Mercedes-Benz India on track to launch 10 models this year

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on June 17, 2020 Published on June 17, 2020

Martin Schwenk , MD and CEO Mercedes Benz India. (file photo)   -  PTI

Rolls out new version of GLS SUV priced at ₹99.9.lakh

The luxury car market has resilience and there will be a revival in demand during the festival season, said Martin Schwenk, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.

The company launched its largest and most luxurious SUV, with its newest generation of the GLS — popularly referred to as the S-Class of SUVs — on Wednesday. The Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d, the diesel model of the SUV, and its petrol counterpart 450 4MATIC are priced at ₹99.90 lakh (ex-showroom, India, except Kerala). The new GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase over its predecessor (3135 mm, an increase of 60 mm), offering more space (87 mm), especially in the second seat row, which can furthermore be adjusted fore and aft, the company said.

Speaking to BusinessLine, before the digital launch of the SUV, Schwenk said, “In prior situations, we have always seen that the luxury market at the top end of the segment has shown some resilience. And you might consider, for example, our AMG and dream car segment grew 54 per cent in 2019 vis-a-vis 2018. ...I would assume that the luxury market has resilience and will come back. I'm hoping towards the festival season.”

Schwenk also said though he expects 2020 to be riddled with challenges, he is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, due to the gradual opening of the economy post lockdown.

On the company’s focus areas at times of current crisis, he said apart from ensuring employees’ safety, it is also ensuring that sales are happening on both its online and offline platforms and that the right financial offerings are being meted out. “And we have 10 products lined up for this year. So, we are on track to launching these cars. And I am hopeful that some of it will also create a bit of positive sentiment.”

The ‘STAR EASE’ service packages for the new GLS 450 4MATIC starts at ₹82,100 and ₹98,800 for the GLS 450 4MATIC for 2 years/unlimited km.

There’s no change in strategy as such, he added. “We continue with the assumption that we will, in the middle and long term, see more and more growth in India.”

He said if the industry gets around to have a “ relatively normal festival season”, next year will witness remarkable growth. But, this depends on whether there would be more lockdowns and whether there would be some stability going forward.

On the government’s economic revival packages, he said there could have been more measures to create demand, at least a temporary reduction in the GST rate.

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Published on June 17, 2020
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