[INTERVIEW] Mercedes EQS SUV is first mover in large electric SUV market

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[INTERVIEW] Mercedes EQS SUV is first mover in large electric SUV market

Britta Seeger, board member of Mercedes-Benz Group, responsible for marketing and sales. [MERCEDES-BENZ KOREA]

Britta Seeger, board member of Mercedes-Benz Group, responsible for marketing and sales. [MERCEDES-BENZ KOREA]

Britta Seeger is confident that the Mercedes EQS SUV will have a strong first-mover advantage in Korea’s large electric SUV market as the sole competitor.
Seeger is a board member of the Mercedes-Benz Group and is in charge of marketing and sales. She served as the CEO of Mercedes-Benz Korea from 2013 to 2015.  
“We are quite pleased with the resonance Korean customers have with this car,” said Seeger in a recent interview with Korean press. “Obviously, we are alone in this segment." 
"We are very confident.”
Exterior of Mercedes-Benz's EQS SUV [MERCEDES-BENZ KOREA]

Exterior of Mercedes-Benz's EQS SUV [MERCEDES-BENZ KOREA]

The EQS SUV, which premiered globally on April 19, is an all-electric seven-seater SUV. It is the German brand’s first large electric vehicle (EV) and the third model to be manufactured on its EVA platform, the company's standardized EV design configuration.   
The EQS and the EQE sedan versions were manufactured on the EVA platform. Seeger said the EQE SUV will also be made on the EVA platform in the future.
“The main customers for our seven-seater EQS SUV are those who need to have a large space, who are very active in outdoor sports and outdoor activities, very active people,” Seeger said. “And second are people who are interested in bringing together the necessity of space and consciousness for full electric vehicle. We see an interesting wide segment.”
Korea’s large SUV market has been growing over the years due to a renewed enthusiasm for outdoor activities such as camping.  
According to Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, 323,133 large SUVs were sold domestically last year, which is 5.4 percent more than the year before. It is the only segment that showed growth last year amid sluggish car sales in the country.

The EQS SUV's strength, according to Seeger, lies in its range. It goes 600 kilometers on a single charge based on the European WLTP standards, while the current EV industry average stands at 400 to 500 kilometers.
“For the current situation in the market, range is quite important,” she said. “Ours is the result of perfect aerodynamics and super design.”
Based on the sales data and feedback from its past models, Seeger said the EQS SUV offers all the ingredients that customers look for in a luxury car.  
"Our customers love to interact with big screens which is why we provide the MBUX Hyperscreen,” she said.  
The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Hyperscreen is a large 141-centimeter single curved glass screen that spans nearly the full width of the dashboard and includes an infotainment screen and a passenger display. It was first introduced in the EQS sedan.


“We provide all the good components that you know from the EQS and the EQE such as an interior assistant and energizing comfort," she said. 

The EQS SUV, which will be manufactured at Mercedes' Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant, will begin sales in the United States in autumn. Its Korea launch is not yet decided. 
Seeger said she has special affinity towards Korea’s auto market, not only because she served as the local unit’s CEO but also because the market has shown exponential growth since.  
“When I started in Korea in 2013, and we were not even in Korea’s top 10,” she said. “Now, Korea is No. 1 for the E-Class and No. 3 for the S-Class. From only these two numbers you can see how important South Korea is. As a whole, South Korea is No. 5. The importance of Korea within Mercedes-Benz has increased dramatically.”
The German brand has been at the top of Korea's imported car market for six consecutive years.
Teaser of Mercedes-Benz's EQS SUV [MERCEDES-BENZ KOREA]

Teaser of Mercedes-Benz's EQS SUV [MERCEDES-BENZ KOREA]

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