Mercedes-Benz has started rolling out its first locally manufactured GL-class SUV from its Chakan plant in Pune today. India is the first country to locally produce the GL-class after Mercedes’s mother plant in Tuscaloosa, USA.
The local manufacturing results in the GL-class getting a more affordable price tag of Rs 72.58 lakh as opposed to the launch price of Rs. 77.5 lakh .
It comes with a 2987cc V6 diesel engine that puts out 258bhp at 3600rpm and 63.2kgm at 1600rpm, which is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. This translates to a 0-100kph time of 8.9 seconds.
With compact cars being one of the most dynamic segments in the country, the luxury carmaker plans to pay more attention to the rising demand in this vehicle category.
Eberhard H Kern, MD and CEO, MBIL, said: "We have had a very successful year so far and are expecting to witness double-digit growth in 2013. We plan to focus on new products and on expanding our dealership network across the country. We have asked our headquarters to allocate us more A- and B-class cars as we are witnessing substantial demand for these models. Further, it won’t be wrong to expect that we may plan to roll out the CLA and GLA compact cars in India in the near future."
Company sources also revealed that the manufacturer has earmarked an investment of Rs. 250 crore to boost its production capacities. The carmaker currently has a network of 58 dealerships across 32 cities and it plans to add another 10 to the number by the end of the year.
For more, read our review of the Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI.