11 May, 2010

Mercedes regains top spot, BMW to fight back

Mercedes' retail sales this year (January to April) managed to stay ahead of BMW's, at 1,644 units, compared with 1,621 units of the latter, shows data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Except for March, when BMW recorded unusually high sales, Mercedes sales were ahead in the other months. The Stuttgart-headquartered company, which sports the prestigious three-pointed star, struggled dearly last year when inadequate availability of vehicle kits for the E-class, one of its top selling models, affected overall sales.

Mercedes launched the all-new E-class in November last year at Rs 46.89 lakh (Rs 4.7 million), which the company followed with the launch of the coupe version of the car a month before, priced at Rs 54.83 lakh (Rs 5.5 million). While the E-class sedan is being rolled out (assembled) from the Chakan plant (near Pune), the coupe version has been brought as a fully-imported unit.BMW, which has its headquarters in Munich, replaced the ageing version of the 5-Series executive sedan and replaced it with an all-new model last week. This new car, which competes directly with the Mercedes E-class, is priced cheaper at Rs 38.9 lakh (Rs 3.9 million), going up to Rs 45.9 lakh (Rs 4.6 million) for the higher-end version.
The luxury car market, according to BMW, will grow to 11,000 units this year, compared to about 9,000 units last year. BMW witnessed sales of 3,614 units in the last calendar year, while arch-rivals Mercedes sold 3,247 units during the same period.