Bengaluru: Luxury car maker Daimler AG, popularly known for its Mercedes-Benz cars, will be launching its entry level, A-class, small family car in the Indian market this June, in both petrol and diesel variants.
The car is expected to be priced lower than the B-class, petrol variant, compact sports car which the company launched in India in October last year.
Priced between Rs 21 to Rs 24 lakh (ex-showroom), the B-class is the company’s cheapest car in India so far. The A-class which is expected to be priced around Rs 18 lakh will cement the company’s entry into the premium car market, where it did not have a play earlier.
Speaking to this correspondent on the sidelines of the launch of Mercedes-Benz research and development India (MBRDI) centre in Bengaluru, Eberhard H Kern, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, said: “Since India is primarily a diesel car market, we will also be launching the diesel variant of our B-class car in June.”
Declining to comment on the pricing of the cars that will hit the market in June, he said the GLA, which is a Euro 4 compliant, right hand drive, diesel SUV (small) to be showcased in the Geneva Motor Show next month, will hit the Indian market in early 2015.
Admitting that the company had overestimated the market demand for its luxury range of cars, Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the board of management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, said “So far, we had concentrated on bringing only the C-class and upward, car models to India, and therefore, missed out on the big opportunity in the premium class segment.”
He, however, added that the German auto major will continue to play in the luxury market in India, which stands at just 1.2 per cent of the total car market (three million cars) today, but is estimated to grow to 4 per cent by 2020.
The company sold 7,138 cars in India in 2012 as compared to over 200,000 cars sold in China.