Mercedes Benz B-Class is a stop-gap to slow down BMW X1 in India?

06/09/2011 - 08:43 | ,  ,   | Kaustubh Shinde

As IAB readers are aware, BMW dominates the luxury car market in India. It is especially shocking when you know that BMW entered India a few years ago and the fallen giant Mercedes Benz has been around since ages with over 35,000 of its cars on our roads.

With effective marketing strategies and a portfolio of unique products, BMW India has managed to stay ahead of the competition. Three key products have helped BMW win the top slot – corporate 3 Series, BMW 5 series and the hot selling BMW X1.

A couple of other reasons why BMW India have outrun Mercedes is they have priced their products at lower levels (both brands are uttered in the same breath) and there's the uncontrollable factor called as "brand fatigue" which is like the wrinkles on human skin - you can't control age and its effects!

Mercedes Benz B-Class side

The X1 has been the cherry of the eye for BMW. In the recent months, the X1 has sold more than all other BMW products put together. Mercedes Benz is aware that in order to take the market leader position back they need a competitor for the X1. Considering Audi is also set to launch the Q3 by early next year, the three-pointed star needs to bring something to the Indian shores quickly.

Mercedes Benz B-Class interiors

‘Quickly’ is a problem because Mercedes’s GLC (a BMW X1 rival) has still not entered the testing phase in Germany. The expected launch of the GLC is 2013 or 2014 which is years away. Until then, Mercedes India cannot bleed its market share to the rivals. To overcome this situation Mercedes India has devised a cunning plan if a report on Live Mint has to be believed.

Mercedes Benz B-Class rear

The report says Mercedes India will launch the 2012 B Class MPV in June 2012 to compete with the BMW X1 until the GLC is ready. The new B Class was recently unveiled on the internet and the Full Monty will be shown at Frankfurt Motorshow in coming days. Surprisingly, the GLC which is the actual competitor of the X1 also uses the same platform at the new Mercedes B Class.

A source close to the development told Live Mint -

The idea is to give an option to the customers against BMW’s X1 sports utility vehicle (SUV) before we bring in a right-hand drive (version) of the GLC—the X1’s global competitor—in 2014, The car can be cost-competitive only if it is assembled locally. Talks are at an advanced stage with headquarters, and a final decision is expected by the end of this year.

Mercedes will also display the new B Class at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2012 to gather valuable feedback from its prospective customers.

We have comprehensively reviewed the BMW X1 to its every detail. We have also brought you loads of details on the Mercedes B Class right from its testing phase to its official launch.

So would you buy the Mercedes B Class over the BMW X1? Can a MPV compete with a crossover? Is the buyer then purely looking to buy a brand and not a car?

[Source - LiveMint.com]

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