We are at the Mercedes' Plant in Chakan Pune on invitation from Mercedes-Benz India and we had put forward few questions to MB India's MD & CEO Mr. Eberhard Kern. The conversation is as follows.
Q: What are the variants of the new S Class can we expect in India?
A: I'm very happy that we will have full range of models based on the new S Class generally. It is not only a coupe but also the cabriolet. We are right now in the process of deciding which model to bring to Indian market. This project is not completed yet, but you can be sure that it will be the brand icon...It is still work in progress, but it will be diesel, it will be petrol.
Q: Mercedes Benz has never been in the Rs.25 lakh segment before. What do you think are the biggest challenges for you as you move into the segment with the MFA products?
A: Good question! The new generation cars as I will call it started with the B Class petrol. Here it depends very much on which model we are talking about. The target group you address are different ones. The B Class is a sports tourer, very flexible car. Looking at the A Class, the target group is quite different. It's for self drivers, it's for young professionals, it will lure more and more female customers, it's a very stylish and friendly car...this to certain degree creates new customers for the Mercedes brand.
Here the challenge is, they (target customers) might not have thought about Mercedes so far. We have to get into their mind, need to find a way to get in touch...another interesting target group is in the closer environment of our existing customers.
Q: The A Class which was launched last year has racked up about 90,000 bookings in Europe. Do you think that will be an hindrance in Indian market because you wont be able to bring in enough vehicles?
A: If you launch new models, you can't avoid it. We try to balance this as good as possible...I don't know right now how big the demand will be in India, hopefully we can satisfy every one in a reasonable period of time.