We all knew 2007 was a good year for the car industry. In Australia, the one million sales in a calendar year mark was passed for the first time in history, with many manufacturers posting record sales results in this country. Daimlerâ€™s Mercedes-Benz car division has issued a press release claiming that sales of its many brands reached record levels in 2007.
The Mercedes-Benz brand on its own, sold a record 1,185,300 units, nearly 40,000 more than in 2006, and the groups other brands such as AMG, Maybach and Smart combined to achieve an overall 2007 sales figure of 1,285,900 units, a 2.14 percent increase over the preceding year.
Mercedes-Benz's volume seller, the C-class is an all new design that debuted in the first half of 2007 and quickly became its segments best seller.
There is an interesting story within a story here though. According to the press release (below), the Maybach â€œsuper luxuryâ€ brand only managed to equal its 2006 sales performance with "about" 400 units being delivered. At a time when Rolls-Royce and Bentley are looking at increasing production to satisfy demand this does not bode well for Maybach â€“ despite the spin.
How many Maybachs do you think were sold in Australia in 2007? Try a big fat zero...zip...nada...none. With Maybach dealers in North America shutting up shop, Maybach is the one lack-lustre performer in the Daimler line-up.
[Source: Carscoop and MotorAuthority (Maybach Aus sales info)]
â€¢ Sales of Mercedes-Benz, AMG, Maybach, and smart brands up two percent, totaling 1,285,900 passenger vehicles
â€¢ Mercedes-Benz brand delivers 1,185,300 passenger vehicles, an increase of more than three percent
â€¢ smart delivers 100,600 vehicles to customers
Stuttgart â€“ In 2007 the Mercedes-Benz Cars division increased sales of worldwide, with sales totaling 1,285,900 vehicles (2006: 1,260,600 units). With this two percent growth, the division set a new sales record.
The basis for achieving the sales record was the most successful year in the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand: worldwide sales of passenger vehicles were up more than three percent, reaching a record 1,185,300 units (2006: 1,148,500). Thus, Mercedes-Benz registered even stronger growth in 2007 than the global automobile market overall.
Despite increased competition, Mercedes-Benz was able to raise its market share in nearly all key regions. In the United States, the brand posted figures that were markedly better than those of the overall market. Passenger vehicle sales in the U.S. climbed two percent to a record 253,400 units (2006: 248,100 vehicles), making 2007 the fourteenth year in a row that Mercedes-Benz succeeded in posting higher sales. The record-breaking demand for the new C-Class sedan and SUV models was a key factor for the stronger sales.
Mercedes-Benz also posted a sales record in the Asia/Pacific region: the brand delivered a total of 141,200 vehicles to customers (2006 total: 126,200), a 12 percent increase. This growth was driven pri-marily by record-breaking sales in the luxury and upper-range seg-ments and by the high increase in sales of the new C-Class and SUVs.
In Western Europe (without Germany), Mercedes-Benz achieved also a new sales record, with 372,400 passenger vehicles sold (2006: 361,200), a three percent increase. Record-setting deliveries in Italy, France, and Spain played a key role in this success. In Germany, Mercedes-Benz also succeeded in boosting its market shares in 2007 despite the weak domestic market, with 309,900 units (2006: 324,000), making it the sales leader among all premium brands. The positive development in Europe was possible in large part thanks to Mercedes-Benzâ€™ fuel-efficient models in the compact segment and the vehicles in the C-Class segment.
Mercedes-Benzâ€™ success was especially evident on the key growth markets for the automotive industry. With 26,900 units sold (2006: 17,600) and growth of 53 percent, Mercedes-Benz' rate of growth in China was more than twice as rapid as that of the premium market overall. Mercedes-Benz sales also were up sharply in Russia, where 15,300 customers (2006: 9,300) purchased the brandâ€™s passenger vehicles, a 65 percent increase on the previous yearâ€™s total. Deliveries of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in India in 2007 rose eight percent, to 2,600 units (2006: 2,400).
