Some Optimism From Overseas

Mercedes-Benz dealerships in China, South Korea reopening for business

The coronavirus has impacted all vehicle producers and dealerships across all markets worldwide, but there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Mercedes-Benz reported in early April that its dealerships in China and South Korea were open for business, as those countries start to recover from Covid-19.

The vehicles with the three-pointed star saw retail units down almost 15 percent for the first quarter, but the company still sold 477,378 cars worldwide during the first three months of 2020. Numbers for Mercedes’ smart brand — vehicles that are solely battery-electric — sold 5,863 units in the first quarter, down 78.3 percent from the same time period in 2019.

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Commercial van unit sales were good in January, with a total of 64,588 units delivered in the first quarter, down 14.9 percent from the first quarter of 2019.

“The year 2020 started well and we were able to increase sales of our core model series, especially in January,” said Marcus Breitschwerdt, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “The impact of the corona crisis seriously weakened our unit sales already in March, and we therefore did not achieve our target numbers in the first quarter. Nonetheless, we achieved a very good result, especially in Germany. Customer feedback has been positive, and we are seeing right now the contribution our products make in our everyday lives — be it as ambulances, in service to the police or to delivery services and craftsmen.”

Mercedes-Benz assembles the Sprinter and Metris vans at its Ladson, South Carolina plant, where it employs 1,300 workers. The U.S. is the second largest market for the Sprinter van, after Germany.

First quarter deliveries in North America amounted to 78,501 vehicles. Mercedes-Benz delivered a total of 67,746 premium automobiles in the core market USA, making it the highest-selling premium brand in the USA from January to March.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, in Vance, Alabama, makes the GLE SUV, GLS Luxury SUV and the GLE Coupe. It employs approximately 3,800 team members at the plant and its products are sold in 135 countries.

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