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‘Even I can’t afford your car’: Gadkari urges Mercedes-Benz to produce more cars locally

Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister, requested on Friday that Mercedes-Benz, a German premium automaker, produce more vehicles in India. He stressed that doing so would lower costs while also making cars more accessible.


Gadkari, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways, stated that there is a sizable market for electric vehicles in the nation while speaking at the unveiling of Mercedes-Benz India’s first locally assembled EQS 580 4MATIC EV from its Chakan manufacturing facility in Pune.


“You increase the production, only then it is possible to reduce cost. We are middle-class people, even I can’t afford your car,” the minister said.


The most recent electric vehicle from the German automaker costs Rs 1.55 crore.


The company’s EQC SUV and AMG EQS53 4MATIC flagship EV are joined by the EQS 580.


Mercedes-Benz India started its electro-mobility drive in India with the launch of its all-electric SUV EQC as a fully imported unit in October 2020 priced at Rs 1.07 crore.


According to Gadkari, there are a total of 15.7 lakh registered electric vehicles in the country.


He added that the country’s upcoming express highways will give Mercedes-Benz India a good market for these vehicles. He noted that the overall EV sales have increased by 335%, indicating a sizable market.


The Indian Automobile size currently stands at Rs 7.8 lakh crore, in which exports are to the tune of Rs 3.5 lakh crore and “my dream is to make it a Rs 15-lakh crore industry”, he noted.


Gadkari also suggested that Mercedes-Benz form joint ventures to establish auto recycling facilities, which would enable the company to cut the cost of its parts by up to 30%.


“As per our records, we have 1.02 crore vehicles ready for scrapping. We have only 40 units. My estimate is that we can open four scrapping units in one district. And so easily, we can open 2,000 such units,” he said.


“My suggestion is that you can set up some such units which will give you raw materials for recycling which will reduce your component cost by 30 per cent.”


The government is encouraging such facilities, “and it is important that we will get cooperation from your side”, the minister said.


The EQS 580 4MATIC has a range of 857 kilometres (ARAI certified). The powerful 400-volt battery is part of the high power density lithium-ion battery, which has a usable energy content of 107.8 kWh and was made using the most recent advances in lithium-ion technology.

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