September 30, 2016 3:02:00 am
German luxury car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz, launched another GLC-Class SUV by in Pune on Thursday, the ninth such vehicle to be rolled out from its Chakan Plant. Roland Folger, managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, said the decision to locally manufacture the GLC was taken following the good response to the Completely Built Unit (CBU) variant of the SUV.
Since 1995, Mercedes-Benz has been locally manufacturing the E-class. Other than the E- class, the S-class and the C-class are locally-manufactured sedans, while the GLE, GLA, GLA, and CLA are the SUVs rolled out from the Chakan plant. Last year, the company had announced the local production of the Maybach with Mr Folger stating that India was the only market outside Germany to locally do so.
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On the controversy over the ban of diesel vehicles, Mr Folger said he had seen a slightly higher interest from customers in the petrol variants rather than the diesel variants. Prior to the ban, around 80 per cent of sales were of the diesel variants and the rest compromised of petrol variants. Post the ban Mr Folger said the ratio is around 70 per cent diesel variants and rest petrol.
In 2015, the Supreme Court had banned the registration of luxury automobiles and SUVs with an engine capacity in excess of 2000 cc in the National Capital Region. The ban was lifted subsequently in August, 2016, with the court making it mandatory for such vehicle manufacturers to pay a levy of 1 per cent.
Mr Folger said the company had achieved 32 per cent growth last year and admitted that the current year has been a little difficult.
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