Exclusive: India deserves EVs, EQC just the start, says Mercedes

Santosh Iyer, VP, Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz India tells HT Auto that time is now for EVs to make presence felt in the country. Iyer says EQC shows Mercedes is committed to offering new technology here. Mercedes says it is ready to fight rivals if they choose to bring luxury EVs now.

09 Oct 2020 |  29

At a time when several car makers are launching electric vehicles in foreign markets but remain hesitant to bring these to Indian shores, Mercedes-Benz has brought in the EQC luxury electric SUV here in a bid to woo and wow prospective buyers. At ₹99.30 lakh (ex showroom, first 50 units), it may only be for a niche set of customers but Mercedes says it feels the time is now to offer a product here. Speaking to HT Auto, Santosh Iyer, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz India, highlighted that the decision to launch EQC here was taken after an extensive thought process. "We have a clear ambition of zero emission (vehicles) by 2039. To fit in there, we say that 50% of all cars we sell have to be electric by 2030. So we have to start somewhere and we have to make the market mature. With a fantastic product like EQC, we felt we can't wait further," he said. "We also thought it is also our responsibility to make customers aware and let them experience these products. There were a lot of deliberations, lots of discussions but we thought India deserves these products." But is the Indian market mature enough? Iyer feels that Mercedes has paved the way into uncharted territories and the EV space is going to be no different. "We came to India 245 years back and at that time, the luxury market was also not mature enough. (But) we made the investments and we are reaping the benefits. When it comes to technology, it is a chicken and egg story. You cannot wait for customers to start asking. As manufacturers, we are also responsible to give them a taste of new technology," he elaborated. "When Indians go abroad, they drive such cars and want to come back and own and drive these here too."

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