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Mercedes focuses on service

Lalatendu Mishra
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Sets up a large workshop in suburban Mumbai

(from left) Mohan Mariwala, MD, Auto Hangar, Peter Honegg, MD & CEO, Mercedes Benz India, and D Chandavarkar, Director, After Sales, Mercedes Benz, at a press conference in Mumbai on Monday.— PHOTO: SHASHI ASHIWAL
(from left) Mohan Mariwala, MD, Auto Hangar, Peter Honegg, MD & CEO, Mercedes Benz India, and D Chandavarkar, Director, After Sales, Mercedes Benz, at a press conference in Mumbai on Monday.— PHOTO: SHASHI ASHIWAL

Having lost market share to its aggressive competitors Audi and BMW, luxury car marker Mercedes Benz India is now focusing on after sales service to deal with the competition. Mercedes Benz said that it had an unparalleled service network across the country and it would leverage on this factor to woo customers to its side.

Towards this end, Mercedes Benz India, through its dealer partner Auto Hangar, has set up a large workshop in suburban Mumbai that can handle 60 cars a day. The facility, located at Andheri East, is the largest-ever workshop by any luxury car manufacturer in India and it spreads over a massive covered area of 100,000 sq. ft. This workshop, having the capability of completing a general maintenance within 24 hours, has 159 automobile engineers at work. The objective is to provide faster turnaround time so that car owners do not stay away from their car for a long time.

This facility was, on Monday, inaugurated by Mercedes Benz India Managing Director and CEO Peter Honegg. “Generally, the first car is sold by the sales man but the second car is bought on service (parameters),” said Honegg, without mentioning the names of competitors who have been selling more cars in India in the past few years but were lacking in service network. Mercedes-Benz is present across 31 Indian cities through its 72 touch points which include dealerships and service stations.

“Going forward, world-class servicing standards will be the key differentiator and Mercedes-Benz will continue to create new benchmark and take a lead,” he added. The company is now planning to open 15 new workshops across the country to enhance its reach. “Most of the growth is now coming from Tier-III and Tier-IV cities though demand in metros is still growing,” he said.

New models

Even as Mercedes Benz gears up to launch new models to match up to the product offerings of competitors, it would take at least four years to have the complete portfolio. Till that time, service will be the main focus. “We will focus on customer satisfaction and after-sales services to be different in the market,” Honegg told The Hindu .

Mercedes Benz is now gearing up to launch the B class car this year which will be followed by the A class that is targeted at the youth. The company is also planning to launch a small sports utility vehicle (SUV) in 2014-15. There is also a plan to bring in the right-hand drive GLK, a compact luxury crossover SUV by 2016. All these models would give a level-playing field to Mercedes Benz to compete with rivals said Mr. Honegg.


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