By NG MIN SHEN
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) sold 5,913 vehicles for the first six months of the year, slightly lower than 6,017 cars sold in the same period last year, but the German carmaker is confident of another record year.
Its passenger cars sales and marketing VP Mark Raine said the 1.7% drop in vehicle sales was mainly due to launches and delivery of models that were scheduled later in the first six months of the year, thus pushing back numbers for the first-half of 2017 (1H17).
“It’s not an issue for us. We deliver cars on a natural seasonality. For instance, we launched the E-Class CKD (completely knocked down) model on April 20 and started delivering them towards the end of April and the beginning of May,” Raine said at a media briefing on the group’s 1H17 results in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The local unit of the German luxury carmaker maintained its market share of 2.3% for the year-to-date up to May 2017. Its market share for 1H16 stood at 2.5% and at 2.4% as at end-2016. According to Malaysian Automotive Association, 210,410 units of passenger vehicles were sold in the first five months of 2017 compared to just 193,399 units perviously, an indication that industry is showing signs of recovery.
Raine said the company is satisfied with its current position as the German marque has more than doubled its market share compared to three years ago.
“From 1.1% in 2014, our market share has increased to 2.3%. We’re very happy be- cause the Malaysian market with over 500,000 units is dominated by brands like Perodua, Proton and Honda, and with 2.3% we’re outselling our (premium segment) competitors,” he said.
Sales in 1H17 were mainly driven by the company’s locally produced limousines — the Mercedes-Benz C-, E- and S-Class, with 3,663 units sold.
The C-Class topped the list with 2,075 units sold, followed by the E-Class with 1,358 units, which was 29% higher year-on-year (YoY), while the S-Class recorded 230 units sold.
“With the growth that the E-Class has brought us at 29% YoY growth, we’re very optimistic that the 2H17 will be fantastic, plus we recorded our best-ever sales in June 2017 at 1,210 units. We’re looking at another record year for 2017 and we’re confident we can surpass last year’s total sales of 11,779 units,” Raine said.
He said the company expected to achieve a record full year on the back of continued positive sales from its C-Class, E-Class and SUV segments, as well as the facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLA model.
It will also bank on its range of locally assembled cars for growth as part of the carmaker’s ongoing strategy. MBM is also planning to launch its E-Class plug-in hybrid model sometime during the third- quarter of this year.
The company’s Compact Cars line sold 739 units during the first six months of the year, while SUVs recorded 1,233 units sold. The Dream Cars segment recorded sales of 268 units in 1H17.
Total vehicles serviced in the 1H17 grew 17% YoY to 61,850 vehicles. Meanwhile, MBM’s financing and insurance solutions provider, Mercedes-Benz Services Malaysia, is currently servicing a portfolio of RM2 billion.