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Mercedes-Benz Korea aims to double SUV sales

MUJU, North Jeolla Province ― Mercedes-Benz Korea will strengthen its product line of sport utility vehicles by 2017 in an effort to continue its growth momentum, according to the new CEO on Tuesday. 

“SUV is an important contributor to the company’s growth with the current share of sales of approximately 7 percent. We expect that this will double by the end of 2016,” 
Dimitris Psillakis, the head of Mercedes-Benz Korea, makes a presentation on the firm's growth vision during the SUV media test-drive event, held at the Muju Ski Resort, North Jeolla Province, on Tuesday. Mercedes-Benz Korea
Dimitris Psillakis, the head of Mercedes-Benz Korea, makes a presentation on the firm's growth vision during the SUV media test-drive event, held at the Muju Ski Resort, North Jeolla Province, on Tuesday. Mercedes-Benz Korea
Psillakis, who had developed and implemented the business growth plan of Mercedes-Benz Brazil, started leading the Korean operations in September. 

It is logical for the growth strategist to turn to off-road cars for further growth as the German luxury carmaker’s sales have depended on premium sedans, according to industry analysts. 

Mercedes-Benz Korea has an edge over its competitors in the imported car segment in Korea as it achieved double to triple digit growth this year for its top three best-selling sedan models ― C-Class, E-Class and S-Class.

According to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association, the company took the top spot in the first ten months of this year, selling 38,603 units. 

“We have recorded a growth of 28.2 percent year-on-year until October thanks to our 16 new model launches,” Psillakis said. 

S-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s top sedan, was the best performing model of the year as its sales soared 142 percent to 3,637 units between January and October from the same period last year. 

The new CEO hopes to continue the success story of Mercedes-Benz brand in Korea next year with premium SUVs. 

“Adventure and challenge are in the DNA of the Mercedes-Benz brand. ... The company defined the SUV wave with the first M-Class rolling off the Tuscaloosa production plant in 1996,” he said.

During the event, the company unveiled the new GLC and the new GLE exclusively to the local media for the first time in Korea, prior to their launch in January 2016. 

The new GLC is a midsize SUV offering customers modern and authentic styling and sporty driving, while the new GLE is a full-size SUV with the authentic brand look.

The German carmaker will introduce two more SUV models ― GLS and GLE-Coupe ― in the second half of 2016. 

“Our SUV offensive is in full swing, and we will keep this SUV story rolling by 2017,” he said.

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)
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