Mercedes-Benz has struggled a little in Ireland of late. While its sales remain decently buoyant, it is run in this country by a private importer, yet its two biggest rivals - Audi and BMW - are both wholly owned subsidiaries of those car makers, giving them much more financial, marketing and advertising firepower. But while Mercedes Ireland has punched above its weight in recent years, now it wants to compete head on and reckons that a major round of new and updated models coming in 2016 could be the key to significantly increasing sales beyond the 2,600 cars it has sold this year so far.
Most important of all will be the new E-Class, which will be unveiled in January at the Detroit Auto Show. It will take lots of inspiration from the current C-Class saloon and estate in styling terms, but under the skin will be the kicking-off point for some serious new high-tech, including lots of partially-autonomous driving options, including a remote parking app that works from your smartphone. It will also introduce a new family of modular straight-six petrol and diesel engines.
There's also the imminent arrival of the new C-Class Coupé (slinky...) and its forthcoming Cabriolet cousin (which will go for a cloth roof), the glorious S-Class Cabriolet (Swarovski crystal headlights...), the GLS (an updated and mildly re-styled version of the big GL-Class SUV), the SLC (a facelifted SLK) and an updated CLA 'four-door coupé', which basically picks up on the same improvements and updates that the A-Class has already received. That's on top of the just-launched GLC and GLE SUVs.
Pointing to the fact that 2016 will see a continuation of what has been the most active period of new model development in Mercedes-Benz history, its sales manager in Ireland, Ciaran Allen predicts that, when the next 12 months have passed, the luxury car maker will have established what he terms "an unrivalled presence" in virtually every model segment with a particular emphasis on those that he says "ooze youth appeal, elegance and sportiness."
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