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The World’s Most Popular Cars In 2017 Included Fewer Cars, More SUVs

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Ask an American what type of vehicle they prefer and most will say “SUV” or “crossover.” Increasingly that’s true around the globe, too. With more fuel-efficient engines and lots of flexibility, utility vehicles are fast becoming the world’s favorite family car.

SUV sales rose 12% globally in 2017, outpacing the overall industry, which rose 3%. Traditional passenger car sales, meanwhile, fell 2%, according to industry consultant LMC Automotive. And that trend’s been happening for a while: Since 2013, SUV sales are up 87% and car sales are down 8%, says LMC.

The market shift is unmistakable, but for now, at least, small, economical sedans still outsell SUVs on a worldwide basis.

READ MORE: Honed Honda

The most popular car in the world – of all time, in fact, – is the Toyota Corolla, with more than 43 million units sold worldwide since 1966. It’s built at 16 plants worldwide, including Toyota plants in Mississippi and Canada. Toyota sold 1,160,495 units of the efficient and reliable compact in 2017, easily beating the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf, ranked 2nd and 3rd, which sold 833,017 and 788,044 vehicles, respectively, according to LMC data.

But it’s worth noting that an SUV, Toyota’s RAV4, almost broke into the top three with global sales of 786,580 units. Two other SUVs, the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, also made the top 10. Ford’s F-Series pickups were also among the top sellers, primarily due to their popularity in North America.

“Globally, small cars still win when you look at the volume because they dominate many markets,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of global forecasting at LMC. But the growth of SUVs is a worldwide trend that’s picking up steam. “Back in 2013 when we did this, there were only four SUVs in the top 20. In 2017, that number grew to seven and we see continued growth ahead.”

READ MORE: A Concept Car That Captivates

Other SUVs in the Top 20 include the Nissan Qashqai (No. 12), Hyundai Tuscon (No. 16), Volkswagen Tiguan (No. 17) and China’s Great Wall Motors’ Haval H6 (No. 20).

Click here for a full list of the world’s 20 most popular vehicles. – Written by 

Brand Voice

With “Room2Run,” AfDB Launches Securitisation Market For Multilateral Development Bank Sector

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Press Release

➢ WITH “ROOM2RUN,” AfDB LAUNCHES SECURITIZATION MARKET FOR MULTILATERAL
DEVELOPMENT BANK SECTOR
➢ TRANSACTION IS IN DIRECT RESPONSE TO G20 ACTION PLAN FOR MDB BALANCE SHEET OPTIMIZATION
➢ AfDB COMMITS TO REINVEST FREED UP CAPITAL INTO NEW AFRICAN INFRASTRUCTURE
LENDING, MAKING ROOM2RUN ONE OF THE LARGEST IMPACT INVESTMENTS EVER
➢ TRANSACTION IS SUPPORTED BY NEW EUROPEAN UNION GUARANTEE TOOL (EUROPEAN FUND FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT)

OTTAWA, Canada, 18 September 2018 — The African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Commission, Mariner Investment Group, LLC (Mariner), Africa50, and Mizuho International plc today announce the pricing of Room2Run, a US $1 billion synthetic securitization corresponding to a portfolio of seasoned pan-African credit risk. Room2Run is the first-ever portfolio synthetic securitization between a Multi-Lateral Development Bank (MDB) and private sector investors, pioneering the use of securitization and credit risk transfer technology to a new and previously unexplored segment of the financial markets.

Structured as a synthetic securitization by Mizuho International, Room2Run transfers the mezzanine credit risk on a portfolio of approximately 50 loans from among the African Development Bank’s nonsovereign lending book, including power, transportation, financial sector, and manufacturing assets. The portfolio spans the African continent, with exposure to borrowers in North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa. Mariner, the global alternative asset manager and a majority owned subsidiary of ORIX USA, is the lead investor in the transaction through its International Infrastructure Finance Company II fund (“IIFC II”). Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, is investing alongside Mariner in the private sector tranche. Additional credit protection is being provided by the European Commission’s European Fund for Sustainable Development in the form of a senior mezzanine guarantee.

“Room2Run gives us fresh resources to invest in the projects Africans need most,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “Africa has the most promise, the greatest natural resources, and the world’s youngest population. But we also have the world’s most persistent infrastructure deficits. The African Development Bank has the strategy to address these infrastructure finance gaps—and Room2Run gives us the capacity to make it happen.”

