Plan to double capacity

States luxury car market is doing better than the total market.
Plan to double capacity


Mercedes-Benz India has launched its G63 AMG in the country at Rs 1.45 crore (ex-showroom Mumbai), replacing the G55 AMG that was launched two years ago. The longest serving vehicle in series production, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, is now the youngest vehicle in its portfolio. In its 34th year of series production, the iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Class continues its blazing success trail. Equipped with even more luxurious interiors, discreet modifications in design and styling, enhanced safety features, new infotainment system and a powerful 5.5 litre supercharged AMG engine to boot; the G63 AMG made its debut in a glitzy event at the nation’s economic capital today.

Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India in conversation with Saniya Seth shares the plans for the new launch.

Saniya Seth (SS): Taking into consideration last year and the big discounts that were offered, is Mercedes also going to get into the same space?

Eberhard Kern (EK): Mercedes-Benz doesn’t get into discounting schemes. For us it is all about value, we offer our customers value for money. It can be more expensive therefore our customers can expect more. We recommend all our dealers not to go for discounts but for value.

SS: What are the expansion plans in terms of production?

EK: We locally assemble four models − S-Class, E-Class, C-Class and the new ML, and in the middle of this year we will add a fifth model as well in Chakan. We are going to expand our factory. Currently the capacity is 10000 units and we are looking to double the same when we expand.

We have the Mercedes-Benz research and development in Bangalore, where we have 1000 developers. This is the biggest development entity outside of Germany.

SS: How do you map the launch of G63 AMG in the country?

EK: It is a very fascinating launch. We have teamed up with Fox Studios and this week the new Bruce Willis ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ is releasing all over India and in this movie there are several Mercedes-Benz models involved but the hero, the car hero is for sure the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon. So it’s a very exciting launch and I am very much looking forward to the preview.

SS: How do you see the luxury car market in the current year?

EK: I believe the luxury car market is doing better than the total market. You will see a kind of upgrade in the market, this happens in developing countries everywhere and it will happen in India as well, so we are slightly optimistic and are looking forward to the year 2013. This is the year of Mercedes-Benz offensive, with four pillars which are new products, investment into the dealer net, best total cost of ownership in the luxury segment and fascination.

Of course we have to see what the budget will be like this year – taxation on cars in India is very high if you compare it to international standars and I hope there will be an ease in taxation. I do not expect any increase.

SS: What are the variants and the price points at which G63 AMG would be available in India?

EK: It is available only in one variant that is 5.5L V8 petrol engine and is only available in one price range, depending on the state taxes and the regimes it will be slightlya plus minus.

Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India