German auto giant, Mercedes-Benz India sees the first GL-Class SUV roll off the production lines from its plant in Chakan, near Pune. This is for the first time, Daimler has assembled the GL-Class outside the SUV parent plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama, USA. The GL-Class is the fifth Merc to be assembled at the Pune plant, the other four being the S-Class, E-Class, C-Class and the ML-Class.
The GL-Class becomes the first SUV from Mercedes line-up to come through the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) route, thus helping the SUV’s sticker price come down to Rs. 72.58 lakh (ex-showroom Pune), that is around Rs. 5 lakh cheaper than the CBU model. Back in May-2013, the luxury car maker launched the 2013 Mercedes GL-Class at Rs. 77.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
Till date the company has sold 100 units of the new GL-Class in India, all of which were imported via the CBU route. The first 100 units of GL-Class cars were offered as a launch edition with many extra features (AMG body kit, Design upholstery, etc). Now having sold-off the imported units, Mercedes has made a very good move of opting for CKD assembly for the GL-Class as the depreciating Rupee would have made the CBU model more expensive in the future.
With local assembly, the GL 350 CDI is more competitive when it comes to pricing as the chief competitor in this segment is the CKD assembled Audi Q7. Like the Q7, the GL SUV can seat 7 adults in high luxury. Known as the S-Class of the SUV world, the Mercedes Benz GL-Class comes with 9 air bags, ABS, EBD, traction control, ESP, PRE-SAFE and a host of other safety technologies.
The India-spec GL-Class will sport a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that is mated to a 7G-TRONIC Plus automatic transmission. The motor develops 258hp and a massive torque of 619 Nm. This translates to a 0-100kph time of 8.9 seconds. Top speed is over 200 Kph. The power is delivered to all four wheels with the help of Mercedes-Benz 4matic all-wheel drive system. The suspension can be raised too.
Mr. Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said –
“We have had a very successful year so far and are expecting to witness double-digit growth in 2013. We plan to focus on new products and on expanding our dealership network across the country. We have asked our headquarters to allocate us more A- and B-class cars as we are witnessing substantial demand for these models. Further, it won’t be wrong to expect that we may plan to roll out the CLA and GLA compact cars in India in the near future.”
Check out another picture after a jump.