After outpacing its peers in India and defying the sluggish economy in 2013, German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz on Wednesday launched the new version of its top-of-the-line saloon, the S Class.
The company has brought just the top-end variant of the nameplate, the S500, at stiff price tag of Rs. 1.575 crore. It claimed it has received 125 bookings for the car, which is powered by a 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine. The S500 will compete with the top end versions of BMW 7 series and Audi’s A8.
Though the market for such cars in India, at 500 units per annum, is small, they are believed to be significant brand shapers for the car makers.
The first lot of S500s would be directly imported from Germany, but the company will start assembling the car in India later this year, when it will introduce lower-priced variants.
“This is just the premium version of the car and we are already booked for this. But we have started bookings for cars to be delivered in April,” said Eberhard Kern, managing director and CEO, Mercedes Benz India. “Those cars would have both petrol and diesel engines with different prices and specification.”
Mercedes’ India sales grew by 32% in 2013 year-on-year, helping it close the gap on market leader Audi, which grew by 12%.
The Stuttgart-based company confirmed that it would bring the compact sedan CLA and crossover GLA to India.
One of these would be launched this year.
“I am confident we will see another double-digit growth this year though it will not be as high as 2013,” Kern said. “One of the two (CLA or GLA) would make it to India. I can’t say which one would come first.”