‘Awesome’ is the word being used by Mercedes-Benz to describe various initiatives planned for the year ahead, all designed to expand ownership and sustain market growth.
Against the backdrop of a highly ambitious model development programme - one that has seen the Stuttgart manufacturer establish a presence in virtually every model segment. That this is set to continue can be seen in plans to introduce some 18 new models over the next 8 years as Mercedes-Benz pursues its goal to secure number one position in the luxury car market globally.
Evidence that this goal is being achieved can be seen in performance at a local level where sales in Ireland show Mercedes-Benz achieving a 36% average annual growth over the past four years. Even in the current year, sales are running 32% above the same period last year, despite an overall 10% market decline.
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Looking to 2018, use of the term ‘awesome’ will be a central theme as Mercedes-Benz here, and elsewhere, place focus on their goal of offering motorists even more enhanced specifications levels matched to prices that will be competitive across the board, with particular emphasis on what their sales manager in Ireland, Ciaran Allen calls their ‘main performing models’. “Our overarching commitment to maintain a competitive specifications/price position across our range, now and into 2018, is one that will be reflected in awesome cars with awesome specifications at awesome prices” Allen said.
With their important C-Class and E-Class ranges, the drive will be to achieve first place in their respective market segments, building on the 22% sales increase being achieved by C-Class and the 70% increase in sales of E-Class this year. Noteworthy in this regard will be an increased emphasis on AMG refinements and a focus on their improved specifications generally. Other models likely to benefit from this new specifications/ price equation are CLA and GLC to top-of-the range models like the new remodelled S-Class, first versions of which have arrived here at a lower-than-expected price marginally above €90,000 for the S 350 version.
Also driving this new growth-led approach will be an expanding network of exclusive Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Coming on stream over the coming months will be two new Dublin City outlets – a remodelled MSL Ballsbridge and a completely new MSL Grange dealership at Pottery Road, Deansgrange. In addition to the recently opened Connolly Mercedes-Benz dealership in Sligo town, two further outlets are in the pipeline – one in Galway city and a second in Wexford. Added to them are those dealerships currently undergoing a corporate identity makeover to provide what Ciaran Allen calls ‘a welcoming ambiance for buyers of new and pre-owned vehicles”.
Away from the coalface of model sales and marketing, the year ahead will see Mercedes-Benz place greater focus on other fronts. One of these will be to introduce customers to the many attractions and advantages that its ‘Connect Me’ system offers, including a ‘track and locator’ function useful should the vehicle ever be taken without authority.
On the used car front, new ‘Mercedes-Benz Certified’ branding will also be introduced, the purpose to standardise current approaches and present a uniform, Europe-wide quality assurance message to used car customers.