A few light showers did not affect the gusto that highlighted the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz GLK earlier this month. Reporters and car enthusiasts all had the chance to test drive the new luxury SUV that promises an “unparalleled driving experience.
Amongst the lavish villas of Emaar’s Uptown Cairo project in Moqattam, few were worried about the economic crisis and its affects on the auto market. On the contrary, Mercedes officials seemed confident that the GLK class will pave the way for successes and profits that may even help them defy a slowdown.
“We are playing with all our cards, pushing new products into the market with aggressive and competitive pricing, Zakaria Makary, director of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz, told Daily News Egypt.
Competitive pricing, though, is relevant. Although the new GLK carries a LE 458,000 price tag, Makary stresses that the Mercedes clientele is of a unique caliber. While some might consider this a hefty cost, it is very reasonable to most Mercedes customers. “We have a specific price range and [this price] is very competitive, he said.
While most of the world’s automakers are announcing supply cuts and target slashes, Makary boasts that 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 have been “excellent for the company.
“We had a 26 percent increase in sales in 2008 and a 5 percent increase in the first quarter of 2009 in comparison to the previous year, he said.
He attributes the increase in sales to the quality of products and their pricing mechanism. In January, Mercedes launched their “hit car, the C180 that cost around LE 300,000, boosting sales and garnering attention from many customers who had aspired to own a Mercedes but couldn’t afford one.
Hundreds lined up to purchase the car and many have paid deposits and are still on the waiting list. “We are not targeting thousands of car sales and we don’t mass produce, but the demand has been so high for the C180 that we have been rated as top producers early this year, he said.
Mercedes will also launch their new E-class at the end of the year, making it their third addition to the market this year following the C180 and GLK cars.
Makary is confident that the GLK will be as lucky as the C180, gaining the same attention and appeal. “The new GLK is the SUV that adapts to the modern day lifestyle be it for business or pleasure in addition to the agility, safety, comfort and luxury features, he said.
The GLK’s passive safety systems enable a high degree of occupant protection during and following an accident; the active safety features are designed to take action beforehand. The high standard of active safety in the GLK-Class is rooted in the “Agility Control suspension with a selective damping system, which blends stable handling with comfort.
The electro hydraulic “Agility Control steering that comes as standard keeps the driver informed of the current state of the road, while responding with precision to steering inputs.
Mike Nolte, Mercedes Benz CEO, announced that the GLK is currently in production domestically and will be ready for sale in May.