The sole standalone dealership in Sydney opened in December last year and made history by being the world’s first sales and service operation that is exclusively dedicated to Mercedes’ AMG performance arm.
An AMG retail site opened in Tokyo earlier last year, but it is for vehicle sales only and does not include servicing.
Speaking with GoAutoNews Premium at the New York motor show, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy said the AMG site was already going “very well” in its first few months of operation.
“I can’t give you the figures, but it is doing very, very well,” he said. “Certainly it was a large investment by (Chinese owner) Lei Shing Hong Limited. It has hit a sweet spot.”
When asked if there were plans for more standalone AMG stores in Australia, Mr McCarthy said more sites were likely given the high take-up of AMG models Down Under.
“Sydney won’t be the last standalone dealership you will see. I am not going to telegraph our punches to our long-suffering competition, but we have the highest penetration rate in the world for AMG. We actually swap places regularly with Canada, but I don’t see that changing.”
Mr McCarthy added that he did not think standalone AMG sites would cannibalise sales from other nearby Mercedes-Benz Cars dealerships.
“I don’t think so. Dealers that understand the AMG customer and have dedicated areas in their showrooms, dedicated sales people as we do, dedicated marketing – at the end of the day, people do remain loyal to dealers, they prefer to buy near where they live.
“If anything, it raises the profile of the brand even higher. Dealers compete with each other and they compete with other brands. I don’t see it as a negative at all.”
Last year, MBAP recorded its best AMG sales ever, with 7420 units shifted, equating to one in five or 20 per cent of its overall haul of 37,068.
Mr McCarthy said it was possible that people who would have previously bought an Australian-built rear-drive performance car from Holden or HSV would look to AMG, with offerings such as the V8-powered RWD C63 S.
“Has there been more interest? I think there have always been people that were HSV people. And the same with Ford. Where do they go? Well they pretty much have to go European. Whether it is us or BMW with their M cars or Audi with RS.
“The reality is we did 7000 AMGs last year. This year we will do more, don’t know (how many) yet but it will be more. Those (HSV) buyers have got to land somewhere.”
By Tim Nicholson