Mercedes seeks to tap first-time luxury buyers in India with entry-level EVs

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New Delhi: Mercedes-Benz India is looking at electric entry-level models to attract first-time luxury car buyers, as it sets eyes on another double-digit growth this year, its Managing Director and CEO Santosh Iyer said on Monday.

The company, which launched all-electric entry SUV EQA 250 at an introductory price of Rs 66 lakh, has also introduced the new EQB 350 SUV (5-seater) priced at Rs 77.5 lakh and EQB 250+ SUV (7-seater) tagged at Rs 70.90 lakh (prices all India ex-showroom).

It will also launch the EQS Maybach SUV and electrified G-Class models in India later this year.

"Because of the compelling total cost of ownership (TCO) argument, we are also looking at a lot of first-time buyers in the luxury segment to consider the EQA and the EQB as a better option to shift to luxury," Iyer told PTI.

The new EVs from Mercedes-Benz -- EQA and EQB -- can solve the issues of young customers with household income of Rs 1- crore plus, who want to shift to luxury but always found TCO to be higher when it comes to combustion engine counterparts, he added.

Now, with a lower TCO compared to a combustion engine counterpart, it will make their shift to the luxury segment faster, he added.

"So for us, if customers are looking into TCO as a value proposition, I think the shift to EV can help them to accelerate their jump into the luxury segment even faster," Iyer said.

He further said, "A car (EQA) at this price point, at this configuration, will help us get new customers. More importantly, it may get new first-time luxury buyers into the EV segment because the total cost of ownership is cheaper than a (internal) combustion engine vehicle".

Iyer, however, said Mercedes-Benz India will address the whole spectrum from entry-level luxury to top-end with its EV portfolio and will launch two top-end luxury electric vehicles later this year.

"We will shortly announce the EQS Maybach SUV, which will be (priced) more than Rs 3 crore, a top-end EV," he said, adding that the model showcases how luxury can be combined with sustainability at the top post level.

On the performance side, he said, "We will also have the electrified G-Class, which will be priced over Rs 3 crore. The bookings for it are open from today".

From EQA to EQS Maybach SUV and electrified G-Class, Iyer said, "The three launches for this year clearly show our dominance from entry luxury to the top-end segment".

With the current models like the EQE and EQB, which are further enriched with two more variants, he said, "These clearly show a statement of intent to have more product offerings in the EV segment".

On the outlook for the rest of the year, Iyer said, "We have new products coming up for the upcoming festive season. So, we feel we should be able to close the year with a double-digit growth as projected earlier".

The company reported a 9 per cent growth at 9,262 units in sales in India in the first half of 2024. Its electric vehicle portfolio grew by 60 per cent in H1 2024, comprising 5 per cent of total sales volumes.

In 2023, the company recorded its best-ever year in its history in India with sales of 17,408 units, a growth of 10 per cent.

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