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Benz to launch its own star-spangled roadshow

Show-stopper: Mercedes-Benz says that bringing in the $500,000-plus SLS AMG Blackbird for the 2011 Australian International Motor Show was a bit of a risk, but one that paid off in the end.

Mercedes-Benz commits to motor show with more special cars in the pipeline

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Mercedes-Benz logo24 Jul 2013

By BARRY PARK

MERCEDES-Benz is about to launch a roadshow featuring four very special cars it had intended to reveal at the cancelled Sydney motor show.

Not only that, the car-maker has given a strong sign that it will continue to bring in a range of wild, expensive, show-stopping cars for at least the next two years in the hope that Australia will once again stage an international motor show.

Believed to be four highly individualised, high-end AMG models similar to the orange-liveried C63 “Jaffa” and $500,000-plus matte black SLS AMG “Blackbird” show cars revealed in 2010, the latest batch of bespoke vehicles will visit Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne starting from late next month before being sold off.

But the good bit is that rather than miss out, the show car-hungry public will also get a chance to see them, along with other high-end Benz models housed under a specially built dome as part of the car-maker’s “Precious Metal” tour.

Mercedes-Benz Australia corporate communications senior manager David McCarthy said the tour of high-end Benz models, including the show cars, would miss out on one special model – the all-new, LED-laden S-Class revealed internationally earlier this month.

“It will be between six and eight cars – we have a few other cars we want to put there as well,” Mr McCarthy said.

“When we say precious metal, what we’re talking about are obviously the cars we had for the show, and and expensive, high-priced stuff,” he said.

“It won’t be S-Class – don’t even think that, although it would have been nice. We’re not going to get a (S-Class) car until later in the year.” Mr McCarthy said Mercedes-Benz was holding the travelling showcase because it had the cars, despite an opportunity to cancel orders.

“It’s really that we think the punters like to see these cars because they’re something a little bit different,” he said.

“Predominantly it’s an event that the dealers will be involved in, but also the public is going to get an opportunity to see them.

“It’s not an original concept (to hold a travelling car show), but we think the way we’re displaying them and the way that we’re doing it will generate a lot of interest and give people an opportunity to see them.” Mr McCarthy said Mercedes-Benz was still keen to be a part of any future Australian motor show should the event’s organisers decide when, where and how any future events would be held.

As a measure of that commitment, Benz has reserved special number plates – each Australian show car has featured a bespoke plate that ties in with the model’s show name – to cover the next two years.

Private buyers will be able to snap up those cars, too, he said, complete with the matching number plate.

“The customer loves it (getting a bespoke numberplate with the car),” Mr McCarthy said.

“They always value that. A lot of these people will have all the articles that have been written about the car and where there’s images of it,” he said.

“I still think motor shows have a future in Australia. Obviously now we’ve got a couple of years to sort out what we want to do.

“The joint venture is having fairly regular meetings and getting feedback from all the different companies.

“I still say that what is most important is that all the brands have to take part,” he said.

“Otherwise what happens is the last show didn’t have the participation that was needed, and I think numbers suffered.

“Part of that also is that the motor show format doesn’t seem to work, certainly in this market – it’s different to something like Paris or Geneva, or Detroit where you have that huge critical mass of numbers, not just of brands but people.

“It’s a bit self-fulfilling that you don’t get the people if you don’t have the product, and if you don’t have the product you won’t get the people.

“So we’re (Mercedes-Benz) keen that the motor show makes its return, but others have got to step up as well.”

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