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Old 27th September 2005, 21:01   #1
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Default Merc. A class for India

What could possibly be the reason Mercedes is not pushing the A class in India. It is a wonderful car, perfect for Indian conditions. I know you can buy any Mercedes, but I want to see full page ads, finance schemes at a CKD price, not a FBU import price.

I am currently in southern france, and I got a A class as a rental car. It runs on Diesel, and it runs real smooth, great turning radius, very good handling on freeways + good handling on small french roads. These conditions apply very well to India.

The last couple times, I got a Mercedes C class, it runs very well on the freeways, but it is such a pain to park these cars in among small french cars & parking slots at the mall, at the hotel etc. I always need to go for the valet park with the C, and E class cars. (they charge around 15 - 20 euros for valet ). The very same parking pains applies to India.

A class should be pushed hard in India, and should succeed. What say??
-Prasadee

Last edited by prasadee : 27th September 2005 at 21:04.
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Old 27th September 2005, 21:57   #2
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Price plays a major factor while selling a product.
I doubt Mercedes A Class will be well priced in India.
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Old 27th September 2005, 21:58   #3
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who is going to shell out 15Lacs+ for a hatch in India.it is not possible to sell these type of luxury hatches in india.

even at half the price a VW golf wont sell in india,nor will the toyota yaris at 6Lacs.
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Old 28th September 2005, 01:03   #4
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Same reason that A-class is not sold in the US. The people dont like hatchbacks.
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Old 28th September 2005, 01:33   #5
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I did a double take when i read the title. I thought Mercedes was launching the A class in India! Anyway, the reasons have already been mentioned by a few. Problem is 1000 bhpians will be ready to buy the A class but that's not a big enough market for any company to launch a costly hatch. When ford struggles to sell a 7 lakh hatch, what chance does a 15 lakh hatch have even though it may sport the mercedes logo?
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Old 28th September 2005, 11:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit
I did a double take when i read the title. I thought Mercedes was launching the A class in India! Anyway, the reasons have already been mentioned by a few. Problem is 1000 bhpians will be ready to buy the A class but that's not a big enough market for any company to launch a costly hatch. When ford struggles to sell a 7 lakh hatch, what chance does a 15 lakh hatch have even though it may sport the mercedes logo?
i doubt that pretty much ...
i don't think that there would be a 1000 bhpians either.. to go in for a 15+ A... if they have that sorta dough, they would definitely settle for something thats a bit bigger ...
hatchbacks in india are majorly for a budget conscious market... prolly some would have it as a second or a third or even a fourth car...
so it would be a hard task to make that product click in the indian context...
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Old 28th September 2005, 21:35   #7
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The way things are going, in a few years from now we will have a lot more cars on Indian roads. There will be no way we will have infrastructure that keeps up with ever multiplying Indians who are making more money than ever. Not all these people will have the patience to drive big cars to work, weaving through traffic. The conditions will be similar to the european population density, and affordability. A lot more people with surplus money will opt for smaller cars. What will you do with a Hummer that cannot find a parking spot?
If there is a market for premium hatchbacks there will be one for ultra premium hachbacks if they price it right.
-Prasadee
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Old 28th September 2005, 21:38   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
Same reason that A-class is not sold in the US. The people dont like hatchbacks.
There is a world of difference between the RV driving, SUV crazy americans, and hatchback diesel car driving asians/europeans. I do not see how we can buy the idea that bigger is better.
-Prasadee
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Old 28th September 2005, 21:49   #9
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If the A class is launched in India, it will hardly sell in few numbers. People here are not ready to pay huge price for a hatchback even though it may be a Merc.
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Old 28th September 2005, 22:00   #10
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Mercs are status symbols in India. And status symbol = Big car. Therefore, a Merc hatchback will not sell in India. In fact, any hatchback priced at +5L will not not sell well in India...at least in the near future. BTW, the diesel engine of the A class is not smooth at all.
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Old 28th September 2005, 22:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prasadee
There is a world of difference between the RV driving, SUV crazy americans, and hatchback diesel car driving asians/europeans. I do not see how we can buy the idea that bigger is better.
-Prasadee
Its not the size we are talking about here, but status associatad with a certain body style. A Maruti Esteem 1.3 is a sedan and VW Golf is a hatch back that is double the size and comes with a 3.2liter V6 option. Indians prefer the Esteem.

For the same reason the booted Golf the Jetta is sold in the USA instead of the hatch whereas in Europe nobody likes Jetta.
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Old 29th September 2005, 11:40   #12
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I strongly feel, there is a market for the A class in India. If the C class sells in the volumes it does visavis the honda accord [thats at a premium] then at 15 lacs on road price the A class will sell atleast 1500/1800 cars per annum, and Mercedes will be satisfied with those nos and the presence in that category. The self drive urban people will prefer it to the other cars in that price slot.
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Old 1st October 2005, 01:52   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeps
Mercs are status symbols in India. And status symbol = Big car. Therefore, a Merc hatchback will not sell in India. In fact, any hatchback priced at +5L will not not sell well in India...at least in the near future. BTW, the diesel engine of the A class is not smooth at all.
I completely disagree, I just dropped of the A 180 at the airport. I had done some application testing of the A class in the 90's while I was in Stuttgart, but the engine seems to have come a long way from there. Same with the engines used in Smart. I have driven the new Bmw hatchback with the diesel engine as well(my colleague rented that this time). Both are very comparable in terms of hadling and smoothness.

The last time I was in France, I got a C class diesel engine it was a c 230. Diesel engines have come a long way. Ofcourse it will not drive like a Prius, but europeans and indians love to get great mileage, no matter how rich they are. I got a good 250 kms with 14 litres of diesel with the A class. Surprisingly I got a very similar mileage with the C class, probably because I drove a lot on the Autostrade of Italy, and less city driving.

Mercs and Bmws are not just expensive status symbols, they are well built cars that deserve a premium. In any case I took a couple pics of the A class I had, I will post them after I get home.
-Prasadee

Last edited by prasadee : 1st October 2005 at 01:53.
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Old 1st October 2005, 02:04   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
Its not the size we are talking about here, but status associatad with a certain body style. A Maruti Esteem 1.3 is a sedan and VW Golf is a hatch back that is double the size and comes with a 3.2liter V6 option. Indians prefer the Esteem.

For the same reason the booted Golf the Jetta is sold in the USA instead of the hatch whereas in Europe nobody likes Jetta.
In my opinion automobiles sell for a lot of resons. Humans are complex, and cultures are complex. The reasons are not always abstract like looks/taste and status. There are many pragmatic reasons, The parking lots and roads are huge in the US as opposed to any european city. I cannot see how a rich & busy businessman in downtown paris can own a 7 series without a driver, and be able to drive around. He has no option but to buy a Smart/a class. they are ideal for city driving in tiny european mountain cities.

I can say the same thing about my uncle who owns a jewellery shop on avenue road in Bangalore. How can this guy buy a big car and take it to work?


Some team-bhpians say our auto market is mature, and some say stick a boot to a car like Sipani-dolphin, and it becomes a status symbol? I cannot buy that, we are not that dumb, people will ultimately understand the german build quality and pay up the premium
-Prasadee
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