Mercedes-Benz India on Monday launched new versions of its luxury sedan S 500L and premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) GL 350CDI.

While the S-Class is priced at Rs. 95 lakh, SUV GL will come with a price tag of Rs. 64.90 lakh. However, the company has lost leadership position in the premium segment in India.

Addressing a press conference here, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Wilfried Aulbur said the new S-Class would set new benchmarks, while the GL-Class combines freedom with luxury, power with elegance and size with a sense of responsibility. “The S 500L, to be assembled at our plant, will be the most expensive luxury sedan ever produced in India, while we will import the GL 350CI as a completely built unit,” he added.

About the company’s presence in the Auto Expo, Mr. Aulbur said the company would launch a new edition of C-class sedan and a three-axle bus, besides showcasing E-Coupe and M-class SUV. He also said that Mercedes was undertaking a dealer upgradation exercise where over Rs. 200 crore would be invested.

About sales in India, Mr. Aulbur said they lost leadership position in the premium segment to BMW as its sales declined by over 10 per cent. “We are behind BMW in 2009 because of limited availability of our E-Class cars. However, sales will grow this year,” he added. It sold 3,247 units in 2009 against 3,625 units in 2008 in India, while BMW sold 3,619 units in 2009. “We see a strong growth in 2010 and it will be a blockbuster year for us. We are bullish and we expect it will be a high double-digit growth,” he added.

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