Benz Korea vows to stay on top for another year

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Benz Korea vows to stay on top for another year

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Mercedes-Benz Korea CEO Dimitris Psillakis, left, and vice president Martin Schulz, talk about the car company’s 2018 objectives at their New Year’s press conference in the Shilla Hotel in central Seoul on Monday. [MERCEDES-BENZ KOREA]

Mercedes-Benz Korea vows to maintain its position as the top of Korea’s import market while upgrading its service network to better cater to its customers.

The Korean affiliate of the German luxury carmaker said at its New Year’s conference Monday that it hopes to sell 70,000 cars this year, slightly more than last year’s goal of 60,000 units.

Mercedes-Benz Korea sold 68,861 vehicles in 2017, achieving its yearly sales target. It recorded a 22 percent year-on-year growth.

“We believe we can grow further than 2017 sales, hitting 70,000 units,” said the company’s CEO Dimitris Psillakis Monday. “We will invest in infrastructure such as showrooms and networks,” he added.

Psillakis welcomed competition from Volkswagen and Audi, which resumed sales this year.

“It will give more options to Korean customers and we welcome competition,” he said.

Mercedes-Benz Korea said it will expand its R&D workforce by 20 people.

It will also invest 35 billion won ($32.6 million) in an auto parts logistics center, expanding its current delivery capacity of 45,000 parts to 65,000 - creating 50 more jobs in the process.

The automotive company vies to maintain its leading position by launching 9 models this year in Korea, six of which will be updated versions of existing vehicles. It will launch Mercedes-AMG E63 4MATIC in January followed by the new E-Class Cabriolet and new CLS. It will launch two eco-friendly models in Korea for the first time this year.

Under its eco-friendly label EQ, it will launch the C350e and the GLC 350e 4MATIC, plug-in hybrid versions of its popular C-Class sedan and SUV model GLC.

Mercedes-Benz customers will also experience a more digitized service starting this year.

With the launch of its first digital showroom in Cheongdam-dong in southern Seoul last year, Mercedes-Benz Korea will offer what’s called “Sales Touch,” which enables the one-touch purchase of a car, from test driving to transaction, through a single digital platform.

The carmaker, which added 7 service centers last year, said it will soon launch a system called Express Service, which will shorten the time span of regular inspections from the current 60 minutes to 30 minutes.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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