Mercedes-Benz has expanded its local production portfolio at its Pune, India, assembly plant to six model series with the recent addition of the GLA compact SUV. The other models include S-, E-, and C-Class sedans as well as the GL and M-Class SUVs. Sales of the GLA in India tripled in the first quarter of 2015, justifying the move. After recently finishing an extension of the plant, Mercedes-Benz now has an installed capacity of producing 20,000 units annually there. To prepare for the new model, synchronized conveyor systems, new assembly lines, and a new roller tester were installed among other devices. Total investment at the Pune plant, which was opened in 2009, amounts to about 150 million euros.
“The start of production of the GLA in India marks the first time we are producing compact cars in our global assembly network along with sedans and SUVs. We are thus entering the next stage with our market-specific assembly, allowing us to serve local demands in a flexible and efficient manner according to highest quality standards,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management. Beyond the plant in India, the network comprises locations in Thailand, Vietnam, Malayasia, Indonesia, and will be joined by Brazil in 2016 where a new assembly plant is currently under construction. At these sites, the automaker produces cars for local markets with different production levels—for example, from vehicle kits (completely knocked down and semi knocked down).
Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO Mercedes-Benz India, said: “Rolling out our first ever locally manufactured GLA and commencing production from India’s largest installed luxury-car production facility are two very significant accomplishments for Mercedes-Benz in India. These accomplishments are a result of our long-term vision for the Indian market.”