Car makers drive in top-of-the-line models in defiance of slowdown

At Rs 99.3 lakh, Merc’s EQC is first EV by a luxury car brand in India
Carmakers in India are driving in top of-the-line models from their stable, even as the market struggles to free itself from the vice-like grip of a slowdown.

They are also drawing comfort from the sequential recovery seen in sales, with a legion of automobile enthusiasts looking to upgrade.

On Thursday, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India launched its maiden electric car, the EQC. Priced at Rs 99.3 lakh, it’s the first electric vehicle (EV) to be rolled out by a luxury car brand in India. It’s the first off the family of EVs Mercedes plans to bring to the Indian market under the EQ brand.

“This is our first step towards the electric journey. It will give us the first-mover advantage in the luxury segment. It’s also an opportunity for those conscious of the carbon footprint to be part of a trend that defines the future,” said Martin Schwenk, managing director and chief executive officer, Mercedes-Benz India.

The last few months have been very encouraging and each of the two months has seen 25 per cent growth than the previous one, he said touching upon overall sales.

The day also saw the launch of the MG Gloster, the premium sport utility vehicle (SUV) from MG Motor India. With prices starting from Rs 28.98 lakh, the high-end model from the British automotive company claims to be India’s first autonomous (Level 1) premium SUV.

With Gloster, Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India, expects to establish a “new benchmark, while combining matchless luxury, technology, and offroading experience in its segment”. 

Like Mercedes, MG has also seen sequential recovery in sales, making the company confident of the road ahead.

In a run-up to the festive season, as more firms launch new models, carphiles will have plenty to choose from. Audi India will launch the Q2 on October 16. Also in the works are facelifts of various premium and high-end models.

Defying persistent spike in Covid-19 cases, a sputtering economy, salary cuts and job losses, carbuyers have been responding well, reveal the booking and sales trends.

Mahindra & Mahindra, which launched the new-generation Thar on October 2, got 9,000 bookings for the model in less than a week after it started accepted bookings.

Sonet, the compact SUV from Kia Motors, which made its market debut on September 18, recorded 9,266 unit sales within 12 days of its launch.

Carmakers and analysts attribute the current trend to a “pent-up demand” and preference for personal mobility.

According to a pre-festive channel check report by Emkay Global Financial Services, retail volume improvement in August-September has been driven by pent-up demand, positive rural sentiment, shift towards personal mobility, and the fading impact of price hikes. Demand has been better in small cities and rural areas in comparison with metros and tier-1 cities.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel