Fleet News

Mercedes celebrates sales record

MERCEDES-BENZ has enjoyed its most successful year yet in the UK, selling more cars in the first nine months than it achieved during the whole of 1998. The German manufacturer capped its appearance at the London Motor Show with the unveiling of the stunning CL coupe, which goes on sale in early 2000 powered by a 5.8-litre V12 367bhp engine or a 5.0-litre 306bhp V8 engine.

But it is the sales performance of the more down-to-earth A-class that has helped the company to a record year, selling more than 15,000 units since its launch in September 1998. Mike Sands, Mercedes corporate sales manager, believes the A-class is still misunderstood by much of the fleet market, with company car drivers still eager to drive the biggest car on their choice list.

Leasing firms have, however, bought into both the A-class concept and Mercedes' pledge to match supply and demand, offering contract hire rates that bring access to the three-point star to whole new bands of drivers. Mercedes' January 1, 2000 merger with Chrysler will also open new doors for the marque, although DaimlerChrysler is committed to maintaining separate brands with individual identities, dealerships and sales forces.

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