In a recent interview with The Times of India, Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO, Martin Schwenk, said that it makes sense for the brand to think about localizing its EQ electric vehicles in the country, however ruled out a localized Mercedes EQC.
The executive cited that the company could justify localization only with bigger volumes, and that it would look at subsequent models for the exercise. At INR 99.3 lakhs, ex-showroom, the EQC will definitely not be a volume puller, which even the brand acknowledges; the EQC will primarily target early adopters Mercedes India says.
At the Auto Expo 2020, Schwenk told EVW that it made sense for Mercedes to launch the EQ brand in India “as an umbrella” so that it could bring other products aside the EQC. The executive further added that the company was more confident on bringing electric vehicles to the country owing to the government push, lower GST of 5 per cent and acceptance of new mainstream electric vehicles which further increased consumer awareness towards EVs.
While the EQC is the first Mercedes EQ product, a slew of Mercedes electric cars are lined up for launch in the next 18-24 months globally that Martin Schwenk and his product planners could bring down quickly. These include the entry level Mercedes EQA and Mercedes EQB, and premium Mercedes EQE, Mercedes EQE SUV, Mercedes EQS and the Mercedes EQS SUV.
We think it is the EQA or EQB which Mercedes would eventually consider for local assembly in India and carry the tag of the volume car, given their not-so-steep price-point. These electric vehicles, with local assembly, could be priced in the INR 45-55 lakh bracket which is exactly the price range Volvo is gunning for with the upcoming XC40 Recharge EV, due for an Indian launch next year.
The Mercedes EQA will be revealed by the end of this year, and European deliveries will commence in 2021. The EQB will be shown only next year with sales expected in the second half of the year. However, both Mercedes electric cars are expected with a 60 kWh battery delivering a range of about 400 km (WLTP). They are based on their respective combustion engine products, the GLA and GLB, similar to the EQC’s setup on the GLC.
At the other end of the electric car spectrum, the Mercedes EQS could be on the radar for India. During the EQC’s launch this week, a small clip showing Ola Kallenius, Chairman, Daimler and Mercedes Benz, standing next to an EQS sedan prototype was played. The brand could be gauging customer interest in India, and if feasible, could also bring the EQS SUV to the SUV-loving country.