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Mercedes Benz Sales up 24 percent in January - G-Class and Unimog win Off-Road award

2010 seems to be a promising year for Mercedes Benz. Not only will the company start the 2010 Formula One season with 7-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher racing in the Mercedes Petronas F1 race car, but the German car manufacturer is also among the most successful brands in the readers vote for the Off-roader of the Year 2010 held by a German motoring magazine specialized in Off-Road cars.

Within the portfolio the legendary G-Class was even able to notch up a double success: it won first place in the Luxury off-roader category, while the special EDITION.PUR model, which entered production in 2009 to mark the 30th anniversary of the G-Class, took second place in the Classic category. The M-Class achieved the same ranking in the Luxury SUV category.

In the Special-purpose vehicle category, the multi-talented Unimog once again took its place on the winners rostrum.

These awards make the G-Class one of the most popular and highly acclaimed models in the world of off-road vehicles, as a look at the major awards received in recent years reveal that the G-Class received tens of renowned awards in its category.

In the special-purpose vehicle segment - off-road vehicles used to carry loads and cargo into remote areas, or used as a basis for special-purpose bodies - the Unimog clearly leads the field, with particular praise for its outstanding off-road capabilities combined with extreme robustness.

The current 463-series G-family has three body variants. The short wheelbase Station Wagon, the long wheelbase Station Wagon or the Cabriolet can be combined either with the economical V6 CDI engine developing 165 kW(224 hp) and 540 newton metres, or a powerful 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine with 285 kW (388 hp) and 530 newton metres.

The top-of-the-range G 55 AMG, which is available only as a four-door Station Wagon, is powered by a supercharged V8 engine generating 373 kW(507 hp) and an impressive maximum torque of 700 newton metres. The G-Class continues to offer an outstanding synthesis of powerful drive and dynamic handling systems.

In addition to permanent all-wheel drive with an off-road reduction range and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, standard equipment includes the electronically controlled traction system 4ETS, the Electronic Stability Program ESP?® and three differential locks that can be engaged at the touch of a button.

The special EDITION.PUR model, which has received an award in the Classic category, entered production in 2009 to mark the 30th birthday of the G-Class and is based on the G 280 CDI from the G 461 series. This long wheelbase Station Wagon is homage to the first-generation G-Model, and like its ancestor it is specially optimised for operation in the very toughest off-road conditions.

As a trendsetter among todays SUVs, the M-Class owes its exceptional status to its characteristically dynamic and elegant design, as well as to a combination of excellent on-road/off-road performance, the ride and operating comfort of a saloon car and a high level of perceived value.

Moreover, the M-Class has safety features that are unrivalled anywhere in the SUV segment. These outstanding attributes were duly rewarded by the readers of the motoring magazine Off Road.

In addition to all these awards, also the current sales number give a first impression on a possibly very successful year 2010.

In January, Mercedes-Benz continued the positive trend of the past few months by posting significant increases in its worldwide sales. A total of 67,000 passenger cars were delivered to customers, 24 percent more than in the previous year (2009: 53,900 vehicles).
Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars: We started the new year successfully with a strong increase in sales. That was due to the large increases in many regions such as North America, Asia/Pacific, and the BRIC countries, as well as the continuing success of our new E- and S-Class. In the coming weeks we will be building on this excellent start. We expect to see significant growth in the first quarter.

An additional boost will be provided by the full availability of the E-Class family. Orders are being accepted for the new convertible since January 11, 2010. The customer response has been excellent.

The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is also very popular, with the customer response considerably exceeding expectations. Deliveries of both new products in Western Europe will start at the end of March.

Mercedes-Benz continued to develop dynamically in the markets in January, especially in China, where it posted a new record: Customer deliveries there totaled 8,300 units, more than double the figure posted in January 2009 (2009: 3,400). This means that Mercedes-Benz continues to grow faster than its competitors in the premium segment.

In January, Mercedes-Benz was also very successful in Japan (plus 11 percent), Australia (plus 50 percent), South Korea (plus 238 percent), and South Africa (plus 12 percent). New records were set for sales in January in the BRIC countries India (plus 213 percent) and Russia (plus 17 percent). Mercedes-Benz also significantly increased its sales in Brazil (29 percent).

In the U.S., Mercedes-Benz was the fastest-growing premium brand in January and significantly increased its market share. With a market share of 2.1 percent, Mercedes-Benz is the market leader among German premium brands. Its passenger car sales increased by 40 percent to 14,700 units (2009: 10,500 units). Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz also posted a sales record in Canada in January, delivering 1,600 passenger vehicles to customers (January 2009: 1,200) for an increase of 34 percent.

Sales in January were particularly affected in Western Europe by the down time at the production plants and customer centers in Germany.

The Mercedes-Benz brand sold 9,300 passenger vehicles in the German market (January 2009: 11,300, minus 18 percent). At 18,600 units, sales in the other countries of Western Europe were ten percent higher than in the same month of last year (January 2009: 16,900).

Mercedes-Benz posted big gains in the UK (plus 18 percent), France (plus seven percent), Spain (plus 24 percent), Switzerland (plus 30 percent), Portugal (plus 44 percent), and Sweden (plus 43 percent).

The new E-Class continued to do very well. The sedan doubled its worldwide deliveries to 13,900 units. The vehicle posted great gains in almost all markets, including the U.S., where sales more than doubled to 3,800 units, as well as in Germany (1,200 units/plus 66 percent) and China.

In China, deliveries were four times higher than in the same month of last year, amounting to 2,300 units. The newgeneration S-Class also recorded strong growth in January, with worldwide deliveries increasing by 50 percent to 4.300 units.

A total of 1,300 S-Class vehicles were delivered to customers last month in China, representing a 46 percent increase over the same month of last year. Vehicle sales were also up sharply in the United States (plus 57 percent) and Germany (plus 75 percent) last month.

The other Mercedes-Benz model series were also successful in January, with sales of the C-Class sedan rising by eleven percent to 15,000 units, thus once again confirming the vehicles market leadership.
In its largest market, the U.S., the C-Class saw sales rise by 33 percent in January, to 4,000 units.

In China, meanwhile, deliveries doubled to 1,700 units. Mercedes-Benz boosted sales in the SUV segment by 20 percent to 12,600 units. Sales of the GLK grew at a double-digit rate in many Western European markets, and the vehicle was once again far ahead of its main competitors in the U.S..

The M-, GL-, and G-Class SUVs also posted double-digit gains in the U.S. in January.

A total of 5,600 (January 2009: 8,300) smart fortwos were sold in January (minus 33 percent). The company expects sales of the smart brand to get a boost particularly from the market launch of the newgeneration smart fortwo, which will start in the third quarter of 2010.

And while Mercedes is very successful in the Middle East with models such as the G55 AMG or the S-Class, we find the situation slightly different In Egypt, were the sales of the new E-Class and S-Class are almost stagnating.

One of the reason is surely the poor reputation of locally-assembled Mercedes cars in Egypt as well as the many complaints about the unreasonable pricing policy of Mercedes Benz Egypt, which see locally-assembled models totally over-priced.

Maybe that was the reason why at the recent Cairo International Motorshow (20.1.-24.01.2010) Mercedes Benz Egypt decided to display only the four C-Class models, one locally-assembled GLK model and the E-Class Coupe of a customer, without paying any attention to the other model-range which were successfully displayed at a stand of one of the local tuners.


MS

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