The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 19 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mercedes to double capacity

Calcutta, Feb. 18: Mercedes Benz India is set to double its production capacity to 20,000 units annually by the end of 2013, managing director and CEO Eberhard Kern said.

The company’s total investments will go up to Rs 850 crore by 2014, Kern, said. He was in the city today to launch Mercedes’s dealership, Benchmark Interkrafts.

Mercedes has invested in a new paintshop that will produce 20,000 cars per year. At the same time, the company will overhaul production of its completely knocked down (CKD) and semi-knocked down (SKD) units to 20,000 by the end of the year to bring it on a par with the paintshop capacity. At present, the capacity of the Mercedes plant at Chakan in Pune is 10,000 units.

The car maker assembles its C, E and S and ML-class at Chakan. It will start SKD production of the GL-class once it is launched in June. Mercedes plans to launch its hatchback A-class in both petrol and diesel versions and the diesel model of B-class in June. The car maker will, however, sell them as completely built units (CBUs).

“This is because our mother factory for A and B-class are overbooked and it will take some time for them to manufacture the kits for SKD production,” said Kern.

Mercedes, which currently holds the third position in premium car sales, sold 7,138 units in 2012 against 7,300 units in 2011.

Elaborating on a new sales strategy, Kern said, “We are launching a four-pronged offensive driven by products that will see the launch of the A-class (petrol and diesel versions), the diesel version of the B-class, the GL-class and the G-63 AMG.”

“We are augmenting our dealership network that will take our total sales points in the country from 56 to 62 outlets in 2013. We are also focussing on the ownership experience by offering a 3-year warranty, roadside assistance, financing and leasing options. And finally we are building on the fascination brand by offering the MB Drive Performance programme,” he said.

Mercedes will continue to launch products in the new generation cars platform, which includes the A-class, the B-class, the CLA and the GLA.