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Daimler rolls out Merc E-class

Our Bureau

PUNE, Oct. 24

DAIMLERCHRYSLER India on Thursday launched the new Mercedes E - class at its facility in Pune. The new car, the E-240 petrol which makes its debut on Indian roads 10 months after its world premiere at the International Brussels Motor show in January 2002, will come with a price tag of Rs 33.9 lakh in Mumbai, exclusive of octroi, registration and other levies.

Talking to the press at the launch, Mr Hans - Michael Huber, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said the car combines the feel of a sports car with riding comfort and safety to give customers maximum value for money. Among other things the new E-240, which marks the phasing out of the earlier E-class 210 in the market, has new improved front and back suspension, a sensotronic braking control and electronic stability programme to ensure maximum handling safety and help the driver cope better with emergency situations, Mr Huber said.

The car, with an indigenisation level of more than 50 per cent is being assembled in its Pune facilities and the company hopes to sell 120 units by the end of this year, he said. A diesel version of the car is being considered for launch early next year, he added.

Meanwhile, the company hopes to sell roughly 1,300 cars in the country and maintain profitability at the level of just over Rs 40 crore that it recorded last year, according to Mr Huber.

The company hopes to add value to the family of Mercedes car owners in the country by upgrading and expanding its service network and also encouraging the trading in of used models through its dealerships, he added. The company has sold 850 cars in the first nine months of the current year.

Meanwhile, the company's CBU imports programme is under way despite delays in the homologation procedure according to Mr Huber, who said it expects CBU sales including the M-class, SL-500, variants of the C-class and small roadsters to touch 120 units this year.

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