Daimler’s AMG-GT sportscar going after Porsche image

Daimler launched on Tuesday its Mercedes-AMG GT, a two-door coupe with more than 500 hp designed to poach Porsche customers as part of the brand’s efforts to expand its upmarket sports cars.

Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG, said that Mercedes-Benz’s sub-brand is expected to sell more than 40,000 cars this year. AMG is already producing tuned-up versions of the S-class limousine, G-class offroader and the A- and B-Class compact cars. Moers said that the sales of the GT will make up less than 20% of the overall AMG sales, which reached 32,200 in 2013 and 23,000 in the first half of 2014.

With the 510 horsepower coupe, Mercedes is entering a market segment dominated by Volkswagen-owned Porsche, which is the most profitable manufacturer among the German luxury automakers. Porshe made a return on sales of about 18% last year, while Mercedes-Benz Cars, which includes the AMG, only had a return on sales of 6.2%, behind Audi’s 10.1% and BMW’s 9.4%.

Moers said that for the moment, AMG remains a niche offering, getting annual sales way below the 155,094 vehicles Porsche sold in 2013. Last year, BMW led the premium auto makers top with 1.66 million cars sold worldwide, followed by Audi at 1.57 million and Daimler in third place with 1.47 million Mercedes-Benz cars sold.

By Gabriela Florea