Mercedes-Benz claims luxury pole position in 2017

The Mercedes logo is shown as the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is introduced at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, US on Nov. 18, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 08 January 2018
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Mercedes-Benz claims luxury pole position in 2017

FRANKFURT: Mercedes-Benz said Monday it had defended its top spot as the world’s biggest luxury carmaker in 2017, with a surge in sales, particularly in China, enabling it to clock up another record year.
The Stuttgart-based group reported sales of around 2.3 million cars last year, an increase of almost 10 percent on the figure for 2016 and its seventh record year in a row.
Much of the growth was attributable to Mercedes’ breakneck expansion in China, where sales grew by 26 percent, and the ever-rising appeal of its SUVs, with the luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles accounting for more than one in three sales worldwide.
The group claimed its three-pointed star remained the top high-end car brand worldwide, after overtaking Munich-based rivals BMW in 2016.
BMW has yet to release full-year sales figures for 2017, but the latest release from November shows the group significantly lagging Mercedes.
“Success in our core business provides the basis for us to actively shape the mobility of the future,” said Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Mercedes parent company Daimler.
Like other carmakers, Mercedes is investing heavily in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, as well as more efficient, less polluting traditional motors.
Manufacturers are racing to polish up their environmental credentials and meet more stringent emissions requirements.


Porsche could build flying taxis, says sales chief

Porsche logo. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 April 2018
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Porsche could build flying taxis, says sales chief

FRANKFURT: Volkswagen’s sports car maker Porsche could develop a flying passenger vehicle to compete with rivals in a possible market for urban air taxis and ride-sharing services, Porsche sales chief Detlev von Platen told a German magazine.
“That would really make sense. If I drive from (the Porsche plant in) Zuffenhausen to Stuttgart airport, I need at least half an hour, if I’m lucky. Flying would take only three and a half minutes,” Automobilwoche quoted von Platen as saying.
Porsche would join a raft of companies working on designs for flying cars in anticipation of a shift in the transport market away from conventional cars to self-driving vehicles shared via ride-hailing apps.
Volkswagen’s auto designer Italdesign and Airbus at last year’s Geneva auto show presented a two-seater flying car, called Pop.Up, designed to avoid gridlock on city roads.
The magazine said that under Porsche’s plans, passengers would be able to have some control over the flying vehicle themselves but would not need a pilot license because many of the car’s functions would be automated.
Potential competitors to a flying vehicle made by Porsche would be German start-ups Volocopter, backed by Daimler , Lilium Jet and eVolo, as well as US-based Terrafugia and California-based Joby Aviation.