The luxury car market in India has become very competitive. After crossing the 30,000 sales mark in 2014, brands are expecting double-digit growth this calendar year.
Mercedes-Benz India sold 10,201 units last year and impressed by the historic figures, the German car maker will launch 15 new models in India in 2015, following a market strategy of ’15 in 15′.
The CLA-Class made its entry into the market in January, while the C220 CDI was launched in the month of February. Moving ahead with its portfolio, Mercedes-Benz India launched the 2015 B-Class Facelift in Mumbai.
“We pioneered luxury touring in India with the B-Class and this paved the way for our success in the segment,’’ Eberhard Kern, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, said.
“The new generation cars [A-Class and B-Class] play a significant role in our product strategy and in 2014, accounted for 20 per cent of our sales and will continue to grow.’’
The updated version was first displayed at the 2014 Paris Motor Show and is already on sale in the global markets. Two models- B180 Sport and B200 CDI Sport- will be available in India.
In terms of the exterior styling and design, the B-Class brandishes a new, sportier bumper and a revamped grille. The headlamp clusters have LED rings around them, which give the car a modern look. The new version is 34 mm longer than the outgoing version and its face looks like that of the new C-Class.
Moving over to the rear, there’s a new bumper, LED taillights and a chrome stripe that hides the tail pipe. The B-Class also comes with new pair of side-skirts and an option of 16 or 17-inch wheels with a new set of alloys that look better than the old ones.
Inside, the quality of the materials has been improved and the car is brandished with an elegant touch of luxury. Some buttons have been craved from metal to beef up the look. The multi-function steering wheel and the 8-inch high-res COMAND screen are similar to the C-Class. The dashboard gets a carbon-fiber finish and there is ambient LED lighting with a choice of 12 colours.
The car is equipped with cruise control, powered driver seat, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, seven airbags, flexible seating configuration, two USB ports, bluetooth connectivity, ABS with EBD and brake assist, anti slip regulation (ASR) and electronic stability programme (ESP).
There is lots of space in the rear and the boot volume stands at 488 liters.
The customers will be able to choose between a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder petrol motor that churns out 120 bhp and a 2.1 liter, four-cylinder diesel engine that puts out 135 bhp. Both the engines will transmit power to the front-wheels of the car through a 7G-Tronic automatic gearbox. The fuel efficiency for the diesel variant has been increased.
The B-Class will arrive in India as a CBU (Completely Built-up Unit).
However, with the Chakhan facility nearly ready, Mercedes-Benz India hope to localise the assembly of the car within the next few months.
As a luxury MPV, the B-Class has no direct competition but it comes across as the entry level Mercedes.
The A-Class is slightly cheaper but the price difference is nominal and the B-Class is more equipped in terms of size-making it an attractive option for the Indian households. Its style appeals to the youth and the car has an admirable fuel efficiency, making it a cost effective purchase.