Mercedes Benz had launched its GL class SUV internationally in the year 2010. When it was launched in India ( May 2013) , the car was already approaching its end. In spite of this, the car had a price tag of around Rs 90 lacs as it was being imported as CBU. So the company has taken a wise decision of upgrading and starting a localized production of this GL Class SUV in India. After the localized production the car will be offered at a price of Rs 77.75 lacs.
The first batch of the GL 350 CDI for the country arrived as CBU (Completely Built Units) in May 2013. These units were imported from the company’s plant in Alabama in United States. The cars imported into India are heavily taxed and also the falling value of the rupee adds to the total importing cost. Therefore it became very important for the company to start locally producing this SUV. A tag of around Rs 90 lacs is very expensive for an Indian market and hence a more competitive price is required to increase the car’s demand.
Mercedes Benz India has announced that the GL Class SUV will be manufactured in the country itself, at the Chakan plant located in Pune. The cars will actually be assembled here using imported CKDs. These kits will contain an AMG body, 21 inches AMG alloy wheels, designed seats and temperature controlled cup holders. It has been revealed that the first batch will roll out towards the end of the August. To be more precise the cars will be rolled out on the 26th of August.
India is the first country to locally manufacture the GL class after the company’s mother plant in Tuscaloosa in USA. After the import of GL class as CBUs, the company started producing the ML class locally and launched a base variant with a diesel engine of 2.2 liter capacity.
The GL 350 will be powered by a 3 liter V6 2987 cc engine that will churn out a power of 260 PS at 3600 rpm and will offer a torque of 620 Nm at 1600 rpm. The car will have a dual clutch gearbox offering a 7 speed automatic transmission. This GL50 can reach the speed of 100 kmph from stand still in a span of around 10 seconds.
Talking about the car’s exterior, The GL 350 endorses a powerful grille, modified headlamps and day time running LED lights. The car has features like the COMAND nav, Active parking assist, 3 zone climatic control, wind assist system, panoramic sunroof and a 360 degree camera.
The SUV market in India has increased greatly in the past 3 years and it is expected that this year Mercedes will sell more than 1000 units in this segment. It is believed that this progress will continue in the years to come. The luxury car market will corresponds to 4% of the entire car market by the year 2020. This has been estimated by Mercedes India.