C-Class sedan becomes the top-seller by mid-year â€” Mercedes-Benz worldwide leader in the luxury segment
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class got off to an outstanding start in 2007: Over the course of the year, sales of the sedan rose by 57 percent to 261,500 units (2006:166,400). By mid-year, the C-Class sedan became the worldâ€™s top-selling vehicle in its comparative segment. Demand for Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the Class segment overall increased by 16 percent, with 386,500 vehicles sold (2006 total: 332,100). Mercedes-Benz expects to post even higher sales with the introduction of the new C-Class station wagon, which has been gradually launched in individual markets since December 2007 and which has met with excellent customer response.
Mercedes-Benz is also performing impressively in the luxury segment. The S-Class in particular is successfully maintaining its position as the best-selling luxury sedan. With 85,500 units sold in 2007 (2006: 85,900), the S-Class once again clearly outpaced its main com-petitors. Also setting a record was the strong demand for the new CL-Class, which was the choice of 10,700 customers worldwide. In all, 108,600 customers (2006: 110,300) purchased a luxury-segment model from Mercedes-Benz.
Demand also continues to be robust for Mercedes-Benz upper-range models, with 234,600 units sold worldwide in 2007 (2006: 243,000). And in the fifth year since its market debut, sales of the E-Class sedan and station wagon are also performing well reaching the sales level of the previous year.
Demand also continues to be strong for SUVs from Mercedes-Benz. Despite the increasingly fierce competition in this segment, worldwide sales of M-Class, R-Class, GL-Class, and G-Class vehicles were up six percent, with a total of 180,100 units sold (2006: 169,500). These results make Mercedes-Benz the best-selling premium brand in the SUV segment in Germany and Western Europe in total. Very high growth rates were posted for the GL-Class in particular: with 40,200 vehicles sold (2006: 23,600), deliveries of the full-size SUV offered by Mercedes-Benz were up 70 percent.
Factors contributing to this development include the growing demand in the U.S. for SUVs with diesel engines: 9,400 sport utility vehicles equipped with diesel engines were sold in the 45 states where Mercedes-Benz is now offering diesel-powered SUVs. This figure corresponds to 19 percent of the total SUV sales in those states. Beginning in 2008, Mercedes-Benz also will be offering BLUETEC-equipped SUV models, which meet the stringent BIN5 norm and thus can be registered in all 50 states.
In the compact segment in 2007, the A-Class and the B-Class demonstrated their continuing importance as key volume models, with 275,100 units delivered to customers (2006: 293,200). The B-Class was a particularly impressive success, with record-breaking sales in markets including Italy, France, and Spain.
AMG, the performance brand of the Mercedes-Benz Cars division, also had a very successful 2007. Four new models were launched on the market in 2007 â€” the S 63 AMG, CLK 63 AMG Black Series, CL 63 AMG, and CL 65 AMG. Worldwide, more than 20,000 customers opted to purchase their vehicle of choice from among the 16 AMG models offered. Half of the units sold went to customers in the United States, the main AMG sales market.
New smart fortwo is very popular with customers
Following its decision to focus on a single model series, the smart brand sold 100,600 vehicles in 2007 (2006: 112,100). The new smart fortwo has been very successfully established in the market, with sales of the two-seater climbing by 43 percent over the course of the year, and a total of 97,200 units sold (2006: 67,700). Germany was the most important market for the fortwo in 2007 (31,000 units sold), closely followed by Italy (30,600 vehicles delivered).
More than 850,000 smart fortwo cars have been sold in 36 countries since the modelâ€™s market launch in October 1998. Beginning in January 2008, the smart fortwo will also be available in the US. American customersâ€™ growing interest in fuel-efficient vehicles provides the ideal basis for a market launch by smart in the worldâ€™s biggest automobile market. This was also confirmed by the smart roadshow that was held between May and November in all 50 states. The roadshow allowed about 75,000 visitors to learn about the smart brand and to become convinced of the two-seaterâ€™s innovative features while test-driving it for themselves.
Maybach presents Landaulet study
The luxury models of the Maybach brand continue to fascinate customers around the world. With about 400 vehicles delivered, the brandâ€™s sales equaled the total for the previous year, the first full sales year for the very successful Maybach 57S. In 2006, the Maybach product range was also expanded by the addition of the 62 S. At the Dubai Motor Show in November 2007, Maybach presented a study of an open-top Landaulet. With this unique concept, the brand once again underscores its expertise as the maker of the worldâ€™s most exclusive luxury automobiles.