March proved to be a great month for many automakers, but it was an exceptional month for Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF.PK), which sold more vehicles in a single month than ever before. Driving the sales surge was the lasting momentum of the CLA Class compact sedan, as well as its new S Class.
Mercedes moved 158,523 cars and sport-utility vehicles during the month, which was the icing on the cake that was the best first-quarter for Mercedes ever. Its stock is now flirting with six-year highs as a result, Bloomberg says. Growth for the luxury line has surpassed 10 percent for nine consecutive months now, again helped by its compact offerings and a voracious consumer appetite for the midsize E Class sedan.
“Mercedes is growing at a brisk speed at the moment,” Frank Biller, an analyst at LBBW, told Bloomberg. “This is a good basis to catch up with the competition. But I don’t expect BMW or Audi to post bad numbers for March either.”
That being said, Audi and BMW have been growing as well. Mercedes remains in third behind the two, though CEO Dieter Zetsche plans to have thirty new models released by 2020 in order to take the helm of the global luxury industry, a position it lost back in 2005 to BMW.
“The tailwinds from the new models should contribute to a relatively profitable next two years,” Bloomberg quoted analyst Frank Schwope as saying in a research reported dated Friday. Mercedes is planning on adding more shifts and hours to keep pace with the strong demand.
In news that will keep investors happy, Zetsche said back in February that the gains in demand will enable Mercedes to scale back sales incentives and raise some prices — given March’s strong performance, this will likely become even more the case moving into the warmer months.
Large portions of Mercedes’s success came from the recovery in Europe, which after six long years of a near-stagnant economy is starting to pick up some steam. Europe sales for Daimler rose 7.6 percent last month, helped by a 20 percent spike in the U.K. that managed to outdo the country’s impressive overall market growth of 18 percent. China helped too, with a 48 percent surge in sales, and the U.S. contributed 11 percent.
Mercedes is also priming for the release of the GLA, a subcompact crossover SUV that is expected to do exceptionally well, in the footprints of the CLA. Sales of the brand’s compact vehicles surged 26 percent in March to 43,349, and a new C Class is expected to carry the momentum onwards.