Mercedes-Benz is Premium Brand with Strongest Growth in December and Fourth Quarter
* Mercedes-Benz boosts sales by 12 percent in December, continuing positive trend — sales in fourth quarter of 2009 increased significantly by 13 percent
* Mercedes-Benz in many markets performs better than the market as a whole in 2009 and expands market shares
* New E-Class and new-generation S-Class contribute to boost sales — the sedans are market leaders worldwide
* Dr. Zetsche: “We expect sales in 2010 to be slightly higher than last year, thanks to attractive new products.”
* Another year of record sales in China — Mercedes-Benz is fastest-growing premium brand in the country
Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz successfully defended its position in 2009, despite facing very difficult market conditions. In December the brand once again significantly increased sales, which grew by 12 percent to 97,700 units (December 2008: 87.100). In doing so, it continued the positive trend of the past several months. As a result, Mercedes-Benz was the premium brand with the strongest growth in the world, not only in December but during the entire fourth quarter. During the year as a whole, Mercedes-Benz delivered 1,012,300 vehicles to customers (2008: 1,121,700 — minus 9.7 percent). In 2009 Mercedes-Benz performed better than the total market in many markets, including the U.S., China, Canada, Russia, the UK, South Korea, and Brazil, thus gaining market shares.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “We were able to steadily increase our sales in the second half of the year after facing strong market declines in the first six months. Sales in the fourth quarter were substantially higher than in the same period of the previous year, increasing by 13 percent. The new E-Class and the new-generation S-Class contributed particularly to this achievement. Our big success in China also had a positive effect on sales, as we were once again the fastest-growing premium brand in the country in 2009.”
Attractive new products and pioneering innovations for sustainable mobility in 2009
Besides the E-Class and the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz also presented the updated generation of the GL in 2009. At the same time, the company forged ahead with numerous innovations in the area of sustainable mobility. With the S 400 HYBRID, for example, Mercedes-Benz became the first European manufacturer to introduce a series-produced hybrid car with a lithium-ion battery to the market. Toward the end of the year, the division also launched two electric cars that produce no local emissions and are fully suited to everyday driving: the smart fortwo electric drive and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL. In addition, it expanded its range of economical BlueEFFICIENCY vehicles to 58 models.
Competitive range of products in 2010 — sales expected to be slightly higher than last year
Mercedes-Benz will also offer its customers many attractive new products in 2010, beginning with the new E-Class convertible, which will round out the E-Class model family and be available for purchase beginning on January 11. “We are superbly positioned this year with a range of attractive and competitive products. We will especially benefit right away from the fact that the entire E-Class family will be available; increases in the growth markets, above all in China, will also have a positive impact on our sales. We therefore expect sales to be slightly higher in 2010 than last year and that we will successfully defend our position against the competition,” Zetsche added.
Positive momentum in 2010 will also be generated by the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, deliveries of which will commence in the first quarter of 2010. Customer response to this vehicle has already far surpassed expectations. Amongst other new products, Mercedes-Benz will expand its range of BlueEFFICIENCY vehicles to 76 models in 2010.
Record sales in China — Mercedes-Benz is fastest-growing premium brand in the country
Mercedes-Benz sales in China reached a new all-time high in 2009, far surpassing the previous record set in 2008. For the year as a whole, deliveries increased by 65 percent to 70,100 passenger vehicles (2008: 42,600). Mercedes-Benz sales more than doubled in December, to 9,500 vehicles. As a result, sales at Mercedes-Benz grew much faster in 2009 than the market as a whole and outpaced the sales of its premium-segment competitors. The double-digit growth rates of the E-Class, the C-Class, and the SUVs, as well as the success of the S-Class, all contributed strongly to this sales record. China is now the world’s largest market for the S-Class luxury sedan. The vehicle has a market share of around 40 percent in the country, which puts it far ahead of its competitors as the number one car in its market segment. Mercedes-Benz plans to stay on its successful course in China in the coming year and to grow much faster than the market as a whole.
Mercedes-Benz also posted record sales in the Asia/Pacific region as a whole, with deliveries increasing by 13 percent to 165,300 units (2008: 145,800). The growth in December alone was 77 percent. In December, Mercedes-Benz also posted its first strong sales growth of the year in Japan, where deliveries rose by 19 percent to 3,400 units (December 2008: 2,800). Mercedes-Benz recorded strong growth in South Korea during full-year 2009. Customer deliveries there totaled 8,900 units (2008: 7,100), an increase of 26 percent on the previous year. The brand also grew in Australia, with sales rising by five percent to 15,900 vehicles during the year as a whole (2008: 15,100) and even by 90 percent in December. Mercedes-Benz also continued to be very successful in Brazil, where sales increased by 46 percent in 2009, to 5,200 vehicles (2008: 3,600).
