Mercedes-Benz plans to launch 50% more cars in India in 2015, compared to 2014. The company is betting big on the Indian luxury car market and has aggressive plans to boost volumes.
If 2014 was aggressive for Mercedes with its ‘Year For Excellence’, 2015 is even more aggressive with its ’15 in 15′ strategy. The German automaker sold more than 10,000 cars last year and plans to keep the momentum going by launching 15 new products, that’s significantly more than what they did last year with the introduction of 10 new models. Mercedes plans to take numero uno position in the luxury car market of India and 2015 is ‘Live the Best’ year for the Stuttgart based brand.
Mercedes-Benz will not only continue its product onslaught but will also work on improving the experience of owning a three-pointed star. The company will open 15 new dealers (along with 3 AMG Performance Centres) which will ensure it maintains a big lead as far as network size in the luxury car market goes, taking total outlets to 80. It will also further improve the experience of customers with the ‘Luxe Drive’ initiative that will involve driving, fashion and food experiences. The focus will also be on ownership costs and maintenance packages will be offered to lure first time buyers to the brand.
A special maintenance package called ‘Star Care Ease’ for Mercedes’ compact cars is being offered which covers all costs of upkeep of the vehicle for the first 20,000 kms, costing Rs. 1.99/- per km. 3-year warranty is being offered under ‘Star Care’ for all Mercedes cars. The company recently expanded its plant capacity to 20,000 units and will start locally assembly of its MFA range of cars (making an investment of Rs. 150 crores), starting with the soon to be launched CLA. This will result in big duty saving as the import tax will be under 40% as opposed to 167% on CBUs. The automaker will also increase the use of solar power at its state-of-the-art plant in Chakan, near Pune.
So what are those 15 cars which are coming in year 2015 from Mercedes-Benz? The first launch is the CLA which is scheduled for the 22nd of January. The rest 14 are likely to be the diesel C-Class, E400 Cabriolet, CLS facelift (with a diesel engine), B-Class facelift (locally assembled), C63 AMG, S400 Hybrid, GLE (ML-Class facelift including the coupe version which will rival the BMW X6), GLS (GL-Class facelift), GLS63 AMG (ML63 AMG facelift), GLS63 AMG (GL63 AMG facelift), A-Class facelift (locally assembled), Viano, S-Class Maybach and the AMG GT.
The S63 AMG and S65 AMG are ruled out for the Indian market as they use Magic Body Control which uses radar frequencies on public roads which is banned in India. The S-Class Coupe (and its AMG variants) won’t be launched here either due to the low demand for a luxury coupe. Meanwhile the next generation GLK, to be called GLC (which will be available in RHD) won’t be ready before 2016 and same is the case with the upcoming new G-Class.