Mercedes-Benz recorded a 65 percent increase in retail sales in India in the first half of 2021, reaching 4,857 units, thanks to new releases and strong demand for high-end vehicles. In the first half of 2020, the company sold 2,948 units. Sales were hampered in the first half of both last year and this year due to restrictions imposed to combat the first and second waves of the coronavirus epidemic.
"Our H1 2021 sales growth is in line with the market sentiments and strongly underlines a continuing high customer demand for models. We have built a solid order bank on the back of new launches and it is highly satisfying to witness an all-round rise in demand for our products across the portfolio," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Martin Schwenk said in a statement.
The company's new launches in the first half of this year include A-Class Limousine, New E-Class, AMG A 35 4M, New GLA, AMG GLA 35 4M, GLS Maybach 600, New S-Class.
"Starting from the A-Class Limousine to the GLS Maybach and the AMG, customers have highly appreciated our product launches by strongly preferring a Mercedes-Benz and an AMG over other models; reiterating their confidence and trust in our product portfolio and customer-oriented market strategy," he added.
The company said in H1 it also had strong demand for top-end cars such as GLS Maybach 600, New S-Class along AMG range.
Mercedes-Benz India said its online sales continue to contribute strongly to the overall sales accounting for 20 percent of H1 2021 sales, although in the April-May lockdown period it was at 35 percent.
Over 25,000 leads were generated by online sales alone during the period, it added.
On the market situation, Mercedes-Benz India said it's June 2021 retail sales in particular "signifies first signs of a strong recovery in customer sentiments influenced by factors like new product portfolio and gradual unlocking of markets leading to an uptick in economic activities".
"The demand for all our products in June was particularly strong. We have ramped up our production and sales from July, to match the great customer feedback on our models," Schwenk said.
On the outlook, Mercedes-Benz India Vice-President Sales and Marketing Santosh Iyer told PTI, "At this stage, at least on the demand side, we don't see any letdown as we move into this quarter also...Fundamentally, the H2 (second half) surely should be bigger than H1."
The festive season, starting August-September, "should only accentuate the demand" and "that gives us confidence for a robust demand in H2," he added.
The biggest issue, he said, would be the supply constraints globally and logistics challenges which could have a bearing on the company's ability to meet demand in India.
"If you purely talk on the demand side based on the order bank and the bookings... it gives us a very strong confidence, the demand is there but whether the supplies can match up, we have to check for H2," Iyer said.
The company said its production has been gradually ramped up from this month and designed flexibly in order to be able to react to current developments. It was earlier producing at 50 percent of capacity at its Chakan plant following government guidelines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.