Financial Express reported last week that Mercedes Benz has expressed interest in assembling the new M-Class and GL-Class in India. Mercedes Benz is encouraged by the response both these products evoked in 2010. They clocked 523 units in this segment (2009 = 140units) which is a titanic 273% growth.
The GL and M-Class are brought to India presently through the CBU channel. The SKD operation (Semi-Knock Down) will be adopted for these two utility vehicles in 2011.
While the GL Class is expected to continue its life in the current form, the new M-Class is awaiting its debut at one of the motor shows in 2011. The new model is expected to change in all fronts and will take the fight to Audi Q5 and the BMW X5 with fresh exteriors, reworked mechanicals and new interiors.
The M's current wheelbase will be maintained while the overhangs will be trimmed. Mercedes Benz noted the replacement model will focus on efficiency instead of outright performance, which will be its performance division AMG's task.
To achieve a tree-hugging result on a vehicle resembling a hippopotamus, Mercedes Benz is working on a hybrid powertrain for the ML which will debut as the ML450 Hybrid.
For the European market, a 204hp 2.2-liter 4-cylinder petrol motor is going to be available on the lower trims, while the larger V6 gasoline unit will sit under the hood of the top-end model.
We have to wait and see if the locally assembled M-Class will drive up volumes for the company. A lot will depend on the engines and level of equipment.
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Information Source - Financialexpress.com