German carmaker Mercedes-Benz is looking to move the production of its US-specific GLC SUV from Germany to company's plant in Chakan near Pune, reported Moneycontrol. The auto giant will join Ford Motor India which already exports its Made-in-India EcoSport Compact SUV from its Chennai plant to the American market.
The first Indian-made GLC SUV is expected to hit the US roads next month. Mercedes-Benz GLC is one of the top-selling luxury SUV in the US and the best-selling model for Mercedes-Benz in its product portfolio.
The move to assemble the left-hand drive version of its mid-range SUV comes amid rising trade tensions. Car manufacturers have been looking at India as a production hub in recent years.
The country's largest luxury carmaker had first launched its ninth locally made model - GLC Class SUV - in 2016. While Mercedes' compact range, including the A-Class and B-Class, are imported to India, other costly models, including Maybach S 560, S-Class and E-Class are assembled in India. India is one of the only two countries in the world where the Maybach is made.
Mercedes had doubled its Chakan plant's capacity to 20,000 units per year after an expansion in 2015.
Mercedes is not the first auto manufacturer to export Made-in-India cars, Ford Motor India was the top car exporter from India during the period April 2017 - March 2018 by exporting 181,148 units from India. The company began to export the Ford EcoSport SUV to the US in January 2018.
Detroit-headquartered General Motors, which pulled out of the Indian domestic market last year, has turned its Talegoaon plant in Maharashtra into an export hub. The company exports its cars to global markets including Mexico.
Bajaj Auto-made KTM and Eicher Motors-made Royal Enfield bikes are the other Made-in-India products that are exported to the US.