With an investment of RM 1 billion over 14 years into production, sales and distribution and training, and as the leading premium automotive brand (with 33 dealerships, a training academy and over 8,700 vehicles delivered in the first 9 months of 2017), it’s only natural that Mercedes-Benz wants to stay on for the long-run in Malaysia and continue to be the market leader.
Having invested over RM 280 million into its Pekan production plant over the years, Mercedes-Benz also has intention to support Malaysia’s goal to be an EEV (Energy Efficient Vehicle) hub – with the latest being the E350e plug-in hybrid (Mercedes-Benz Malaysia also assembles the S400h and C350e hybrids there); the Pekan plant currently assembles 12 vehicles (all with EEV status). Fact: EVERY Mercedes-Benz vehicle assembled in Pekan goes through a rain shower test to check for leaks, as opposed to a random test.
New at the Pekan plant is the paint shop which is equipped with a state-of-the-art robotic painting system and has a production capacity of 10,000 units. It is also the first in the ASEAN region to use a 360° conveyor system for pre-treatment and dip-coating.
“As the premium market leader, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is confident of the growth potential in the Malaysian automotive market. Based on this positive outlook, we continue to invest substantially in developing key areas including talent, technology, production and service as well as providing further employment possibilities and people development. These investments in turn help us deliver the ‘Best Products’ and the ‘Best Customer Service’ through a consistent and high level of service and expertise to our customers and cement our position as the No. 1 premium brand,” said Mercedes-Benz Malaysia President & CEO, Dr. Claus Weidner.
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s Pekan production facility employs over 1,400 people and enforces a requirement where 30% to 40% of all its locally produced vehicles are fitted with local content.
Investment in production is for nought without the sales volume to justify it, which in turn is meaningless without key after-sales support, as evidenced by some brands which faltered after a sales growth spurt. Which is why Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is constantly expanding and refreshing – in the past 9 months, it launched 13 new models, 8 new and upgraded dealerships, engaged Mercedes-Benz owners and potential customers in various activities like Ultra, Urban Hunting and Mercedes-Benz Discovery Day, as well as its continuous training of after-sales personnel. Over this period, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia had invested over RM 90 million to expand and upgrade its dealership network (which it intends to grow further), to cater to the enlarged group of Mercedes-Benz owners.
This move has contributed to its achievement of the highest Customer Satisfaction Index After-sales score in the ASEAN region, and its leading position in the premium automotive segment. “We are very happy with the momentum we have gained, and look forward to bringing more exciting updates to the market in the coming months,” Dr. Weidner stated.
This concerted approach resulted in the local production of 6,580 vehicles, sale of 8,771 vehicles and servicing of a staggering 94,569 vehicles in the past 9 months. The bulk of its sales came from the limousines segment with 5,238 units sold, mainly the C-Class (3,044 units) and E-Class (1,891 units). The company also delivered 1,895 SUVs to customers (1,622 units of GLC and 273 units of GLE), trending better than its compact cars which saw 1,220 sold; while 406 aspirational dream cars were also delivered to customers.
Supporting the sales of Mercedes-Benz vehicles is Mercedes-Benz Services Malaysia (MBSM) which provides financing and insurance solutions, such as AgilityPlus and Lease2Go. As at September 2017, MBSM finances 4 of every 10 Mercedes-Benz sold and holds a portfolio of RM 2.2 billion.