Mercedes-Benz is planning an all-out assault in the coming year with three all-new models and a fourth to follow soon after.
Leading the charge will be Eberhard Kern, Mercedes-Benz India MD and CEO, who stated he was happy with the acceptance of the new-generation cars and believes that there is a lot of potential in the sub - Rs. 30 lakh segment in India. The carmaker registered a 58 percent year-on-year sales growth for the July to September 2013 period, selling 2,696 units as against 1,703 units for the same period last year. In comparison, rival Audi sold 2,545 units in the same period – pointing to the fact that Mercedes has momentum on its side. And it plans to keep this momentum going with a new model blitz.
The flagship S-class saloon will be the first to debut in its range-topping 449bhp V8 S 500 guise. The carmaker will introduce this car in India via the CBU route and some dealers in Mumbai have already started taking bookings. This high-tech luxury saloon will go head to head with BMW’s 7-series, Audi’s A8 and Jaguar’s XJ. The car is slated for a late December-early January launch. Mercedes will follow it up with the launch of the S 350 CDI V6 diesel, which will account for the majority of sales and will be assembled in India as a CKD, as well as some other engine options.
Soon after the launch of the S 500, Mercedes will bring in its CLA compact saloon. It is the third model on Mercedes’ front-wheel-drive MFA platform after the A- and B-class.
Next up will be another MFA platform-based SUV, the GLA (Audi Q3 and BMW X1 competitor) in 2015, and the GLK SUV (Audi Q5 and BMW X3 rival) in 2016.
This model onslaught could propel Mercedes-Benz to the position of leading premium luxury car maker in India again. And it doesn’t end there. “By 2020, we will have 13 new models in the market without any direct predecessor. These will be brand new models and quite a number of them will come to India,” said Eberhard Kern.