"Because America is the largest market for AMG®
models, does that affect the performance envelope? Are they tuned for America or is it a single solution for all markets?"Branden:
is the same in every single nation. So if you buy an S63 in the U.S., it's the exact same S63 that you can buy in the rest of the world. There are some regulation changes - marker lamps and things like that - but the vehicle itself is identical. But being the largest market in the world, it definitely gives us a voice at the table when they talk about development of new product; what features do we need to be looking at, how are we going to be equipping the vehicles to make sure that we stay competitive, especially being the largest market.Larry:
"You stated that AMG®
tends to mainly attract male buyers. How do you get more women interested in AMG®
? What are they asking for versus what men are asking for?"Branden:
"I think there's a couple things. First, I think that in the market in general, we are seeing that the female population is becoming much more interested in performance. So we're going to see an uptick in female performance drivers, which is awesome, right? But the other thing is that all of our advertising and marketing activations need to make sure that we are taking that into consideration moving forward and focusing not only on pure performance, but how do we balance the driving performance that AMG®
brings to the table with the luxury and craftsmanship that Mercedes brings to the table to create one of the most perfect automobiles for both male and female, for both young and old. Every vehicle is a compromise. Our job is to minimize those compromises as much as possible to appeal to a wide performance audience."Larry
: "What is the biggest challenge for AMG®
: "I think in the U.S. market in particular, a lot of it has to do with awareness. If you're in the industry, like yourself, you don't have to ask what AMG®
is; everyone knows how we are known for our one man, one engine philosophy; our technical and engineering expertise; everyone understands and respects us for that.
The challenge is when you go across the country and ask people, 'what is AMG®
?' we don't have that level of awareness outside of the auto industry, like the Porsche brand for instance. I can ask any man, woman or child in the United States, 'what is Porsche?' and everyone will tell me, 'that's a sports car manufacturer.'
, we are still growing our awareness here in the U.S. for people who do not read car magazines on a regular basis and don't go to auto shows on a regular basis. And that's really important for growing the brand, especially with those demographics we are not yet targeting."Larry
: "Among enthusiasts, you say AMG®
and the first thing they consider is the added cost. So isn't that a challenge going forward as well? That it's too expensive?"Branden
: "I don't think so. We offer a premium product in the marketplace. As long as a premium product can live up to its claims and the level of performance that we're putting out there, it will command the proper price for it. We see over and over that customers are willing to pay for it."Larry
: "Obviously you're a premium product and command a premium price. You're known for that."Branden
: "Look, we're not for everyone and that's OK. That's why Mercedes offers such a wide variety of products at many different price points, many different levels of performance, emotion and utility. We're just one piece of that puzzle."