Mercedes has started the assembly of the S-Class in India where it is imported as a CKD (completely knocked down) unit. The Mercedes facility at Chakan, Pune will assemble the company`s flagship saloon, the S500. The diesel variant, the S350 CDI will be launched by mid 2014 and will also be assembled here.
The car will now be available at a price of INR 1.36 crore as opposed to the INR 1.56 crore price tag for the CBU version launched earlier this year. This huge saving on 20 lakhs comes as the company now has to pay less excise duty for the shipment of the car. You can get a Ford Endeavour at that price for your security personnel to follow you around town.
The only catch is the three month waiting list which Mercedes had not anticipated. In fact all of the 125 cars available at the launch of the car in January were sold out in a mere 16 days. Mercedes will count on the S350 CDi to replicate the success of the S500 or even leave it behind in terms of sales numbers.
The S500 has a twin-turbo 4663cc V8 engine which churns out a total of 453bhp and 71.38 kgm of torque. This helps propel the 2 ton car from 0 to 100 kmph in just 5.7 seconds. All this while leaving no stone unturned for the comfort of any passenger or even the driver sitting inside the car.
Check out the features of the S500 here.
Meanwhile, to reclaim the number 1 slot in the luxury market and to save development and production costs, Mercedes has decided to reduce the number of platforms it works on to 4. Until a few years ago the company had as many as 9 platforms underpining its cars.
The four platforms will be called MSA, MHA, MRA and the MFA. Here are a few details on the four platforms:
MSA : Modular Sports Architecture will have lots of aluminium and carbon fiber to reduce weight. It will underpin the SLK and the two door SL.
MHA : Modular High Architecture will be used for large SUVs and cross-overs. This includes the ML, GL and the MLC, which is to be launched in 2015.
MRA : Modular Rear Architecture will be worked upon for the GLK compact crossover, 2016 E-Class. The MRA debuted with the C-Class (W205). The MRA will give the engineers ability to work for different wheelbase as well as body widths and will underpin as many as 10 cars. The next gen S-Class will also be based on a variant of the MRA platform.
MFA : Modular Front Architecture will consist of the A-Class, B-Class, CLA-Class, the recently-unveiled GLA-Class. Reports suggest an upcoming CLA Shooting Brake will also be underpinned by the MFA platform.
This is a good move by Mercedes as it will reduce production and research costs as well as ownership costs. A recent study showed that a Mercedes S-Class takes 43 hours to be produced from scratch. Platform sharing also means faster production and better profits for the auto manufacturer.