Following a sales increase of 47 percent in the first quarter, Mercedes-Benz is setting out its stall at “Auto China 2014” for further growth in the Middle Kingdom.
Two world premieres see the star shine particularly brightly at Asia’s most important auto show – the phenomenally sporty Concept Coupé SUV is in keeping with the long tradition of large Mercedes coupés. The fascinating study combines on-road performance with the typical off-road competence of a Mercedes SUV. The dynamic gallop through the year of the horse is being reinforced by the locally produced long-wheelbase version of the new C-Class, developed specifically for China. In the rear, it offers the most legroom in the segment, while the premium interior is the perfect expression of modern Mercedes luxury. With eight more new models for the local market, as well as the expansion of the distribution network by 100 dealerships in 40 cities, Mercedes-Benz is laying the groundwork for increasing its sales to 300,000 units by 2015.
“The Chinese word for Benz is ‘ben-chi’ and also means ‘gallop’. And that is exactly what we have been doing here in China – in keeping with the ‘year of the horse’ – since the start of the first quarter, which we have completed very successfully with a sales increase of 47 percent. Today, we are presenting a very special car; our Concept Coupé SUV demonstrates that Mercedes is still galloping in the fast lane,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, at Auto China in Beijing.
Concept Coupé SUV – sporty coupé of the very highest order
The four-door, all-wheel drive coupé study extends elegantly to a length of almost five meters and, with broad shoulders and flared wheel arches, stands a good two meters wide. The low roofline, the power domes on the hood, the unmistakable design of the rear windshield and the finned grille with its centrally positioned star embody the typical character of a Mercedes sport coupé. Conversely, its muscular fenders, substantial wheel arches, mighty 22-inch wheels, high waistline and generous ground clearance emphasize the SUV side of this innovative concept car.
Zetsche: “There are, of course, already a number of SUV crossovers on the market. But we have opted for a different, more distinctive approach: Our starting point was a thoroughly sporty coupé, to which we have added our comprehensive off-road expertise.”
Examples include the standard-fit air suspension and the intelligent networking of the drivetrain, chassis and interior. This combination delivers a highly exclusive driving experience both on and off the road. Propulsion is provided by a powerful and efficient V6 biturbo engine, coupled to the new Mercedes-Benz nine-speed automatic transmission. With four different handling programs and an individually programmable setup, the “Dynamic Select Control” system provides the best configuration for every driving situation.
The new long-wheelbase C-Class – from China, for China
The long-wheelbase version of the new C-Class was conceived specifically for the Chinese market and is likewise celebrating its premiere at Auto China. “The capital letter ‘C’ on the C-Class stands very much for China. We developed the long version specifically for our discerning customers in China. It is built exclusively for the Chinese market and is also produced here in China, in collaboration with our long-standing cooperation partner BAIC,” said Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for activities in Greater China. With more than 150,000 units sold, the predecessor to the new C-Class is one of the most important pillars of Mercedes-Benz’s business in China. The new model will be one of the most important growth factors for Mercedes-Benz in the Middle Kingdom. At 4,766 millimeters long and with a wheelbase of 2,920 millimeters, the long-wheelbase version exceeds the standard version by 80 millimeters. All of this additional space benefits passengers riding in the rear – where they enjoy the greatest legroom in the entire segment.
Because the C-Class is used largely as a chauffeured limousine, the front passenger seat can also be adjusted electrically from the rear. The increased footwell space also makes it easier for passengers to enter and exit. The premium equipment and appointments ensure a prestigious and comfortable ambience and include privacy glass in the rear and a rear bench extended by 25 millimeters. With new, highly efficient engines ranging from 115 kW (156 hp) to 270 kW (367 hp) and innovative driver assistance systems, the newest iteration of the successful business sedan combines efficient driving fun and active safety of the highest order. And, of course, the innovative touchpad also recognizes Chinese characters.
Two faces, two characters
The long-wheelbase version of the C-Class is offered with two different design characters – as the Sedan and Sport Sedan. The Sedan bears the classic sedan grille with the Mercedes star on the hood. The Sport Sedan has the grille with the central star and AMG styling, consisting of an AMG front skirt with distinctively sporty air intakes, AMG sill panels and an AMG diffuser-style rear skirt with body-color trim.
S 63 AMG Coupé – breathtaking and irresistible
Celebrating its Asia premiere at the very top of the product portfolio is the S 63 AMG Coupé. “The new AMG coupé is the most beautiful S-Class ever, in its most dynamic form. We are driving forward the Mercedes-Benz offensive in the luxury class with this high-performance model,” said Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
The new S-Class has built impressively on last year’s global success, with 25,000 customers opting for the luxury sedan in the first quarter of 2014 – marking a 50 percent increase compared with the same period the previous year. One in four S-Classes is now being sold in China. “I am certain that the S-Class Coupé will carry on the amazing success of the sedan,” said Prof. Weber.
With its stunning combination of fascinating lines, amazing performance, ambitious lightweight design and groundbreaking efficiency, the S 63 AMG Coupé sets new benchmarks in the segment of dynamic, premium luxury coupés. Marking a world first is the active curve tilting function of the MAGIC BODY CONTROL. Said Prof. Weber: “The S 63 AMG Coupé leans into the curve in a similar way to a motorcycle rider, thus reducing the lateral acceleration exerted on the occupants. On country roads in particular, this means more driving fun and comfort for our customers.”
As the most powerful member of the BlueDIRECT engine family, the AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine delivers supreme refinement. With 430 kW (585 hp) and 900 Newton meters of torque, the S 63 AMG Coupé offers 30 kW (41 hp) and 100 Newton meters more than the preceding model. For the first time, the performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive is available as an option – for even more traction and driving pleasure in all road conditions.
Eight new models for the world’s third-largest car market
With a total of eight new models, including the CLA 260 4MATIC, the CLA 45 AMG, the new S-Class Coupé and the S 600 Sedan, Mercedes-Benz is continuing apace with its product offensive in China. A total of around 20 new or extensively redesigned vehicles will have been launched by 2015 – the highlights being the new GLA, which will also commence production in China in 2015.
100 new dealerships in 40 cities
At the same time, the distribution network in China is growing faster than ever. In 2014 alone, 100 new dealerships will open in 40 cities. And quantity, of course, goes hand-in-hand with quality: June will see the largest training center outside of Germany open in Shanghai. Hubertus Troska: “All activities are guided by the principle – the best products, the best services and the best for the customer.”
Dynamic growth thanks to strong partners
On its dynamic growth path, Mercedes-Benz depends very much on its long-standing, strong Chinese partners. The successful collaboration with Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) has been operating for a decade, and the expansion of joint production company Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC) is continuing rapidly. Daimler AG recently signed an agreement to invest one billion euros by 2015 in the expansion of local production of vehicles and engines alone. This brings the joint investment by BBAC to four billion euros.
Troska: “The new products, rapidly growing distribution network and increasing proportion of local production give us confidence that we will achieve our goal of 300,000 unit sales by 2015.”