KUALA LUMPUR: Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has a plethora of new and exciting models that will be launched in 2023, said the company's CEO and president Sagree Sardien.
"You can expect up to 20 launches this year across our various brands, whether you look at electric, AMG, or the Mercedes luxury segment," she said on the sidelines of the launch of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic all-wheel drive on Friday.
The new GLC 300 4Matic with AMG Line interior is offered as a mild hybrid with 48-volt technology, priced at RM429,888 on-the-road without insurance.
Sardien pointed out that the GLC sport utility vehicle (SUV) is among the company's best-sellers, contributing at least 16% of its total retail volume.
"There was a period from the run-out of the predecessor, into now, the successor - we've had no stock, so it was absolutely imperative that we bridged (the gap) by bringing in the new GLC (as an imported model) as quickly as possible," she explained.
"Even before the launch, the order book is quite substantial. Customers have expressed great interest in the vehicle," she added.
Sardien also noted while the company is importing the new GLC presently, local assembly would start in the second half of the year.
Regarding the company's electric vehicle (EV) fleet, she said more EVs would be launched in the second half of 2023.
"We are more excited for what comes in the second half because the portfolio gets extended. Right now, we have five EVs. I must say we have generated significant interest when it comes to EVs. But I'm even more excited when I look at the order book. Customers are definitely showing a great appetite for EVs," said Sardien.
She added that the company would continue to focus on its electrification efforts.
"We are still on target and on plan to follow our global direction, which is transitioning our portfolio to all-electric by the end of the decade. By 2025, we still follow the pathway with having at least 50% of EVs in our portfolio," she said.
Regarding the EV charging infrastructure, Sardien said the company would continue its offensive on ensuring that its "retail network and people at the wholesale organisation have a switch in mindset when it comes to electrification."
"We look at this not only from the production of our cars, but to our supplier network, to our retail network and of course, our entire servicing office. We continue with the training efforts of our apprentice programme, that we've now brought in to handle the high voltage training."
Sardien pointed out that last year, the company announced that its dealer retail network would introduce 13 to 14 new direct current (DC) chargers across its network.
"To date, 11 have been fitted at our dealerships across the country. The remaining three DC chargers will be completed in 2023. In addition to that, we have also transitioned to our own organisation. In order to flip the switch for our employees also, we've started introducing electric vehicles into our portfolio of company cars. Therefore, there is a necessity for us to then equip our facilities with 80 new alternating current (AC) chargers and one DC charger at 360kW (kilowatt) which will come in 2023," she explained.
Sardien added that the company's collaboration with Petronas and JomCharge to install fast DC EV chargers at five petrol stations along the North-South Expressway and East-West Expressway is on track.
"The first charger is already up. The remaining four will continue to come up, over the next period. Our charging plans are in full swing," she said.
On the automotive chip shortage, Sardien said the situation had improved since the latter part of 2022, and the company is seeing an increase in the production of cars.
"Availability is starting to become a lot more better than we have previously experienced. We still have a few shortages when it comes to parts, but (compared to) what we experienced in 2022 and 2021, we are obviously in a much better space with readily available vehicles," she said.