Mercedes cultivates reputation for excellence
Top executives from Daimler AG, Beijing Automotive Industry Co and Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co share the spotlight with the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Mercedes-Benz turned heads at Auto China 2017 with an eye-catching lineup of 47 models representing Mercedes-Benz and the Mercedes-Maybach, Mercedes-AMG and smart sub-brands.
The impressive presence of the German automaker at the show highlighted not only the company's desire to wow the Chinese audience but also its aspiration to honor its commitment to local customers.
Over the years, the company has stepped up its efforts to understand the preferences and lifestyles of Chinese consumers in order to effectively anticipate and meet their specific requirements.
"And through a mutually supportive and successful dealer relationship, ensure that our customer's experience is as delightful as we can possibly make it," said Nicholas Speeks, president and CEO of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co, at a news conference Wednesday.
Since he arrived in China four years ago, Mercedes-Benz saw a fertile and promising environment and sowed the "seeds"－to cultivate a brand which is, as he said, "deeply rooted in China and strong enough to stand in all climates".
"To that end, we have worked hard on our products, our customer service, and our connected and mobility services," he said.
And while it's difficult to see the full harvest, since the company still wishes to maintain a humble tone, Mercedes-Benz efforts have been recognized.
Mercedes-Benz' sales volume grew 37 percent in the first quarter of this year, with the company delivering more than 150,000 Mercedes and smart cars to the China market.
"With that, premium car customers here in China have delivered to us the accolade of being their first choice among premium brands in the first quarter of 2017," Speeks added.
The product lineup on display at the Auto China 2017 has been the foundation for the company's excellent performance in the Chinese market.
For instance, the S-Class, of which one in three was sold in China, according to Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
New generation S-Class
The new generation of what the company touts as "the best car in the world" had its world premiere in Shanghai on Tuesday evening.
"This new S-Class shows the best of the best can still get better in a multitude of ways," said Zetsche, citing innovation, efficiency and comfort as the three signature virtues that define the car.
Its innovation is in large part what the S-Class is known for, with each generation delivering a wide range of new automotive breakthroughs.
The new S-Class finds innovative ways to use map data to "see around corners", its vision extending far beyond the reach of its radars and sensors.
"Innovation has been the middle name of the S-Class for decades," said Zetsche. "This car has pioneered many industry standards for all classes of vehicles."
In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz plans to offer a plug-in hybrid S-Class with an all-electric range of about 50 kilometers, which shows how dedicated the company is to attaining emissions-free driving. To date, intelligent plug-in hybrids provide the best blend of efficiency and range for most drivers' daily needs.
The new S-Class will also be equipped with comfort-driven functions such as "Road Surface Scan" which can detect and adapt to surface irregularities on the road, smoothening out the on-road experience for occupants.
"Altogether, we are convinced the new S-Class will build on its global reputation as a benchmark for automotive excellence," said Zetsche.
Mercedes-Benz' new offerings increasingly reflect the unique tastes of local customers, a trend which is most visible among the company's new generation of compact car models.
"This much younger customer base desires not only traditional first-class quality," said Hubertus Troska, member of the board of management of Daimler AG responsible for China, "but is also looking for a typical Mercedes-Benz experience that combines connectivity and a premium in-cabin environment at the same time."
The new GLA SUV that was unveiled on stage of Auto China goes far in addressing these needs, with enhanced visual and interior designs, expanded China-specific Mercedes me Connect features and both Baidu CarLife and Apple CarPlay functionalities.
"This exemplifies our true dedication to our Chinese customers and the importance we place on them," said Troska.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan embodies the company's future design direction for compact cars. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Improved customer experience
Other Mercedes-Benz highlights in Shanghai include the A-Class White Art Edition, CLA White Art Edition, the E-Class Coupe and the V 260 L 2017 Limited Edition, which further expand Mercedes-Benz's customer base by presenting specialized offerings to meet the ever-diversifying needs of Chinese customers.
In addition to planting the seeds for healthy growth across its product landscape, Mercedes-Benz has also carefully tended the fields of customer service, connectivity and mobility services.
"In terms of cost of ownership, Mercedes-Benz now benchmarks the lowest total cost of ownership among premium brands," said Speeks.
To lift the customer experience and customization to new heights, the brand has introduced a door-to-door service, MB connected services and E-Commerce platform, with the aim of increasing customer convenience and transforming the ownership and brand experience.
"It has been an extraordinary start to this year" said Speeks, expressing his gratitude to both customers and dealers. "Your trust in us is held dear to our hearts."
"We will quietly and diligently continue to work to delight you with our best products and services in the months and in the years ahead."