‘We have found an ideal solution with the Mercedes SLC 43 AMG package’

Swati Khandelwal Jain | Updated on January 18, 2018 Published on July 31, 2016

ROLAND FOLGER, MD, Mercedes Benz India

The new sporty luxury car comes in lower tax bracket, with good suspension features, says Roland Folger

Mercedes Benz has launched sporty luxury car SLC 43 AMG, priced competitively at ₹77.5 lakh. The model sports a 3-litre v6 engine mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox and picks up from 0 to 100 km per hour in just 4.7 seconds. Speaking to BTVI, Mercedes Benz India Managing Director Roland Folger said the new model is going to find a lot of customers than the company anticipates. This is because it offers a more attractive financial package — it comes in a lower tax bracket albeit with the AMG suspension package (shifting, steering wheel, host steering components and brakes).

What’s your expectation from the new Mercedes SLC 43 AMG?

Well, it is basically a new update. It will take the AMG to an even larger group of customers.

Talking about the pricing, the SLC 43 AMG carries a tag of ₹77.5 lakh. What are the sales numbers that you would be looking for? Have you already imported these models or started booking?

I think we would be too early because, frankly speaking, the customers usually wait until we have the price out. So we will hopefully see the influence that our order intakes make very soon. The price is extremely attractive and that, in combination with a sporty luxury brand of AMG in combination with Mercedes, is going to find a lot more customers than we anticipate.

Right now, what is the contribution of the overall AMG range to your portfolio? Where do you see this grow with the way Indians are accepting performance-oriented cars?

I think what we have seen in the last 12 months — and the best way to describe it — is we have five AMG performance centres among dealers throughout India. And this would not have happened if there had not been a substantial amount of vehicles to back it up as well, as it involves quite of a lot of investment for the dealers. They have to specially train people, preserve area only for AMG, and be able and willing to take customers to Germany for special test drives and for events that we create. The AMG portfolio has increased. We have now introduced the 10th vehicle under the AMG line with this. We have found an ideal solution with this package that makes it now much more attractive financially because it breaks the under-3-litre segment, putting us into a different tax bracket. Now, suddenly you can drive an AMG with the AMG suspension package — the shifting, steering wheel, host steering components as well as brakes. So you get the best of all goods.

Mercedes posted a record 32 per cent jump in sales to 13,502 units in the year ending December 2015. What’s your growth forecast this year? Do you think you will be able to see similar numbers as in 2015 or will it be higher?

It’s difficult thing to say at this point. Legally speaking, we are still not out of the woods. This year, we still have the diesel vehicle ban in existence. But we are hopeful, with the traditional strong second half of the year with all the festivals and marriage season coming up. We are very much bullish that we can compensate some of the loss of the first half in the second half.

Published on July 31, 2016
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