German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India on Thursday launched the imported version of its new generation flagship sedan S-Class with a price starting at Rs 2.17 crore while it prepares to introduce a locally-produced variety of the model in the fourth quarter this year.
The new 7th generation S-Class comes in two variants -- diesel S 400d 4MATIC priced at Rs 2.17 crore and petrol S 450 4MATIC tagged at Rs 2.19 crore.
It is the eighth launch out of the 15 new product introductions that Mercedes-Benz India has lined up for 2021.
"The S-Class is the pillar of Mercedes in many aspects. It has a lot of following also.
"When it was globally launched (in Q4 of 2020) a lot of our customers (in India) followed and saw what's coming and there is a lot of interest in the car," Mercedes-Benz India managing director & CEO Martin Schwenk told PTI.
In order to "bridge the gap" between the global launch and local availability and also considering the time taken to prepare for local production, he said the company is first launching the imported completely built unit (CBU) version in India with a limited number of stock of around 150 units.
"We planned to sell 150 units of these cars in the first lot and half of it is gone already.
"We have more than 50 per cent of these cars already booked and assigned to customers," Schwenk said.
Since it was first launched in India in 2000, the S-Class has sold over 8,000 units.
On the plans to locally produce the new S-Class, he said, "We will launch the local production variety early quarter four. Production operations will start later in summer, preparations (for it) have started."
Schwenk said there "will definitely be a significant price difference" between the imported new S-Class and the locally-produced one but the CBU will be loaded with features as compared to the ones to be rolled out from Mercedes-Benz India's Chakan facility.
The company said the new S-Class has numerous new or extended driving assistance systems that supports the driver when a dangerous situation is detected and thus helping to respond to impending collisions as the situation demands.
Besides, it is loaded with luxury features such as the front passenger seat which is assisted by up to 19 motors to find a comfortable seating position. The seats also offer ten different massage programs, using vibration motors and thus enhancing the effect of a relaxing massage.
Bullish on the Indian market bouncing back despite the devastating second wave of the pandemic, Schwenk said the company is "witnessing a strong demand for our new and existing products, we expect to maintain a steady pace with our overall market strategy and are optimistic for an uptick in demand and gradual recovery in coming months."