Both the CLA sedan and GLA SUV are important products for Mercedes-Benz that will compete in the aggressive compact luxury segments and locally assembling the models will give the automaker a competitive edge in terms of pricing.
The compact luxury vehicle space has been doing phenomenally well for Mercedes-Benz India with the company having registered 20 percent of its last fiscal’s sales from the A-Class and B-Class in its lineup. Despite the fact that both the models are direct imports, customers have not been bogged down by the optimistic pricing and are ready to shell out that extra for the exceptional styling and the coveted three-pointed star available at a budget. However, Mercedes is planning to get even more aggressive with the compact luxury segment and will locally assemble the upcoming CLA sedan and GLA SUV in the future.
Set to launch by the end of this month, the GLA compact SUV will be the first to come to the country and will initially be launched as a completely built unit (CBU). With the market favouring SUVs, the GLA is a direct rival to the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 in the segment and comes with petrol and diesel engine options along with four-wheel drive as standard. Mercedes is also likely to launch GLA’s performance derivative the GLA45 AMG at the same time but will be brought in as a CBU considering the limited volumes.
The CLA sedan on the other hand is a boot equipped version of the A-Class and will be competing in the aggressive entry-level luxury sedan space. Based on the same MFA platform as the other models, the CLA will be competing against the all-new Audi A3, Toyota Camry, Skoda Superb and the likes in the same space. While the company has already launched the CLA45 AMG performance version earlier this year, the regular CLA-Class sedan will only make it to the Indian shores in the first quarter of 2015. Given the aggressive pricing the A3 has been launched with, Mercedes would want to keep the prices competitively similar.
In a bid to reclaim its lost market share from BMW and Audi, Mercedes-Benz has been on an offensive this year with back-to-back launches in the luxury and performance segments alike. The German manufacturer most recently launched the V6 powered E350 CDI in the country, while the last launch expected for the year will be the facelifted E-Class cabriolet. 2015 will see Mercedes launch the updated C-Class sedan in India. The company is also working to expand production capacity at its Chakan facility to 20,000 units per annum.
Source – Autocar