With the race for the top spot among luxury carmakers heating up, Mercedes-Benz is switching strategy in India. Much like rivals Audi and BMW, the company has lowered the price point at which you can own a three-pointed star. To this end, it has launched the A-class petrol (Sport trim), at a price of Rs 22.73 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). And most significantly, the driver-focussed A 180 marks a change in Merc’s traditional approach – targeting the self-driven rather than the chauffeur-driven luxury car buyer.
What’s more, the company will have the first-mover advantage in this segment, as rival BMW’s luxury hatchback, the 1-series, is expected here only later this year. The biggest hurdle in Mercedes’ path, however, is that Indians generally associate luxury cars with saloons, and more recently, SUVs. So the A-class’s success here hinges on more car buyers starting to accept premium hatchbacks as luxury offerings.