Electric Vehicle

India: Mercedes-Benz to assemble EVs in India starting this year

Mercedes-Benz’s Indian unit said it will soon start assembling electric vehicles in India, even as American EV major Tesla continues to lobby New Delhi for reduced import duty on electric cars before committing to any investment in building local manufacturing capacity.

The Stuttgart-based company will start making its top-of-the-line EQS electric limousine in India starting this year. Having entered India’s EV market in October 2020, the local unit of the company quickly sold its allocated units over the last 15 months.

The locally assembled EQS will invite a lower import duty of 40%, compared with 100-110% on fully built imported cars that could put it out of the reach for many prospective buyers. With a lower GST and duty on imported completely knocked-down kits, the EQS will be priced closer to the company’s existing S-Class limousine and help it generate higher volumes.

After tasting success with the EQC, albeit in limited numbers, the company wanted to bring to India an EV that would generate substantial sales numbers, Mercedes-Benz India managing director Martin Schwenk told ET.

“The question was now, how do we become a substantial EV brand in India? And in my view that is only possible with local production. Everything else is more communication than it actually is,” Schwenk said.

The German executive admitted that there was more hype around EVs in the market than sales numbers can justify. Questions around availability of public charging infrastructure also remain, he said.

“So, it will take a few years till we have real adoption (of EVs). But we want to prepare our brand to play in that game. And that means we bring a model which should see (good) volumes in the market,” he stated.

Starting small with choose sellers in 2020, Mercedes-Benz added 50 markets thus far the place its EVs can be found. With rising curiosity in EVs, it’s now increasing its portfolio to construct the volumes by addressing a bigger market.

Without committing to a quantity, Schwenk stated the EQS ought to promote in greater triple-digit figures or extra yearly for the corporate’s funding in native meeting to be justified.

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