BMW, Merc in verbal spat

Discussion in 'Indian Automotive Scene' started by Dhillon, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2011
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    The fight between Mercedes and BMW has entered a different zone. The German luxury car makers are not only slugging it out for customers, but are also engaging in a verbal duel as they fight hard to protect their turf.

    After losing the luxury market leadership position to BMW in 2009, Mercedes has accused the fellow German brand of engaging in discounting and model stripdowns to gain volumes and numbers. BMW India president Andreas Schaff was quick to dismiss the view, and said the company has bagged the top position on the strength of its brand and products . "Also, it is wrong that we resort to discounting to gain volumes."

    Mercedes has a different take. "If I talk about my rivals, mainly BMW, their path to leadership has been built on discounting, model stripdowns and low-entry cars. This is not what Mercedes does. We are clear on maintaining our product quality and brand, while having an aggressive pricing," Debasis Mitra , director (sales & marketing ) of Mercedes Benz, said.

    BMW had gained significant volumes when it brought in a 'corporate edition' version of its 3-Series sedan into the retail market, which was priced relatively lower than competitors but lacked certain features like sunroof and its trademark on-board interface 'i-drive' . Schaff said this did not mean stripping down the model in any way but rather tuning them to what a section of customers wanted. Mitra said Mercedes did not believe in selling models that have luxury features missing.

    "A stripped down model really does not work for Mercedes and the luxury customers ." He added that Mercedes was not there in certain segments like the mini SUV category (where BMW has the X1) that gave rivals an edge in volumes . "Therefore it is unfair to compare the companies in terms of absolute numbers till the time we have a full portfolio ." In 2009, BMW drove to the top position by selling 3,619 cars against 3247 of Mercedes. The company repeated this in 2010 when it sold 6,246 units against 5,819 by Mercedes.

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