Eyeing double digit growth in its sales this year, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has decided to focus on Tier-II and Tier-III cities by opening new dealerships, besides offering world-class service experience to its customers to retain its numero uno position in the Indian luxury car market.

“By the end of this year, we will be present in around 30 cities across India. We have planned Rs. 200 crore investment to open new dealerships and upgrade the existing ones. Last month, we opened a new dealership in Surat (Gujarat), while next on the pipeline are Goa, Bhubaneshwar and Indore,” Mercedes-Benz Managing Director and CEO Wilfried Aulbur told The Hindu.

Pointing out that Tier-II and Tier-III cities were fast coming up as far as sale of luxury cars was concerned, Mr. Aulbur said though the major volumes would still come from top cities, state capitals and other major towns also have great potential due to increasing disposal incomes there.

“Similarly, we are also upgrading our dealership infrastructure in all the metros. For instance, Mercedes-Benz will soon be opening its exclusive brand centre in Delhi. This will be Southeast Asia’s only such facility apart from the one at Singapore,” Mr. Aulbur said. “As we see our sales going up, we might begin second-shift operations soon at our Chakan (Pune) plant, which now has the capacity of assembling 5,000 units per shift annually,” Mr. Aulbur said.

With new launches lined up for 2010, including ‘E Coupe’ and its luxury grand tourer ‘SLS AMG’, to be priced around Rs. 2.50 crore, which was previewed at the Auto Expo last month, Mercedes-Benz is also taking extra care on enhancing customer experience.

Mercedes-Benz will soon be introducing a special service package and an exclusive road-side assistance programme where a customer would be given air ticket or taken to a luxury hotel if his car breaks down mid-way.