Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday launched all-new mid-sized SUV, AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupe, priced at Rs 1.2 crore (ex-showroom pan-India) and sounded "cautiously optimistic" about the upcoming festive season. The GLE-class performance SUV Coupe, which was displayed at the 2020 Auto Show at Greater Noida in February this year, is the first AMG 53 series in the country, and it replaces the current AMG 43 Coupé in the domestic market, Mercedes-Benz India said.
With the latest rollout, the European carmaker now offers the most comprehensive SUV portfolio in the luxury car segment with seven SUVs and SUV Coupés.
The all-new GLE is now available in 300d, 400d, 450 and AMG GLE 53 Coupé variants, the company said.
Launching the new vehicle, Mercedes-Benz India Vice-President for sales and marketing Santosh Iyer said "we are a bit cautiously optimistic for the upcoming festive season."
"The pandemic is still around and we are still not out of it. But in the last few months, we have been able to revive (sales) and the initial impact of the pandemic is waiving away. We are currently in the recovery mode," he said.
The month-on-month sales have grown by 25 per cent with our survival, revival and recovery strategy, Iyer said, adding, "so right now we are in the recovery face, sales have recovered almost 60 per cent to the pre-lockdown phase and we can now only go up from here."
"That is the first step we want to reach during the festive season, we have to wait and watch," Iyer said.
He said the first five days (post 'shradh') have been really good from the bookings perspective and hopefully, if this trend continues, both Mercedes-Benz India and rest of the luxury segment players could have a good festive season this year.
The 'shradh' period, which is considered inauspicious, commenced from September 2 and ended on September 16.
" If things go right from here, October should be the first month, when the company will be almost similar to last year's level," Iyer said.
Emphasising that Mercedes-Benz will continue with its product offensive in the Indian market as new products always stimulate demand, he said, "products are core to our strategy and we will keep expanding our portfolio in the Indian market."
The country's largest luxury carmaker had earlier announced roll out of 10 models in India in 2020, which included A-class Limousine and the GLA Crossover. It has maintained that the plans remain on track, albeit with some delay.
"There is of course some delay. The launch of A-class Limousine, the GLA, they are running a bit delayed but we are committed," said Iyer.
So far this year, besides the AMG GLE 53, Mercedes-Benz has already rolled out models such as AMG C63 Coupe, GT-R, the GLS, among others, he said.
Iyer said the company's online sales platform 'Merc from Home' online has been quite a success with over 500 bookings coming through the digital sales.
"We have got more than 500 bookings, which are a combination of both new and old cars, through an online platform. It also reaffirms our confidence in our digital strategy globally," he said.
"This optics also show that we are slowly recovering. This is the need of the hour not only for us but also for the industry," he said.
Mercedes-Benz expects a quarter of its total sales of new cars to come online by 2025, globally.
Business is back to normal in some of the markets while other markets where the lockdown was extended a bit are still trying to come back to normalcy, he said.
"I think with our positive outlook for the next couple of months, we are confident that the industry and the luxury car market will recover in the next couple of months," Iyer added.
He said that various finance options and special offers rolled out by the company will definitely get the festive momentum back.
"We are already seeing a very big increase in enquiry level," he said.