Mercedes-Benz India today introduced the locally-assembled AMG GLC 43 Coupe at Rs 76.7 lakh, ex-showroom, India. The performance crossover in its latest avatar is now assembled from CKD kits at the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Chakan, outside of Pune.
With the start of assembly of its niche, high-performance AMG range, the Mercedes-Benz India plant gets the unique distinction of producing Mercedes-Benz, Maybach as well as AMG models under one roof. It is also part of the six-location Mercedes-Benz Global Production Network, playing an important role in CKD assembly. The other five nations include Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The AMG GLC 43 Coupe is the first of the AMG models to be localised in the country, and also the fifth one to be launched this year, successfully culminating Mercedes-Benz India’s overall plans of launching 10 products in CY2020.
According to Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, “With the launch of the AMG GLC 43 Coupe, we fulfil the promise of launching ten new products in India in 2020. Our aim is to always live up to the expectations of our customers and keep them excited with new products.”
Mercedes-Benz says that it is witnessing strong demand for the performance brand in India and is very bullish on the eight-model AMG portfolio, which registered a 54 percent YoY growth in 2019 compared to previous year.
“AMG has earned the position of being the No. 1 luxury-performance brand in India and has already showcased a resurgence in demand in the festive season. Introducing the locally-assembled model will now make it more accessible for our prospective customers and offer unmatched value.”
“We have a two-pronged approach going forward – cement the top-end with AMG models and strengthen the mid-luxury segment by introducing new models for the discerning customer,” Schwenk added.
Talking about new models and tapping the pulse of the market, even as Mercedes-Benz India sold 5,007 units in the first nine months of the Covid-struck ongoing calendar, registering de-growth of 49 percent, it, however, continued to march strongly in the SUV space with its GLC becoming the top-selling model in the year so far, and garnering a cumulative 8,000 units of sales since first entry into India through the CBU route in 2016.
Localisation of the AMG GLC 43 Coupe is a hint at the future from the carmaker, which has invested into technology, digitisation and advanced tooling to assemble complex models from the global Mercedes-Benz line-up at its plant in India. Presently, it rolls out 11 models from the Group’s global portfolio.
According to Piyush Arora, executive director, Operations, Mercedes-Benz India, “We have consistently adopted new technologies to meet high levels of manufacturing standards. Our state-of-the-art facility allows us to bring latest products at high quality levels. Our decision to locally produce AMG charts our long-term roadmap of placing India as a key market on the world map.”
He further explained the manufacturing process and revealed that the Mercedes-Benz production system integrates complex supply chains into a robust global system to facilitate high-quality manufacturing. “We are able to synchronise supply chains from various different geographies like Europe, China and Asia to timely produce best-quality products,” he said.
Giving a brief overview of the technology and Industry 4.0 initiatives taken by the carmaker at its India plant, Aggarwal mentioned, “We have switched to completely virtual VR and AI-based training modules like welding and punch riveting to register an improvement of 40 percent in skill levels of new employees and up to 20 percent in existing employees. Moreover, a continuous process mapping is undertaken to achieve the right quality in the first attempt.”
The company also used digital dashboards and job cards to monitor quality levels during production and assembly and maintains digital logs of the entire vehicle history during the manufacturing process in the plant.
“We were locally producing the GLC since the beginning of this year, but adding AMG was a big challenge. The adaptability to produce a high-performance model was possible due to the flexibility and agility of our advanced manufacturing systems,” Arora remarked.
Value-for-money for the price
With a clever decision of locally assembling the AMG GLC 43 Coupe, Mercedes-Benz India has been able to straightway offset the higher custom duty on imports, which stands at a monumental 118 percent and pass on the benefits to customers. The rather alluring price tag which is up to 20 percent cheaper is also sweetened by the fact that the car has been updated with India-specific features while still staying below the CBU prices from two years ago.
The assembled-in-India Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 Coupe gets significant product enhancements over its CBU counterpart and comes equipped with the latest MBUX interface on the 12.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Burmester audio, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, HD navigation and 20-inch alloys.
The crossover comes powered by a BS VI-compliant 3.0-litre bi-turbo, six-cylinder petrol engine that develops 390bhp and 520Nm and has a top-speed of 250kph. Mercedes claims a 0-100kph dash in 4.9 seconds by leveraging the 9-speed AMG Speedshift transmission on offer. In terms of safety, the car gets seven airbags, active braking assist, automatic front passenger airbag deactivation, Pre-Safe, e-call using Mercedes me connect and active bonnet for pedestrian protection.