Global luxury vehicle maker Mercedes-Benz, launched two variants of the 2010 M-class said it was bullish on the growth prospects this year and keen on leveraging India for global sourcing.
“We expect a good year in 2010 and are hoping to build on the momentum of 2009 when we sold 140 M-class, which was double the sales compared to 2008,” Mercedes-Benz India MD and CEO Dr Wilfried G Aulbur told reporters.
The company is investing Rs 200 crore in revamping the network in creating new showrooms, upgradation of the existing ones and entering new cities, Aulbur said.
It is planning a new Benz centre in Delhi with 26 car display, a 12-car display in Hyderabad and a 16-car display in Chennai, he said apart from investing in manpower.
“We are growing aggressively and have a clear strategy in place for leveraging India aggressively for R and D and global sourcing”, he said adding “China and India are high on our agenda for global sourcing“.
He said the ‘SUV’ segment in India “was shaping up well” and was one of the driving forces in luxury car sales.
The company plans to launch 12 products in 12 weeks of the current year, he said.
By this year-end, the firm plans to introduce the SLSAMG, a sports car, and has already received six orders from places like Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.
Though it is not looking at introducing hybrids since most are left hand drive cars but will launch E-Coupe here.
On the time frame for its Rs 200 crore investment, Aulbur said it is hopeful to utilise the investment by the third quarter of this year.
The auto maker is also eyeing tier-II and III cities for growth and expansion where it was seeing traction. “Places like Surat and Thiruvananthapuram are seeing traction,” he said.
“We expect significant double digit growth in the luxury SUV,” Aulbur said adding that the 2009 sales here has helped the company to have a 16 per cent share in the SUV segment.
The new sports edition is priced at Rs 55 lakh and luxury edition priced at Rs 60.9 lakh.
About the Jharkand facility he said it also can be used for expansion. Its current capacity was 5,000 passenger cars per shift and 1200 commercial cars per shift. The facility had a capacity of 10,000 to 12,000. It also had around 19 hectares unutilised space, which could be used for expansion.