KOCHI: Heading the Indian operations of German automaker Mercedes-Benz is not a small achievement.
Santosh Iyer, the managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz, India, is the first Indian to hold the post in the company’s 26 years of operations in India.
Originally from Thrissur, Santosh grew up in Pune. He said that it’s a matter of honour, pride, and joy to head the operations of the company in India.
“I left Kerala at a very young age and my family was based out of Pune. I did my studies in Pune. But I still cherish being a Keralite. I have spent close to 14 years with Mercedes-Benz and it’s a really big privilege to lead the team,” Santosh Iyer said in an interaction with TNIE in Kochi on Thursday.
He added that Mercedes-Benz has been registering robust growth in the state in the last few years. Kerala registered a growth of 59% last year when compared to 41% for India.
“Kerala has bounced back from Covid-induced slowdown. We are looking forward to a double-digit growth in the state’s market where the demand for our top-end luxury cars priced above Rs 1 crore is growing rapidly,” he said adding that the company is on the cusp of a big change in terms of launching electric cars and sustainability.
“There is no better time to take up the challenge and drive the company towards the future. We see a lot of repeat purchases in Kerala because people have trust in our customer service. We are getting a lot of new younger customers aged below 40 in the state. We sell a significant number of GLE and GLS models here. We have sold over 10,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in Kerala and on average the state contributes 5% to 6% of total sales in India,” Santosh added.
According to him, Mercedes-Benz has decided to set up one of the world-class 50,000 sq ft Mercedes-Benz Coastal Star ‘MAR20X Experience Center’ in Kochi considering the growing demand for its top-end luxury cars in the state.