NEW DELHI -- DaimlerChrysler AG has an unassailable position at the top of India’s luxury segment unless the7-Series or the Lexus brand come in to challenge it, says Jurgen Ziegler, CEO of DaimlerChrysler India Ltd.
Ziegler was on hand for India’s recent Auto Expo 2002 to unveil the new Mercedes-Benz cars scheduled for launch here soon.
They include the M-Class SUV; S-Class diesel; C220 CDi and C200 Kompressor; SLK Roadster; CLK Cabriolet and Coupe; and the C200K Sports Coupe. An upgraded MB 100 van will be added to the roster later.
DC also displayed the Mercedes SL 500 roadster, which is expected to cost a whopping $271,000 in India. The car features advanced standards in ride, control, safety and comfort.
The vehicles all will be imported as completely built-up units until local production become feasible sometime in the future. “All of the models you see here have the potential to sell in India, and that is why we display them,” Ziegler says.
Ziegler says DC is increasing its sales outlets in India from 12 to 20, and extending its reach beyond the current eight metropolitan areas. The company has strong brand equity in India, with luxury models from $41,000 to $271,000, he says.
Plus, DC’s 37% stake inMotor Corp. and 11.1% in place the auto maker in a position to meet competitive threats by bringing in compact cars.
“It will be feasible to assemble the A-class locally if sales volumes are around 2,000 units,’’ says Zeigler, noting the car would sell for about $30,000 here.
Additionally, DC is developing a Z car, smaller than the A-Class but bigger than the Smart. Due in 2004, Zeigler says it could be assembled for India’s local market at theChennai plant that currently produces the Lancer.