With A Class Limousine Mercedes aims to draw first-time luxury car buyers

Mercedes Benz India launched the A Class Limousine on Thursday as it seeks to increase volumes rapidly and attract many more first-time buyers into the luxury segment. With prices starting from Rs 39.90 lakh, going up to Rs 56.24 lakh (automatic), the model is the tallest and longest in its segment.

It will be Mercedes’ entry level model in India and will rival the BMW 2-Series that has the entry trim (sport variant) priced at Rs 37.9 lakh. Mercedes will revise prices upwardly by Rs 1,00,000 from July 1, 2021, the company said.

The A Class launch is one of the 15 models Mercedes plans to launch in the current calendar year as it seeks to consolidate its leadership position in a market that has been stuck in a slow lane. High taxation, policy changes, economic slowdown and Covid-19 pandemic had slowed the luxury car market in India.

“It will help in growing the segment substantially and we will see a very good growth. We know from our experience with the CLA which was very much appreciated for its styling. This has practicality added to it with better styling,” said Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes Benz India. With the latest offering, he expects at least 60 per cent buyers to be first timers—those who will be buying a luxury car for the first time. “It has a real chance of expanding our line-up,” said Schwenk.

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Mercedes commenced bookings of the model earlier this year and is sold out till May, he added, without commenting on numbers. In a first for the Indian auto industry, the company claimed, the luxury car market leader is offering an 8-year warranty for engine and transmission as a standard for the A-Class.

Meanwhile, the company has also started locally assembling the AMG A 35 4 MATIC, the 12th completely knock down model to be locally assembled. This is part of a larger plan for the AMG brand to play an even larger 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,” said Schwenk.

Amid resurgence in Covid cases, companies are hopeful of a continuation of a demand recovery. Luxury car makers 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 previous year’s volume loss.

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