Mercedes-Benz plans to make 2015 its fifth straight year of record annual sales on demand for new models such as the coupe version of the Mercedes-Benz eyes 5th straight year of record sales in 2015. "I expect a very good year for Mercedes-Benz" in 2015, Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes parent company Daimler, said Wednesday in Las Vegas, where he unveiled the F015 self-driving concept car.
"With the new products that we launched and bring to the markets this year, we expect to significantly exceed general car market growth," he said. Mercedes will present the GLE Coupe, which will vie with BMW's X6 for sporty SUV buyers, at the Detroit auto show next week.
The car is part of Mercedes's strategy to surpass BMW and Audi to retake the top spot in the upscale car segment by the end of the decade.
To regain the luxury car crown that it lost to BMW in 2005, Mercedes has been adding affordable cars such as the new wagon-like CLA Shooting Brake, even as it revives the ultra-luxury Maybach nameplate, which will offer more lavish versions of Mercedes cars.
With the F015 prototype, which allows passengers to face each other rather than the road while the car drives itself, Mercedes is seeking a technological edge on its two main rivals. Mercedes is also targeting Porsche buyers with the new GT sports car, which boasts more power and faster acceleration than the 911.
The top-of-the-line Mercedes performance model will replace the 225,505-euro SLS and cost about half as much. Even with Mercedes expecting to post a new sales record this year and pushing for further growth in 2015, the carmaker has a lot of catching up to do.
Audi outsold Mercedes by 104,300 cars after 11 months of 2014. The gap between the luxury segment's No. 2 and top-ranked BMW was narrower at 42,600 vehicles. Final sales figures for last year are due to be released by all three brands on Jan. 9.
Part of the reason Mercedes has lagged behind competitors is it's been slow to react to trends. The GLE Coupe comes seven years after BMW pioneered the segment with the X6. BMW has since added the smaller X4, which also combines the high ride of an SUV with the sloping back end of a sports car.