German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz today launched a premium sports utility vehicle, the GL Class, priced at Rs 77.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) to strengthen its position in the Indian market.
In order to connect better with the Indian customers, the company is also using former tennis star and its global brand ambassador Boris Becker to promote its range of products.
"We are ambitious. The Mercedes brand has a lot of potential in India and the year 2013 is the year of offensive for us," Mercedes Benz India managing director and CEO Eberhard Kern said.
The GL Class is one among the slew of products, including the upcoming hatchback A-class, that the company plans to launch in India, he added.
The initial 100 units of the launch edition of GL Class vehicles will be imported and from September onwards the company will start assembling the vehicle at its plant at Chakan, near Pune, Kern said.
When asked if the company is chasing the top position in the Indian luxury car market after being overtaken by German rival BMW and Audi, he said: "We are not in the numbers game. We are for profitable sustainability but with more products like the A-Class coming in, we should be able to strengthen our position in India."
The new SUV is powered by a 2,987 cc, V6 diesel engine and will take on Audi's top-end SUV model, the Q7.
Commenting on his association with Mercedes, Becker said: "I have been associated with the company for the last 17 years and I have three car dealerships in Germany. India is a large market and as a global brand ambassador of the company, I want the brand to be successful here."
Mercedes Benz India is looking for a double digit growth in 2013 from 7,138 units it sold in last year.
The company currently assembles the S Class, E Class, C Class and ML Class in India, while other models, including GL Class, CLS Class and SLK Class are fully imported.