German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is mulling switching to petrol variants for all its models that are sold in India in order to align with the demand shift as uncertainty prevails over diesel vehicles in the wake of pollution concerns.
The company has launched the petrol version of its best selling SUV in India GLE 400. The vehicle comes at a price tag of Rs 74.90 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
“The introduction of the GLE 400 in petrol is part of our product strategy to strengthen our petrol portfolio in the SUV segment. We plan to offer petrol variants in all our products by September and give the customers an additional option to choose from,” Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Roland Folger said.
“The ratio of diesel and petrol in Mercedes-Benz’s portfolio earlier was 80:20 and currently with the introduction of more petrol variants we expect petrol’s share to rise up to 30 per cent of our total sales,” Folger said.
The GLE 400 gets its power from a 2,996 cc engine. It will be introduced as a CBU and the localisation will follow later in the year, he said.
Commenting on the lifting of ban on big diesel cars and SUVs, Folger said: “We are glad that there is some clarity, though interim, on the subject. This gives us confidence that growth will be back in the sector based on the positive sentiment that came from the decision. We have also decided not to pass on the 1 per cent ECC to our customers and we will absorb it.”
“As soon as the compatible diesel fuel is made available, we are ready to switch our portfolio to the BS VI standard, even as early as 2018,” Folger added.
On the significance of the petrol GLE 400, he said: “With a growing penchant for SUVs among customers, we believe the introduction of the petrol version will further bolster our presence in the luxury SUV segment. For the first time, we are introducing the GLE with a petrol mill and this underscores our strategy of offering the right product for our growing customer base.”