While the absolute numbers for luxury cars are still small, top players such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus feel that demand for luxury cars (above Rs 40 lakh, ex-showroom), going by pace of adoption, will increase further as the industry looks at record sales volumes this year.
“Demand continues to be strong and we expect luxury car sales to hit a peak of around 45,000 units this year against 37,000 units in 2022,” Santosh Iyer, MD & CEO of Mercedes-Benz in India told TOI. “The luxury industry will be growing by almost 22% this year, against the 7-8% forecast for the mainstream car market.”
Mercedes had recorded a growth of 41% in 2022, as it sold 15,822 units against 11,242 units in the previous year. Iyer said the company is set for another year of double-digit growth, though “issues with suppliers and supplies” are keeping actual numbers subdued. “While we continue to get good bookings, we still have a pending-order schedule of around 3,000 cars. There have been numerous supply chain disruptions that we had to face over the past few years, which began after the semiconductor shortages during Covid. Even right now, our headquarters face a shortage of 48 volt batteries, which is impacting production of our mild hybrid vehicles.”
The company has delivered 12,768 new cars in January-September, 2023, registering a y-o-y growth of 11%.
Naveen Soni, president of Lexus in India, said a number of factors have been guiding luxury car sales. “We have many younger customers, who are buying luxury cars now, and these are well-paid corporate professionals against our traditional buyer base of business community. Post-Covid, trend of YOLO (You Only Live Once) has gained ground and people have transitioned from a ‘saving’ mentality to a ‘spending’ culture.”
Audi, which saw an 88% growth in January-September sales, remains on a high. “We are growing strongly and expect to close year with high double-digit growth,” India head Balbir Singh Dhillon said. “Our robust sales performance comes on back of strong demand, expansion in luxury car segment, evolving demographics and favourable economic conditions.”