Santosh Iyer, currently Vice-President – Customer Services and Corporate Affairs, Mercedes-Benz India, is set to take over from Michael Jopp as the Head of Sales and Marketing from July 1, 2019.
Iyer did a six-year stint as the Vice-President (Marketing and CRM) before being elevated to the position of Vice-President (Customer Services and Corporate Affairs). In this role, he was responsible for establishing Mercedes as the No. 1 luxury car brand in aftersales quality, which is a key reason for the brand’s sustained success in India.
While Michael Jopp, who finishes his two-and-a-half-year stint in India, will move to Malaysia in July, Iyer will be succeeded by Shekhar Bhide, the current Vice-President of Quality at Mercedes-Benz India.
It is significant that Mercedes has appointed an Indian in the top sales and marketing position, which is likely because of Indian executives' nuanced understanding of the market. However, this isn't a first for the company.
The German carmaker continues to maintain a significant lead in India's luxury vehicle segment, and ended 2018 as the country's highest-selling luxury carmaker for the fourth consecutive year. It holds around 40 percent market share in the luxury vehicle segment, which is estimated to have sold a little over 40,000 units in India last year.
In calendar year 2018, Mercedes-Benz India sold a record 15,538 units, posting growth of 1.4 percent over the 15,330 units sold in 2017. Growth was led by the long-wheelbase E-class, which remained the highest-selling model for the brand in 2018. The carmaker also witnessed healthy demand for the C-class sedan and the GLC was its highest-selling SUV.
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