Mercedes-Benz remains strongest premium brand in its home market
In Germany, Mercedes-Benz sustained its position as the best-selling premium brand in 2009. At 22,100 units, sales in December reached a level roughly equivalent to the one reached in the same month of the previous year (December 2008: 23,300 units). In all, the brand delivered 265,500 vehicles to customers in its home market (2008: 300,900 — minus 12 percent). Sales in Western Europe (excluding Germany) were up by six percent in December compared to the previous year’s level, to 27,100 units (December 2008: 25,600). Sales rose in nearly all the major markets, including the UK (plus 43 percent), France (plus six percent), Italy (plus one percent), and Belgium (plus 10 percent). Last year, Mercedes-Benz delivered a total of 286,100 passenger cars to customers in Western Europe (excluding Germany) (2008: 337,000 units — minus 15 percent).
Double-digit growth in the U.S. in the fourth quarter — a sales record in Canada
Mercedes-Benz has clearly recovered in the U.S. since September 2009 and was the best-selling German premium brand in the country in the fourth quarter. At 20,000 units, the brand posted its best result of 2009 in December (December 2008: 18,500). Growth totaled eight percent. Mercedes-Benz delivered a total of 190,600 passenger vehicles in full-year 2009 (2008: 225,100 — minus 15 percent). Nevertheless, Mercedes-Benz considerably outperformed the market as a whole. The latter declined by 21 percent, enabling the brand to increase its market share during the year. The new E-Class and S-Class models generated momentum and double-digit growth rates in the fourth quarter. The GLK also remained successful, and its sales of 21,900 units put it ahead of its key competitors in 2009 as the leading vehicle in its segment. As in 2008, Mercedes-Benz once again posted a sales record in Canada in full-year 2009, with sales rising by 19 percent to 24,300 vehicles (2008: 20,400).
New E-Class and S-Class boost sales
The new E-Class models performed very well in 2009 and helped to give sales an important boost. The sedan met with an outstanding customer response from the very start, and it has continuously led its segment since May. Its market share of about 60 percent in Germany and around 40 percent in Western Europe puts it far ahead of its competitors. For the world as a whole, sales of the sedan increased 26 percent in full-year 2009, to 158,000 units. Deliveries even rose by 77 percent in December, to 17,300 vehicles. More than 200,000 vehicles from the E-Class segment were sold worldwide last year. Deliveries of the new E-Class station wagon commenced on November 11, 2009.
The new generation of the S-Class was successfully launched as well, contributing to the sales increase at Mercedes-Benz particularly in the fourth quarter. Sales of the sedan rose by 31 percent in December, making this its strongest month of the year: 6,400 vehicles were delivered to customers all over the world. Despite the introduction of new models by competitors, the new S-Class was the best-selling luxury sedan in its segment during the whole year, with deliveries of 53,400 vehicles. And the response to the S 400 HYBRID exceeded expectations. Within the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz Cars crowned its range of luxury sedans by introducing the Maybach Zeppelin in 2009. Despite the very difficult market situation, a total of 200 Maybach vehicles (2008: 300) were delivered to customers in 2009. The brand gained market share in many countries and did better than the segment as a whole.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans led their respective segments in 2009
With sales of 226,700 units, the C-Class sedan once again took the lead in its segment in 2009. In December sales of the sedan reached the previous year’s level, amounting to 19,700 units. Sales of Mercedes-Benz SUVs rose by seven percent during the year as a whole, with 171,500 units delivered to customers (2008: 160,600). A big contributing factor was the market success of the GLK, which once again posted double-digit growth rates in many Western European markets in December. With 19,900 A-Class and B-Class segment vehicles delivered in December, sales almost reached the level of the previous year. In 2009 a total of 219,300 customers received A-Class or B-Class compact cars.
smart fortwo successfully launched in new markets in 2009
The smart fortwo was successfully launched in new markets in 2009. A total of 1,800 customers have purchased the two-seater in China since April 2009, while 1,100 units were delivered in Brazil. The key markets for the smart fortwo in 2009 were Germany, where sales were two percent higher than in the previous year and amounted to 32,400 units, followed by Italy (29,500 units) and the U.S. (14,600 units). Sales of the two-seater increased significantly in the UK, its fourth-largest market. Here, sales for full-year 2009 rose by 11 percent to 8,400 units. Following the record sales of 2008, worldwide deliveries declined by 13 percent in 2009, to 116,900 units (2008: 134,700). Beginning in the third quarter of 2010, the company expects the smart brand to get an additional sales boost from the introduction of the facelifted smart fortwo.
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