SUV: Sedan demand remains strong despite surge in SUV growth: Mercedes Benz India MD & CEO

New Delhi: Sedans are still holding strong for Mercedes Benz India despite the demand for SUVs soaring in the overall Indian passenger cars market, according to company Managing Director and CEO Santosh Iyer. Although the company expects the share of SUVs to its overall sales will be slightly skewed after the recent launch of its new GLC SUV, he said the demand for its sedans continues to be very strong.

“Fortunately our portfolio is a balanced sedan-SUV portfolio. We have the A Class, the B Class, the E Class and the S Class in sedan and then we have mirrored that in the SUV portfolio with a GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS. Right now the share of sedan versus SUVs is almost 48:52,” Iyer told PTI.

However, he admitted with the launch of the GLC, the share of SUVs to the company’s overall sales could inch up to 55-57 per cent. Yet, Iyer said the demand for sedans for Mercedes-Benz is still strong in India.

“A 50 per cent share of around 8,500 (total) in the first half, I would say nearly 4,500 customers still bought sedans in the first half (of 2023),” he said.
Mercedes-Benz India had posted a 13 per cent year-on-year growth in its sales at 8,528 units in the first half of 2023, its best ever half-yearly sales. When asked if the company expects the demand for sedans to remain robust, Iyer said,”Yes, for sure. The E Class still remains the largest selling car in our portfolio and that is a sedan by a far margin. That clearly shows with the right product in the right segment you still can sell irrespective of the body type. The focus is to give those product configurations and options to the market.” As per industry estimates, the share of SUVs in the overall Indian passenger cars market has grown to 47 per cent this year from just around 22 per cent five years back. In 2022-23, passenger vehicles wholesales in India were at 38.9 lakh units.

Iyer reiterated the need to have a balanced portfolio saying it “ensures that we are able to cater to both the market requirements”.

“The core reason for SUVs (demand) is the larger road presence that it offers and that’s why people go for these cars but on the other side when it comes to sheer driving comfort as well as travelling comfort there is nothing to beat a sedan,” he said.

Iyer further said,”There are both types of customers in the market. One who prefers more luxury, more comfort with the sedan and the other they tend to compromise a bit compared to the sedan on comfort but they would like a bigger styling and a bigger car.”


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