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With Christmas around the corner and the year coming to an end, the season of deep discounts is here again for luxury cars. Manufacturers are offering discounts up to Rs 10 lakh to entice buyers, aiming to improve their overall annual performance. Discounts in general peaked in the Indian car market in 2014, as companies tried to stimulate demand.
But the most fabulous deals are happing right now, making it probably the right time to invest in a luxury machine from Audi, Mercedes-Benz or BMW. The Audi A3 sedan and the BMW X3 sportutility vehicle now carry lighter price tags than what they were at launch just a few months ago, show data compiled by ET. The Mercedes-Benz E Class is discounted up to Rs 5 lakh on some variants. BMW’s smallest SUV, the X1, is also available with similar freebie and bargain offers.
BMW has knocked off Rs 7 lakh from the price tag of one of the top selling luxury sedans, the 5 Series. The BMW 7 Series offers up to Rs 10 lakh discount. Sources at dealerships said that primary motive is to increase customer traffic and boost year-end sales to add significant numbers to the overall annual performance.
“The luxury-car market has performed better than the mass volume segment, posting double-digit growth in 2014 over last year. But to keep the momentum going in the lean month of December, and attract customers, the luxury carmaker have hiked discounts to up to 15% of the mark up price,” said a Delhi-based dealer.
The luxury-car market is expected to perform better than last year as sales from the top, two Audi and Mercedes-Benz, indicate. Audi had sold more than 10,000 units until end-November, and is targeting sales of over 11,000 cars in 2014, compared just over 10,000 last year. Mercedes-Benz is likely to close the year with more than 11,000 cars in the Indian market — it reported sales of 7,529 units in the first nine months of 2014 and 9,003 in the whole of 2013.
BMW has not released sales data for the Indian market. The volume car segment that includes manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor expanded by a mere 3% in the current fiscal year, to 16.85 lakh units sold until end-November. Automotive financiers who work closely with companies say this year the uncertainty over continuation of excise rebate is adding to anxiety and could lead to higher retails for the luxury cars.
“December should be the best month for luxury car sales,” said Vyomesh Kapasi, CEO of Kotak Mahindra Prime, the auto loan arm of Kotak Bank. Analysts tracking the industry say luxury cars could see a hike of up to Rs 15 lakh on the final prices if the interim rebate on excise is withdrawn by the year-end. While any withdrawal of lower excise duty would hurt the auto industry, the luxury segment would be the worst hit, said Abdul Majeed, partner and auto expert at consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“For customers, this is the best time to have the double benefit of maximum discounts coupled with the lowest prices of 2014,” Majeed added. India’s luxury-car maker that also includes Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover and Sweden’s Volvo sold around 30,000 units in 2013. Sales are estimated to total 35,000 in 2014.