Mercedes-Benz: Manufacturer of the Year
There are three problems with statistics. One - they don't reveal the entire story. Two - you have to take the manufacturer's word for it. And three - it takes research and hard work to get them. So you see why we don't like them. But then, they exist.And according to the numbers, as of last year, Audi claims to be the highest-selling luxury carmaker in India. BMW has refused to report its sales figures to India's car industry body because the manner in which the car industry body collects the data is not as per BMW's global policy. In all this, Mercedes has been doing what any car manufacturer should be doing in the first place. Bringing more cars here.In 2013, Mercedes brought in the A-Class, the updated E-Class, the all-new India-assembled GL, the updated E63, the SLK AMG and the G63 AMG. And as the year unfolds, you will have the brand new S-Class, the CLA, and possibly, the much-awaited GLA. In all of that, Mercedes has increased sales by 31 per cent as of September 2013. So that's done. Launch a lot of cars, record some growth, get an award.What sales charts and press launches don't reveal though, is the massive shift in Mercedes's line of thought. You see, for a long time, Mercs were bought by people who had heard legends about their build quality and about Mercedes cabs all over the world clocking in millions of kilometres in their lifespan. Individually. Its design, with those amoebic headlamps and tiny emblem jutting out of the tip of the bonnet, had become a staid staple. It was as if Mercedes was almost afraid of itself.Until now. Now, the Mercedes three-point star is big, loud and sits proudly on all its grilles. Its design and styling convey a freshness and energy befitting the name that invented the automobile and the supercar. With the A-Class, Mercedes has invented the premium hatch category in India, and its cars are now the nicest to drive amongst the three Germans. Its steering feels nice, it rides well, handling is neutral, quality is consistent and the design language is at its peak.Above all is that massive star on the grille. Confidence doesn't get any bigger than that.