German luxury carmaker Mercedes Benz on Tuesday launched the performance-oriented AMG version of its upcoming entry-level sedan, th e CLA, priced at Rs. 68.50 lakh, in a bid to pre-empt customers a fortnight before the launch of arch-rival Audi’s upcoming A3 sedan.
Mercedes said it would bring the regular version of the CLA by the end of this year with an expected starting price at below Rs. 30 lakh.
Audi and Mercedes are locked in an intense fight for leadership position in India. Mercedes sold 9,541 units in 2013-14, closing in on Audi, which sold 10,126 units during the fiscal year. Audi is hoping that the A3 sedan, which is expected to be its cheapest offering in India and due to be launched on August 7, would help it steer well clear of the competition.
The company expects doubledigit growth in sales this year and has already expanded capacity at its plant in Chakan plant to 20,000 units annually to meet demand in the country.
“The CLA has been launched in Europe, US and some markets in Asia and there is a fight for allocation of that vehicle but we can confirm that we will launch it here within the next 6 months,” said Eberhard Kern, managing director and chief executive officer, Mercedes Benz India. “This is the first time we are launching the AMG version of a car before the regular version as we believe it will set the right foundation for the series version.”
Powered by a 2-litre, four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, this is the most affordable AMG model in India. It develops a peak power of 355 bhp and 450 NM torque.
“We have seen a rising demand among our growing young customer base for a stylish and high performance car, which makes a strong personal style statement adding practicality of everyday use simultaneously,” Kern said. The car will be imported as a completely built unit from Germany.