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by Matt Brogan

With 19,000 sales last year and an even stronger 2010 expected Mercedes-Benz has again stamped its authority as the country’s best-selling prestige automotive brand.

In a total Australian market down by 7.4 percent, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific posted a 2009 sales result 2.5 percent higher than the previous year – delivering double-digit net growth against a declining market.

“A combination of a strong and vigorous dealer network, comprehensive market management, and customer first retail actions has again shown the strength of the German luxury brand in what has been a far-from-perfect storm,” said Horst von Sanden, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Cars in Australia.

“The strong government incentives have certainly assisted sales. This is despite an artificial ceiling being placed on the tax-deductibility of these vehicles with the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) threshold set as the cut-off point.

“Had the tax deductibility limit been higher and our stock levels stronger in the second half of the year we would have delivered substantially higher numbers of passenger cars and SUVs,” said von Sanden.

“We are proud of the fact that our C-Class has captured not just the minds but also the wallets of one in three Australian buyers (according to VFACTS Medium >$60K) – finishing the year with a market share of 32.4 percent – and that our all-new E -Class has broken the 40 percent barrier, dominating its prestigious segment.

“Our core passenger vehicle range – from the CLC sports coupé to the stunning S-Class – has met our internal targets and our strong forward-order bank will deliver a solid start to 2010.

“Our December sales result was impressive: we put 1,629 new passenger cars and SUVs into customer hands. In fact, one of our dealers set a new one-day sales record last month – on New Year’s Eve – the customer signing the order form in the showroom just before the start of celebrations!

“This December sales result has set the pace for us in 2010.

“As a group we are close to the benchmark 20,000 units – a figure achieved only by offering a comprehensive catalogue of vehicles that customers need. From the two-seat smart city car to our impressive car and commercial vehicle ranges through to our über-luxury Maybach it is clear we have the local market covered,” concluded von Sanden.




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