Mercedes-Benz trims sales gap with Audi in 2013

Article by Anita Panait, on January 17, 2014

Mercedes-Benz brand managed to shorten the sales gap between it and the world’s second-largest luxury carmaker, Audi, in 2013. Mercedes logged an 11-percent rise in deliveries in 2013 to 1.46 million cars and SUVs. Meanwhile, Audi posted an 8-percent increase in deliveries to 1.58 million units.

BMW Group, however, has yet to release 2013 figures for its BMW brand, which is expected to remain as the best-selling premium marque. In 2012, Audi’s lead over Mercedes was 135,026 units, but it shrank in 2013 to 113,820 vehicles – thanks to a 64-percent surge in demand for the Mercedes-Benz A-class hatchback, B-class and CLA coupe compacts. Mercedes also outpaced Audi in terms of sales in Europe and the United States.

"We look back on the best year of the Mercedes-Benz brand," Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Daimler, said in a statement, adding that their growth strategy is working. Zetsche has vowed to capture the crown as the best-selling luxury brand in the world by 2020, a throne it lost to BMW in 2005.  Zetsche is launching 13 Mercedes new models with no predecessor through the end of the decade, including the new CLA coupe that was introduced in 2013 and the small GLA SUV that will be available this March.

Mercedes is also renewing its best-selling C-class line, and showcased the sedan version at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show this week. The Mercedes brand surged 11 percent in December 2013 to 138,180 vehicles while the Smart brand dropped 3 percent in 2013 to 100,792 vehicles. Audi, meanwhile, grew 18-percent to 130,700 vehicles.

With the release of its new A-Class, Mercedes-Benz hopes this will mark a new beginning for the compact class. In addition to having a design that display emotions, the drag coefficient that measures 0.27 looks to be the best in its segment. The engines fitted to it are truly powerful with output starting at 109 hp (80 kW) and going all the way to 211 hp (155 kW).

Even with all of the power, the CO2 emissions reveal that they are truly efficient estimated at 98 g/km. While the new model does help highlight what the brand is all about, safety is guaranteed. There are various standard specifications like the radar-based system known as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST. As it relates to design, the exterior of the A-Class shows that it is the most progressive for the compact class. Compared to the previous model, the new generation is 18 cm lower on the road. Thus, even with a quick look, it expresses dynamism and design.

This rather radical design language was first unveiled with the A-Class Concept and has since received worldwide praise. The same design language was then always implemented on the brand’s production model. Indeed, the look of the new A-Class points to the new design strategy being implemented by the brand. As such, this two-box design comes with its own unique quality which is an interior that is athletic while having an interior that offers a truly high-quality feel.

According to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, currently the Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz is slowly becoming the world’s most dynamic premium brand. In line with this, it is the A-Class that symbolizes that significant milestone for the brand, he adds. Everything about the A-Class, he continues, is new even to the last detail.

Zetsche goes on by saying that when it comes to automotive development, not every company has the opportunity to begin from scratch. The brand’s very own engineers made sure to make the most of that advantage, he concludes. For the A-Class 180 BlueEFFICIENCY to be released in Germany, Mercedes-Benz said that price will begin at €23,978.50, which already includes 19% VAT.

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