Uncertainty makes Mercedes-Benz ride rough in India

In this file photo, Roland Folger, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India at the launch of Luxurious SUV-GLS 350d in New Delhi. Photo: Sanjay Sharma
The Supreme Court ban on diesel vehicles and demonetisation had made the Indian economy disruptive, said Roland Folger, the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Mercedes-Benz’ India operations.

He added that if the company could maintain last year’s sales figures the firm’s management would be happy with the achievement. The CEO was addressing a media round-table in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Monday.

Folger said since taking charge in September last year, he had to explain the changing situation in the country at least twice to the German headquarters. The first was when the Supreme Court banned diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000 cc in the NCR. (This was lifted in August this year, with certain additional charges). 

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision of the government to ban the old series Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, he had to dial Stuttgart again.

“We have shared with Germany what has happened on the ground, and assured them that investments are safe and the impact is only short-term,” said Folger, after inaugurating a new showroom in the national capital. 

This is his company’s 89th showroom in the country. When the ban on diesel cars was lifted just before the festive season, it boosted the hopes of carmakers such as Mercedes because the NCR is the biggest luxury car market in the country. 

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