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Mercedes-Benz Italia: 50 years of history and over 2 million vehicles sold

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Mercedes-Benz Italia: 50 years of history and over 2 million vehicles sold

Mercedes-Benz Italia celebrates its golden anniversary: ​​five decades marked by the link between two cultures, the German and the Italian, which have integrated over the years, with a presence on the territory that goes far beyond the simple commercial vocation, as the important presence of the brand in one of the most historic and important races organized on the national territory also recalls it: the 1000 Miglia.

Rome, 1973: the beginning of the history of Mercedes-Benz Italia

A story that begins on April 18, 1973 in Rome, when the German car manufacturer, riding the wave of change and innovation that was affecting the automotive sector and mobility in general, founded Mercedes-Benz Italia. The official Stella branch was opened in Rome, in via degli Abruzzi 3, and was initially dedicated exclusively to the sale of commercial and industrial vehicles. 75% owned by the parent company and the remaining 25% by Autostar, importer of cars since 1959 and creator of the Italian commercial network. Buying a Mercedes-Benz was a privilege: luxury treatment, a long wait, a higher price and there could be no question of discounts, let alone trade-in a car that didn’t have the star.

The 70s and 80s: organization and development in the area

For Mercedes Italia the 70s and 80s were very important for the growth of the organization, processes, assistance network and, from 1978, the birth of Merfina, the official captive financial company. Hans Breithaupt, the first to lead Mercedes-Benz Italy as CEO, was also one of the major promoters of this new Italian bet. In the 1980s Mercedes tripled its volumes in Italy compared to the end of the 1970s. These were the years of the masterpieces of the Italian Bruno Sacco, head of the Stella style centre, who knew how to interpret the style and taste of those years by designing successful lines. The sales and service network and the entire organization manage the upward expansion of the range well with the new S, the SEC and the legendary G. But above all downwards, with the arrival of the Baby Benz: the 190 of 1982, was initially challenged internally because it was feared it could dilute the exclusivity of the brand with customers with less economic availability and lesser reputation. Nothing more wrong; in fact, the 190 instantly became a very fashionable and successful car, heralding and preparing the growth trend of the following two decades.

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The 90s: the affirmation of the brand in Italy

The 90s coincided with the great success and growth of Mercedes-Benz in Italy: from 40,000 cars and vans in 1989 to over 80,000 in 1999. Product offensives broadened the range in all directions. From the K factor of the Kompressor engine which makes the new Stars powerful even under two litres, to the SLK and CLK which renew the myth of the Roadster and Coupè with the Star speaking straight to the heart of a wider public sensitive to performance. And then the A-Class, the smart, the ML, without forgetting the Vito, the V-Class and the Sprinter which mark the transformation of commercial vehicles into premium Vans. But to do this, the product was not enough: the organization was set up and a sector dedicated to the management of second-hand vehicles and fleets was created to accompany growth towards new targets. And fundamental were the marketing and communication that made the new models even more desirable, through a clear positioning. Meanwhile, in 1995 in via Giulio Vincenzo Bona in Rome the new, current and future headquarters of Mercedes-Benz Italia were inaugurated.

2000s: consolidation and change

In the 2000s the numbers changed: from 80,000 to over 120,000 in 2007. Marketing becomes crucial for launching new products and for smoothing the curves of the life cycles of cars. These were the years of great visibility for the brand thanks to the numerous event activities and attention to the sports closest to the brand with a strong turn towards a younger and wider audience. Charity activities, support for important territorial realities such as the Bambino Gesu hospital, demonstrate the closeness of Mercedes-Benz Italia to the territories that host it. The events in the dealerships and in the area, also in partnership with brands from other luxury product sectors, enrich the appeal of the three-pointed star towards new customers: from the world of artisan chocolate, jewellery, food and wine, to fashion and to fitness contribute to the allure of the launches of new cars, also attracting the female public in the dealerships.

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