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Mercedes-AMG sales to stay put in 2018

Roll on: One of the models Mercedes-AMG will roll out this year is the four-door version of the GT, which was revealed at this year’s Geneva motor show.

Year of consolidation for AMG as it balances exclusivity and volume aspirations

Mercedes-AMG logo29 Mar 2018

By TIM NICHOLSON in NEW YORK

THE meteoric rise of Mercedes-AMG’s global sales in recent years will slow down this year, with the company’s CEO Tobias Moers suggesting that 2018 will be a year of consolidation for the go-fast brand.

Mercedes-AMG hit a record 132,000 sales around the world last year – including 7000 from Australia – which was a 33 per cent increase over its 2016 haul.

However, despite an influx of new models this year, including the updated C63 range, new-generation G63 and the recently revealed AMG GT 4-door Coupe, Mr Moers said the company planned for things to settle down in 2018.

“This year is to try to stabilise everything,” he told Australian journalists at this week’s New York motor show. “Everything was done by strategy. We started to increase, increase, increase. And this was predicted by us. Not in that height. To be honest, even we were a little bit surprised by our success.

“But it was always clear for us because 2018 and 2019 is a changeover of portfolio. So (new-gen) GLE and compact (A-Class) and things and (GT 4-door Coupe) coming in Autumn. So this is stabilised volume, to make sure we care about our dealerships, our network. And take a deep breath and take the next jump.”

Mr Moers would not discuss specific annual sales targets, but said it was the company’s aim to maintain its position as the sales leader amongst its competitors, including BMW’s M division and Audi Sport.

“Within the performance (sub) brands, we are obviously number one. Getting there is always … I think that is more easy, but staying there, you need a strategy, you need dedication, you need to be focused.”

Last year, BMW’s M division recorded more than 80,000 units, a 19 per cent hike, while Audi Sport hit more than 20,000, both well off the pace of AMG.

Asked whether it was a challenge to maintain exclusivity while also increasing volume, Mr Moers said the two objectives could co-exist.

“I think exclusivity and the number of cars or sales volume is not an opposite.

This is what keeps me up at night – is to make sure that every car we bring to the market is the perfect ambassador of the brand AMG and it is in a special segment. This is always different.

“If you take an A45 or an S63, we have to make sure the cars fit. And what is our demand of a car in that segment. I always have a good understanding of how the car should feel in every perspective – throttle response, driveability, comfort level, racetrack performance. And this is what we are looking for.

“And then volume is kind of the outcome of a great product range. That happens.

And it is still exclusive. It is exclusive to drive a Mercedes-Benz to be honest. Don’t forget that.”

He said that every second Mercedes-Benz that is purchased is equipped with the AMG line package and that rather than diluting the AMG brand, the AMG accessories and packs offered on standard Mercedes models help to grow AMG.

“It doesn’t dilute. The opposite is the case. We get a lot of new people in the brand. And the majority of our customers for the ‘43’ is coming from other brands. And that is great and then when we have them in the brand, we are going to try and keep them in the brand.

“And what we see with the 43s is this customer journey. They drive that car for maybe a year and then they move up to a 63. That happens. Not always but sometimes.”

While Mercedes-Benz Cars sells unique models and variants in China, such as a long-wheelbase C-Class, Mr Moers all but ruled out AMG offering Chinese-market exclusive models, despite it being one of the brand’s biggest markets.

“No. It is always global. Maybe in the future. Maybe it could get a little diverse in the future when Mercedes does that. So potentially yeah, but so far not.”

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