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Kolhapur businessmen to buy 180 Mercedes at one go!

Last updated on: December 16, 2010 09:11 IST

Kolhapur businessmen to buy 180 Mercedes cars at one go!

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Prasanna Zore in Mumbai


If businessmen from Aurangabad, in the backward Marathwada region of Maharashtra, can book 113 Mercedes Benz cars and 101 BMW sedans at one go, rich and influential from Kolhapur and Sangli, the prosperous belt of western Maharashtra known more for its sugar barons and the clout they enjoy in the state's politics, can go a step further.

Professionals, including doctors, engineers, farmers and industrialists, from various sections of Kolhapur, Sangli and Belgaum in Karnataka have made primary bookings for 180 Mercedes Benz cars from a Pune dealer, B U Bhandari, who was also responsible for the Aurangabad deal.

"Yes, it is true that we have done primary bookings for 180 Mercedes Benzs from B U Bhandari, a dealer in Pune," said Anand Mane, president of Kolhapur Chamber of Commerce. Mane is also included in the list of buyers.

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Photographs: Reuters
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However, he said that the actual bookings will take place on December 18 and 19.

"That is because there are so many models to choose from with different price ranges and features. The company is holding an exhibition on December 18 and 19 in Kolhapur when actual bookings will take place."

Interestingly, Kolhapur already boasts of a meaty 110 Mercedes Benzs and an addition of 180 more will take the number close to 300.

"It is not something new for us," Mane said.

However, buying en masse will only help these people get good deals, he feels.

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Photographs: Rediff Archive
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Kolhapur businessmen to buy 180 Mercedes cars at one go!

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Here are some of the freebies and discounts that this group of 180 people from Kolhapur Chamber of Commerce, Shiroli and Gokul Shirgaon Manufacturers' Association are discussing with Mercedes Benz India, Bhandari Motors and four banks that include government and private banks.

Among other things, the demands of this group from the makers of Mercedes cars are:

  • 10 per cent or more discounts on the price front. That translates into savings of Rs 4 lakh (Rs 400,000) to Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million), depending on the model one wants to buy.
  • Setting up of a service centre in Kolhapur as it will not be feasible for as many people to service their vehicles in faraway locations like Pune.
  • While a discount of 10 to 20 per cent in vehicle insurance is the norm, these bulk buyers are trying for a discount of 50 per cent on vehicle insurance.
  • Increase in the free service period from one year to three years.
  • Negotiating with banks to get car loans at an interest rate of 6 per cent. They hope to get it around 7.5 per cent to 8 per cent when the ongoing rate is 10 per cent to 11 per cent.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"We are demanding a few things from the dealer and the company. For this, Aurangabad has already set a precedent. Although our demands are a bit more, we are in talks with the dealer in Pune as well as the company and hope to get most of them satisfied."

Depending on the model and add-on features the price of a Mercedes Benz could range from Rs 26 lakh (Rs 2.6 million) to Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million).

"While 80 per cent of the buyers are likely to purchase a vehicle ranging between Rs 26 lakh and 50 lakh (Rs 5 million), the maximum amount that a few of us can splurge on the car will not be more than Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million)," Mane said.

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Photographs: Reuters
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And if all goes well, the city of Kolhapur is expecting deliveries of their brand new possessions by March 2011.

Interestingly, 80 per cent of the buyers -- a majority of them Maharashtrians -- are from Kolhapur and remaining 20 per cent equally split between Sangli and Belgaum.


Photographs: Reuters
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