German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz on Thursday said it will launch more electric vehicles (EVs) in future than the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in India, but also added that petrol and diesel engine cars will continue to sell in India.
The company is also launching its first plug-in hybrid GT 63 S E-Performance in India as a completely built unit (CBU) this year, Matthias Luehrs, Head of Region Overseas, Mercedes-Benz AG, told reporters here.
Talking to select mediapersons, he also said that Mercedes Benz’s plant in India (Pune) will remain as a Completely Knocked Down (CKD) plant as the volumes are still low here compared with other developed markets.
“In order for us to think about production or exports, it depends on the business plan or the finance plan. At this particular moment, we don’t see any needs to further to increase our production capacity because we have enough production capacities worldwide – whether it is the US, German plant or the China plant – in terms of production, we have enough. And, the Indian market does not require for us to have a production (100 per cent) other than CKD facility,” he said.
Having said that, he also added that over time, if the company needs more production capacity then will ‘obviously’ look into the Indian facility because it is one of the important markets.
For production, he said, there is a minimum requirement of three-lakh units per annum, including the domestic and export markets. “From the existing plants (from the US, Germany and China), we have enough capabilities for the next five-to-eight years from worldwide perspective,” he said.
Top 5 markets
He also said, India is the fastest growing market globally and fifth in volumes for the overseas region (except US, Germany, China, UK and some Western European markets which are treated as separate markets).
India, with around 16,000 units in 2022, is in top five counties in terms of growth in this region after South Korea (around 80,000 units per annum), Japan (around 50,000 units), Australia (around 25,000 units) and Turkey (around 18,000 units).
Talking about regulations and higher import duties for imported cars and CKDs here, Luehrs said that the company is open for negotiations on free trade agreements (FTAs) with European Union.
“We are always open and negotiating in FTAs to see benefits from all sides – for the Indian side as well as European side to have more free trade that we are very open and we are obviously part of the talks,” he said.
Asked about investments in India, Luehrs added that both the research and development centre in Bengaluru and Pune plants have enough talents and capacities, so there wouldn’t be any requirement for fresh investments for the next five or 10 years.