Mercedes Benz India (MBI) rolled out the first locally assembled SUV, the ML 250, from its Chakan plant on Wednesday and also announced the start of operations of its new, start-of-the-art paint shop that is capable of water-based painting. “This is the first Mercedes Benz SUV model (made) in India and we will further increase the range. We look forward to being a long term player and be prepared to take a large piece of the pie,” Ralf Mungenast, Director, International Productions, Daimler AG said.
India is the only country outside of the USA where the German luxury car maker has begun production out of the new ML-Class. Piyush Arora, Director, Technical, Mercedes-Benz India, said that the company had started with the ML 250 CDI, and production of the ML 350 CDI, as well as the GL-Class will follow in the next one year or so. Built from CKD units, the ML 250 is currently localised to a degree of around 30%, with the power train and axles being sourced locally and is priced at Rs 46.5 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi. MBI launched a CBU version of the ML 350 earlier this year, as well as a revamped model in June after which demand has doubled to 100 units per month, Debasis Mitra, head, sales and marketing said. The recently launched B-Class is also sold out till December, and will re-open for booking next year, he added.
Built with an investment of Rs 200 crore, the paint shop has an annual capacity of 20,000 units annually which is extendable to 40,000 units. At present, the C, E and S-Class passenger cars that are made locally will be painted here.
News source: Hindu Business Line