Car news

11 December 2013

Mercedes-Benz plays exclusive card

Opens 'Centre of Excellence' at Chakan for high-end car customers

Girish Karkera
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Customers of high-end luxury cars, typically and naturally, expect more from its makers. Mercedes-Benz is doing something about it. While it continues with its model onslaught, the company will now start a new 'Centre of Excellence' program which it inaugurated at its Chakan plant today.

The facility is to provide a one-stop shop for those interested in its high end models - namely the AMG performance variants and speciality models like SLK and CLS. The Centre of Excellence will house most of these cars, which is normally not feasible at many dealerships. An iConfigurator, a digital system will allow customers to choose various specifications like colour, interior trim, even the type of stiching in a bid to make their Merc as exclusive as possible.

At Chakan the company already has a purpose-built off-road track which will now be a part of this program where customers can experience the rough-road capabilities of their off-roaders.

The concept is unique - there is the option where Merc can even fly down customers in a helicopter (yes, there is a helipad too) - but not new. VW does something similar on a larger scale at its parent plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. Even Merc has tried it in a couple of other countries, but it's a first for a relatively small sales volume country like India.

Matthias Luhrs, global sales VP for Mercedes-Benz inaugurated the Centre of Excellence alongside the Indian MD and CEO Eberhard Kern. After recording a surprising 30 per cent growth in sales in 2013, Kern said 2014 will see the company grow further. Eight new models are lined up for launch next year, starting with the new S-Class. Luhrs said the company will also launch one of its compact cars - either CLA or GLA - in India next year.

Just for your information, the Centre of Excellence visit along with the helicopter ride comes at no extra cost. Which should get them many more customers. Of course, Kern maintains: "To be honest, we don't know how many will come. But we are sure once here, they will experience true excellence".

Tags: mercedes, mercedes benz



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