Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mercedes open to CNG E-Class imports

Mercedes Benz India is ready to deliver the CNG variant of its E-Class sedan to customers who need them, said Dr Wilfried Aulbur, Managing Director.

“We have a CNG variant and will import it based on demand,” he told Business Line on the sidelines of the launch of the new E-Class here on Sunday.

The downside is that the imported car will attract 104 per cent duty, which will mean that it will be twice as much the latest edition of the E-Class (petrol) that costs Rs 45.89 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai). The fact that CNG is largely retailed in Delhi and Mumbai also means that the market will be confined to these two cities.

Dr Aulbur said the company would consider assembly of the CNG version if there was adequate demand. The petrol Merc models are E-25 (25 per cent mix of ethanol) compliant while the diesel options can operate on bio-diesel.

Mercedes had earlier conducted a trial run of the CNG-E Class in India. The mileage of the car is estimated to be 18 km a kg. As for the bus business, Dr Aulbur said private operators were not too enthusiastic about buying intercity luxury coaches due to the swine flu outbreak which hit occupancy rates. The company has sold 25 buses so far this year. Incidentally, Mercedes-Benz India opened a new dealership in Jalandhar on Monday.

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