This is the story behind the story. Few people in Germany (and the world over) must’ve heard of the quaint city-town of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, before it became a gold mine for Mercedes. You heard it right, and here’s how I hear it happened.
It started with a group of doctors with flourishing businesses in Aurangabad, consulting each other on which car to buy. Like most Indian households, the consideration set comprised Tata and Honda, until someone upped the notch a little and proposed buying a Mercedes. The closest Mercedes showroom was in Bombay, and as the docs prepped for their trip, word spread among their network of professionals. By the time the trip materialized, 75 doctors, lawyers & businessmen from Aurangabad had decided that it was time to buy a car!
Can you imagine how the sales folks at the Mercedes showroom in Bombay must’ve reacted on hearing of a bulk purchase of 75 cars? Or better still, their headquarters in Germany, especially given that BMW lures a large majority of the elite car owners in India?
The Mercedes headquarters considered the request for a bulk discount and the need for a service center in Aurangabad, and came back with a proposition: If the group of professionals from Aurangabad could up the number of buys to a hundred, Mercedes would give them a hefty discount per car and open a showroom & service center in the town.
India never ceases to surprise. Post the proposition, a whopping 150 people from Aurangabad jumped on the Mercedes bandwagon, got a fat discount of a few lakhs on each car, and by citing Mercedes as collateral, even managed to lower the bank interest on their car loans from 12% to about 7%!
Thus rolled 150 Mercedes and an exclusive showroom into Aurangabad, little drumroll please!