Mumbai: Mercedes-Benz India Pvt. Ltd is undertaking a portfolio revamp to comply with the Bharat Stage VI tailpipe emission norms, and will henceforth re-engineer all its upcoming diesel models, said a senior executive.
“All new diesel cars we launch from now onwards will be BS-VI-compliant, with some diesel launches during the second half of this year," said Michael Jopp, vice-president, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz India.
The maker of the E-Class sedan aims to change its entire portfolio to BS-VI before the April 2020 deadline, Jopp added.
In January, Mercedes-Benz said that it was the first automaker in India to launch a BS-VI compliant vehicle—the S-Class 350 diesel sedan.
The local arm of the German automaker has already introduced seven new models this year, including the Monday launch of the high-performance Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe and the flagship Maybach S 650 sedan during the Auto Expo in February. It seeks to introduce three more models this year, with at least one expected to be a diesel car, said Jopp.
Some of these models will be completely new to India, as they “do not have a predecessor" here, he added.
In April, German automaker BMW Group India had said that all its petrol cars are BS-VI-compliant, but can also run on BS-IV grade fuel.
As diesel is considered more polluting, emission norms for diesel cars are becoming more stringent. This, in addition to an increasing preference for petrol -driven models, prompted Mercedes to make the move well in advance.
In fact, the share of diesel models has dropped to 75% of Mercedes’s sales in India, compared to 90% three years ago. The automaker is expecting a stronger shift towards petrol, Jopp said.
In mid-2016, Mercedes, along with several other carmakers, was severely affected by the Supreme Court’s ban on the registration of new diesel vehicles with engine capacities of 2,000cc, or more, in the National Capital Region (NCR). The apex court judgment came on the back of high levels of pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas.
Jopp was, however, “cautiously optimistic about the growth of the luxury market" in India, but expects the momentum the segment gained during 2017 to continue.
In the quarter ended March, Mercedes sold 4,556 cars, a 24.8% rise over the year-ago period. For the fiscal ended March, the automaker sold 16,236 units, to post 22.5% rise from the previous fiscal year. Mercedes said both time periods saw its highest-ever sales.