Mercedes Benz plans to sink in INR 850 crores into India expansion plans; Assembly of M-Class and GL-Class SUVs to begin soon
Over the next couple of months, German luxury car marque, Mercedes Benz, will expand its Indian operations by beginning CKD assembly of the 2012 M-Class SUV, that was launched earlier this year in India. The 2012 Mercedes Benz M-Class SUV will be the latest car to be assembled in India, at Mercedes Benz’s Chakan plant, off Pune. Incidentally. Indian assembly of the 2012 M-Class SUV is quite significant in that it represents the second only instance of the M-Class being assembled at a foreign location, apart from the United States and the home base of Germany.
The assembly of the 2012 M-Class in India is expected to reduce prices of the SUV, which currently sells for a steep INR 66 lakhs. CKD assembly will see the M-Class’ price falling to INR 56.9 lakhs, which is a good 9 lakhs lower than the CBU price of this SUV. In early 2013, Mercedes Benz will also begin assembling the top-of-the-line GL Class SUV at Chakan along with the entry level B-Class sports tourer. While the GL-Class will be an all new model that will be launched in 2013, the B-Class sports tourer is expected to be launched in the next few weeks. The B-Class will be Mercedes Benz’s least priced car model in the Indian car market.
In 2013, Mercedes Benz is also expected to launch another entry level model, which will sit below the B-Class, in the form of the A-Class sports hatchback. This model too will be assembled in India. So, the INR 850 crore investment that Mercedes Benz is sinking into the Chakan unit is expected to result in the assembly of a wide variety of cars, dramatically expanding the variant line up of the German brand in India. Also, Mercedes Benz SUVs, by becoming less pricey are expected to take the fight up to Audi’s range of Q3, Q5 and Q7 crossovers, which currently lead the Indian luxury SUV segment.
Currently, Mercedes Benz assembles three car series in India, in the form of the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class luxury sedans. Mercedes Benz will also establish an in-house paint shop in Chakan, and this move is expected to speed up production. Currently, Mercedes Benz India has been using the paint shop of Tata Motors for painting its cars and this has resulted in slower production. Currently, Mercedes Benz trails behind competitors and compatriots, BMW and Audi, as the third largest luxury car maker in India.