Mercedes-Benz is determined to get back into pole position in the luxury market in New Zealand, says new Australia and NZ CEO Jurgen Sauer, fresh from an eight-year stint as the head of Mercedes-Benz in Russia.
“We want to bring forward our business in New Zealand , and what we show today will help a lot,” he said at a preview of new products due to be released this year.
“New Zealand is important for us. It’s not the biggest, but it’s an important market. We are behind BMW and Audi in New Zealand, but we are working hard to change that”.
Ben Griffin, general manager of Mercedes-Benz New Zealand, introduced a whole raft of new models which were scheduled to go on a road show to Mercedes dealers across the country, and which will come on sale during the year.
The new A-Class, which goes on sale here in March, is probably the most important model in the Mercedes armoury for 2013, with keen pricing that takes the A-Class head-on against its German luxury opponents, especially with its design change from the “sit-up-and-beg” appearance of the previous model to a low-slung sporty four-door coupe look.
Engines range engines from 90kW to 155kW, with emissions from 135g/km and a best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.27. The standard specification includes, amongst other things, the radar-based collision prevention assistance system and reversing camera. Starting at $46,900 for the A 180 BlueEfficiency with automatic transmission.
All feature a start/stop function as standard, as well as the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission with paddle shift as standard.
The top-of-the-range 2-litre A 250 Sport gets 18-inch AMG alloy wheels with 235/40 R 18 tyres all round, together with red brake callipers, as well as an a AMG-developed front axle and a suspension that has been configured to match.
Models: A 180 BE, 1,595cc, 90 kW, 5.8L/100km,$46,900; A 200 BE 1,595cc, 115kW, 6.1L/100km, $54,900; A 200 CDI BE, 1,796cc, 100kW, 4.6L/100km, $54,900; A 250 Sport, 1,991cc, 155kW, 6.6L/100km, $64,900.
Less important, but interesting nevertheless, is a blinged-up version of the standard C250 coupe, the AMG Sports Package Plus, which features an AMG sports suspension, more-direct speed-sensitive sports steering, a sports exhaust system, and a more sporty transmission configuration, as well as a matt paint finish exclusively available for these models.
Most important, they have a power upgrade to 150kW/350Nm, as well as 18-inch wheels, AMG body styling to the front apron, side sill panels, rear apron, and an AMG spoiler, while insidfe there are sports seats and steering wheel, red stitching, and AMG floor mates. This package became available from mid-November.
We also saw a rare CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake Edition 1, a limited edition model of which only five have been allocated to Australia and New Zealand, and which will be delivered to customers at least three months before the official New Zealand launch of the AMG model.
The CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake Edition 1 comes with a 24kW increase in power to 410 kW and 100Nm more torque, to 800 Nm, over the standard AMG variant.