German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz, which on Thursday launched luxury executive sedan E-Class, said if the rupee continues to remain at current level for long, it may be forced to pass on cost-pressure to consumers to protect margins.
“Today we have no need to act (on the rupee) because we are safe by hedging. But if it stays at its current levels, then we will have to pass it on to customers,” Mercedes Benz India managing director and chief executive Eberhard Kern told reporters in Pune.
He also said the company follows a long-term Forex hedging policy and that has provided it a cover against the steep rupee slide, which lost more than 9 per cent since the beginning of the fiscal.
If the need arises, the company’s board will take a call, he said, but did not divulge the quantum of hike.
The new E-Class diesel variant carries an introductory price of Rs. 43.65 lakh (ex-showroom Pune), while the petrol version is priced at Rs. 40.73 lakh.
Mr. Kern said both the models are produced at its Chakan assembly line and the new E-class is 11 mm longer and features a new sporty exterior body styling with particularly redesigned new bonnet, trunk, front and rear bumpers.
Stating that the domestic luxury car segment is doing “better” than the overall market, Mr. Kern said Mercedes clocked a healthy 16 per cent growth in the first half of the calendar year.
The A-Class, which was rolled out only at the fag end of May, contributed a good 40 per cent of the total sales spike in June, he said. “We are confident of growing double-digit in this calendar year and are very much on the way to achieve it,” Mr. Kern said.
“The E-Class has been the most successful vehicle for Mercedes Benz globally with over 11 million units sold. In India too, the E-Class has been the most sold luxury sedan.
Since its introduction in Pune, we have sold more than 23,000 units of the E-Class, which is by far the highest for any single model for Merc sold in the country,” Mr. Kern said.
Describing the Pune facility among the best assembly plants within the Daimler world, he said its paint shop here is a technology benchmark and second to none.
The new E-Class carried over 2,000 new parts and components, he said, adding this is the ‘best E-Class ever.’
The new E-Class 200 CGI petrol model offers 8 per cent more mileage at 13.8 kmpl, as the engine weight has been reduced to some extent.
The large 80 litre fuel tank ensures that the E 200 CGI petrol covers up to 1,100 kms and the E250 CDI diesel covers up to 1,380 kms with a full tank of fuel, he said.