Structured as an impact investment, Room2Run is designed to enable the African Development Bank to increase lending in support of its mission to spur sustainable economic development and social progress. In connection with Room2Run, AfDB has committed to redeploy the freed-up capital into renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, including projects in low income and fragile countries.

“On the Impact scale, Room2Run is off the charts,” said Dr. Andrew Hohns, Lead Portfolio Manager and head of the Mariner Infrastructure Investment Management team. “Room2Run answers the call of the G20 for private sector participants to step in and facilitate development finance, providing a template for attracting significant private sector capital into urgently needed projects in developing economies.”

Raza Hasnani, Head of Infrastructure Investment at Africa50 commented, “Room2Run provides an innovative and commercially viable solution to the African Development Bank’s risk management and lending objectives, while paving the way for commercial investors to support and benefit from the growth of infrastructure on the continent. Africa50 is very pleased to participate in this landmark transaction, which is in line with our mandate to drive increased investment in infrastructure in Africa, and to create pathways for long-term institutional capital to flow into this space.”

Room2Run enjoys the support and participation of the European Commission with an investment from the European Fund for Sustainable Development, in the form of a senior mezzanine guarantee. “Only a few days after announcing our renewed Alliance with Africa for sustainable investments and jobs, I am very happy to announce that we are, together with the African Development Bank, launching Room2Run,” commented Neven Mimica, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development. “This initiative is a perfect example of what we are doing to support investments in African low income and fragile countries through the External Investment Plan. Through Room2Run we provide
an additional protection to investments in the field of renewable energy. Through our Guarantee, investments under Room2Run will translate into extending supply to many people currently without electricity whilst creating much-needed new jobs.”

Room2Run also directly responds to calls by the G20 that MDBs use their existing resources to full capacity, as articulated in the 2015 G20 MDB Action Plan to Optimize Balance Sheets, as well as calls for greater MDB efforts to crowd-in private investment. The G20 has called on MDBs to share risk in their non-sovereign operations with private investors, including through structured finance, mezzanine financing, credit guarantee programs, and hedging structures.

The Government of Canada has been a global leader in advocating for MDBs to use their existing resources more efficiently and to mobilize private capital for global development. The goal of the G20 MDB Action Plan to Optimize Balance Sheets is to catalyze significant new development financing from the MDBs throughout the real economy in key development regions. “Attracting more private capital into global development efforts is critical to building economies that work for more and more people around the world,” said Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance, “that’s why Canada and our G20 partners have been calling on multilateral development banks to use their existing resources as efficiently as possible, and to look for new ways to attract more private capital. We are pleased to see the African Development Bank come forward with a transaction that directly responds to both of these objectives. Room2Run is an innovative solution to a long-standing challenge.”

Juan Carlos Martorell, Co-Head of Structured Solutions at Mizuho International, adds, “Compared to other synthetic securitizations, a major achievement of Room2Run has been to ensure that ratings agencies, and in particular S&P, reflect the merits of the risk transfer into their rating assessments for multilateral development banks. AfDB’s leadership through this transaction has now set the stage for broader adoption of the instrument throughout the MDB community.”

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Driving Ambition

How To Grow Your Business With Omnichannel Marketing

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You see the news and reports. In general, the effectiveness and return of online and traditional media are declining. Ad blockers are on the rise, the continuous Facebook and Google algorithm changes affect your ads and search results, TV ads get skipped, emails go directly to spam or a “promotions” folder, and all of us can barely stop and engage with out of home advertising – unless we’re stuck in traffic. Essentially, as your arsenal of advertising methods increases, so to do pressures against these new and existing channels, formats and tactics.

Look, things are not that catastrophic. When your ads are seen, you do get some clicks, leads and sales. Your email campaigns are reaching a 20% open rate, achieving a moderate click-through rate and scoring an average conversion rate. You also notice some spikes in web and store traffic when your print ads and other above the line collateral running. Your loyal customer base also keeps you in business via repeat purchases and recommendations to their peers. So, you’re probably doing alright.

But, are you growing? And, more importantly, can you improve your results?

Growing? I don’t know.
Can you improve? Yes, as long as you are willing to put the work in.

So, how can you improve the results of your marketing efforts amidst the pressures on available media and tactics?

The answer is Omnichannel Marketing. Now, you have probably heard this term before. You may think that because you use a number of channels to reach current and potential clients, you already have an omnichannel marketing approach. This is likely, but you also may be further from an omnichannel approach than you think.

This post unpacks what Omnichannel Marketing is, how to effectively implement an omnichannel approach, and how this will improve the results of all your marketing efforts.

