Mercedes-Benz plans to invest Rs 150 crore in its Pune plant

Mercedes-Benz plant at Chakkan near Pune

In February 2009, Mercedes-Benz India commissioned its first car and commercial vehicle manufacturing facility at Chakkan, near Pune with an investment of Rs 250 crore. The company also spent another Rs 150 crore in establishing dealer network in partnership with dealers. Now it plans to spend another Rs 150 crore in its vehicle manufacturing facility.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Wilfried Aulbur said “We will invest an additional Rs 150 crore in the next two to three years in our Pune plant for setting up various secondary facilities needed for vehicle manufacturing. Right now I cannot disclose more than this.”

With an area of 100 acres of land and independent assembly facilities for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, the Pune infrastructure was created to address future expansion needs, with long-term growth plans of the company in India.

Positive sales

Interestingly, despite the overall slowdown in car sales due to recession, Mercedes-Benz India increased its car sales by 48 per cent in 2008 to 3,600 cars. Mercedes C-Class and Mercedes E-Class are the two largest selling cars for the company. It also sells cars in M-Class and S-Class, heavy duty trucks for mining industry and luxury intercity buses. Aulbur said that Mercedes will launch the latest E-Class by the end of 2009. He explained that the robust growth in car sales in 2008 was due to strong brand name of Mercedes and also because of the low base in earlier years. Sales in first five months of 2009, however, have remained flat.

But Aulbur is bullish on India and expects that pro-growth policies of the new government at the Centre will boost the economy and help the car industry pushing up sales.
Talking about the company’s research and development facility in Bangalore, he said the total number of employees will go up to 300 by the end of this year from 220 at present. “Bangalore is the largest R&D centre for Mercedes outside Germany and is making major contributions to our global products,” he said.

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