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Merc in renewed push for glory

2011-09-07 06:45

FIGHT ON: Mercedes-Benz plans to again top the premium segment's sales tables, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

The iconic Mercedes-Benz brand may have taken a beating in the past few years but Daimler's CEO is determined to make it again the leader among premium automakers.

Automotive News reports that Mercedes recently launched a marketing campaign with the slogan “The best or nothing” and the next step was to be a sales leader in the cut-throat segment.

Dieter Zetsche said: “Our goal is to be No.1 in the premium segment. The objective is clear – and so is our commitment.”

SMART PLAN


Zetsche forecasts a sales increase in 2011, saying Daimler expected sales of 1.35-million Mercedes-Benz cars in 2011 against the 1.17-million sold in 2010. He also bets on selling more Smart mini cars in 2011 – as many as 100 000 after 2010’s 97 500.

Daimler plans to sell 1.5-million Mercs by 2015, even though arch-rival Audi wants to reach the same goal by 2014, but Zetsche remains upbeat.

"In recent years we invariably sold fewer vehicles than Audi in the first four months of the year,” he said. “It is certainly a bit tighter this year, but I am confident." 

MORE MODELS


The company’s offensive, Zetsche said, included a range of new and additional models, to “close gaps” in the current line-ups and “forge new segments”. As many as 10 new models are promised by 2020, including a compact (reportedly based on the new A-Class model) and the CLS Shooting Break.

Zetsche also told Automotive News that the company’s relationship with Renault was proving positive, referring to the small city delivery vehicle based on the Kangoo that will be launched in 2012. However, Zetsche said the company would avoid the high-volume minefield previously entered with Chrysler and Mitsubishi.

Another key growth area, despite Zetsche’s reservations, was the expansion of production capacity in China; the company plans to produce as much as two-thirds of its units sold in China in that country.
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