First, a quick definition of Omnichannel Marketing, followed by an in-depth example. There are two terms to clarify here – “Multi-Channel Marketing” and “Omni-Channel Marketing”. There is a difference…

Multi-channel Marketing is using various platforms to reach and engage with your target audience. These channels are print, your physical location, your website, app, events, referrals, tv, social media, emails and more.

Omnichannel marketing integrates all these channels to create a seamless and valuable customer journey that drives a potential customer from recognising their need, to being aware of your offering, and finally to becoming a customer. Furthermore, you can convert your customer into an active brand advocate. The key here is to use your marketing channels not just to reach your customer with your branding and messaging, but to actively and intelligently guide them through your customer journey using the most relevant content.

Here is the in-depth print-related example:

Meet Jane. Jane has just started a small business. We know that Jane needs to print business stationery. This is business cardspresentation folders, branded notebooks/notepadsletterheads and product brochures. This is just some of what we offer that is highly relevant to a business owner.

Therefore, we want Jane to know about Printulu and our business stationery offering (awareness), we want her to order her business stationery from Printulu (conversion), to continue placing more orders with Printulu for other relevant products such as flyerspamphletsbanners and more (retention), and we want her experience to be so stellar that she recommends us to her friends, family, clients, suppliers and anyone she knows who needs printing to grow their businesses (advocacy).

Now, Jane has a lot of admin and considerations to make and prioritize on her journey as a small business owner. Little time and a lot to do, something we can all appreciate. She probably has business stationery as an item on her to do list, but it’s not something she can actively research and focus on now. Therefore, if we want Jane to consider us, in her journey to ordering business stationery, we need to make it easy for her.

So, Jane may spend her early days searching for business registration services, office space, job posting services, web developers, graphic designers and so on. This search behaviour tells Google (or anyone else who is actively listening) that she is a founder, director or manager of a small business. This puts her squarely in our target market.

We have ads running on Google AdWords targeting the small business owner segment. When Jane browses websites showing AdWords Ads, she will likely see our ads. Now, we cannot assume that once she sees an ad for business stationery then she will buy right away. She is still in the early research phase and wants more information that will help her make a decision given her limited resources (time and money). Therefore relevant content here is not a “buy business stationery now” advert, but a content piece (blog post) that will educate her on what business stationery she needs, how to design it and where she can get it. All we need to do at this point is inspire her need for business stationery, give her the necessary information to act sooner rather than later, and inform her that we are the reliable providers thereof. So the most appropriate content in this situation is our blog post titled, “Your Business Stationery Check List“. We can further target these ads to show only on websites with content related to starting and growing a business.

But what if Jane does not see our ads online?

Being a small business owner, she is likely situated in a business park or shared office space. These offices are usually close to high traffic areas such as malls and shopping centres. So, we can reach her there using promoters to hand out our pamphlets showing our office stationery offering. Because this format does not allow us to have as much copy as the blog post, this will have to be a shorter message, e.g. “Need business Stationery?”, with a few products, a short key message (“Order online and get free delivery”) and a call to action (“Visit Printulu.co.za/biz and see what business stationery you need”). This will drive her to a landing page where she can learn more about what business stationery she needs. We can also include a link to the blog post on this landing page.

 

Step 1 – Awareness has been achieved.

Both the online advert and the pamphlet drive her to our website. That is the main action each we want to achieve. Why?

A website visit indicates interest. This means Jane is interested in purchasing business stationery, even if she is not ready to purchase. This also enables us to remarket to her with valuable content. E.g. If we have a special offer on presentation folders then this information may be valuable to her. We also start building a relationship with her by offering her a formal quote, subscribing her to our newsletter, offering an ebook that’s available for download, or a free design in exchange for her email address.

Once we have her email address, we can continue engagement through a series of relevant emails. This is a sequence of four automated emails that provide Jane with the information she needs to get to the point of making an order. An example sequence is; Email 1 – How to use the website, Email 2 – Benefits of printing with Printulu, Email 3 – Getting your design print-ready, Email 4 – A relevant product catalogue.

Also, because Facebook can aggregate similar people to Jane (using their algorithm and tracking pixel) we can show the same starting ad, content, and sequence to other small business owners like Jane.

Now, at this point, either Jane realised her pressing need for business stationery and placed an order immediately, or she is planning on doing so soon. What our marketing has achieved so far is to make her aware of Printulu, aware of our offering, showed her how to easily place her first order, outlined benefits relevant for business owners, and provided her with content she can use to get the most from her printing at the least expense.

