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Auto blogWed, 02 Oct 2013 14:31:00 EST
Mercedes-Benz CLA sales have been booming, with the Stuttgart-based manufacturer moving 2,300 of the sleek four-doors in its first week on sale. That is astonishing. Mercedes moved nearly twice as many CLAs (which start at $29,900) in one week than Jaguar, a brand that is on a very solid roll, sold in all of September. Ignoring the price differences between the Jag line and the CLA, that is still wildly impressive.
Mercedes has been pushing the CLA in television ads, using a shortened version of its Super Bowl spot, which starred William Dafoe, Usher and Kate Upton. "As the bargain entrance into the Mercedes portfolio, we weren't sure how luxury buyers would react," Kelly Blue Book auto analyst Alec Gutierrez told Bloomberg.
The CLA push was just part of MB's 6.7-percent increase in September sales, which were also helped along by a 17-percent jump in E-Class sales. That surge has allowed Mercedes to widen its 2013 sales lead over its rival, BMW, to 2,491 cars, according to Bloomberg. If CLA sales continue at this rate, we can only expect that margin to grow.
In Which Mercedes' Sprinter Becomes A Long-Distance Sherpa
In the wintery wilds of northern Alaska, even the cute little critters want to kill you.
As I am about to nod off on my long leg flight from Minneapolis to Anchorage ahead of driving to the Arctic Circle, the friendly twenty-something Alaskan knitting furiously in the seat next to me pauses and says, "When you're driving up there, don't open your windows." In the dead of winter? I hadn't planned on cruising alfresco, but her warning to keep the glazing snugged against the weatherstripping is one I would take to heart. She continues: "If you leave 'em open, a fox is liable to jump right in. There are lots of rabid foxes up there, and they leap into your car and just Go. To. Town." And here I was, thinking that a curious bear or maybe an ill-placed moose in the road was going to be my biggest potential four-legged threat. In the wintery wilds of northern Alaska, even the cute little critters want to kill you.
There appear to be two takes on Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche having his contract extended for three more years, to 2016. A report in The Detroit News quotes the chairman of Daimler's supervisory board, Manfred Bischoff, talking up the stability at the top, "With today's extensions of the contracts of Dieter Zetsche and Thomas Weber, we are maintaining the important continuity at the top executive level." Bischoff also stated that that Zetsche has a plan to "further enhance Daimler's overall performance."
Over at Reuters, though, the three-year extension was seen as a lack of complete confidence in Zetsche's plans, since his contract was supposedly meant to be extended by five years. A spokesman said the board decided to extend executive contracts by only three years if the person was 60 or would turn 60 during the contract, but that was news to observers. Zetsche wants to make Mercedes-Benz the top selling luxury manufacturer globally by 2020, but has fallen to third place behind Audi and BMW. It hasn't held the top spot 2005, and investors judged it valued at half that of BMW at the end of 2012 once Daimler's truck business was subtracted.
Analysts cites the fact that Daimler stock hasn't bested its rivals but twice in twelve years, and that the company revised its profit target downward last year by nearly one billion euros, warning of stagnant earnings this year and will miss its original margin target for 2013.