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.


Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

Updated 15 October 2018
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Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

  • Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market
  • Compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil

LONDON: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market and compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil.
He told the CERAWeek energy gathering by IHS Markit in New Delhi that petrol and diesel engines would co-exist with emerging electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for much longer than widely expected.
Miscalculations around the pace of electrification could create “serious” risks around global energy security, he said.
“Conventional vehicles today, despite all the hype, represent 99.8 percent of the global vehicle fleet. That means electric vehicles with 0.2 percent of the fleet, only substitute about 30,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent of a total global oil demand of about 100 million barrels.
“Even if those numbers increase by a factor of 100 over the next couple of decades, they would still remain negligible in the global energy mix.”
He said: “History tells us that orderly energy transformations are a complex phenomenon involving generational time frames as opposed to quick switches that could lead to costly setbacks.”
In another broadside aimed at electric vehicles, the Saudi energy minister highlighted past misconceptions about global energy demand growth — and specifically the notion of “peak oil.”
“I remember thought leaders within the industry telling us that oil demand will peak at 95 million barrels per day. Had we listened to them and not invested . . . imagine the tight spot we would be in today.”
“Let’s also remember that in many parts of the world, roughly three fourths of the electricity, which would also power electric vehicles, is currently generated by coal, including here in India. So you could think of any electric vehicle running in the streets of Delhi as essentially being a coal-powered automobile.”
“When it comes to renewables, the fundamental challenge of battery storage remains unresolved — a factor that is essential to the intermittency issue impacting wind and solar power. Therefore the more realistic narrative and assessment is that electric vehicles and renewables will continue to make technological and economic progress and achieve greater market penetration — but at a relatively gradual rate and as a result, conventional energy will be with us for a long, long time to come.”