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Mercedes is the World's Leading Manufacturer of Convertibles

Source: Mercedes-Benz | Published: Fri Sep 23, 2005

Mercedes-Benz, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium automobiles, sold almost 55,000 convertibles in the first half of 2004, thus setting a new record. The new SLK has met with a particularly good market response, with around 16,000 units of the roadster version sold in the three months since its launch in Western Europe. Germany alone accounted for 9,500 of these vehicles. As a result, the SLK has succeeded in taking the global lead in its segment only two months after being released for sale.

The new SLK’s fantastic launch not only builds on the predecessor vehicle’s positive result; it also continues Mercedes-Benz’ success story in the roadster and convertible segments. In all, 1.15 million open-top Mercedes-Benz passenger cars have been sold since 1954. Around 600,000 of these vehicles were Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and approximately 325,000 were SLK Class vehicles. “For over 50 years now, the legendary SL has proven that Mercedes-Benz has an unequalled level of expertise when it comes to building open-top sports cars,” says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes Car Group, responsible for Sales and Marketing. “The SLK also has long since taken on a cult image in the modern era. The technical innovations that we incorporate into each new vehicle generation and the driving pleasure that our convertibles provide have thrilled millions of people of open-top Mercedes Benz vehicles worldwide.”

The SL has Dominated the Luxury Roadster Segment for Over 50 Years

Mercedes-Benz’ best-selling open-top vehicle, the SL roadster, has been one of the world’s most fascinating and sought-after automobiles for more than half of a century. International awards such as the title “Sports Car of the Century” have helped to shape the roadster icon’s image right up to the present day. Over 600,000 units of the exclusive roadster have been delivered to customers around the world since its production launch in 1953. Because of these sales records, the SL enjoys a unique market position among open-top sports cars, with a current global market share of over 50 percent in the high-priced roadster segment. Over the past few years, the U.S. became the largest sales market for the SL. Around 40 percent of the total annual output was delivered to American customers in 2003. The second largest market is Germany, which accounts for 20 percent of global sales.

SLK Offers More Value Atability Than Any Competitor

The basic characteristics of the SL — a regal appearance, sophisticated technology, a high degree of safety and intense driving pleasure — are also the underlying features of the SLK. This is particularly borne out by the vehicle’s high resale value. According to Eurotax Schwacke, the SLK has the highest value stability in its class. But the success of the first-generation SLK is also expressed by more than 40 international awards. Since its market launch in 1996, the vehicle has been purchased by around 325,000 enthusiastic customers worldwide, becoming one of the most successful niche market models in the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The most important sales market for the compact two-seater is Germany, which accounts for one out of every three new SLK registrations. Thanks to its market share of more than 43 percent in Germany and 32 percent in Western Europe as a whole, the SLK is the undisputed leader in its class.

CLK Convertible Offers Open-Top Driving Pleasure for Four Passengers

Mercedes-Benz is continuing its successful tradition of four-seater convertibles with the CLK-Class convertible. Since the introduction in 1998, the vehicle’s sophisticated technology, elegant styling and driving pleasure for four passengers have won over almost 150,000 customers worldwide. One of the most recent awards for the CLK convertible was the 2004 Autonis Prize for outstanding automobile design. The CLK convertible’s main markets are Germany and the United States, which both account for about one-third of total annual sales.

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG Photo Gallery
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