In the year since its market launch, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is continuing the success story of the predecessor model: more than 300,000 customers have purchased either a sedan or station wagon variant of the new model since it’s official introduction on March 31, 2007.
“The sedan got off to an excellent start, and since its premiere at dealerships at the end of last year, the new C-Class station wagon has also been enjoying high popularity,” says Dr. Klaus Maier, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Both models, in fact, have posted growth rates of 70 percent on the corresponding periods from the prior year since their respective launches. As a result, the new C-Class has been the worldwide leader in its market segment since the beginning of 2008.”
German customers also are very enthusiastic about the new C-Class: according to Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, the model was once again the top-selling vehicle in the mid-range segment in April. The most important market for the C-Class is Germany which accounts for 25 percent of total sales, followed by the U.S., UK, Italy, and South Africa. A total of 290,000 C-Class sedans from the 204 Series have been sold worldwide since market launch in the spring of 2007, and 25,000 customers have taken delivery of a new C-Class station wagon since that model variant was introduced in December.
A particularly successful feature of the new C-Class is the clear optical differentiation between the model’s three equipment lines. “In the first year of sales, one out of every two C-Class customers in Germany chose the Avantgarde line and in other core markets the share of total sales sometimes is even higher,” says Maier. “The response of our customers to the sporty design of the C-Class Avantgarde even exceeded our expectations. This new product strategy makes the vehicle very attractive to the most diverse customers within the heterogeneous C-Class customer base, and it also enables us to win over new customers to the Mercedes-Benz brand.”
Along with the new model’s distinctive design, C-Class customers are also attracted by the vehicle’s even more dynamic chassis, which features a selective damping system that also offers great comfort.
Other major selling points include a further refined telematics system with Bluetooth, and a new Linguatronic voice-command system. In addition, the station wagon takes the trademark strengths of the sedan – including safety, agility, and comfort – and combines them with a significant increase in spaciousness and versatility. With maximum cargo capacity of 1,500 liters, the new station wagon offers more space than any other premium station wagon in its segment. Given all these attributes, it’s not surprising that the C-Class station wagon was also the top-selling model in its segment in Germany last April.
The new C-Class model series has won numerous German and international awards since its premiere. For example, the C-Class sedan easily beat out its competitors in Germany’s largest survey for the most popular automobile in January 2008, winning this year’s prestigious Gelbe Engel award presented by Germany’s ADAC automobile association. In addition, readers of AUTO BILD magazine voted the C-Class Germany’s most attractive sedan, while the publication auto motor und sport crowned it the most attractive mid-range model. What’s more, 350,000 participants in Europe’s largest Internet vote chose the C-Class for the 2007 “Carolina Internet Auto Award” as the most popular car in Europe. Meanwhile in the UK, the C-Class was named “Executive Car of the Year” by Top Gear magazine.
Mercedes-Benz offers six four-cylinder and seven six-cylinder engine variants for the C-Class, as well as the C 63 AMG. About one-third of the sedan model’s customers worldwide have opted for the C 220 CDI, while 20 percent have purchased a C 200 Kompressor. The C 220 CDI is also the vehicle of choice for around half of the station wagon model’s customers. 75 percent of all C-Class station wagons sold around the world are diesel engine versions.
Mercedes-Benz expanded the C-Class sedan line-up in the spring of 2008 by adding particularly fuel-efficient BlueEFFICIENCY models: fuel consumption in the C 180 KOMPRESSOR and C 200 CDI is 12 percent lower in the BlueEFFICIENCY versions, with no sacrifices in terms of the high level of comfort and outstanding safety features so typical of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The C 200 CDI (100 kW/136 hp) consumes just 5.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers in the BlueEFFICIENCY version, while the C 180 KOMPRESSOR (115 kW/156 hp) requires 6.5 liters of premium gasoline to travel 100 kilometers. These consumption figures correspond to emissions of 135 and 156 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, respectively.
Mercedes-Benz will also begin offering a third C-Class BlueEFFICIENCY model at the end of 2008: the C 350 CGI, featuring gasoline direct injection. This vehicle’s six-cylinder engine will consume about ten percent less fuel than the conventional sedan with the current V6 engine. The C 350 CGI will thus offer a combination of responsive power, agility, safety, fuel economy, and environmental compatibility that is unique in its vehicle segment.
For their new BlueEFFICIENCY models, Mercedes engineers used potential from all areas of development. The aim was not only to further decrease weight, drag, and rolling resistance, but also to more efficiently organize the new sedans’ energy management system. As an added feature, BlueEFFICIENCY models are equipped with a brand-new cockpit shift display that informs the driver when to shift gears in order to achieve maximum fuel efficiency. Experience gained with the Mercedes-Benz “ECO training” program shows that an economical and energy-conscious driving style can result in fuel savings of as much as 15 percent – without giving up any driving pleasure.
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan and station wagon are the first cars in their market segments to come with an environmental certificate. By issuing this certificate, the TàœV Süd Management Service GmbH technical inspectorate company has confirmed the environmentally responsible development of the sedan, which boasts further advances across the entire vehicle lifecycle in key areas including fuel consumption, exhaust gas emissions, and the materials used in its manufacture. Mercedes-Benz is the only automaker worldwide to have received this demanding environmental certificate.
The new CLC sports coupe will arrive at dealerships in Western Europe in June 2008. Among other things, the model series will offer customers an attractive entry-level variant to the Mercedes-Benz coupe family. The CLC’s sporty appearance clearly sets it apart, as the vehicle’s front and rear were completely redesigned in keeping with the ultramodern Mercedes-Benz design idiom. The CLC also meets the high standards for safety, comfort, environmental compatibility, and functionality that are a hallmark of Mercedes-Benz. The model’s technical highlights include an all-new direct steering system for even greater agility when cornering, state-of-the-art infotainment systems with a color display, and a more powerful four-cylinder engine that now delivers 135 kW/184 hp for the CLC 200 Kompressor.
The CLC is the successor to the C-Class sports coupe, which has been purchased by approximately 320,000 motorists around the world since 2001. The majority of these customers were new to Mercedes-Benz. With its rate of approximately 70 percent new customers, the sports coupe is a very successful model in the Mercedes-Benz product offensive. In addition, the two-door sports car has succeeded in keeping established customers loyal to the Mercedes-Benz brand, and over 40 percent of those who purchased it subsequently bought an even larger Mercedes-Benz model.
C-Class sedans are produced in Germany at Mercedes-Benz plants in Sindelfingen and Bremen. They are also built in East London, South Africa, and have been manufactured in Beijing, China, since March 2008 as well. The station wagon is produced exclusively in Bremen, and the new CLCis manufactured at Mercedes-Benz’ Juiz de Fora plant in Brazil.