Mercedes Benz India (MBI) will not play the price game to increase its market share, Director Sales and Marketing Debashis Mitra said.
“It's a short-term measure which can bring in quick gains, but you lose in the long-term,” he said during an informal interaction here on Monday.
Mr. Mitra's comments acquire significance in view of recent media reports about competition nudging past MBI. “We will not play the numbers game but we will remain profitable”, he emphasised. Mr. Mitra said that MBI would not engage in measures such as selling ‘stripped-down versions' of certain car models to edge ahead in the market, saying that often, it had launched initiatives which were imitated by competition. “MBI prepares the market and goes where the consumer is.”
Between January and March MBI sold 2,130 units. In 2011, its sales of passenger vehicles stood 7,430 units against 5,800 units in 2010. He said that in states such as Odisha, sales were linked to the status of activities like iron ore mining. “If that picks up, then sales are good,” he said. MBI is planning to launch two new cars every year till 2015 when it hoped to have the full portfolio in India. “The real game (of gaining market share) will start then”. Three German car makers — Mercedes, BMW and Audi are in competition — to gain increased shares of the luxury car pie in India, where the market was rapidly expanding to Tier-II and Tier-III cities.
MBI, which has its manufacturing facility at Chakan near Pune in Maharashtra, is also planning expansion. It now operates on an annual capacity of 10,000 units in two shifts. The company said that it was utilising only 35 per cent of the 100 acre that it now has and it would expand capacity to 25,000 units by 2014-15. MBI's total investment in the Chakan plant is over Rs.600 crore. It has recently set up its own paint shop, which will become operational by the second-half of 2012.