Mercedes-Benz India has rolled out its first locally assembled GLA-Class after expanding its Chakhan facility, located in the southern state of Maharashtra.
Mercedes-Benz invested INR 8.5 billion ($132 million) in the Phase I of the facility and a further INR 1.5 billion ($23 million) has been spent in building of the Phase II- where the GLA-Class and vehicles after it will be manufactured. This means that the German automaker’s total investment in India has exceeded INR 10 billion (more than $150 million), while it can assemble 20,000 cars annually – both being the largest numbers for a luxury car brand in the country.
“Rolling out our first ever locally manufactured GLA and commencing production from India’s largest installed luxury car production facility are two very significant accomplishments for Mercedes-Benz in India,” Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, said.
“These accomplishments are a result of our long-term vision for the Indian market and our relentless efforts towards creating a strong foundation for our business in India.”
The GLA-Class has been in high demand in India and is the first of Mercedes-Benz compact cars to be assembled outside of Europe. Meanwhile, it is the sixth car after the S-Class, E-Class, C-Class, GL-Class and the M-Class to be produced in India.
Kern added, “The GLA has been a sensation in the compact luxury SUV segment in India and has witnessed an increasing demand from across the markets. Buoyed by this rising demand for the GLA, we took the decision to commence its local production…The GLA would be the first of the New Generation Cars to be rolling out of our plant.”
Although Audi registered more sales in the financial-year of 2014/15, Mercedes-Benz is confident of becoming the leader in the luxury car segment in India by the end of this year. It is launching 15 new products in the country and has already overtaken Audi in the first-quarter sales for 2015- selling 3566 units compared to Audi’s 3181 units.
“We grew by 40 percent in the first quarter; the growth in the second quarter has been even steeper, so we are heading towards a very strong double-digit growth in 2015,” Kern added.
“With the start of a new plant, we are future ready. We think this market will touch 1 lakh cars per annum by 2020 and we will have a sizeable share in that.”
The GLA-Class class is available in both petrol and diesel variants in India but only the latter, which is badged the GLA 200 CDI, will be produced at Mercedes’ Pune facility at present. The company has claimed that 60 percent of the parts for the car will be procured domestically thus reducing manufacturing costs. This benefit has also been passed on to the customers.
The GLA 200 CDI Style, earlier priced at INR 3.275 million ($51,500) will now be sold for INR 3.131 million ($48,900). Meanwhile the price of the GLA 200 CDI Sport has been dropped from INR 3.69 million ($57,000) to INR 3.425 million ($53,500). However, it is unlikely that the localisation will be increased.
“Having higher than 60 per cent local sourcing of parts means you go into full-fledged production and not assembling. To begin full-fledged production, you need to have at least 70,000 to 1,00,000 units of sales for a model, which looks distant in the near future,” Kern stated.
The GLA 200 CDI sold in India is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, capable of producing 136 hp and 300 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. It competes with the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Volvo V40 and Range Rover Evoque for market space.
Meanwhile, the CLA-Class will be the next car to be assembled in India, as confirmed by Kern to local news-channel, NDTV.
“Yes, the CLA will be the next car to be locally produced at the Pune plant and we are looking forward to it. There was no timeline suggested for this but we can expect the announcement within a couple of months from now,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz India commences itsnew production facility with the roll out of the GLA
Pune: Mercedes-Benz India today accomplished a double feat celebrating the start of production of the GLA SUV at its manufacturing facility in Pune, as this milestone also marks the first time Mercedes-Benz is locally producing compact cars in its global assembly network along with sedans and SUVs. Beyond the Mercedes-Benz plant in India, this network comprises further locations in Thailand, Vietnam, Malayasia, Indonesia, and will be joined by Brazil in 2016 where a new assembly plant is currently under construction. The brand’s Pune production facility has an installed capacity of producing 20,000 units annually, and also carries an investment of over INR 1000 crores, both largest for any luxury car brand in India.
The honorable Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated the new production facility of Mercedes-Benz and drove out the first-ever GLA “made by Mercedes-Benz in Pune”. Present on the occasion were Shri Prakash Javadekar, Honorable Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change; Shri Subhash Desai, Honorable Industry Minister, Maharashtra; Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India and Piyush Arora, Executive Director, Operations, Mercedes-Benz India.
