German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz is looking at assembling more models locally to rev up volumes in India, a country which is expected to feature among the top 10 markets for the company by 2020.
Eberhard Kern, managing director and chief executive officer, Mercedes-Benz India Ltd (MBIL), said, "We assemble the C-, E-, S- and M-Class vehicles at our facility in Chakan currently. From August onwards, we would assemble the GL-Class SUV in India. We are investing Rs 250 crore to double production capacity to 20,000 units by 2014. We plan to use the capacity mid-term and would decide on adding more models for local production by the beginning of 2014."
The capacity addition would be backed by aggressive product launches to push up volumes for the company.
"The overall passenger vehicle market in India is expected to grow to seven million units by the end of the decade from the current 2.6 million units. The share of luxury vehicles is estimated to increase to four per cent of the market from the present 1.2 per cent. The potential is huge. We expect India to be among our top 10 markets by 2020", added Kern.
To increase its presence in the luxury vehicle segment, the company on Tuesday launched the new E-Class model, priced between Rs 41.5 lakh and Rs 44.4 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The company is offering a special launch edition of the new E-Class at Rs 50 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The E-Class would be followed by a diesel version of sports tourer B-Class in August and the new S-Class sedan later this year.
Overall, the company is looking at reducing the time gap between the global showcase of a new model and its launch in India as part of its aggressive business strategy for the country.
"The new E-Class was showcased globally in January at the Detroit auto show and commercially launched in Europe in March and in June, it is in India," Kern said.
The new E-Class is available in both, petrol and diesel options. While the petrol version is powered by a two-litre engine, the diesel has a 2.2-litre engine.
The E-Class is the flagship model for Mercedes-Benz. Globally, the company has sold 11 million units across five generations of the
E-Class. In India, in the first quarter of the calendar year, the E-Class accounted for 40 per cent of the 2,009 units sold by the company.
More sales outlets
With the A-Class clocking in 400 bookings since its launch earlier in May this year, and the new E-Class is now adding on to its product offering.
MBIL is targeting a double digit growth in sales this year from a total of 7,138 units sold in 2012. To scale up volumes, the company is strengthening its distribution network and plans to add on 10 sales outlets by the end of 2013.
Currently, it has 57 showrooms in 32 cities across the country. While metro cities Delhi and Mumbai contribute 45 per cent to the total sales of MBIL, the rest come in from the remaining locations.
The company is adding new outlets in Vadodara, Kozhikode and Bhubaneswar, among others this year.