After 12 years, a new German marque is at the top of the luxury throne.
Mercedes-Benz sold a whopping 2.08 million passenger cars in 2016 – 2.23 million if you count the Smart brand. That figure represents an 11 percent increase over 2015 sales, and has Mercedes on the fast track to become the largest premium automaker in the world.
According to Reuters, the German automaker is expected to overtake BMW as the largest global premium automaker four years earlier than expected. The hiring of Gorden Wagener to head up the Mercedes design Daimler, and the much-needed divorce from Chrysler in 2007 are, in part, to thanks for the quick growth. Not to forget the overall focus on product quality over chasing market share, following its new motto, "best or nothing."
"We had some deficits, cost and quality problems. Design was not top-notch. And with Chrysler we were no longer a pure premium carmaker," CEO Deiter Zetsche said in an interview with Reuters. "Since we worked hard and today we are leading or among the leaders when it comes to innovation, quality, design, and security."
The company's renaissance first came in 2013 with the introduction of the new and much-improved S-Class. It brought with it an entirely new design language, inside and out, and also the first use of autonomous technology in the lineup. It was a new, more youth-oriented approach, and followed suit on cars like the C-Class, E-Class, and eventually led to the production of small cars like the CLA and GLA.
Mercedes hopes to continue that successful sales approach into 2017 beginning with a new AMG sports car, a refreshed GLA, and the continued development of more autonomous technology. The latter of which was previewed by the Generation EQ concept in Paris.