Luxury car manufacturers Mercedes and BMW clash for India dominance

Isaac Mostovicz writes that India's position as the new battleground for luxe brands could be the beginnings of an industry shift...

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India has become a battleground for the luxury industry, with both BMW and Mercedes competing for the spot of top luxe car brand in the country.

This year BMW plans to launch three new luxury brands in India, according to the Press Trust of India. BMW India President Peter Kronschnabl told reporters:

“BMW Group will further increase its commitments in India by bringing in more investments in the country through further capital investment in BMW plant in Chennai and BMW Financial Services India.”

This move likely comes in response to recent overtures by Mercedes aiming to regain the top spot in India from BMW. In the India Times, Mercedes Benz CEO Wilfried Aulbur explained why he thought Mercedes fell behind BMW in 2009:

“We lost out BMW in 2009 because of limited availability of our E-Class car” … “This will be a blockbuster year for us in India. We have launched new cars and would import several models to build up excitement through the entire year.”

I wrote previously that luxe brands are now finding themselves competing for dominance in non-traditional luxe markets, particularly in Asia. This is just an extension of that. Meanwhile in China, luxe car brands are also doing battle for market dominance, particularly Audi and BMW.

While the West continues to recover from the crippling recession, Asia will continue to grow its luxe markets, thanks in part to newly-wealthy Lambda personalities now throwing their wealth around. With all the uncertainty in the luxe industry today, one thing is certain: 2010 will be a very interesting year for luxe in Asia.

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