The FINANCIAL — Mercedes-Benz has started production of the GLA compact SUV at its Indian plant in Pune and thus further expanded its international production network.
“The start of production of the GLA in India marks the first time we are producing compact cars in our global assembly network along with sedans and SUVs. We are thus entering the next stage with our market-specific assembly, allowing us to serve local demands in a flexible and efficient manner according to highest quality standards,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management. Beyond the Mercedes-Benz plant in India, this network comprises further locations in Thailand, Vietnam, Malayasia, Indonesia, and will be joined by Brazil in 2016 where a new assembly plant is currently under construction. At these sites, Mercedes-Benz produces cars for local markets with different production levels – for example from vehicle kits (Completely Knocked Down/CKD and Semi Knocked Down/SKD).
After recently finishing the extension of the plant in Pune, it has an installed capacity of producing 20,000 units annually, largest for any luxury car maker in India. With the production of the GLA, six different model series will be manufactured. These include sedans like S-, E- and C-Class as well as SUVs like the GL and the M-Class and for the first time a compact car like the GLA. To prepare for the production of this new model, synchronized conveyor systems, new assembly lines, and a new roller tester were installed amongst other devices. Until today, total investment at the Pune plant, which was opened in 2009, amounts to about 150 million euros, according to Daimler.
Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO Mercedes-Benz India: “Rolling out our first ever locally manufactured GLA and commencing production from India’s largest installed luxury car production facility are two very significant accomplishments for Mercedes-Benz in India. These accomplishments are a result of our long-term vision for the Indian market and our relentless efforts towards creating a strong foundation for our business in India.” The local assembly of the GLA in India is due to its big success in the country: Sales of the compact SUV in India tripled in the first quarter of 2015. Piyush Arora, Executive Director, Operations, Mercedes-Benz India: “Our production facility has been a significant pillar of our growth in India. The high level of refinement and implementation of advanced technology and flexible processes ensures our production quality conforms to the most stringent global standards, and creates new benchmark in manufacturing for the luxury car industry in India.”