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Mercedes-Benz EQS Electric Luxury Sedan Will Now Be Assembled In India

Mercedes-Benz EQS Electric Luxury Sedan Will Now Be Assembled In India
The luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz wants to start manufacturing its EQS electric sedan locally in India some time this year. This is a part of a larger effort to electrify its portfolio in Asia, according to the president of the company's Indian unit.
Mercedes aims to begin selling the locally built EQS in the fourth quarter of this year in India, Martin Schwenk told reporters. Mercedes will be the first global luxury carmaker to assemble electric vehicles (EVs) in India.
In 2020, the firm plans to start selling imported models of its EQC electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) in India, and it has been working on an "EV roadmap" for the country for the past two years, according to Schwenk.
"Now we bring a car from an imported to a domestically produced vehicle because it has underlying volume and product potential," he said.
Electric vehicles, and more so luxury electric cars, make up a tiny fraction of the total sale of vehicles in India due to the low demand from consumers as well as the high prices of such vehicles. The low sale of electric vehicles is also because of a local supply chain which includes battery manufacturing.
Moreover, the import duties on electric vehicles into India are also quite high with the Indian government imposing import taxes of as much as 100 per cent for a  fully built imported car. That is also a deterrent for companies to offer electric cars in India. 
United States based electric car maker Tesla has been petitioning with the Indian government for the last one year or more to cut down on import taxes on electric vehicles to as low as 40 per cent.
No comment was made by Schwenk about the amount of investment that Mercedes was planning to invest in its electric vehicle strategy in India. He however said that the company had already invested 4 billion rupees ($54 million) in the country over the past two years, which takes the total investments of the company in the country to $351 million.
Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz, announced in July that it expects to invest more than 40 billion euros ($47 billion) by 2030 to develop battery powered electric vehicles as it prepares to compete with Tesla.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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