Mercedes says comprehensive trade deal with EU could turn India into export hub

NEW DELHI, Sept 30 (Reuters) – A comprehensive trade deal between India and the European Union could pave the way for Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) to produce more cars in the South Asian country, this which could turn it into an export hub, Mercedes,” the country’s leader told Reuters on Friday.

In June, the EU and India RELAUNCH talks for a free trade agreement with the aim of concluding them by the end of 2023. The talks began in 2007, but were frozen in 2013 due to the lack of progress on issues such as demands from the EU for better access to the Indian markets for its cars.

A trade deal that would put India in a competitive position or give it an edge in other markets where Mercedes produces cars “would definitely help”, Martin Schwenk said in an interview when asked about India’s export plans. German company.

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“Producing a car in India for all markets in the world could be a strategy. But if we cannot, for example, export to the EU without penalties, we cannot compete with our factory in Hungary,” he said. he declares. .

Mercedes on Friday launched its first locally built electric vehicle (EV) in India – the EQS 580, a variant of its flagship S-Class sedan, with plans to potentially build cleaner cars in the country.

“We are aiming over the next 8-10 years to fully electrify the portfolio and be a power producer here. The intention is to build capacity now and as demand changes… increase the numbers” , he said, adding the current strategy was not to export.

To produce a model in one location would require an annual volume of 150,000 to 200,000 cars, Schwenk said.

Although Mercedes is India’s largest luxury automaker, it only sold 11,242 cars in 2021. At its peak in 2018, it sold 15,500.

India is largely a low-cost small car market, with luxury models accounting for 1% of total annual sales of around three million cars. The market for luxury electric vehicles is even smaller and largely untested, with most models currently being imported at high tariffs.

The EQS has a certified range of 857 kilometers (532.5 miles) on a single charge and will be priced at 15.5 million rupees ($190,564).

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Reporting by Aditi Shah Editing by Mark Potter

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