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Respect, Love, Trust, and Ease
The 9th Mercedes-Benz Fascination, held in Hanoi from July 11 to 14, 2019, emphasised four human sentiments that Mercedes-Benz wanted to express with their unique design concepts: Respect, Love, Trust, and Ease. The four flagships that the company showed off were the C-, E-, and S-Class, as well as the GLC, all of which are personalised with different characteristics in a familiar context for the customers.
The unique “catwalk” runway was designed for 15 cars driving around in front of the audience. These vehicles were accompanied by a colourful fashion show by designer Adrian Anh Tuan. Along with the topics of ‘Respect’, ‘Love’, ‘Trust’, and ‘Ease’ being displayed within specific areas, Fascination 2019 also had other specialised areas such as “She’s Mercedes” for ladies, a VIP lounge, a corporate customer area, a kid’s playground, and a digital interactive corner.
Luxury performance of E-Class
The annual Mercedes-Benz Fascination under the “Emotions” theme by Mercedes-Benz Vietnam (MBV) showcased the brand’s approach to human and personal emotions with the outstanding highlight of three upgraded E-Class variants, including the E 200, the E 200 Sport, and the E 350 AMG sedans in Vietnam.
The two highlights, the E 200 & E 200 Sport are faster while being more convenient. The most valuable upgrade of the E 200 and E 200 Sport series lies under their hoods, which features the M264 new-gen engine.
The new two-litre four-cylinder twin-scroll turbo engine from Mercedes-Benz advances into output regions previously reserved for high-displacement six-cylinder machines, producing 197 hp, 13,5 hp higher than the former E 200’s engine, allowing the vehicle to accelerate to 100 km/h from rest within only 7.5 seconds. This means the M264 engine has a 15 per cent higher output and a 20 per cent higher torque compared to its direct rival.
The E 350 AMG is both the top variant of the E-Class and the most powerful mid-sized premium sedan distributed in the Vietnamese market. This car is also equipped with the new-gen M264 engine and comes with additional EQ Boost, which is capable of providing a momentary boost of 14 hp/150 Nm at engine speeds of up to 2,500 rpm. It is also used to support other functions like energy recuperation (up to 12 kW under braking) and coasting.
Performance-wise, the E 350 will take 5.9 seconds to complete the sprint from zero to 100 km/h, and it will hit 250 km/h top speed. The easiest way to tell the range apart is from the new rim styles. The E 350 runs on 19-inch AMG 5 Twin Spoke wheels with High Sheen Titanium Grey finish.
Currently, Mercedes-Benz said that the new E-Class models in Vietnam have a starting price of VND2.13-VND2.89 billion.
Brad Kelly CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam
Starting from July 2019, Brad Kelly has officially joined as the CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam based in Ho Chi Minh City. Before moving to Vietnam, Kelly was the director of sales at Mercedes-Benz Australia/New Zealand from 2014 with successes in growing the Mercedes-Benz sales from 28,000 to almost 40,000 passenger vehicles. His team won the Mercedes-Benz Market of the Year in 2015 and the AMG Market of the Year in both 2016 and 2017, coming third in 2018. Kelly started his career with Daimler in 2008 as Mercedes-Benz senior manager corporate and fleet sales; after many years in senior management positions at the global fleet management company LeasePlan.
Could you please share with us the meaning of the emotional subject and theme of the Fascination 2019?
Our Fascination 2019 was really focusing on the human sentiments of respect, love, trust, and ease. We have put everything into our cars to make sure we deliver the most exciting experience to our valued customers.
What are the special features of your three new E-class products?
The E-class has been the most favourite mid-size luxury car in Vietnam for so many years already. What we mainly bring with the new 2019 models is a sportier design and a more powerful engine. So, with these new upgrades, I think you can say that the E-class is the most complete offer of the segment.
What do you think about the market share of this product in Vietnam, and what are your expectations?
It’s always exciting to bring new cars to the market. We had a really good start this year, with the first six months resulting in the most successful first half in our history. So we are looking forward to selling more cars than we sold last year.
With your working experience from Australia and New Zealand, how do you evaluate the Vietnamese market?
Vietnam has a stable and high GDP growth of about 6-7 per cent, more than 55 million people of labour age, rapid urbanisation, and increasing average incomes. According to Nielsen’s study, Vietnam’s middle class will reach 44 million by 2020. Meanwhile, the car ownership rate is very low compared to other countries in the region. This will be a driving force for Vietnam’s automobile market to grow strongly and even boom in the coming time.
Mercedes-Benz has long been taking the lead in the Vietnamese premium market, targeting successful middle-aged customers. Is there any plan that you will expand to new potential customers, and who would they be?
The simple answer is yes. We are always looking for an opportunity to attract more customers and introduce them to our brand. So, one of the approaches that we take is to develop and introduce cars to the Vietnamese market that are more appropriate to younger people, more suitable to families, and in particular, to younger families.
What do you think are the competitive advantages of the cars in this new segment?
The new E-class stands out when it comes to power. The new engine, which is the most powerful so far, has 15 per cent more horsepower and 20 per cent more torque compared to direct competitors. However, more important than the sheer performance of our new models is that they are already leading in terms of safety and comfort.
As a European brand, how do you evaluate your competitiveness compared to other car producers from the US and Japan, with the soon-to-be-ratified EVFTA?
We think that the free trade agreement between Europe and Vietnam is very exciting for Vietnam, and your government should be very proud of the progress so far. The next step, of course, is to get the ratification and the implementation done. However, the closer the relations between Europe and Vietnam are, the more benefits we will all get.