Cycle & Carriage expects sales for Mercedes-Benz to rise next year

According to its CEO, the company has seen strong growth for the premium segment over the years

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Cycle & Carriage Bintang Bhd (CCB) is optimistic about increasing its revenue, especially in the luxury vehicle sales segment next year.

CEO Wilfrid Foo said the company has seen strong growth for the premium segment — particularly for the Mercedes-Benz brand — over the years, despite uncertainties in the automotive market.

“We are doing better and better and I think customers are appreciating that. In the last three quarters, we have grown in terms of volume by double digits.

“We have improved our profitability. So, operation is getting more sound and is moving in the right direction,” he told the media after the launch of the Mercedes-Benz Star Mobile service in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

He also said being a partner to Mercedes, CCB is able to take care of its customers.

“It’s a brand that has doubled its volume over a very short period of time. Clearly, the appetite for a wonderful brand and products with great service provided by CCB is there,” he added.

On Mercedes-Benz Star Mobile, Foo said the first of such offering in Malaysia provides best-in-class services to customers at their doorstep with minimal waiting time.

The service, using a Mercedes Vito model, is designed to give customers in the Klang Valley the luxury of convenience and hassle-free maintenance services for their Mercedes vehicles.

The services include scheduled maintenance services, wiper blade replacements, key battery or infrared replacements and battery replacements right at the customer’s doorstep, without having to drive into a service centre.

According to Foo, the mobile service is still in the pilot phase and will expand in future depending on demand and progress.

“We want to test it out first. We want to see how it actually performs and interacts with our customers. We will learn along the way and if it’s proven to be a success, then we will expand further.

“It’s not about how many vans or trucks I am going to put on the road. Do it well and we will scale it out,” he said.

Mercedes-Benz Star Mobile is manned by two qualified technicians and is fully equipped with the Xentry diagnosis system, special tools and technician hand tools to perform off-site repair and maintenance jobs.

CCB is waiving the service fee for the first three months in conjunction with the launch.

Meanwhile, Foo said the recent acquisition call by Daimler AG in taking full control of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) — via its acquisition of the remaining 49% MBM stake held by CCB for RM66 million — will not have any impact on its operations.

“This is something that is at the distributorship level…it doesn’t affect our operations at all. Our core importance is taking care of our customers. There is no bearing on the trading environment for us,” he said.

In an exchange filing last Monday, CCB said it had received a notice dated Nov 30, 2018, from Daimler in relation to the German-based company’s exercise of its call option, which requires CCB to sell all its 66 million ordinary shares held in MBM.

Daimler already owned 51% of MBM’s shares worth RM68.7 million. The exercise requires at least a 12- month prior written notice by Daimler to CCB.

Following Daimler’s exercise of the call option, CCB will cease to be entitled to an annual dividend from MBM of approximately RM11.2 million.

However, the disposal will not have direct impact on any of CCB’s trading operations, trading performance or its support of customers.

When asked how would the RM66 million proceeds be spent after receiving it, Foo said the company intends to look at network-related topics such as working capital, as well as repaying some of the bank loans they have made.

“The transaction hasn’t gone through yet, but in a year’s time, we will decide what the business will be at the point of time,” he said.

On a possible alternative source of income after losing the RM11.2 million dividend, Foo added, “There are a lot of opportunities within the value streams of any business.”