We can safely say that if Jane has not ordered already, she will likely order from us soon. She will either visit the website directly, click on an email, search for “Printulu” or the product she needs (see one of our search ads or organic results) or click on a display advert.

 

Step 2 – Conversion has been achieved

So far we have used omnichannel marketing to convert Jane into a customer as well as reach and convert people similar to her.

 

We can stop here, but we know a repeat customer is more valuable than a once-off customer.

So, in Jane’s package that will be delivered to her after her order, we will include a brochure with similar products. Not just business stationery, but promotional items, retail collateral or anything that is highly relevant to her. We will also include paper samples illustrating other finishes and paper types that she could have ordered.

She will also receive this catalogue of similar products via an email that confirms her delivery and requests feedback on her experience. We can use this feedback as a customer review on the relevant page and use it to improve our services.

This does 3 things.

  • Cross-sell – by showing her related products that she can order.
  • Up-sell – by informing her of upgrades she can make to her next order.
  • Advocacy – by using her review to inform other buyers of what they can expect.

 

Step 3 and 4 – Retention and Advocacy achieved.

Therefore, by integrating our marketing channels and by applying the right content to a stage in our customer journey; we have acquired a customer, converted them into a repeat customer and inspired advocacy.

This is an ideal that we are aiming for, we are not quite there yet. So just like you, we want to know: ‘how do I do this?’

 

Know and understand who you are targeting

Analyse your current customer base.
Who is benefitting from your product and service?
What are the common characteristics, behaviours, and interests that they share?
What products or services do they order?

Use this information to build segments by grouping shared characteristics, behaviours and needs. Once you have that you can go to the next step of mapping the customer journey.

Remember to constantly update this information and keep it in a central database, such as customer relationship management software (CRM).

Tools you can use:

 

Understand your customer’s journey

The general steps in the journey are:

  • Awareness
  • Research
  • Consideration
  • Evaluation
  • Decision

Your objective is to move your prospect from not being aware, to making a purchase decision. Do this by matching the need, content and channel to the most appropriate stage in the user journey.

Note, this does not apply to only your common advertising channels. Remember that customer service, dispatch and even HR are channels/touchpoints relevant to some stages in the journey. If you are service business, you may find that your customers may look up your employees on LinkedIn, or your potential customers are also potential recruits.

Try to visualise this. Seeing what this looks like on one page will help you to match the most appropriate content to the right channel and stage in the customer journey. Relevant channels are:

  • Your physical location
  • Your website – remember to make key pages work on the most relevant devices, if not all devices.
  • Your mobile app
  • Your product catalogue
  • Social media pages
  • Display Advertising
  • Search advertising
  • Direct phone calls
  • Emails
  • Customer facing departments
  • Back office departments
  • High traffic areas

The above journey does not apply to all businesses. Your sales cycle or closure time may be one day as an e-commerce company, or over many months as a SaaS company or B2B company.

Also, speak to your sales team to get some clarity and try to see your company, your product/service offering, and the need you address, through your customer’s eyes. Walk in your customer’s shoes.

Tools you can use:

  • CRM – use this to see your average closure time and what steps your prospects take to becoming a customer.
  • Analytics – use this to see which channels people come from and what action they take from the channel.

Cross-Functional Teams

As mentioned above, this is not an advertising channels integration only. You are integrating more channels than usual advertising channels and therefore more teams than just your marketing team and agencies.

Therefore, when mapping your customer journeys and implementing your omnichannel strategy, include your sales, HR, dispatch, product, finance and any other teams/departments that directly, or indirectly, interact with your customer. Building cross-functional teams ensures that you will have a full view and understanding of your customer’s journey and include informed people that can inform the right content and implement the necessary procedures to achieve success.

Tools you can use:

Understand your ad serving platforms

Ad serving platforms are always increasing their abilities to reach your target customer, with the most relevant content, at the right time. Whether you manage the platforms yourself or use media agencies, it helps to know what is possible and how you can incorporate this into your omnichannel marketing.

Display Advertising. It’s important here to understand your targeting options. The available demographics, available interests and available behaviours. Know if you can target certain websites and exclude others. Know the different bidding options and programmatic tactics available to you, and other granular targeting options such as time of day, device, geolocation, etc.

