Mercedes-Benz rolls out A-Class limo to woo first-time luxury buyers
Mercedes-Benz India’s A-Class limousine made its market debut on Thursday. The A-Class sedan marks the return of the German automaker to a rather important segment — upselling to the first-time luxury car buyer. Essentially replacing the first-generation CLA four-door coupé, the sedan will form the entry point to the luxury brand in the country.
The E-Class and C-Class sedans will continue being the company’s bread-and-butter models. But with the A-Class marque, the company seeks to ramp up volumes. With prices starting at Rs 39.9 lakh and going up to Rs 56.24 lakh for the automatic variant, the model is the tallest and longest in its segment.
The A-Class launch is one of the 15 models Mercedes plans to launch this calendar year as it seeks to consolidate its leadership position in a market that has been stuck in the slow lane. High taxation, policy changes, sluggish economy, and the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed the luxury car market in India.
“It will help in growing the segment substantially. The A-Class has further improved the CLA styling,” said Martin Schwenk, managing director and chief executive officer, Mercedes-Benz India.
With the latest offering, Schwenk expects at least 60 per cent buyers to be first-timers. “It has a real chance of expanding our line-up,” added Schwenk.
Mercedes commenced bookings of the model earlier this year and it is sold out till May, he said, without divulging the numbers. In a first for the Indian automobile industry, the luxury car market leader is also offering an eight-year engine-transmission warranty as standard for the A-Class.
Meanwhile, the company has also started locally assembling the AMG A 35 4MATIC sedan — the 12th completely knocked-down model to be locally assembled. This is part of a grander plan for the AMG brand to play an even bigger role in Mercedes’ overall product offering in India. Close to seven new AMGs are planned for the current year. “We are strongly placed to maintain our firm leadership in the performance motoring segment in India,” added Schwenk.
Amid resurgence in Covid cases, automobile companies are hopeful of a continuation in demand recovery. Luxury carmakers, including BMW and Audi, are banking on new launches to rekindle excitement in a segment that accounts for less than 2 per cent of India’s passenger vehicle market. The top three firms have lined up more than 50 new model launches to recoup last year’s volume loss.