PHOENIX -- Mercedes-Benz is betting that a 70 percent loyalty rate, a sleeker look and new features designed to thrill a technophile will push annual U.S. sales of the 2007 S class to 30,000.
That would match annual peak sales set by the previous-generation S class in 2000, say executives at Mercedes-Benz USA LLC. But they won't predict whether the top-of-the-line S class will maintain that sales level because of increased competition in the luxury segment.
Bernhard Glaser, general manager for U.S. marketing and product management at Mercedes, predicts the ninth-generation S class will continue to lead sales in the luxury segment. Glaser says this segment has annual sales of 80,000 units in the United States, and sticker prices range from $58,000 to $150,000.
"We defined leadership in this segment - the upper premium - with every launch and every generation of the S class," Glaser said at a media event here. "We set the benchmark, and every time we raise the bar for our outgoing model just a little bit higher."