Admitting that it had made mistakes in not recognising the potential of the lower luxury car segment in India, German auto major Mercedes Benz said it aims to recapture the number one position by 2015-16 by bringing in new suitable products for the market.
The company, which has already launched the petrol version of its smaller car B-class, will be launching the diesel version of the car. This will be along with another entry level luxury car A-Class in the first half of next year, to be followed by the new E-Class later.
It has, however, decided to go slow on plans to assemble the B-Class in India.
Moreover, many of the 13 brand new products that the company has announced to launch globally by 2015 will also be finding their way to the Indian market.
"We want to be the number one again in India by 2015-16. We do not have vehicles in certain segment of the luxury market in India right now. Perhaps, we made a mistake in not recognising it and reacted slowly to bring smaller vehicles in India," Daimler AG Vice President Sales (Mercedes Benz Cars) Matthias Luhrs said.
When asked how the company planned to beat rivals like BMW and Audi, which is also gunning for the top spot, he said the company had been lacking in the smaller products segment and that was being rectified.
"Starting with the B-Class, we have started addressing that issue. Next year we will have the A-Class in India (both in diesel and petrol). Also, globally we have announced that 13 new products with no previous lineage will be launched by 2015. Many from them could be coming to India," Lhurs said.
Mercedes Benz currently does not have a product to compete with the likes of BMW's X1 and Audi's Q3 in the smaller SUV category in India. Compatriot BMW had snatched the numero uno ranking in the
Indian luxury car market from Mercedes-Benz in 2009 and has been maintaining the position since then.
Another German luxury car maker Audi is, however, racing fast and aims to be the leader in the next few years. It reported 89 per cent jump in sales in November at 805 units and crossed the 8,000 units sales mark that it had set for
2012, a month ahead of schedule.
Lhurs said the company expected the Indian market to be slow in the next two years due to the overall global economic situation but would pick up after that.
"For us, India and China are going to be the growth drivers for the next decade. India has a huge potential and we want to have a sustainable profitable growth here," he added.