Ahmedabad: Mercedes-Benz India, MD & CEO Wilfred Aulbur Friday said that future prospects for his company and the auto sector in general look good with a stable Congress-led government at the Centre.
“The year 2008-09 saw the biggest impact of global recession especially on the auto industry. Though our turnover has increased slightly, but the rise is not significant,” Aulbur told mediapesons here while inaugurating new showroom of the Mercedes-Benz here.
The sales for the last quarter of 2008-09 has been less than what it was in same period the previous year, he said.
“But now the things are looking good with a stable UPA government in place at the Centre. We are hopeful of a positive budget which will help us and the auto industry in general,” Aulbur said.
The CEO & MD said that they are expecting around 10% increase in the sale in the next one year, and also plans to expand its network across the country.
“We will be investing about Rs150 crore in expanding our sales and service network across India. Our focus will be on the C and S class models,” Aulbur said.
Major portion of the funds for expansion will be pumped in by our dealers, he added.
When asked about the depreciation in the value of rupee and its effect on the pricing of cars, Aulbur said that it was a cause of concern for the entire automobile industry.
“As far as we are concerned we have adopted the strategy of wait and watch. There has also been a small increase in the price of our E-class models around one per cent,” he added.
Aulbur was of the opinion that the luxury car market was growing in India at slow pace but the increase compared to the past ten year has been significant.
Predicting increase in demand in future, they have invested Rs250 crore in their manufacturing unit in Pune, Maharashtra, which has the capacity of manufacturing 5,000 cars along with 2,400 commercial vehicles every year, he said.
Talking about its plans for Gujarat, Aulbur said that plans are on to have more showroom in other parts of the state, but that will be after couple of years.
He said, that his company expects sales of 150 units in the next 12 months. So far over 600 Mercedes-Benz cars have been sold in Gujarat alone.
The new showroom which is in partnership with the city-based Benchmark Cars, will feature all models launched by the company in 2009 including the powerful AMG range, the M-class and the special edition E-Class.
Mercedes-Benz entered the Indian market in 1995 and now has presence in over 25 cities.