New Delhi, July 10: German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz on Friday reported a 55 per cent decline in sales in the first half of the year at 2,948 units in India amid COVID-19 related challenges. The company had sold 6,561 units in the January-June period last year.

Mercedes-Benz India said it witnessed positive momentum in June 2020 sales, which showed first signs of a gradual recovery buoyed by a rejuvenated SUV portfolio that accounted for 57 per cent of total sales in the month.

Commenting on the performance, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Martin Schwenk said, "We are glad to witness a slow movement from previous months and we expect this trend to gather momentum."

He further said, “Run-out of some of the key BS-IV volume models and also COVID-19 related restrictions lead to sales challenges in H1." With online sales focus continuing to be the 'new normal', he said, "Our online sales platforms under the #MercFromHome campaign have been receiving strong customer traction ever since its launch. With more than 8,000 leads in the second quarter, this is an encouraging sign as it underscores an emerging trend in the customers' mind shift towards digital consumption of luxury cars."

On the outlook, Schwenk said, “We remain cautiously optimistic as we gradually ramp up our sales amid the prevalent market challenges triggered by the pandemic...However recovery will be slow and we currently expect customer sentiments to revive going forward, though the market conditions would continue to remain challenging."

The company will further grow its product portfolio in the next couple of months, he said. "The availability of BS-VI volume models, the launch of new models combined with an expected revival of customer sentiments should help create demand," Schwenk said. With Unlock 1.0, Mercedes-Benz India and its dealer partners' current priority remains the safety and health of their employees, customers and suppliers, the statement said.

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