We are not in a rush to introduce EVs in India: Martin Schwenk, Mercedes Benz MD & CEO
He went on to add that the cost would be a factor that customers would consider when it comes to EVs and luxury car makers would have to ensure that the demand was enough to introduce these vehicles in markets. For the time being, however, he said...
By ET Bureau | Updated:
CHENNAI: Martin Schwenk, Managing Director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India on Thursday said plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EV) present an alternative he considers more viable than conventional hybrid vehicles in the near-to-medium term till factors like infrastructure in India were better equipped to handle the requirements of EVs.
"The electric vehicles (EV) segment is in its nascent stage," he said at the launch of the company's V-class Elite. "There is a lot of learning that needs to happen and we (Mercedes-Benz) are not in a rush. We want to see how our global portfolio develops because you need to have the right momentum in place. From an infrastructure and framework perspective too it is at a very early phase in India and even customers are not so focused on electric vehicles yet."
He went on to add that the cost would be a factor that customers would consider when it comes to EVs and luxury car makers would have to ensure that the demand was enough to introduce these vehicles in markets. For the time being, however, he said he was 'bullish' on diesel cars as they are cleaner and more fuel efficient than petrol.
Schwenk said luxury car makers were not shielded from the impact of the auto slowdown.
"The slowdown has impacted us," he said. "The luxury segment is also down roughly 15-20% but the recovery started mid-year for us. For the last eight weeks we have seen sales coming in and we should be able to sell numbers similar to what we sold last year. During the festive season, we sold 800 cars all over India."
ADVERTISEMENTSchwenk called the transition to BSVI as being a "wild card" that could cause some distortion in the market going forward.
"Inventory management will be a big consideration for everyone," he said. "The transition from BS IV to BS VI will create some distortion and we are looking to run out of stock early rather than when the changes come in. During this transition period market behaviour will be hard to assess though but we have reason to be optimistic that 2019 will be the exception to the rule."
Mercedes-Benz India launched the V-class in January 2019 at Rs 68.40 lakh in two variants - both of which will continue to be on sale. The latest entrant in the range is the V-class Elite which is priced at Rs. 1.1 crore has been introduced after the 'better than anticipated' performance of its predecessors. Schwenk said the two V-class variants had posted three digit sales since their introduction.
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