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Mercedes-Benz unit targets 15% growth


Taipei Times - Mercedes-Benz Taiwan, the largest luxury car distributor in the nation, expects sales to grow more than 15 percent this year on the back of strong sales of its lower-priced new models.

"So far this year our sales had grown about 15 percent, which is phenomenal," company president Eckart Mayer said at a press conference for the launch of CLA-class four-door compacts on Wednesday.

"With a lot of new models coming, we are confident that the second half of this year should be better than the start of this year," he said.

Although the passenger car market in Taiwan dropped 3.8 percent in the first five months of this year to 149,748 units, the luxury car segment grew 9.2 percent to 20,585 units, which Mayer attributed to the introduction of compact models and customers becoming more brand conscious about premium cars.

From January through last month, Mercedes-Benz Taiwan distributed 6,371 cars, up 14.5 percent from 5,564 cars a year ago, according to the latest industry data.

The company saw its share of the luxury car market rise to 30.9 percent in the first five months from 27.3 percent last year, ahead of BMW Taiwan, which had a 24.9 percent share, the data showed.

Kim Lin, Mercedes-Benz Taiwan senior public relations manager, said the growth was due to strong sales of A-class and B-class models, which are compacts priced between NT$1.4 million and NT$1.5 million (US$47,000 to US$50,300) targeted at young people.

B-class models were introduced in March last year, followed by the launch of A-class cars in November.

The company sold 739 A-class and 674 B-class cars from January through last month, accounting for 22.18 percent of total units sold, statistics showed.

The company hopes the introduction of CLA-class cars, priced between NT$2 million and NT$2.2 million, will help expand its customer base to younger people.

"When new customers start driving our cars, we are confident that they will not shift to other brands," Lin said.

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