'We're middle-class. Even I can't afford...': Gadkari’s request to Mercedes-Benz

Published on Oct 01, 2022 04:37 PM IST

Nitin Gadkari was speaking at the Mercedes EQS 580 4MATIC EV launch in Pune. The German maker's newest electric car is priced at ₹1.55 crore.

Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari. (Facebook)
Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari. (Facebook)
Written by Sharmita Kar | Edited by Swati Bhasin

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday urged German premium car maker Mercedes-Benz to manufacture more cars locally so that more “middle-class” people in India can afford it. Speaking at the rollout of Mercedes-Benz India's first locally assembled EQS 580 4MATIC EV in Pune's Chakan manufacturing facility, Gadkari joked that at the current price, even he cannot “afford” the luxury car.

The union minister of road transport and highways, Gadkari, who has been actively encouraging India's transition to alternative fuels, said there was a huge market for electric vehicles in the country and that producing them locally would reduce the cost besides increasing affordability.

“You increase the production, only then it is possible to reduce cost. We are middle-class people, even I can't afford your car,” the minister said.

With express highways coming up in the country, Gadkari added, Mercedes-Benz India will get a good market for these cars.

The Mercedes EQS 580 4MATIC EV – the German car maker's latest electric – comes with a price tag of 1.55 crore. It joins the company's EV SUV range.

Mercedes-Benz India started its electro-mobility drive in India with the launch of its all-electric SUV EQC as a fully imported unit in October 2020, which was priced at 1.07 crore.

There are a total of 15.7 lakh registered electric vehicles in the country, the minister said. The Indian automobile size currently stands at 7.8 lakh crore and "my dream is to make it a 15-lakh crore industry", he noted.

Gadkari also mooted the idea of Mercedes-Benz setting up joint ventures for establishing vehicle scrapping units. “As per our records, we have 1.02 crore vehicles ready for scrapping. We have only 40 units. My estimate is that we can open four scrapping units in one district. And so easily, we can open 2,000 such units,” he said.

“My suggestion is that you can set up some such units which will give you raw materials for recycling which will reduce your component cost by 30 per cent.” The government is encouraging such facilities, “and it is important that we will get cooperation from your side”, the minister said.

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