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"We faced the challenge of an incomplete portfolio"

Roland S Folger, MD & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, talks to Chanchal Pal Chauhan about how he attained pole position in India's luxury car market.
twitter-logo Chanchal Pal Chauhan        Print Edition: December 20, 2015
Roland S Folger, MD & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India
Roland S Folger, MD & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India

Q. What was your strategy for regaining leadership in the luxury market?

A. We faced the challenge of an incomplete portfolio. Also, we required a fresh design language. While we were highly successful in retaining our loyal customers, we were assertive in our conquest for new customers. The strategy for successful comeback to the No.1 position in India was based on consolidating our areas of strength and at the same time working extra on emerging opportunities.

Q. How did Mercedes implement the strategy to regain leadership?

A.Mercedes-Benz has been in India for the last 21 years. We decided to create a new benchmark in the luxury market by introducing a new body language for all our products. Simultaneously, we pioneered many new segments in the luxury car space to keep customers attached to the brand. We also maintained a price premium from competitors as we offer only feature-rich and top-of-pyramid products.

Q. How is the Indian consumer different from other global consumers?

A. After spending a good deal of time working in the overseas market, one thing I can confidently say is that Indian customers are highly value driven. They are more value driven than price conscious, as the perception often is. They are well-travelled, aspirational, successful and want the best of luxury experience. They are well-read and want that their purchase be on par with customers in mature markets.

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