By on October 24, 2012

Mercedes wants to double its passenger car sales within the next eight years. By 2020, Mercedes wants to raise its sales to more than 2.6 million units annually, from  1.3 million this year. This is what Daimler CEO wrote in a letter to all employees. Automobilwoche [sub] has a copy.

Until 2015, Mercedes wants to launch 30 new models, 10 of them in segments Mercedes had ignored so far. Zetsche thinks the world market will grow by 50 percent until 2020, Mercedes wants to grow 100 percent.

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31 Comments on “Strategie 2020: Mercedes Wants To Double Its Sales...”


  • avatar
    rpol35

    Might want to update that 2010 reference.

    As for ignored car segments, they need to build something that costs less that $40K, kick up their reliability and cut their ridiculous maintenance expense.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Well said! Thats pretty much it in a nutshell. And why I never owned one. Im not big on 4 figure brake jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The 4 figure brake jobs are on the AMG models. Price out brakes on a ZR1 lately? Most brake jobs are pretty much average. There are parts that are outrageous, but maintenance parts are pretty normal. Also, the reliability also isn’t as bad as the other German brands. If you look at an aftermarket parts, some of the stuff is outright cheap.

      Also, talking about the $40k price. I have not seen an ATS with an under $40k sticker price.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        @Mbella

        Just wondering if there’s something magical about a MB brake job or is it something a shade tree mechanic, such as myself, could accomplish with a generous supply of pixie dust?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The only thing magical about a brake job at any dealership is that YOU are the one paying the freight on the fancy showroom, waiting area with cappuccino machine and cookies, and “free” loaner cars.

        There is no profit in new car sales to speak of, the service department pays the freight. As a prime example, my friendly local BMW store gets $750 per axle flat-rate for rotors and pads on a non-M 3-series. Personally, at that rate I would want at least a reach-around, if not the full Zumba treatment (local joke). I can buy those very same OEM BMW rotors and pads for under $300 (much cheaper for equivalent OEM non-BMW) per axle, and if it takes me an hour to change them I am working slowly. That means roughly $450 an hour for the dealership to do it. PURE profit!

        They are bog-standard ATE sliding caliper single-piston brakes, nothing special. I recently did all four corners of a friend’s Golf in ~1.5hrs, and that included flushing the brake fluid. BMW gets ANOTHER couple hundred to do the fluid out of maintenance plan.

        As an aside, brakes ARE included in BMWs free maintenance scheme, but only if you manage to wear them out within the first 50K. A lot of people don’t. No idea if Mercedes includes them or not.

        Mercedes uses pretty much the same arrangement. There are some more complicated brake designs – lots of older Hondas have the calipers bolted on from the backside, so you have to disconnect ball joints and remove axles to change them, so they are more work.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      What stealership are you going to for 4-figure brake jobs? There are certain big heavy cars (GL-class, G-class) and high performance vehicles (AMG) that probably have expensive brake jobs. If you go to somewhere other than the stealership, it’s a lot cheaper. My experience is that the big SUVs can be done for $300-500 for rotors and pads on each side, so maybe you could hit 4-figures if you did front and rear rotors and pads at once. That’s the price you pay for getting sports car-like braking from a 5500 lb SUV.

      A lot of American and Japanese cars cost $40K too. Don’t hear you complaining about those.

  • avatar
    analoca

    Nothing new under the sun. Guess that employees from most carmakers are receiving periodical letters from their bosses with similar statements…

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Sounds good. Obviously Mercedes is hoping for a ten-fold increase in global lottery sales too. Also, they might want to rethink charging extra for a metallic paint color. That’s an immediate manufacturer disqualifier for me when in the market for a vehicle. Just sayin’, if they really want to grow market share……

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Are there any manufacturers that don’t charge extra for metallic paint, and are there any manufacturers that don’t want to grow faster than the market as a whole?

      • 0 avatar
        mpresley

        Metallic is standard with VW in the US. But corporate makes up for it with Audi, where metallic is usually an extra cost. And now that they’ve got Porsche, they can call everything an option, and charge accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Charging for certain paint colors is not limited to Mercedes. There are American manufacturers that do it too (Ford Explorer — extra charge for Ruby Red Tinted Metallic and Platinum White Tricoat Metallic; Chevy Cruze — extra charge for Crystal Red http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/review-2011-chevrolet-cruze-eco/). Also, among its German competitors, I believe Audi charges for paint colors other than black, red, and white on A4s.

      Legitimately, certain paint colors do cost more. For example, the Estoril Blue Crystal that’s available on some Audi S-models, and also as a custom color if you pay a lot more extra on non S-models, costs significantly more to produce and the crystallic material is only made in one particular factory.

      The Japan earthquake created a supply constraint on certain pigments that affected many car companies, including Ford and GM, and this was widely reported. Similar case with a recent plant explosion in Japan: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/fallout-of-plant-explosion-spreads-from-diapers-to-cars/

  • avatar
    gslippy

    That’s 9.1% compounded growth for 8 straight years. I’m not seeing it. Why do they and VW maintain these delusions of grandeur?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Germans with delusions of grandeur? You don’t say… And you are SURPRISED?

      I don’t know about doubling sales, but the economic cycle will surely turn back up in the next few years. And the Chinese and Indian and elsewhere middle and upper classes are certain to grow. They might just get there.

