German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz, on Monday, started production of the second-generation GL-Class from its plant here, making India the only market to roll out the model outside the company’s SUV (sports utility vehicle) plant in Tuscaloosa, U.S.
'We saw good demand for the GL-Class ‘Launch Edition’, for which 100 units were sold within 15 days of launch. The local production will provide benefits to our customers in the form of easier availability as well as cost benefit,' Mercedes-Benz Managing Director and CEO Ederhard Kern said.
Priced at Rs.72.58 lakh (ex-showroom Pune), the model will be cheaper by about Rs.5 lakh than its ‘Launch Edition’.
Stating that the full-size luxury SUV was a fast-growing segment in India, Mr. Kern said the company had no plans to export the model from India.
'We expect GL will be one of our volume sellers. Hence, we have gone ahead with local manufacturing for the model,' he added.
Besides the GL Class, the German car-maker rolls out E Class, S Class, C class and ML Class models from the Chakan plant near Pune in Maharashtra.
The plant’s present capacity is 10,000 units, which will be increased to 20,000 units by next year.
The luxury car-maker has sold 3,765 units during the January-June period, a growth of 18 per cent over the same period last year.
The company is also witnessing a good demand for its A Class and B Class compact luxury cars, and is seeking more units of the two from the parent to meet the demand in India.
Both A Class and B Class fit very well in India. The two together have sold over 1,000 units since their launch.
The GL-class comes packed with features, including active park assist, cross wind stabilisation and 360 degree camera.