Mercedes-Benz Reports Record Year In Middle East

Vice President at the automotive company announces 13 new car lines in the next seven years.



Mercedes-Benz Middle East and Levant has announced 2012 as its best ever year, attributing record sales results to its SUV and AMG models.

Regional sales were up 16.7 per cent on 2011’s results and beat its previous record set in 2008.

The German firm reported 15 consecutive months of double-digit growth while its high-performance AMG division also reported its best ever annual results, surpassing its 2011 sales by 80 per cent.

Frank Bernthaler, director of sales and marketing for Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant, said: “By working closely with our long standing partners in the region to deliver ex-citing new vehicles and an enhanced customer experience, we continued the momentum built in 2011 to accomplish this phenomenal achievement.

“We can proudly claim 2012 as the Year of the SUV and Year of the AMG.”

SUV sales increased by 38 per cent on 2011 as the region’s love affair with the G-Class continued to grow.

Sales of the G 55 AMG and newly launched G 63 AMG and G 65 AMG variants rose 74 per cent.

Speaking to Gulf Business ahead of the announcement, Matthias Lührs, vice president of global sales at Mercedes-Benz, revealed the Middle East region’s importance to the business.

“The Middle East is one of our defined core markets for our 2020 strategy and forms a major or very important part in this growth path,” said Lührs.

“The implication is if you do a region strategy, you’d only do that if it’s an important region or market. Besides markets [such as] China, Germany, U.S., Canada, there’s other growing markets than these three big and one of the major focused markets for us is the Middle East.”

When asked if there were any limits on the speed at which Merecedes-Benz could continue to grow in the region, Lührs asked “why should there be constraints?”

“If you look at the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait…we see a natural growth in those markets because of different reasons, oil, services, etc. The markets we feel are naturally growing.”

Lührs also revealed the global automotive company will launch a number of new lines over the next seven years.

“We have defined until 2020, we will have 13 new car lines without a predecessor. Thirteen new car lines that today are not existing and will not have a predecessor, not face lifts,” he said.

Lührs said one of the new lines would be a new A Class, which is coming to the Middle East in the second quarter of the year.

He also revealed a new small SUV would be entering the market in 2014 and there would be a ‘few surprises on the S Class platform.’

“Obviously we will look into more sport cars, we see still a niche in the sports car segment.

“In the compact cars other than the A Class and the CLA which is also going to be launched in Europe in April, which is the smaller brother of the CLS, we might see also another compact car on the A Class platform.

“We will see more niches on the compacts cars, we will also probably have more SUVs and probably have more compact coupe-like SUVs in the future.

“Small SUVs [in the luxury segment] and small coupes – that’s where we see the biggest growth opportunities on a worldwide scale.”