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GLA and CLA reinforce Merc’s focus on compact segment


At the ongoing Auto Expo, the company lifted the curtain on GLA, a compact SUV that is yet to make its commercial debut globally, as well as the CLA 45 AMG sedan
GLA and CLA reinforce Merc’s focus on compact segment
Mercedes GLA
Greater Noida: Two of the three new products unveiled by Mercedes Benz at the Auto Expo 14 are compact vehicles, reinforcing the German luxury car maker’s focus on this segment.
The company lifted the curtain on GLA, a compact SUV that is yet to make its commercial debut globally, as well as the CLA 45 AMG sedan.
Launched worldwide a few months ago, the CLA is a new entrant into the Mercedes Benz portfolio, and is positioned between the compact hatchbacks and the C-Class, till now the entry-level sedan. Both the cars will be introduced in the Indian market in 2014.
“The Indian market is growing in importance and showing good momentum. We believe it will double as a whole by 2020 and the premium segment will grow over-proportionally,” Ola Källenius, Member of the Board, Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for sales and marketing, said. He expects India to be among the top 10 markets for MB by then.
The importance of the compact segment was growing within the portfolio, and the company was adopting a two-pronged strategy to widen the portfolio as well as build the home turf (of larger cars), Källenius said.
The new strategy for compact was to couple Mercedes strengths with fresher, sportier styling to attract the younger customer, he said, adding that the family which currently has four members will add a fifth one on a worldwide basis.
In the US, where the CLA was introduced less than six months ago, Mercedes has found 82 per cent of its sales coming from new customers. “Earlier they (Mercedes cars) were out of reach. Now they can buy them,” he said, pointing out that the more important aspect was that the new customer could grow to segments above.
During 2013, Mercedes has seen over 30 per cent growth in India, and though the company does not share monthly sales figures, Eberhard Kern, MD and CEO, Mercedes Benz India, indicated that January sales had grown by more than that.
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