Mercedes-Benz will be producing the GLA in the 200 CDI variant from the Chakan production facility. The GLA remains one of Mercedes-Benz India’s highly successful models and a key product in Mercedes-Benz India’s product offensive. With the launch of the GLA, Mercedes-Benz bolstered its dominant position in the Indian luxury SUV market, offering the widest product range for its customers. The GLA redefined the segment and created a whole new customer group who preferred a stylish SUV that reflects their personality. Progressive in design, serene in day-to-day motoring and with good off road capability: the Mercedes-Benz GLA reinterprets the luxury SUV segment in a very convincing style. The vehicle exudes self-confidence and revels in its sporty dynamic design, cutting edge drive systems and unparalleled standard of luxury as well as safety which is unique in the segment. The GLA has been witness to an increasing customer demand since its launch across markets. The local production of the GLA will further enhance the value addition for the Indian customers and continue the GLA’s popularity in the Indian market.
Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India commented, “Rolling out our first ever locally manufactured GLA and commencing production from India’s largest installed luxury car production facility are two very significant accomplishments for Mercedes-Benz in India. These accomplishments are a result of our long-term vision for the Indian market and our relentless efforts towards creating a strong foundation for our business in India. Our endeavors are all driven by our customer centric approach, as we believe in creating enhanced value for them. The GLA has been a sensation in the compact luxury SUV segment in India and has witnessed an increasing demand from across the markets. Buoyed by this rising demand for the GLA, we took the decision to commence its local production and cater to even more customers wanting to own this stylish vehicle. The GLA would be the first of the New Generation Cars to be rolling out of our plant. The local manufacturing of the GLA and the commencement of production from our new facility, not only makes us ‘future ready’ but also gives us a competitive advantage in the dynamic Indian luxury car market. Mercedes-Benz India is on the right growth path and we are confident that we are creating a better future for the brand in India.”
The GLA’s modern four-cylinder engines with turbocharging and direct injection are mated to a 7G-DCT 7 speed dual clutch transmission. The 2 litre diesel engine produces a maximum output of 100kW (136 bhp) between 3600–4400 rpm with a maximum torque of 300Nm between 1600-3000 rpm. It accelerates from 0 to 100 kmph in 9.9 seconds with a top speed of 205 kmph. The GLA 200 CDI is the most efficient SUV in the segment with a fuel efficiency of 17.9 kmpl. One of the various functions through which the class leading fuel efficiency is reached, is the unique-in-class ECO Start Stop function featured as standard. The ECO start/stop function operates particularly effectively, rapidly and quietly in the GLA-Class.
Mr. Piyush Arora, Executive Director, Operations, Mercedes-Benz India commented, “Our state-of-art production facility which is a benchmark in quality and technological advancement in manufacturing and has been the backbone of our growth in India. The high level of refinement and implementation of advanced technology and flexible processes ensures our production quality conforms to the most stringent global Mercedes-Benz standards, and creates new benchmark in manufacturing for the luxury car industry in India. With the sixth model now added to our local production portfolio, we are even better positioned than before to cater to the increasing market demand for our fascinating products. We will continue our local value addition and make the best of global products available for our discerning customers in India.”
Production highlights of the GLA:
The GLA 200 CDI production involves the use of latest technology in Mercedes-Benz India’s world class new production facility. The production involves using technologically advanced synchronized conveyor systems, use of latest generation PLC control units for all equipment which provide adaptability with different models on common production lines, thus increasing the flexibility of the production. Standard processes from across the value chain right through the finished car production are followed under stringent quality environment. The use of technology enabled processes like EMS–Transfer, production lines with latest generation controllers, X-road–Dynamic testing and programming of cars, frequency controlled measurements for accuracy, shower testing cabin–for simulation of real rain test, high pressure jets and dynamic movement of cars etc. are all benchmark and helps deliver the highest quality products that roll out of the assembly lines from the Mercedes-Benz production facility in Chakan.