After a relatively quiet 2019, Mercedes-Benz India has decided to step on the gas in 2020 with an aggressive product strategy to maintain its stranglehold over the luxury car market in the country. The German marque kick-started the year with as many as four product launches in quick succession in the first quarter itself, and moving forward, it is looking to further build on the momentum.
Heading Mercedes’ product offensive in the country will be key volume drivers such as the A-class Limousine and the second-gen GLA, both of which were showcased at Auto Expo 2020. Commenting on the upcoming models during a recent #LiveWithAutocar session on Instagram, Santosh Iyer, vice president, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz India, confirmed the entry-level sedan and crossover are slated for a launch later this year, in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
A-Class Limousine launch in Q3 2020
The A-class Limousine will replace the CLA and serve as the entry-point into the luxury carmaker’s India portfolio. Compared to the outgoing four-door coupe, a key differentiator for the A-class will be the improved comfort and space for rear seat passengers. The sedan will be offered with petrol and diesel engine options, and there’ll also be the hot AMG A35 which is powered by a 306hp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine. The A-class will likely be priced in the Rs 32-40 lakh bracket (ex-showroom), with the souped-up AMG positioned much higher up the price ladder.
New GLA launch in Q4 2020
Coming in Q4 2020, the second-generation GLA aims to build on its predecessor’s success with a more upright stance and muscular styling on the outside and more tech and space inside. The GLA will be offered with petrol and diesel engines, and will be positioned at “a price-point of Rs 40-odd lakhs,” confirmed Iyer. A more potent, and more expensive, AMG-branded GLA 35 with 305hp could be on the cards as well.
The upcoming sedan and crossover will be key inclusions in Mercedes’ India line-up and serve as vital replacements for the CLA and previous-gen GLA whose discontinuation earlier this year has had a significant impact on the company’s sales numbers. Anticipating customer interest, the automaker has already opened bookings for the new models on its website.
GLS will be first launch after lockdown ends
Despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, Mercedes remains bullish on its product plans for 2020. “We are committed to launch every new car that we said at the start of the year. There is no stoppage in terms of our investments when it comes to new products, but it all depends on when the lockdown gets lifted. Maybe as soon as it gets done, we can all focus on the new car production,” commented Iyer. As such, the brand has lined up the new GLS for the second half of the year and confirmed that it will be the “first new car launch that comes post the lockdown”. Touted as the ‘S-class of SUVs’, the new generation of Mercedes’ flagship SUV will be available with both petrol and diesel engine options and carry a sticker price of over Rs 1 crore (ex-showroom).
All-electric EQC launch pushed
Another model that Mercedes will add to its portfolio soon is the all-electric EQC. Originally slated for a launch this month, the electric SUV’s price announcement has been rescheduled for early in the second half of 2020 due to the ongoing lockdown. Confident about a strong response from potential customers, the company is positioning the EQC as more than just a niche offering. Essentially based on the conventionally-powered GLC, the battery-electric vehicle gets a twin motor setup capable of pushing out a total of 407hp. With an 80kWh lithium-ion battery pack, driving range is pegged at 400km on the WLTP cycle. Expect prices to be in the range of Rs 1.5 crore (ex-showroom).
With the EQC slated to arrive as a full import and rest of the models to be brought in as completely knocked-down (CKD) units, the global health crisis has certainly complicated matters for Mercedes. However, the automaker reports its German plants and the transportation and logistics channels to be slowly opening up, which should bode well for its India plans in the coming weeks. Exciting new launches could just be the key to boosting consumer sentiment and bringing back demand to the paralysed market.