To be sure, it was the largest ever bulk sale of Mercedes-Benzes in a region known more for farmers’ suicides. In one single transaction, all the 150 lookers worth Rs 65 crore were sold out with the salesman earning himself a hefty commission.
A group of young entrepreneurs comprising builders, industrialists, doctors and other professionals had come together. Initially, a few of them who knew each other decided to buy the luxury sedan, and then began actively involving their friends and relations.
“They wanted to put Aurangabad in the big league and there is no better way than to buy a Mercedes-Benz in their individual capacities,” said Wilfried Aulbur, managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India.
The proud owners of these luxury cars – their prices ranging between Rs 30 and Rs 70 lakh – said the objective behind acting in unison was to give Aurangabad a different recognition in the world. And of course, it provided them great bargains also. Mercedes-Benz earlier believed that Ludhiana was the hot spot for selling its automobiles.
The company sold 3,220 cars in India in 2009, and expects to post double-digit sales growth this year.
“We did not get together and place a bulk order for a discount. Companies generally look at bigger cities for investment, but smaller cities like Aurangabad have good infrastructure too,” says Rishi Darda, one of the buyers who belongs to the Darda group which runs Lokmat chain of newspapers.
The bulk order for the swanky cars was placed in March-April this year.Better known on the map as a tourist destination because of its famous Ajanta-Ellora caves and Daulatabad fort, Aurangabad has seen rapid industrialisation in the past two decades, with the arrival of Bajaj, Videocon and Skoda.
But for outsiders, Aurangabad is still synonymous with backwardness and communal tensions. And to jettison that image, the group of industrialists, lawyers, doctors and even mediapersons came together to form an informal “Aurangabad Group.”