Mercedes-Benz to start making electric cars in India

Mercedes-Benz has announced its plan to locally assemble the upcoming EQS electric sedan at its Chakan-based facility itself to keep the price in check.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

Even though BMW has claimed victory over Mercedes-Benz in global luxury car sales in CY21, as far as the Indian market is concerned, Mercedes-Benz India sold an almost equal number of cars as competitors Audi India and BMW Group India put together.

On Wednesday, the German luxury carmaker announced it has sold 11,242 new cars in CY21 (a 42.5% sales growth over 7,893 units in 2020), has a healthy confirmed order bank of over 3,000 cars, and enjoys a significant 41% market share in the luxury car space. BMW Group India sold 8,876 cars and Audi India 3,293 units in CY21 (total 12,169 units).

“The year 2021 proved to be a strong foundation for creating a robust and sustainable road map for the future,” Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, told FE. “And 2022 will be another milestone year as we aim to lead the luxury EV segment by expanding our EV portfolio with the debut of the EQS, which will be locally produced.”

Local manufacturing of the EQS, he added, “is a step in the right direction for us towards mainstreaming luxury EVs”.

Mercedes-Benz India had launched the EQC EV in CY20 as a CBU import.

The order bank of 3,000-plus cars is the highest ever for Mercedes-Benz India, and one of the reasons for this is supply issues due to the semiconductor shortage. “Without the constraints, we could have sold 20-25% more cars,” Schwenk said. “It (the semiconductor shortage) is expected to continue for some time. I am not sure if in the next six months we would see any real change on the ground, and so the situation will remain challenging. We are trying to make sure we keep the production running and minimise the impact on the customer.”

Sales volumes remained constricted by challenges in the supply side triggered by the pandemic in Q2CY21, while the semiconductor shortage largely affected the entire Q4CY21 deliveries.

For CY22, Mercedes-Benz India expects double-digit growth over CY21. “I believe we can get to one of our better years (in CY22). I don’t think we will get to our best sales numbers but we will get significantly up from where we are today,” Schwenk added.

The carmaker’s best annual sales came in CY18, when it sold 15,538 units.

Key sales drivers in CY21 were the A-Class Limousine, E-Class LWB and S-Class luxury sedans, and the GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS SUVs.

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