We organised a live chat on Twitter with Mr Eberhard Kern, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, yesterday, where users got a chance to engage in an open discussion about the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class in India. Questions poured in right from the word go, and the answers came in thick and fast too. Here is a summary of the many conversations Mr Kern engaged in with the users.
First things first, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class will be the next product to roll out from the Stuttgart-based manufacturer's stables in India. Set to take on the likes of the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1, the company says the GLA will be priced above the ₹ 30 lakh mark. Just so you know, Mercedes-Benz India already has the A-Class luxury hatchback and the B-Class sports tourer in the ₹ 20-30 lakh bracket.
The addition of the GLA means that Mercedes-Benz will have a product in practically every premium luxury segment. Furthermore, this also means that the company will have the most number of affordable luxury cars in India. When asked about this and the company's plans for the year, Mr Kern said that the number of vehicles doesn't matter. He said Mercedes-Benz's focus is the quality of products and the niche segments that it has targeted gives them a strategic edge.
The availability of features, especially safety-relevant features was also quite a popular question. Mr Kern explained that other than the 215Km/h of top-speed (GLA 200) and a wide range of luxury accessories, the GLA-Class will also offer seven airbags in its list of safety provisions.
Delving deeper into the details about the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Mr Kern added that the compact luxury SUV will arrive in India via the CBU route initially. However, the ratio of localisation will grow as the years pass. As far as the production capacity is concerned, the expansion of the company's Chakan plant is almost done. This means the facility's output will grow to 20,000 units annually from the current 10,000.
When asked about finance options for the car, Mr Kern said that the finance options provided by the company are straightforward. That said, Mercedes will also provide necessary help to its customers at each stage. Oh, and bookings for the GLA-Class are already open and interested people can visit their nearest Mercedes dealership to book one for themselves.
Finally, the focus shifted to other Mercedes-Benz products, the ones with the 'Coming Soon' label to be precise. So we had to ask about the CLA-Class sedan. He said that the CLA is about 5 months away from being launched in the country.
That, ladies and gentlemen, sums up the interesting conversation with Mr Kern last night.
P.S: If you missed our exclusive review of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, you can watch it here: