Seeking to capitalise on the recent surge in demand for its products as it battles to regain the number 1 position over BMW and Audi in India, Mercedes Benz has rolled out its high-end off-roader, the GL Class, from its Pune plant. This is only the second location outside the GL's mother plant in the US to make the SUV.
The locally produced GL Class is priced Rs. 5 lakh cheaper than the imported completely built units (CBU), at Rs. 72.58 lakh.
GL is the fifth Merc model to be assembled in India, after the C Class, E Class, S Class and M Class."Local production will ensure faster availability of vehicles in the market and cost benefits for customers," said Eberhard Kern, MD, Mercedes Benz India.
Mercedes is working towards expanding its plant capacity from 10,000 to 20,000 units this calendar year with an additional investment of Rs. 250 crore.
By launching the GL Class, Mercedes Benz has sought to address the niche market for high end off-roaders. "The full-size luxury SUV is a fast growing segment in the Indian automotive industry," Kern said.
The company said it had brought in 100 units in the CBU route when it launched the vehicle in May, which got sold out within 15 days. The GL Class is pitched against the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 in the upper end of the luxury SUV segment.