This Article is From Aug 15, 2013

Mercedes-Benz India demands more A-Class, B-Class cars from parent

Mercedes-Benz India demands more A-Class, B-Class cars from parent
New Delhi:

Mercedes-Benz India is seeking an increase in the number of allocation of compact luxury cars - A-Class and B-Class - from its parent in Germany to the country to meet the robust demand for such models.

The company, which will take a final decision early next year on assembling of its new generation cars, including the the two models, in India, is also looking forward to introduce other global compact vehicles, CLA sedan and GLA sports utility vehicle.

"When we launched the A Class there were doubts if India was ready for such compact luxury cars. Going by our experience, we can say India is ready. Today one out of every four Mercedes-Benz cars sold in India is a compact car," Eberhard Kern, managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, told PTI.

He, however, did not share sales details as the company has stopped sharing monthly numbers.

In the April-June quarter this year, the company sold 1,756 units as against 1,327 units in the year-ago period, up 32.32 per cent.

The company had launched two variants of the A-Class compact car in India in May this year at an introductory price of Rs 21.93 lakh and Rs 22.73 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai) and had received 400 bookings within 10 days of launch. The B-Class was launched in India last year but the diesel variant of the model was launched in July this year.

"Today we have an average waiting period of about two months of the A and B Class cars. We have asked the headquarters for more allocation for these cars for India considering the demand here," Mr Kern added.

Mercedes-Benz India imports both the cars, which are manufactured at the parent's Rastatt plant in Germany. Stating that India has been identified as a strategic market by the parent, he said, "The worldwide demand for these cars is huge but we have been assured that India is priority by the headquarter."

When asked if the A-Class and B Class models would be assembled in India, he said a final decision on which additional models would be assembled in India will be taken early next year.

"We are investing Rs 250 crore on doubling the Chakan plant capacity to 20,000 units by next year. The idea is to assemble more models here," he said, adding the models from the company's new generation cars (NGC) including A Class and the B Class are among the candidates.

On the company's ongoing product offensive, he said Mercedes-Benz' compact vehicles, CLA sedan and GLA sports utility vehicle will make global debut later this year.

"Once1 these are available in the global market, we will be working to bring these models in India," Mr Kern said, without specifying a timeline. He said despite the slowdown, the company has been able to strengthen its position in the Indian luxury car market.

"We have said we will not be in the numbers game and would rather focus on sustainable profitable growth. We have done that and at the same time we have also been able to increase our volumes. Strong brands do well even in the time of downturn and we will continue to focus on it," he said.