Mercedes Open-Air Vehicles on the Rise around the World
Mercedes-Benz is reinforcing on its position as the world’s leading supplier of convertibles and roadsters in the premium and luxury segment. Since the market launch of the CLK convertible in 1998, 200,000 models of the four-seater vehicle have been delivered to customers throughout the world. Following its model update in the summer of 2005, the current CLK convertible continues to emulate the success of its preceding variants. About two-thirds of the CLK convertible drivers opt for one of the three six-cylinder engine variants: the CLK 280, CLK 350 or CLK 320 CDI. The convertible version is especially popular in Western Europe and the U.S. In the U.S., the CLK convertible was the market leader in its segment in the first half of 2006, with a market share of around 26 percent.
Ongoing success story: The Mercedes-Benz roadsters
The roadsters from Mercedes-Benz remain the undisputed leaders in the market. The second generation of the SLK-Class has been especially successful. Since its market debut in March 2004, the compact roadster from Mercedes-Benz has won the hearts of 125,000 customers, making it the number one car in its class worldwide. With 440,000 customer deliveries since 1996, the SLK is the best-selling premium roadster ever. Demand is particularly high in Europe. In Germany, the largest sales market, every second roadster in the premium class is a Mercedes. The open-top two-seater has a market share of more than 30 percent in the Western European countries outside Germany. The most popular engine version among SLK drivers is the SLK 200 Kompressor, which nearly half of all customers choose. Among the best-selling variants, the six-cylinder SLK 280 and SLK 350 models come in at second and third place.
Since its market launch in 2001, about 120,000 models of the current SL-Class have been sold worldwide, and it continues to hold the rank of best-selling car in the luxury roadster segment. Demand is particularly high for the SL 500, which is chosen by about two-thirds of all SL drivers. The facelifted model unveiled in February 2006 has also been met with a very enthusiastic response. Innovations like the sportier tuning of engines, powertrains and suspensions make the legendary dream car even more attractive. New V6 and V8 engines and an even more powerful V12 engine ensure added dynamic driving enjoyment and all-round driving pleasure in the facelifted Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. In addition, the second-generation Active Body Control (ABC) system and more responsive steering provide an extra dose of sportiness in the SL.