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New-model onslaught to push Benz growth

Power play: Mercedes will launch the new-generation C63 AMG sedan in July, with the Estate version to follow in August.

Mercedes to exceed 2014 haul, with 10 new models or variants here by year's end

15 Jun 2015

MERCEDES-BENZ’S share of Australia’s premium new-car market will continue to grow year on year according to the company’s local chief, as its roll-out of new and refreshed product kicks up a gear.

So far this year, Mercedes is ahead of all its rivals in the premium sector, with 14,228 overall sales recorded to the end of May, representing an 18.9 per cent increase over the same period in 2014.

Benz is sitting in eleventh spot on the sales charts year to date, and is only being kept out of the top ten by Honda, which is ahead by 1063 units. Korean car-maker Kia is breathing down Benz's neck in twelfth spot, just 1234 sales behind the German giant.

Taking commercial vehicle sales out of the equation, Benz has sold 12,144 passenger cars and SUVs so far in 2015, while BMW has shifted 9788 units (up 13 per cent) and Audi is in third on 9128 (up 16 per cent).

Speaking with media at the CLA Shooting Brake launch in Melbourne last week, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific CEO Horst von Sanden would not be drawn on targets for the remainder of the year, but added that he expected it to exceed last year's record total of 31,895.

“We always talk about sustainable growth, so if you call a boost massive growth it might not be the case, but we are certainly expecting healthy growth,” he said. “And with all the new product, we would be doing something wrong if we didn't grow.” Mr von Sanden said it was not important for Mercedes to maintain a sales lead over BMW and Audi, as long as he was meeting his internal targets.

“People don't believe me but I have been saying that for a long time, my target agreement does not say beat BMW. It says achieve certain market shares and volumes in certain segments.

“And if that leads to a leadership position, which we currently enjoy, quite comfortably, with close to 2500 ahead of our competition year to date, then that's fine.

“If it is not, and we have had many years when it was not, but we achieved our targets regardless, then it's also fine. So it doesn't concern us. Looking at monthly numbers is rather useless because you have ups and downs, you have shipment issues, you have model cycle changes.” The German premium car-maker has just launched the latest addition to its burgeoning compact range, with the CLA Shooting Brake adding to the four-door coupe range, the A- and B-Class hatches and the GLA crossover.

However, this is just the beginning for Benz this year, with a slew of new models keeping the company busy well into 2016.

Next up for Mercedes is the V-Class luxury people-mover and the Vito light-commercial van on which it is based, in July, with the latter set to give the brand a leg-up in the increasingly crowded van segment.

Performance car fans will get a treat in July with the long-awaited arrival of the Mercedes-AMG GT S and its 375kW twin-turbo V8 punch. It will be priced from $295,000, plus on-road costs, while the C63 S AMG sedan, which uses the same engine, also lobs in July from $154,900.

The fiery Estate version of the C63 lands in August, while the heavily revised ML-Class SUV range – now called GLE – goes on sale in September, alongside its BMW X6-baiting GLE Coupe sibling.

Benz's plug-in hybrid offensive starts in November with the arrival of the C350 Plug-In Hybrid sedan and Estate, while the S500 limousine will lob shortly after.

December marks the arrival of Mercedes' first entrant in the competitive premium mid-size SUV segment – the GLC – after missing out on the previous model (GLK), due to left-hand-drive only production. The German car-maker is looking to make up lost ground in the segment against the hugely popular Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The facleifted A-Class hatch will arrive either later this year or early 2016, bringing minor cosmetic tweaks and mechanical changes, while the C-Class Coupe lands in the seconds quarter of next year.

Benz's AMG Sport range will kick off in Australia in mid-2016 with the C450 AMG Sport 4Matic offering buyers an alternative to the more hardcore full AMG-branded models, but with more performance capabilities than a regular C-Class. An all-new E-Class is expected globally by the end of next year, meaning an Australian debut shortly after.

What's coming for Mercedes-Benz
Model Date
CLA Shooting Brake June
V-Class late July
C63 AMG sedan July
C63 AMG Estate August
CLE/GLE Coupe September
C350 Plug-In Hybrid sedan and Estate November
S500 Plug-In Hybrid late 2015/early 2016
GLC December
A-Class facelift late 2015/early 2016
C-Class Coupe Q2 2016
C450 AMG Sport 4Matic mid-2016
E-Class late 2016

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