Search Advertising. Relate specific keywords and text ads to specific stages. Being generic means you will reach people searching for something related. However, creating ad groups that target “buy now” (decision), “how to” (research), “what is” (research), location-specific searches, and comparison specific searches (consideration), allows you to create ads that address the searcher’s need. Ads that address that exact need will get you more website visits than a generic “buy now” ad. Remember website visits, even without an immediate purchase, are valuable for remarketing.

Remarketing. Simply put this is showing ads across display networks through cookie tracking. Remarketing allows you to persuade a user to return to your site and complete an action by showing them relevant content. Find out what remarketing functionality your display network or ad serving platform allows for, and how granular you can target someone. Gooogle Adwords, for example, can show different content to someone who visited your website in the last 5 days versus someone who visited in the last 20 days. Each of these people are at different stages of the buyer journey.

Custom Audiences. Facebook and Google allow you to upload a list of your customer details (with their consent), such as phone number or email address, that you can use to reach those specific customers or reach customers who are very similar to them. This is useful for all stages of the journey. Note, the platforms only match data that they have to the data you upload. The data is encrypted (or hashed) so that it can only be matched to existing users on the platform while protecting the privacy of data they don’t already have. Ensure you inform customers on how you will use their data in your privacy policy.

Always have a general understanding of the current and new functionality provided by these platforms, whether you use an agency or not.

Tools you use:

Create relevant content

Content is used broadly these days, so let’s define it. Content is information that is practical, functional, tactical and directed at an end user. This can come in many formats, such as:

  • Online – website pages, display banners, blog posts, infographics, landing pages
  • Social media – social media posts, updates and pages
  • Print – print advertising, brochures, annual reports, flyers, pamphlets, inserts
  • Out of home – billboards, banners, signage
  • Video – TV advertising, YouTube videos, Vimeo videos
  • Product Accessories – instruction manuals, packaging, tags
  • On-premise – counter standsposterspull-up bannersx-banners

Consider your channel and available format when creating your content. Also, determine your key message, the prospect’s need and your call to action when designing your content.

Tools you can use:

Marketing Automation

Before marketing automation, an email strategy was just one newsletter sent out daily, weekly or monthly to all subscribers. We still use newsletters today as they’re useful for maintaining communication with your subscribers and updating them on any new developments. However, at an average open rate of 20%, there’s an additional 80% that you are missing.

With marketing automation, you can reach the remaining 80% by building segments based on certain characteristics and behaviours that match the stage of your customer’s journey.

You can then send targeted emails to these segments based on certain triggers. Basic triggers are subscribed to a specific list, opened a specific email and/or clicked on a particular link. Advanced triggers are visited a specific page, performed a certain action on that page, or accumulated a particular lead score.

Start with one segment and a series of emails first. Understand what behaviours those emails drive, which ones get the most engagement, and achieve their objectives. You can use these insights to expand your segments and email campaigns/sequences.

Tools you can use:

  • CRM – this is where all your customer data is kept. Try to use an automation tool that integrates directly with your CRM.
  • Marketing Automation – MauticMarketoHubspot.
  • Integration tools – ZapierIFTTTAutomate.io.

Measure Everything

You will have a number of channels running with different content, triggered at different times through various actions, and resulting in a multitude of engagements. All of this needs to be analysed and optimised to get the maximum return. To manage this you have to measure everything.

Start simply by adding Google Analytics to your website. In most cases, your website is the main channel where you are driving most of your traffic. If you are a physical store then use your point of sale system to measure as much as you can. At the very least ensure you can relate changes in your sales to specific marketing initiatives.

What you want to know is:

  1. What is working?
  2. How can you improve? (Modify, pause or scale)
  3. What is your ROI?
  4. Have you achieved success?
  5. What has lead to failure?

Tools to  use:

 

Conclusion

Omnichannel marketing is essentially a customer journey strategy. Understanding your customer journey and the interventions you can make to get them to the next step is a great start. From there you need to understand the channels available to you, the content formats, the teams and departments you should inform and involve as well as how to integrate everything seamlessly. This is why being able to visualise the entire process in one view is important. There are a lot of elements that can be integrated.

It’s clear to see that the pressures negatively impacting the performance of your current media and tactics can be reduced by omnichannel marketing.

Remember, as much as this is about tools and data, all of that is supported by your people who have a good understanding of your customer’s needs and pain points. Your people are your most valuable tool in implementing and to seamlessly integrate this approach. Get the right people/teams in the room early on in the journey, ensure they understand what you are trying to achieve, what this looks like if it is successful, and empower them with the right tools, budget and approvals.

