Mercedes-Benz GLE
Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV was sold out exceeding the target, says the premium carmaker. The delivery of about 600 vehicles for Dhanetras may help put to rest worries of an economic slowdown.

Reports that German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz's Indian arm delivered about 600 luxury cars during the past week for the Dhanteras have revved up the feeling of a turnaround in the auto sector that has been plagued by the slowdown. Reports show that the carmaker delivered about 250 cars in the National Capital Region alone pointing to the return of liquidity in the market. There has been considerable demand from Mumbai, and Pune in Maharashtra, Kolkata in West Bengal, and cities of Punjab and Gujarat, the automaker said.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut the repo rates five times in a row

"The festive season has been satisfactory for us and we are glad to see an overwhelming response to our products from across markets. We are excited to see the response to the current GLE, which sold out three months ahead of the plan," said Martin Schwenk, managing director, and chief executive, Mercedes-Benz India. The impressive number of deliveries during the festive season reiterates the increasing customer confidence, he said.

Mercedes-Benz delivered more than 200 cars in Mumbai and Gujarat for the Dasara and Navratri, a report on the Livemint website said.

Market liquidity

Meanwhile, the report said the German premium carmaker has opened bookings for its new SUV GLE. Mercedes-Benz said that it sold out its first batch of the SUVs three months ahead of the target because of high demand. Now it has opened booking for its new version, which is expected to be launched in India before Auto Expo 2020. Mercedez-Benz has sold about 13,000 GLE cars since the off-roader was introduced in the Indian market, the company said.

Maruti Suzuki's plant at Manesar
Cars are seen parked at Maruti Suzuki's plant at Manesar, in the northern state of Haryana, on August 11, 2019. The economic slowdown has resulted in the auto sector cutting back on production and laying off thousands of employees. Reuters

The sales numbers are good news for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who has unveiled a slew of measures to boost market liquidity and drive demand to support growth. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut the repo rates five times in a row to increase market liquidity. Sitharaman has directed banks to conduct loan fairs that in their first-round sanctioned nearly Rs 80,000 crore in a bid to boost up the economy.

Worries of a general slowdown have gripped the nation amid a projected fall in gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 5.8 percent. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party government has also been struggling to improve the job scene amid its promise of making India a $5-trillion economy by 2025.

The auto sector has been bearing the brunt of the slowdown with top carmakers Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors being forced to cut back production, laying off thousands of employees. The auto sector's woes have been traced to the liquidity crunch resulting from the collapse of several non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) amid what is said to be a banking crisis following an increase in non-performing assets (NPAs).