All AMGS great and small
The Mercedes hero brand is aiming to lure buyers of everything from Porsche to VW
A PORSCHE 911 fighter is one of eight cars that Mercedes-AMG will use as bait for the brand in Australia and around the world.
The muscle car company is celebrating its 45th birthday with plans to deliver 30,000 cars a year to new owners by 2015. It will build everything from a small hatch to a hulking off-roader.
AMG has already scored a hit with its top-end SLS coupe and roadster. Priced from an eye-popping $468,820 in Australia, these are the first cars developed entirely by Benz’s hero sub-brand.
Now it is well advanced with another in-house car, probably to be called SLC, for sale as a V8 coupe from 2015 and a convertible a year later.
Nothing is confirmed on the SLC front, despite an anniversary teaser picture showing the current AMG family with eight extra models under wraps.
‘‘ There will be another car at some point. We don’t know when, or what— yet,’’ Mercedes-Benz Australia managing director Horst von Sanden tells Carsguide.
He is more open on the other additions to the AMG family and the potential of the cars for Australian owners, giving the nod to everything from the new SLS Black Series headliner to an A45 V6 allwheel drive starter car, and from G and GL 63 SUVs to a coming S63 limousine.
‘‘ We’re always interested in whatever product AMG has for our market,’’ von Sanden says.
The appetite for AMG in Australia now runs even deeper than the cars, although there will be about 1000 deliveries this year, just shy of the record 1017.
‘‘ When people order their cars in advance there is always a 30-35 per cent fitting rate with AMG equipment. That could be wheels, or a body kit or a full package. We know that’s what customers want.
‘‘ What we see is the halo effect. We’ve done nearly 800 AMGs so far this year and, if we can get supplies, we could be on for a new record. There’s going to be a huge rush towards the end of the year.’’
Von Sanden says AMG is now moving wholesale into turbocharged technology because it gives the performance punch that owners expect but delivers it with impressive emissions and fuel economy figures.
But the AMG blueprint for global domination does not include V8 Supercar racing.
A wealthy AMG owner hatched a plan to field a pair of AMG-powered E-Class lookalikes against Ford, Holden and Nissan from next year under the Car of the Future regulations for the category. It included a supply line from AMG in Germany and a link to Stone Brothers Racing, which has won titles with Falcons.
But the plan floundered when Mercedes-Benz Australia refused its essential support for use of the three-pointed star in a category vastly removed from its core customers.
‘‘ It’s really simple,’’ von Sanden says. ‘‘ We looked extensively at the program, and we don’t believe that our participation in V8 Supercars is the correct fit with our brand in Australia and New Zealand.’’
Wrap star: Asneak peek at the Benz A-ClassAMGhatch