Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, ME&L 'Tees-Off' 2012 strategy
Mercedes-Benz Middle East & Levant has announced regional sales during its 125th Anniversary year in 2011 as the second best ever achieved, celebrating record performances and touching highs last experienced in 2008. Revealing the results to media at a press conference held at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the luxury German automotive manufacturer also ‘Tee’d-Off’ a strategy to drive the momentum of 2011 sales, branding 2012 both the ‘Year of the SUV’, and ‘Year of AMG’.
Mercedes-Benz’ impressive roster of new models launched in 2011- including SLK Roadster, C-Coupe, CLS and C-Class Facelift - contributed to the overwhelmingly positive sales, with nearly 17,000 units sold overall in the region. It was a best year ever for Mercedes-Benz SUVs too, with year on year (YOY) sales up 16% across all models in the range. Highlighting this achievement was Mercedes-Benz’ “S-Class of SUVs” GL-Class, the flagship model growing 93% versus 2010.
Also celebrating best ever years was the company’s executive E-Class, with both sedan and coupé variant sales up 2% YOY. The world’s best selling luxury sedan S-Class also came to the fore with another strong performance, driven by the strong product offering of the Business Edition and AMG Sports Package options available.
Looking across the region, the three-pointed star shone brightest in Kuwait and Qatar, outperforming in both markets and posting record results of 40% and 30% YOY respectively. Dubai and Abu Dhabi retained their strong market position, with consistent sales performances delivering a 10% increase in sales and accounting for 39% of Middle East sales overall.
Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant said: “Driven by Mercedes-Benz ‘Best or Nothing’ mantra throughout our 125th anniversary, we are delighted to congratulate our regional distributors’ best ever performances, and celebrate a second best year ever for us in the Middle East. We must thank our regional distributor network for helping to achieve this and underline the importance of compliance in everything we do, which has further catalysed our sales success while supporting our long-term goal to achieve profitable growth and higher customer satisfaction.”
2011 momentum is expected to continue into 2012, with a regional strategy unveiled by Bernthaler focussing on SUVs and the company’s AMG sports car division to drive sales to new heights.
Dubbed as the ‘Year of the SUV’, the March launch of Mercedes-Benz new M-Class unveiled at the Dubai International Motor Show 2011 is marked as a key to growing market share for the company, and will be bolstered by new GLK- and top of the range GL-Class model launches in later months.
‘The Year of AMG’ represents the other side of Mercedes-Benz’ two pronged 2012 plans. A fearsome armada of new AMG models are geared up to turbo-charge sales for the company’s high-performance sports car division when they reach the Middle East’s shores. Models include the most powerful C-Class of all time - C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series; athletic and sporty SLK 55 AMG Roadster; dual personality E 63 AMG executive saloon; and 525hp, zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds ML 63 AMG.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz lightweight, athletic and luxurious SL-Class Roadster – the latest aluminium-body version of the ‘super-light’ will be launched in June/July this year. An announcement of a thunderous AMG version is expected from the Affalterbach headquarters soon, with a Middle East launch date to be announced shortly afterwards.
A return of the AMG Performance Tour in spring will once again give thrill seeking customers a chance to command the full fury of new Mercedes AMG models, building on the sales successes achieved from 2011’s AMG night driving experience.
Bernthaler also stressed the importance of the company’s refined Proven Exclusivity pre-owned vehicle offering. Available across the entire Mercedes-Benz Middle East and Levant general distributor network with a strong online and showroom presence, Proven Exclusivity sales grew by 22% last year and represents almost a fifth of the company’s total regional vehicle sales. Together with an existing fully fledged English website recently launched in Arabic as well, Mercedes-Benz has become the benchmark in the pre-owned vehicle business.