Published on August 25th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
PLUG-IN HYBRID War Starts. Who Will Win? Malaysian car buyers!
Mark Raine, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Malaysia speaks to us about staying ahead in the premium segment. Following its success with the S-Class Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is now offering its most advanced hybrid technology yet in the C-Class and. The dynamism and efficiency of this all new C350 PLUG-IN HYBRID make it a convincing proposition when you read the selling price. With a range of 31 kilometres in purely electric mode, local emission-free driving is now a reality. Its four-cylinder petrol engine, in conjunction with a powerful electric motor, gives it a total system output of 279hp and torque of 600Nm. This C350 PLUG-IN HYBRID thus delivers the performance of a sports car and yet offers certified consumption figures of just 2.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 48 grams per kilometre.
- What are your plans to counter the current BMW plugin hybrid offensive?
ANSWER: We were first to market hybrid cars in Malaysia. What we did was not as straight forward as it may seem and we were also taking a gamble to bring this new type of vehicle to the Malaysian market, but we had to take a step forward and it paid off.
We are bringing in 1 more hybrid and we will be increasing our portfolio and we will have all the main models in the all segments where possible. Looking at the current government policies and we need to see how we can work with the policies as our investment in hybrids are large with every model and we have to see what happens as the hybrid incentives are now ending in the end of 2016 and we need to move inline with what happens in 2017. We as a corporation need to see where the policies will go in 2017 and beyond in order for us to plan and invest better.
- Pricing for your C350e higher than BMW’s 330e, are your dealers happy with this?
ANSWER: Mercedes Benz Malaysia will preview the C350e PLUG-IN HYBRID in all showrooms soon and we were actually surprised when we heard that BMW had the 330e coming along and it was just coincidental in terms of timing and since we were having this drive to Pekan for the CKD GLC SUV rollout we included in the C350e preview.
This C350e PLUG-IN HYBRID will be priced at RM299,000 (without tax incentives this car will retail for RM405,888.00) and with this we will slowly drop from our product range our current C300 as it will soon be less in demand as the tax incentives that will be given back to the customer. Also we will have more customers opting for this car with its long list of equipment. But with combined electric and petrol engine pushing out 600Nm of torque there is no other better vehicle in this power range. There is 279bhp combined and a 5.9 seconds dash from 0-100km/h, this means we have a clear product leader.
Even our current C300 cannot compete in performance and features with this car. Then there are fuel savings to be enjoyed where this C350e PLUG-IN HYBRID has a 31km on pure electric drive mode at best. Then there is the 2.1-liter per 100km fuel consumption when driven in the best possible way.
Another big selling point for this C350e PLUG-IN HYBRID is the pre –conditioning feature, which allows for the driver after returning home at night to pre-decide what he wants to car to be set at it the next morning for example…just by using the car key, he can set a 6.45am power start-up, set a 21-degrees internal temperature and when ready the driver just drives away. Energy recuperation is done in 4 different energy modes to allow the driver to recharge the car when on the move.
Mercedes Benz Malaysia will offer a walbox charging system for buyers at RM7162.00 without installation but with our installation guidance.
The C350e PLUG-IN HYBRID also comes with Airmatic suspension. Therefore, the agility is the same as the C300 as the balance of the C350 has the heavier battery system and so the general balance will be not as compete as the C300.
The C350e PLUG-IN HYBRID will come with the AMG package. We think that the C350e is a better driving package with its 19-inch wheels. It has 3 zone climate system.
Our dealers are very happy as we have quarterly meetings with our dealers and they have been informed and they know what this vehicle can do and they are ready to move ahead with it. They are happy and know that we have a good product portfolio and range with the great pricing.
- What is the current wait list for the GLC SUV?
ANSWER: It stands at about 6 months right now.
- What is the current wait list for the S400 Hybrid?
ANSWER: With the 2-shift production run now in Pekan we have brought the wait list down to 3 -4 months.
- Is the new E-Class going to be your best seller in 2017?
ANSWER: Over 1/3 of our current sales is from the C-Class and the all new E-Class by next year will be our biggest seller, with the C-Class closing in very near.
- Do you think one day……maybe 3-4 years from now…..Mercedes Benz Malaysia will just have hybrids/plugins in the product portfolio?
ANSWER: Probably at a certain time YES, the question is, we still need to see what happens to the new government incentives that will be announced in the next 6 months or so. We will and are rolling out more plug-in hybrids in the coming years and we will probably have more vehicles in the region…more than 50% will be new generation vehicles for sure.
Mercedes C350e PLUG-IN HYBRID Specifications
Engine: 4 in-line, High-pressure injection, 1 turbocharger
Power: 155/211 at 5500
Electric motor: Output max. 60 kW
System output: 205/279 kW
System torque: 600Nm
0-100 km/h: 5.9seconds
Top speed: 250km/h
Top speed electric: 130km/h
Selling Price: From RM299.000.00