Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015
Dubai: The ‘G’-force is firmly behind Mercedes-Benz... and its dealership in Dubai and northern emirates, Gargash Enterprises. A brand new line-up of SUVs and crossovers under the G tag is building up the volumes nicely, even as the broader automotive market seems to have lost a bit of steam.
“If the current momentum continues for our SUV line-up, we could be looking at a situation where they make up 40 per cent of our volumes,” said Karl-Johan Sandesjo, General Manager of Gargash Enterprises. “That would put us on par with the share SUVs have within the overall UAE car sales.” (But there is a fine line of difference given the nice juicy margins built into the Mercedes model range.)
“In the last two years, we have been determinedly pushing the share of SUV sales, and right now it’s 35 per cent and helped by a 10 per cent gain we had last year. Moving closer to 40 per cent now looks an even chance with the broader range in place now.”
And it is only going to get better... the flagship GLS will start making a deep impression on UAE roads some time during next year. The formal unveiling of the model, which replaces the GL in the Mercedes pantheon, is to take place at November’s Los Angeles Motor Show.
“Currently, the S-class represents 20 per cent of the overall sales we do... if we can couple that to the top-of-the-line GLS when it comes in, it would be a good position to be,” said Sandesjo.
Indeed, it is the season of renewal for the Merc all-wheel drives and taking on all shapes and categories. The changes have extended to models with more updated looks and even a complete rescripting.
There is the GLA 250 which sets the introductory pitch to the SUV range, with 211-hp (1.9 litre) and an acceleration of 1-100 km/h in 7.1 seconds. The price starts from Dh179,000.
A brand new nameplate, the GLC, starts with a sticker price of Dh230,000 and comes armed with a 245-hp output from a 1.9 litre engine. That is enough for the 0-100 km/h to be touched in 6.5 seconds. “With the GLC’s entry, the GLK badge has been replaced,” said Sandesjo. “We have got the youngest C-Class line-up cutting across both sedans and SUVs, because the GLC is essentially the C platform.
“Plus with the GLE, which comes in place of M-Class, it effectively offers us a range that straddles anything from a seven-seater to the compact and even takes in a coupe, and all being brand new.
“With many of these we will be getting the full-year benefits from 2016 onwards and that’s one reason we see a clear gain in our overall SUV share. The C- and A- lines (both sedans and SUVs) together make up 40 per cent and a refreshed line-up can bring us more gains.”
By Manoj Nair Associate Editor
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