units (it sold 7138 units in 2012). “The year saw Mercedes-Benz India launching eight new products. Some of the best-selling products this year had been the newly-launched A-Class luxury compact and also the GL-Class luxury SUV. The new E-Class continues to be our best-selling model this yea,r and it is one of the most popular luxury sedans. While ML-Class remained a very popular product, C-Class remained our trusted volume driver,” saidEberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.
BMW is expected to settle for the Number 3 position, a fall from being the top luxury brand in 2012. According to an auto consulting firm, the company is reported to have sold a little over 8,000 units of both BMW and Mini together during January-November 2013. The company didn’t respond to a mail seeking details on sales.
The year also saw new entrants such as JLR and Volvo Cars making their presence felt in the segment. The available data of JLR for 8-months in 2013 reveal that the company has sold close to 2,000 units in India. “The India operations of Jaguar Land Rover have been tremendously successful through the years, and we are continuing to see a very positive sales momentum. With the introduction of further products, derivatives and engines, we are confident that our growth will continue in the premium luxury segment in India,” Rohit Suri, Vice- President, JLR India, said.
Volvo Cars moved to further establish the brand. It opened dealerships in Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Vizag, with new ones set to open soon in Kolkata and West Delhi. “We will end up with a little less than 1,000 units which would represent an increase of roughly 15 per cent versus 2012. This would make Volvo Cars one of the fastest growing luxury car brands in India. We are on the right track in India, which is a long term strategic market,” Tomas Ernberg, MD, Volvo Auto India, said.