Mercedes Benz India, subsidiary of the German auto major, supports SIAM’s view of excluding automobile sector in the proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) with European Union. Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has opposed this proposal as bringing down duties for cheap import may devastate the domestic players resulting in job risk. The company said if FTA comes into effect for the auto sector, they may consider making Chakan as an export destination.
Eberhard H Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes Benz India said, "We are completely in line with SIAM position. If FTA comes in, we will discuss how to utilize our plant for optimum output. Exports from our Chakan plant could be one option at that time. We are quite flexible having our own factory here and having factories around the world. We believe in India and believe in our production here. The Chakan factory is a 100 per cent Daimler entity and we will find solutions for its optimum usage (if and) when FTA is implemented."
Kern also said that the Rs. 850 crore investment plan of the company is on track which includes expansion of the production capacity and introducing new models. Recently, the company launched its largest showroom covering 60,000 sq. ft. area.
Kern added "It was not so normal situation that all the three German biggies (BMW and Audi) are in one market. Nothing went wrong for us. Moreover, one cannot have a monopoly for a long time. We want to be the number one again by 2016 in India in terms of products, brand, profit and also volume.”
In the near future, the company plans to launch the entry segment cars with a price tag of Rs. 20 lakh and above.