Eberhard Kern to CarToq – Mercedes Benz India to stick to CBU route for A-Class, B-Class and GLA cars

Mercedes Benz will continue to import three out of four MFA platform based cars through the completely built unit (CBU) route, and so said the German luxury car maker’s Indian operations’ Managing Director, Mr. Eberhard Kern. The A-Class and B-Class hatchbacks, and the GLA crossover will be the three MFA luxury cars that will arrive through the CBU route while the upcoming CLA sedan will hit the completely knocked down (CKD) kit based assembly circuit.

Notably, the CLA sedan, due for an early 2015 launch, will be the 6th Mercedes Benz car to take the CKD route into India, after the likes of the E-Class, C-Class, S-Class, ML-Class and GL-Class. By eschewing the CKD route for cars such as the A-Class, B-Class and GLA, Mercedes Benz will continue to keep prices at a premium when compared with the competition, read the Audi A3 sedan and Q3 crossover. The German luxury car maker clearly wants to retain the premium label among its peers.

This strategy is amply reflected in the pricing of the GLA crossover, which costs more than its competitors, the Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and the Volvo V40. A 4MATIC option for the GLA is not under consideration for the next year at least, given the low demand for such a variant. Among other things, Mercedes Benz’s top man for India, Mr. Kern, also added that the German luxury car giant will not get into the discounting game to push volumes, unlike a prominent luxury car maker.

Also, Mr. Kern highlighted the pent up demand for a small SUV from Mercedes Benz by underlining the pre-bookings for the GLA crossover. The GLA crossover has managed to bag over 600 pre-bookings ever since bookings over 18 days ago. Mercedes Benz India has its hands full when it comes to the meeting the GLA crossover’s demand. On the back of the stiff demand, long waiting periods spanning a few months are in order.