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Mercedes increases local AMG inventory

Cop this: The A35 small hatch will become the most affordable Mercedes-AMG model in Australia when it launches in November priced from $67,200 plus on-road costs.

Australia leads the world in AMG sales and is set to raise the bar with new models

1 Oct 2019

AUSTRALIA is expected to confirm its position as the world’s most enamoured market for AMG vehicles when Mercedes-Benz introduces its latest budget-priced performance model, the A35, in November.


The AMG badge is worn by 20 per cent of all Mercedes vehicles sold Down Under this year – the same as in 2018 – and the addition of the A35 should see Australia hold off Canada for bragging rights as the top global market based on a percentage of overall sales, not outright volume.


Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific head of media relations and brand engagement Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto last week that “historically, we’re number one”.


The Australian subsidiary’s position will be boosted by the arrival of the sub-$70,000 A35 small car towards the end of year, starting at $67,200 for the hatch variant – the lowest mark Mercedes has ever gone with an AMG offering.


“We’re talking about AMG as the manufacturer and not the AMG Line-accessorised cars,” Mr Stamoulis said.


“The A35 will be in line to be our most popular AMG vehicle, but there is still a lot of sales made in the C-Class range.


“C-Class is the highest of the AMG models, and particularly the C43. We don’t release individual model numbers, but C43 is the biggest with about 10 per cent of total C-Class sales.


“But that figure fluctuates. That’s why it is difficult to say which is the best-selling model.”


One of the surprises of the Australian market is that the CLA45 coupe-sedan outsells the headlining A45 hatch.


“That’s a statistic that people may find difficult to believe. It is very surprising, even to me,” Mr Stamoulis said.


“That’s why, to the customer, the CLA45 is not viewed as an A-Class sedan. It’s seen as a separate entity.


“It’s a unique car. What’s an alternative to a CLA45? What can you buy that has its coupe styling with four doors, and does a zero-to-100km/h in four seconds? There’s not a lot. It’s a unique model that has really worked.”


The market trend to SUVs is also a surprise because it is not replicated with AMG as Mercedes-Benz Aust/Pac finds buyers prefer cars to SUVs.


“We still see performance buyers heading towards the coupes, the sedans and the hatches,” Mr Stamoulis said.


“We think we have enough of a range of AMG SUVs. We have GLB35 coming – that we have already announced – and the rest are the GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS, which won’t change.


“In the GLE Coupe, we sell more AMGs than we do diesels. It’s a model that is a niche but sells very well as a performance vehicle and is really the only SUV in the range that has this high level of interest.


“Traditionally, the GLE has been 50 per cent diesel and 50 per cent AMG. In the past, people would have bought purely for look, but more recently, it is about performance and the look.”


Asked if there would be a GLA version of an AMG variant, such as a GLA35, Mr Stamoulis said he could not comment. He did, however, confirm that there would be a new GLA model next year but would not speculate that an AMG version or two would again join the range.


AMG is also a participant in the move by Mercedes-Benz to have at least one electrified model variant by 2022.


Industry speculation has pointed to the new M139 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine – which is fitted to the new A45 – being made available as the internal-combustion unit for a wider range of AMG models.


It was hinted by Mercedes-AMG chairman and chief executive Tobias Moers at the recent Frankfurt motor show that the M139 – which has been built with an output as high as 310kW/500Nm – has applications beyond the front-engined layout.


This puts it in line for use in rear-drive layouts –  from C-Class to E-Class passenger cars through to SUVs – backed up with increased power from electrification.


“So when everything has electrification, it doesn’t mean they will have the same level or type of electrification,” Mr Stamoulis said.


“Some could be mild hybrid and some could be plug-in hybrid. Let’s wait and see. Mercedes believes that it’s not about the cylinders, it’s about the performance.


“I can’t talk about where engines will end up, but there is a clear target to reduce emissions and that will end up with electrification.


“If you look at the E53 with the 48-volt hybrid powerplant, for example, we are not getting any customer complaints about missing out on an eight-cylinder engine.”

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