Mercedes-Benz, which aims to recapture the number one position in India by dethroning its compatriot Audi, has taken luxury driving to a new high through ‘Luxe Drive’, a customer engagement initiative blending adrenaline gush with gourmet and haute couture.
With 15 new launches and 15 more dealership expansion this year, the brand Merc is on pace for the numero uno position, having already notched up 25 per cent spike in sales in the first two months of the year, say market watchers, as this comes against Audi’s trimming its dealerships and being tight-lipped on its plans.
Merc lost its pole position to Audi, which entered the country only in 2007, in 2012 when it finished a distant third slot.
The domestic luxury car market, dominated by the three German brands — Audi, Merc and BMW — constitutes under 2 per cent of the total passenger vehicles volume currently, with around 30,000 units per year, but can grow around five times over the next decade, according to a PwC report.
The entry of the Tatas-owned JLR has also contributed to increased competition for the three German majors.
Already Merc has launched 3 models this year — the CLA-Class the C 220 diesel and an upgraded version of A and B Class last week. A new dealership was opened in Jamshedpur last month.
Last year, Merc had launched 14 models and 14 new dealerships, taking the overall number to 69 in 38 cities.
Under the Luxe Drive’ initiative, the Pune-based luxury car maker offers prospective customers not only the experience of adrenaline gush of driving a Merc, but also experience gourmet and haute couture, Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, said.
"We have signed on the Michelin Star chef Vikas Khanna for preparing sumptuous meals for the participants, while ‘The Collective’ offers exclusive fashion through some of the world’s best brands," Kern told PTI.
He further said the ‘Luxe Drive’ will travel into more smaller cities providing a luxury experience. Already Merc has launched this initiative in Chandigarh last month and Gurgaon early March, and Jaipur and Surat will join shortly in the first phase.
The second phase will cover rest of the country, Kern said, adding the idea comes from the Merc philosophy of ‘live the best’.
The fashion initiative under The Collective is a one of its kind offering over 100 super-premium fashion brands under one roof from across the world.
The plan also offers the discerning customers a test-drive of their choice, get the car evaluation done or strike a special trade-in, and also get personalized finance offers, Kern said, adding Luxe Drive aims to provide the best and the most comprehensive luxury experience to customers.