As Mercedes India plans to restore its long lost era of supremacy, the carmaker is betting big on local assembly to reduce the cost of the purchase. The company is planning to invest Rs 350 crores in the Chakan plant to add two more production lines.
These production lines will be used in the roll out of 4-5 new models which will be assembled in India instead of being imported as a CBU.
The models that are being considered for local assembly include long wheelbase versions of the C and the E Class (finally!), soon-to-come B-Class MPV, A Class hatchback , M-Class (2012) and the GL-Class (2013). The ‘GLC’ – a small crossover currently being developed to challenge the BMW X1 is also under consideration for local assembly.
Currently, only the C, E and the S Class are assembled in India. Rest of the portfolio is directly imported as a CBU thus attracting sky-high custom duties. With the CKD operations, the German carmaker is expecting to reduce the cost of purchase for the customers. The cheaper cost of purchase will attract more customers thus helping Mercedes to dethrone BMW in the next two years.
In the future, Mercedes Benz plans to fully manufacture their cars in India. The carmaker plans to take up investment to Rs 1,000 crore on the car side by 2014-15.