      Though I will say that I am in their target demographic in the US, but I find not much appealing about their current product line. And this as a very happy former owner of a couple of Mercedes station wagons.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      While Merc may be dreaming, Volkswagen is actively driving toward its goals. VW has all of the pieces in place to achieve the volume goals: they have the factories, the product depth and scope, the platform engineering and the marketing. If anything some of Volkswagen’s brands are selling fewer cars than they could because of a lack of capacity (Audi). Case in point was a dealer friend of mine telling me that they could easily move a good 15% more Q5s and 20% more new A6s than they’re allotted simply because of supply constraints.

      Volkswagen has spent the past five years putting the pieces in place to achieve their 2018/2020 goals, Merc is just starting.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    This is just speactacularly delusional. They’ll get some traction on this, with the new models, and then their own dealer network will shoot them in the foot by not being able to keep up with all the warranty claims.

  • avatar

    That’s fine and all, but I hope that one of Merccedes’ main mechanisms for these numbers isn’t to bring a volume-selling subcompact model to the U.S. Part of the allure of owning a Mercedes-Benz here in the States is knowing that not just any old plebeian from off of the street can go in and buy (a new) one. A subcompact Mercedes-Benz may sell in droves, but it will put off buyers of the larger vehicles. Yes, BMW has the 1-Series and Audi the A3, but neither is particularly well-equipped or fast compared to, say, a Honda Accord in that price range, and neither sells particularly well here either, which I think is a deliberate function of their existence…

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    I can’t look at a photo of Zetsche without thinking Pickelhaube.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    It was my neighbors whining about his ML going in for its first brake job and being charged 4 figures and told he had to have new rotors at 30,000 miles. His wife who drives it is not hard on vehicles either. Even with new rotors thats over $250 per wheel!

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I thought MB had a BMW like maintenance deal for new cars? Guess not!

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Brakes are a wear item, not covered by maintenance. If the caliper seizes, that would be covered, but wear items are not covered. It makes sense. Some people are crappy drivers and keep their left foot on the brake pedal at all times, and others race to the next red light and slam the brakes.

        What I always found hilarious was the Mercedes AMG drivers who complained on TireRack about how their tires weren’t lasting very long. Really? Stop doing burnouts, fool.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “What I always found hilarious was the Mercedes AMG drivers who complained on TireRack about how their tires weren’t lasting very long. Really? Stop doing burnouts, fool.”

        HERETIC!

        You speaketh with the devil’s tongue. As if an AMG pilot could dampen the overwhelming desire to lay down a strip of rubber when and wherever he damn well pleases.

        REPENT!

  • avatar
    Acd

    Maybe they could look for another manufacturer to buy who can help them increase their volume in segments they don’t already cover. Mercedes could buy a really profitable company and then bring in their superior managment and culture (which we know are superior because, well they just are–ask Jurgen or Dieter and they can explain it) while they run off the people who helped make the so profitable in the first place. Just make sure that however crappy Mercedes interiors become that the aquired company’s interiors will be even worse to maintain the pricing gap and everything should be fine. What could possibly go wrong?

  • avatar
    blowfish

    quite often u dont need the big volume to make big mulla.

    no point by doubling the numbers at the expense of bottom line.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Don’t they make Freightliner semis? Maybe he meant trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      The line of Freightliner chassis school busses at my kid’s school was quite impressive with their “Powered by Merecedes Benz” badges displayed prominently on the right front side. When I think of spending extra money on a luxury car its good to know that the company also makes school bus engines.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “When I think of spending extra money on a luxury car its good to know that the company also makes school bus engines.”

        My sarcasm detector isn’t as finely tuned as it should be but I do believe it registered a slight blip.

        I’d think that having a “Powered by Mercedes-Benz” badge on a large commercial vehicle would indicate stoutness. After all commercial trucks and bus engines get worked and if MB does well there then it shouldn’t be a problem powering my car.

        I understand many in the U.S. don’t know about the full range of MB vehicles that operate in other areas such as city buses, garbage trucks, mobile cranes, dump trucks, OTR trucks, military vehicles and delivery vans.

        MB is very much a full line manufacturer. All they need is a motorcycle line to be complete but you do make an interesting point. I wonder if many of the buyers who covet the three pointed star on this side of the pond would be “put off” if they knew the variety and “commonness” of the MB full line up?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “Also, talking about the $40k price. I have not seen an ATS with an under $40k sticker price.”

    That’s really immaterial, GM has plenty of cars that cost way less than $40K; Daimler, not the case. Also, ATS class is hardly an “ignored segment”.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @rpol35, “GM has plenty of cars that cost way less than $40K; Daimler, not the case.” Have you priced out a Smart recently? The last one I saw was well below $40K …

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        As are the A-class and B-class and most of the cheaper versions of the C-class. As usual with the Europeans, we get a very skewed version of their product line in the United States. Mercedes is a “Premium” car maker the world over, but so is Volkswagen. The image of Mercedes-Benz as some sort of junior Rolls-Royce style aristocratic luxury make is pretty much exclusive to the United States, and was very much by design. There was certainly very little uber-luxurious about my ’79 300TD, other than the sheer build quality. Tough car though.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “As usual with the Europeans, we get a very skewed version of their product line in the United States.”

        That is something I find interesting especially in this day and age with the internet and freer flow of information buy I probably shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, people still buy designer jeans made from the same hands that produce the bargain basement ones.

        I’d like to be able to purchase some of the European manufacturers “lesser” cars but I guess that would debase the brand in the U.S. and erode their premium positioning.


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