Eberhard Kern – New S Class in India by early next year, B180 CDI in the next few weeks
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On the sidelines of today’s Mercedes A Class launch, Mr. Eberhard Kern, MD and CEO of Mercedes Benz India, spoke to us about the next few launches marked for India.
Starting with the new S Class – Mr. Kern believes that the new S Class (codename – W222) would make its way into the Indian market by the beginning of next year. The car was just unveiled two weeks ago and global sales are yet to commence.
The next launch from Mercedes India would be the B Class diesel. As Indian Autos Blog revealed in a previous post, the B Class diesel would carry over the same 2.2-liter diesel engine producing 109bhp of power from the A Class. This engine conforms to the Euro 4 emission norms and has no problems firing Indian quality fuel.
Mr. Kern confirmed that the car would be launched in the ‘B180 CDI’ trim “in the next few weeks”. Another Mercedes Benz official has told Indian Autos Blog that the launch is slated in June. The current B Class is available only in petrol guise and sells about 50-60 units a month.
When asked about the refreshed E Class (which was unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show and global deliveries having already commenced), Mr. Kern refused to comment. He told us that the current E Class is selling very well and was in fact the best selling Merc in India this year, selling over 800 units since January.
So would Mercedes India start the local assembly of the A and the B Class soon? That has “not yet been decided” says Mr. Kern. The Chakan plant at present assembles four models (C-, E-, S- and ML-Class) and the new GL Class will also be made locally after September this year. Meanwhile, the plant is under expansion and it should have a capacity of 20,000 units per annum from the start of 2014. Mercedes would then take a call about the local assembly of the A and the B Class.
Speaking about their performance oriented offering, the AMG range, Mr. Kern said that the A45 AMG, which happens to be the smallest and most affordable AMG, would not be introduced in India. The car was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show (see our live shots) with a price tag of 49,000 euros.
By 2016, Mercedes India would complete their product portfolio which would include cars such as the CLA Class, GLA Class and the next generation GLK Class. Mercedes expects 40% of their sales to come from these cars by 2020.