vishal panwar June 8, 2021

NEW DELHI: Is it an SUV or a private jet? The Maybach GLS 600 arrives in India with folded tables, a refrigerated compartment, electrically adjustable rear seats up to 43.5-degree and a handful of ‘wow’ features never seen before in a Mercedes offering here.
The S-Class Maybach found over 500 takers in India over the years. The Maybach GLS 600, on the other hand, outpaced the sedan counterpart, selling out its 2021 quota of 50+ units ahead of the price reveal.
The German brand believes it has a dominant market share in the super-specialty segment. Santosh Iyer, Vice President – Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz India said, “We sell around 1,000 units of AMG performance cars annually. There is strong demand for our entire portfolio. GLE and GLS have a waiting period of over 3 months while new E-Class has a month.”

For Mercedes-Benz India, Iyer thinks, it is a matter of supply constraints and not demand.
“In our view, compared to last year, there are not many discussions on job losses, the migrant crisis and corporate results. The insecurity in the job market is much lesser this time. The stock market is also factoring strong response when it comes to corporates,” Iyer said.
The German brand had earlier revealed its plan to bring in 15 products to India in 2021 and remains upbeat as the second wave of Covid-19 recedes.
Martin Schwenk said, “We expect V-shaped recovery as we witnessed last September. I would think we have relatively high demand which we had before the second wave of Covid-19 hit. I am quite confident in the market and in terms of broader economic context.”

Iyer added, “The pent-up demand for last two months should come back. Also, the festivities will boost the demand. We are cautiously optimistic and positive that we will be able to post double-digit growth this financial year.”
Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facility in Chakan, Pune plays an important role in the CKD/MVP production network in Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The S-Class Maybach sold in India was locally assembled. The new GLS Maybach, however, will be brought to India through a completely built unit (CBU) route.
With GLS Maybach it opens up a lot of options for customization. The online customizing tool shows the prices. The base model costs Rs 2.43 crore (ex-showroom) while a full customized car can go up to Rs 4 crore (ex-showroom).
“S-Class Maybach is available as CKD in the market. We have done it in the past and will continue to do so. GLS Maybach is produced in Tuscaloosa, US and there are no plans of localizing it. Pune plant is capable of assembling. However, the advantage of CBU in GLS Maybach is the configuration. In localization, you can’t offer customization opportunities to customers,” Iyer said.

Mercedes-Benz launched the EQS – the first premium electric in India – last year and has received an overwhelming response. Meanwhile, the brand has revealed flagship EQS, EQA and a handful of other electric offerings globally in last six months. But none of them are in the current itinerary for India.
“We have made a statement with EQC but the real struggle is to overcome supply bottleneck. We won’t like to launch any new electric product here this year. Globally, we have half a dozen fully electric cars and those will be introduced at an appropriate time,” Iyer concluded.

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