Mercedes-Benz India is expanding its portfolio of cars assembled in India. The company is all set to launch the S 500 through the CKD route in India to expand its Made-in-India cars. Mercedes-Benz has also lined up 10 new launches for 2014, two of which will be unveiled at the Auto Expo.
The ML 500, which is their first high-level protection SUV, will be showcased at the expo. The ML 500 is aimed at both government and private use, Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO Eberhard Kern said. The ML 500 will be launched through the completely-built unit (CBU) route as the volumes will not be big. The CLA 45 AMG and the GLA concept car, too, will be on show.
The S 500 has been coming to India through the CBU. But going by the demand the S 500 has generated, the company is assembling it in India and for the first time it will assemble the eight cylinder S Class here, Kern said.
“We will get the first car out of the assembly plant in March or April,” he said. Currently around 85% of its cars sold in the India market are made in India and this share is likely to go up as the company completes work on expanding its plant. It is competitive in the long term to have your own local assembly, Kern said.
Mercedes-Benz India is in the process of expanding annual capacity of the Chakan plant from 10,000 units to 20,000 units as part of its Rs 850-crore investment plan. The expansion of the factory is in its final stage and we will soon take a call on which cars to assemble in India, Kern said. He hopes to have a double-digit growth this year.
After 19 years of operations in India, Mercedes rolled out its 50,000th car. The first car rolled out from the plant on March 31, 1995, and the 50,000th rolled out from Chakan on Tuesday. This was marked by the launch of a C-Class Grand Edition. The C Class is one of the largest selling in the mid-sized luxury car segment. The C-Class Grand Edition is priced at Rs 39.16 lakh for the diesel and Rs 36.81 lakh for the petrol variant.