Mercedes Benz plant at Chakan near Pune in Maharahstra, India will start assembly operations for their two luxury SUV’s, M Class and GL Class by early 2013. This was announced by German automaker, Daimler along with their decision to assemble these very same SUVs in both Thailand and Indonesia. Mercedes Benz is in process of preparing these three plants for production of their luxury vehicles.
Kits will be brought in from Tuscaloosa in US while the vehicles will be assembled locally. This will be for the first time that Mercedes Benz will be assembling these SUVs outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama in USA. Mercedes Benz further added that these semi knocked down kits consist of body and other components for the SUV which will facilitate easy local assembly. Engine and transmissions will be imported from Mercedes Benz plant in Stuttgart – Unterturkkheim.
Mercedes Benz Pune plant currently sees assembly of their three luxury sedans C, E and S Class from their Pune facility while the luxury SUVs will roll out from 2013. Both these vehicles are expected to harvest a great deal of attention in these three markets of India, Indonesia and Thailand and for that reason the company has decided to localize assembly so as to keep costs to the minimum while also expecting higher growth rate and market share.
Daimler said, “The necessary preparations at the selected three production sites in India, Thailand and Indonesia are proceeding full steam ahead. Later on in the year, final assembly of the M-Class using SKD kits will start there for the respective local market. The kits for the SUVs are imported from Tuscaloosa in the US. For the first time, Daimler will start the final assembly of the SUV model series for the new Mercedes-Benz M-and GL-Class outside the SUV parent plant in Tuscaloosa/ Alabama, USA. Following the start of production of the M-Class in India, Thailand and Indonesia this year, the first units of the new GL-Class made from semi knocked down kits will be roll out from the assembly lines in India and Indonesia in 2013.”
In India, at Mercedes Benz plant, currently C Class, E Class and S Class sedans are assembled. Wolfgang N=Bernhard, Board Member, Daimler AG, said, “Our new SUVs are very popular with our customers. We expect high growth rates also in the emerging markets and, therefore, extend our local production. Thus, we open up new potential as part of our growth strategy.”