While Mercedes-Benz and smart vehicles are represented through different companies here, the idea of them sharing retail space under one roof isn’t as strange as it sounds. After all, the latter was once sold here by DaimlerChrysler Malaysia (before it became Mercedes-Benz Malaysia), and the German automaker still has a stake in smart through its joint venture partnership with Geely.
However, operating under different channels of distribution means that the brands are technically competitors, or are they? Given that long-time Mercedes dealer Hap Seng Star also now retails smart vehicles, we posed the question to MBM CEO and president Amanda Zhang during the Malaysian launch of the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV, which was held at the Hap Seng Star Kuala Lumpur Autohaus, where HSS’ first smart showroom is also located.
Her answer was that it was not the case, and that the brand welcomed such retail possibilities to its existing dealer network. “Only smart can join us. As you know, we have ownership in the JV, so the brand is not a competitor. Primarily, it’s in a different product segment and price category,” she said.
Zhang added that smart doing well commercially would also translate into profitable growth for the German automaker. “We welcome such an approach to have smart joining. The JV means we are participating in profitability, and it also supports many of our global objectives in terms of cost structure optimisation,” she said.
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