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Mercedes not concerned by declining S-Class segment

Against the tide: Mercedes-Benz isn’t worried by the shrinking segment in which its S-Class luxury sedan competes.

Significant drop in upper-large passenger segment not a problem for Mercedes-Benz

15 Dec 2017

MERCEDES-BENZ is not concerned about the future sales potential of its newly-updated S-Class luxury sedan despite a considerable drop in customer interest for the upper-large passenger car segment.

With one month to go in 2017, the $100,000-plus upper large segment has seen a 29.0 per cent decline in sales. Accounting for the sub-$100,000 segment as well, increases the level of decline to 37.2 per cent.

Market share for both segments stand at 0.1 per cent, tied for the smallest amount with the 20-plus seat light bus segment.

In 2016, the more expensive upper-large segment saw a 13.0 per cent climb almost exclusively on the back of the newly-released BMW 7 Series which grew by a whopping 215.1 per cent, with the Maserati Quattroporte the only other model to experience growth at 6.8 per cent.

Factoring in total upper-large sales, 2016 saw a 23.2 per cent decline.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the refreshed S-Class, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific public relations and product communications manager Jerry Stamoulis said the brand expected some E-Class customers to make the step-up to its upper-large luxury sedan.

“ If you look at Mercedes-Benz, E-Class is still selling quite well, leading the segment, and we believe with how we’ve positioned S-Class now – especially with the S350d, we no longer have an E500 – we really see some of those customers coming up to the S-Class now,” he said.

“There’s still life in that part of the market – it’s far from dead.”

Mr Stamoulis said that despite the trend away from large passenger vehicles, he sees the S-Class as continuing to be the luxury flagship for Mercedes-Benz.

“I think from a luxury viewpoint, definitely,” he said.

As for technology, the S-Class will always be the brand leader when a new model is released, but due to customer expectations, new technological features need to be rolled out across other models as they are updated and may supersede the S-Class.

“At this stage, I think we’ll still see the S-Class as the pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz range, and we also have Maybach, which is our pinnacle, so we really have Mercedes-Benz, then we have Mercedes-AMG which is our performance arm, and Mercedes-Maybach, which is our top luxury marque,” Mr Stamoulis said.

“So what we do with Maybach in the future may dictate where we see luxury going.”

Currently, the S-Class is the only Mercedes model line with a Maybach-fettled variant, the twin-turbo V12-powered S650, however Mr Stamoulis alluded that the Maybach name may not always be tied exclusively to the S-Class.

The Maybach nameplate could be expanded to include an SUV variant, which would most likely come in the form of the GLE large SUV, but could also be applied to the seven-seat GLS upper large SUV.

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