Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz Group AG is targeting Malaysia as one of the markets where it will have an all-electric lineup by 2030, after earlier this year becoming the first carmaker to launch a domestically assembled electric vehicle in the Southeast Asian nation.
(Bloomberg) — Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz Group AG is targeting Malaysia as one of the markets where it will have an all-electric lineup by 2030, after earlier this year becoming the first carmaker to launch a domestically assembled electric vehicle in the Southeast Asian nation.
Sales of electric Mercedes in Malaysia have already surged 200% this year — albeit off a low base — outpacing global growth of around 120% in the first half. EVs already make up 30% Mercedes’ Malaysia lineup, and the company said future plans for EV and combustion engine cars will “echo” its global direction of going fully-electric by 2030.
“People are increasingly interested in EV vehicles, others are coming into the market, and there is big demand,” Bettina Plangger, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia vice president, said in an interview last week. “We are very optimistic that we can reach this target for Malaysia.”
Malaysia is focusing on developing an EV ecosystem and has offered incentives to boost adoption. The country has a target of having EVs, including hybrids, account for 15% of total industry volume by 2030. Two of the world’s biggest EV carmakers — BYD Co. and Tesla Inc — have both launched in Malaysia in the past year. However, Mercedes’ positioning in the premium end of the market avoids the increasingly crowded field, and its five models and seven variants means it already has one of the biggest EV lineups on offer in Malaysia.
Despite being locally assembled, the EQS 500 4Matic starts from 649,000 ringgit ($142,000) — making it the most expensive EV in the Malaysian market. By comparison, Tesla’s Model Y sport utility vehicle has a starting price of 199,000 ringgit, or about $43,400, while BYD’s Dolphin EV starts at 99,900 ringgit and its flagship Atto 3 from 149,800 ringgit.
Plangger said Mercedes is more focused on the “value” it’s able to provide customers as a luxury brand, instead of pricing considerations. The EQS comes with semi-autonomous driving, rear axle steering, and electrically adjustable rear seats with nappa leather seats.
“At the end, it’s not about price, but what can you offer your customers for that price,” Plangger said. “That is value. We go for the best technology, and we want to give our customers the best customer experience.”
Earlier this year, Mercedes’ key Malaysian retail partner Hap Seng Star, a unit of Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd., announced it had entered into an agreement with Mercedes Benz Malaysia to switch its current dealership model to an agency model, which would give the carmaker more direct interactions with customers and also greater control on pricing.
In other highlights from the interview, Plangger said:
- Mercedes is working with state oil company Petronas’s green mobility unit Gentari Bhd. and EV Connection Bhd. to expand charging networks in Malaysia
- Five charging stations have been set up on highways, including Malaysia’s first EV charging hub
- The automaker will install 14 DC charging stations at its retail outlets by the end of the year
- Mercedes plans to introduce two more EV variants in Malaysia in the final quarter of 2023
- Mercedes aims to go fully electric by 2030 where market conditions allow, and reach net zero emissions by 2039
(Adds company comment in second paragraph.)
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