German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz will assemble more models in India with an eye to becoming more price competitive in the world’s second-fastest growing car market, a top executive of its Indian unit said.
Mercedes-Benz India, the wholly owned subsidiary of Stuttgart-based Daimler AG, will start assembling the B-Class hatchback and the M-Class SUV at its Pune plant later this year to benefit from the lower tax regime for locally-produced vehicles. The plant’s capacity of 15,000 cars a year will also be enhanced.
"We will strengthen our local sourcing to control costs and offer the luxury of Mercedes cars in the sub- Rs 25 lakh category," said Debashis Mitra, director, sales & marketing. The carmaker plans to sell more than 25,000 cars in the country in the next five years and most of the new cars would be made in India, Mitra added.
Benz aims to launch five or six new cars in India in the next three years, of which the A-Class and compact GL-Class SUV will be rolled out in 2013.
Benz recorded a 30% jump in sales in 2011 to 7,430 units, trailing BMW’s 9,400 cars sold in the same period. Luxury carmakers are betting on smaller cars after the success of X1, BMW’s compact SUV.
"There is a big potential for smaller luxury cars as India is maturing into an evolved car market. We have plans to roll out higher number of cars at the right price preposition, and tune up our dealer network," Mitra said.