German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has appointed a new head to lead its Indian subsidiary, as current MD and CEO, Roland Folger, moves to pursue a new role within the company after the completion of his three-year term in October 2018. Folger, who will take charge of Mercedes’ operations in Thailand and Vietnam, will be succeeded by Martin Schwenk, CFO of Mercedes-Benz China from November 2018.
With Folger at the helm, Mercedes-Benz India strengthened its position as the country’s highest-selling luxury carmaker by gaining a significant lead over rivals BMW and Audi. Moreover, under his leadership, Mercedes became the first carmaker to launch a locally assembled BS-VI-compliant vehicle in the country, two years ahead of the government deadline of April 2020.
Highly rated by company insiders and dealer principals, Folger is considered to be one of the best CEOs to have steered Mercedes in India. He has also proven to be one of the most outspoken CEOs in the auto industry as he reacted strongly to the various policy changes and flip-flops by the government, which affected the long-term planning of most carmakers.
Martin Schwenk has held various positions in finance and controlling in several locations, including Germany, South Africa, Austria and the United States. He has a good understanding of the systems of retail, dealer network and most importantly, dealer profitability.
“In 2017, Mercedes-Benz India achieved sales history by crossing the 15,000 annual sales number,” the statement said.
Reflecting on his stint in India, Folger said:”I am very satisfied about Mercedes-Benz India’s strong leadership position in the market and our relentless efforts in creating new benchmark in customer delight.”
On the prospects of his new role in India, Schwenk said:”India’s rich cultural diversity, the young population, the diverse customs, different languages and topography together with its importance as a future economic powerhouse makes it a compelling market to grow the business.”