Mercedes, Markets & America

Gary S. Vasilash

Mercedes-Benz announced its global sales numbers for the first half of 2013 last week, and while the company set a sales record, it is interesting to take a deeper look at the numbers, which seem to indicate there may be a decided trend in vehicle types and architectures going forward, not just for Mercedes, but perhaps for the overall market.

Overall, the company sold 694,433 vehicles. A solid contributor to that number was the U.S. which accounted for 141,950 units. The U.S. was the single-biggest market for Mercedes during the first half of 2013, even topping sales in Germany (124,324). In fact, while U.S. sales were up 10.4% for the year, they were down 3.3% in Germany, even though the company says that it is “the most registered premium brand in Germany.”

2014 CLA250 Edition 1

When the CLA comes to the U.S. later this year, watch Mercedes sales soar

While companies, particularly in the premium segment, seem to be particularly gaga about the Chinese market, and while Mercedes saw a 16% increase in the month of June (19,549), for the first six months sales in that country have been off 0.5% for Mercedes (a total of 98,914).

It is worth noting that even with the 16% bump up in June, the U.S. sales last month (24,415) were still greater than the sales in China.

On a more macro level, while some people might associate Mercedes with large, luxurious cars, it turns out that its more modest vehicles are in great demand: the A-Class, B-Class and CLA coupe had a combined increase of 58%, with 173,362 vehicles delivered during the first six months.

In addition to which, the Mercedes SUV offerings have been doing quite well, as well, with demand up 21.4%, to 156,055 units.

Small and SUVs seem to be the direction sales are taking.

When you take into account the facts that (a) the U.S. market accounted for 51,300 of the SUV sales during the first half and (b) the A-Class, B-Class and CLA coupe are not yet available in the U.S. market, chances are excellent that the U.S. is going to remain a linchpin to Mercedes fortunes going forward.