Mercedes-Benz evaluating local assembly of EQ models in India

Mercedes-Benz is stepping up its electrification efforts globally, with its worldwide line-up set to characteristic as many as 9, full-electric fashions within the subsequent few years. The German marque even turned the primary luxurious carmaker to carry an EV to India, with the launch of the EQC in October final yr, and the corporate is now evaluating the prospect of introducing additional fashions. “We have now not lastly determined ‘when’ and ‘what’, however we are going to, for positive, take one thing (from the worldwide EQ line-up) and in addition look into the potential for native manufacturing,” Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, instructed Autocar India in a latest interplay.

  • Mercedes will launch the flagship EQS sedan in India subsequent yr
  • Firm evaluating electrified fashions in decrease segments as properly
  • Native meeting of EQ fashions additionally on the playing cards

Mercedes mulling the EQ line-up for India

Mercedes already has the EQC SUV and EQV MPV on sale in worldwide markets. Earlier this yr, it took the covers off the EQA and EQB SUVs, in addition to the range-topping EQS sedan. Shifting ahead, the corporate plans so as to add the EQE sedan, and the EQE and EQS SUVs to its international portfolio. After which there’s the EQT MPV that’s slated to debut in manufacturing type later this yr. “So, the entire vary is filling up now,” mentioned Schwenk. Consequently, the corporate is mulling applicable fashions for our market. “We’re evaluating what works, based mostly on what we have now seen with the EQC (in India),” he added.

Autocar India has already revealed that the flagship EQS sedan will come to the Indian market someday early subsequent yr. Alluding to the launch, Schwenk mentioned that the EQS is a “sturdy risk for the model” in India. “I’ve really little question that it (EQS) shall be (launched) in lots of markets, and India might be one in all them as properly,” he continued.  

Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India: The EQS can have a really sturdy traction right here, however I’d not low cost different choices which we even have. There’s additionally an EQB, that’s a risk too.

Battery electrical autos carry a major mark-up over their inner combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, so it might be prudent to affect high-end fashions first, particularly with the entry-level luxurious section in India being fairly cost-sensitive. As such, a case might be made for adopting a top-down method for increasing the EQ line-up. Nonetheless, the Mercedes India chief harassed that the corporate is trying into all segments. “There’s a probability to do one thing in each section,” he mentioned. “I don’t assume we are able to ever say that we have now to take a look at a top-down technique solely.”

“I feel it is extremely conceivable that it (EQS) has a really sturdy traction right here, however I’d not low cost different choices which we even have.” Elaborating additional, he added, “There’s additionally an EQB, which I’d not exclude. That’s a risk too. So, give us time to see.”   

Introduced in as a full import, the EQC is at the moment priced at Rs 1.04 crore (ex-showroom, India). Introducing an electrical mannequin beneath the GLC-based EV may permit Mercedes to seek out extra consumers for its EQ vary. The corporate will, nonetheless, need to get the worth proper, which is one thing it may obtain with native meeting.

Coverage help for and buyer curiosity in EVs on the rise

Authorities’s help for electrification has spurred Mercedes’ EV plans additional. “We positively have traction on the coverage facet,” mentioned Schwenk. Incentives, like a lower GST and a complete waiver of road tax in lots of states, are already offering a fillip to EV adoption.

Furthermore, the Mercedes-Benz India MD famous buyer curiosity in EVs, even earlier than the EQC had made landfall right here. “We obtained fairly a couple of questions earlier than we even launched the EQC: “What’s Mercedes doing on the electrical (facet)? What’s coming? We wish to have cleaner automobiles.” So whereas we had been attempting to give attention to our BS6 engines, we may clearly see that there’s a buyer group growing (for EVs).”

Commenting on the expansion of the EV sector, he mentioned, “We predict there may be progress in it and we have now merchandise which is able to hit the client in a really constructive manner, like we have now seen on the EQC.”

Sturdy buyer response to the Mercedes-Benz EQC

Schwenk talked about that the corporate’s first try at an electrical car – the EQC – has been acquired properly, and it will form its EV technique shifting ahead. Nonetheless, he added, “It’s a area of interest car to principally open the market and be there for patrons who actually wish to go electrical now.”

Since its launch, the EQC has been retailed in simply Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. However the firm is engaged on increasing the community. “Although we began promoting solely in six metro areas, we are going to usher in all sellers within the foreseeable future, after which, we’ll gear up slowly, however certainly, to additionally be capable to promote different (EV) fashions,” mentioned Schwenk.

Taxation stays a problem

The Mercedes India head talked about that taxation continues to be a problem, particularly with full imports. “CBUs (fully built-up items) are nonetheless a major hurdle, as a result of there isn’t a benefit for bringing an electrical CBU versus an ICE.” He mentioned that any discount on the CBU import of electrical automobiles would assist develop the native market. “I hope that there can be a differential by way of import duties (on EVs and ICE automobiles) as a result of that would assist us usher in automobiles, see how they work, get some quantity and begin localisation.”

Furthermore, he talked about that the present incentives on GST and highway tax should proceed. “For electrical automobiles, you positively want (coverage) stability.”

There are a couple of different challenges that stay. Even within the luxurious section, electrification is way from mainstream, with an EV typically being the second or third car within the family. Schwenk added that the “general pandemic and provide chain state of affairs aren’t serving to sooner adoption both. However for those who have a look bit past this yr, then, I feel, there’s a actual probability that we discover good options.”

Additionally see:

Mercedes-Benz to push for EVs, not hybrids in India

Mercedes-Benz to debut six EQ models by the end of 2022

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