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100 Benzes to hit streets

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
A Mercedes-Benz on display in Star Auto’s new showroom. KT/ Mai Vireak

Star Auto (Cambodia) Co. Ltd, the authorized general distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Cambodia, is aiming big. The company wants to sell around 100 luxury Mercedes-Benz cars this year, which represents a fivefold increase compared with their sales last year.
Star Auto revealed its 2017 sales target when it launched its new $9 million showroom yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Mean Chey district.
“We expect to sell at least 100 new Mercedes-Benz cars this year at our new showroom, mainly because it is bigger than the old one with all models well displayed,” said Khun Chantha, Star Auto’s sales and marketing director.
“Our new showroom also has facilities for servicing Mercedes-Benzes,” added Mr. Chantha.
In 2016, he said, Star Auto only sold 20 Mercedes-Benzes due to the poor display of models in a small showroom.
According to reports, the construction of Star Auto’s new showroom began in 2015. The whole showroom complex, at any given time, will be able to display at least 36 models.
According to Mr. Chantha, Star Auto will now be able to import more Mercedes-Benz cars, which on average cost about $300,000.
According to Mr. Chantha, Mercedes-Benzes are ranked third or fourth in the Cambodia’s luxury car market.
“More Cambodians are now buying new cars, rather than secondhand ones. This is because their incomes are rising, and also they understand the advantages of driving new cars – which are safe and sound,” said James Zemke, CEO of Star Auto.
“We hope more Cambodians will make Mercedes-Benz the car of their choice,” he added.
Mr. Zemke said he hopes the government will reconsider the tax increase levied on new cars imported into the country.
“Why not also increase taxes in the used car market? That would make it a level-playing field and prevent unsafe vehicles of dubious origin from entering the gray market,” he said.
Last week, the UK-based Bentley Motors Group, authorized the Cambodia-based HGB Group to bring upmarket Bentley cars into the local market.
“Cambodia is constantly growing its economy, infrastructure, political stability, growth of entrepreneurs and businessmen and this is why HGB imports the luxury cars to serve the needs of its customers,” said Herfried Hasenoehrl, CEO of HGB Group.
In June last year, RMA Cambodia had a pre-launch of the Jaguar F-Pace – the increasingly popular small SUV that makes one want to drive it like a sports car.
“It’s a lifestyle change and those who can afford it need a new car to match that change,” said RMA Cambodia CEO Ngon Sang.
“More and more people now want new cars compared with those who still prefer used ones,” he added. 
“We have an increasing number of customers who want new and safe cars with style. And they can afford to pay for them.”

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