News - Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes plans AMG brand growth
Expanding Sport variant line to fuel more top-performing Mercedes-AMG models
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1 Jul 2015
By DANIEL GARDNER in AFFALTERBACH
MERCEDES-BENZ'S performance arm AMG will increase the range of its more accessible AMG-Sport variants in a bid to attract more customers to the brand, while creating greater capital to develop its full-fat performance range.
The German car-maker has already introduced an AMG-Line as a styling option on some vehicles but the more recent AMG-Sport options go a step further, bringing performance modifications aimed at a wider fan base.
The first vehicle to get the new treatment was the C450 AMG warmed up sedan and after that Australia will get a hotter version of the new GLE Coupe large SUV named the GLE 450, that will sit under the more potent GLE 63S Coupe.
Speaking at the performance home for Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach, Germany, Mercedes-Benz Cars director of marketing communications Wolfgang Ungerer said expansion of the Sport range was necessary to fill a “gap” that its competitors had already addressed.
“We have the AMG-Line which is essentially optical and we have the performance and sportscars and that left us with a gap,” he said. “The gap, when we look at our competitors, was especially in the entry level.
“AMG Sport is more than a Mercedes series vehicle and feels different and that is an entry level into a different performance brand. If we want to grow our portfolio we have to address that. Those AMG Sport models will become more and more the DNA of AMG.”
With the increased sales predicted in the AMG Sport line, the company says some of the additional capital would be used to develop future top-performing AMG models, such as the Mercedes-AMG GT and C63 AMG.
However, a range of lower-performance models wearing AMG badges would not damage the hard-earned reputation of the luxury car range, according to Mr Ungerer.
“The role of Sport models is going to be increasing and that gives us more flexibility to reinvest into the development of new products,” he said. “Yes there is a growth strategy but our big challenge is to make sure the AMG brand gains and doesn’t lose in this process.
“First of all the differentiation in terms of product substance is critically reviewed so we do not bring Sport models that do not have a clear differentiation to the normal series vehicles.”
Mr Ungerer said the necessity to maintain the sportiness of the new middle-tier cars could also have a beneficial effect on the top AMG models, with performance increasing to keep the vital margins correctly spaced.
“Our challenge is to make sure that from an experience point of view, the Sport models and the performance models are still different enough,” he said. “It almost puts us in a position where we need to push the performance models even to a higher level. We need to make the brand sharper but we need to make the products sharper.”
Mr Ungerer could not elaborate on which models would be the first to benefit from the windfall but said the recent homologation of its new AMG GT3 customer race-car could be followed by more top-end road cars.
“We might expand single vehicles. Absolutely there’s a possibility and we are looking at everything that is necessary to make sure it is kept alive.
“We are looking at making sure the GT stays very vibrant but also that the family may or may not gro.”
The first AMG Sport model to land in Australia will be the GLE450 AMG Coupe, in about September this year, followed by the C-Class-based C450 sedan and Estate in mid-2016.
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