Lastly, see the journey, the content, the channels and the objectives through the eyes of your customer and not just your company. Think of it as marketing as a service to your prospects and customers.

Resources:

  1. The Definition of Omni-Channel Marketing – Plus 7 Tips
  2. 7 Outstanding Examples of Omni-Channel Experience
  3. How to Plan and Create the Perfect Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy
  4. 4 Important Differences Between Multi-Channel & Omnichannel Marketing

 

– By Mat Sexwale from Printulu

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Driving Ambition

The Golden Road Ahead

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In a decade or two – maybe three – we will look back at how we used to bullet towards each other in tin cans at a combined speed of two hundred kilometers per hour and more.

We can bemoan crime around Africa and the world, but the most dangerous thing we do (apart from cave diving) is quietly press the start button of our car.

Globally around 1.3 million people die in road accidents every year and well over 20 million are disabled.

And while the glorious new future of autonomous driving awaits, for now manufacturers make their vehicles as safe as they can and (at a price) install a range of amazing collision avoidance features that seems to grow by the month.

Volvo have set the bar incredibly high with their vision that by 2020 nobody should be seriously injured or killed in one of their new cars.

But it’s the Mercedes Benz E-Class saloon that makes the top three in the world of safety as rated by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) after a series of test crashes.

What impressed the testers was the PRE-SAFE system which magically detects if an accident is imminent by the way the car is being driven. It automatically tightens the seatbelts, closes the windows and sunroof and even adjusts the seats to the optimum position.

Now PRE-SAFE even links with the new Mercedes “me connect” evolution. The new brand with the guiding principle of “the best for me” means you can interact with your car, the dealership, Mercedes Assistance… maybe even Mars in the five areas of mobility, connectivity, service, financing and inspiration.

There have already been cases where the emergency call system has been triggered automatically by PRE-SAFE after an accident and assistance dispatched within seconds.

Porsche Panamera: Kicking Ass With A New Boot

On a less dramatic level: You leave your car with your husband (now that’s a PC thought) and while sitting at your board meeting in London you can see on your smartphone that the left back tyre is under inflated and the fuel is low. And, because he is so absentminded, you lock the car with a flick of the screen and tell him its Uber from now on!

By now you may be thinking that the E-class is a nanny sedan. Well let’s dispel that idea in far less than 140 characters. Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4MATIC+.

The most powerful E-class of all time, with the new and versatile 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under that sculpted bonnet, will take you to 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds. And then show its softer, efficient personality by deactivating cylinders when you haven’t got right foot frenzy.

It just lapped up Kyalami with a terribly nervous instructor in the passenger seat and I haven’t had as much fun on a track since the Audi R8 V10. That clever 4MATIC+ fellow seems to counter most driving sins.

According to the specs, this brand new all-wheel drive system is fully variable for the first time, instead of favoring the rear axles when dishing out power. Which means, if I’ve got it right, that the electronics are working overtime to make sure that you are getting the best traction, on every wheel, on every road surface.

Savior Giulia

So, if you want performance with a touch of class, and also need to get two kids to school, you may have to part with $142,000 and order this beast. But it is not all that easy. Because flattering its xenon headlights in the wings is one of the most mouth-gaping Mercs on the market.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé gives new meaning to style. It had distinguished parentage with the E-Class winning the 2017 World Luxury Car Award.

Upfront is trademark Merc with the Diamond grille that Mark Fetherston and his design team boldly fronted the new CLA with in 2013. Even back then some scribes found it a tad brash, but it has certainly lasted the pace!

So you will probably only appreciate the exquisite lines of the coupé when you draw alongside and get mesmerized by the smooth flowing lines all the way to the cloned C-Class tail.

The frameless windows are accentuated by a polished aluminium strip that runs the perimeter of this very lean profile and also highlights the elongated doors which allow (fairly) easy access to the rear seats.

It is longer and slightly wider than the saloon with a decent amount of legroom for a long stretch of misery like myself.

If there is any bad news, it’s the fact that there is no four-liter AMG version. Your top choice is the E 400 4MATIC with a three-liter V6 turbo with respectable acceleration of 5.3 seconds and a smaller dent in your bank account – $78,000.

And if impressing at the lights really isn’t your game, the Merc E-200 Coupe comes in at $57,000 with the E 220d and E300 lining up in the power ranks.

Ready To Race

Looking at the balance sheet, Daimler AG announced that net profit doubled in the first three months of the year, rising from $1.6 billion in the last quarter of 2016 to $3.2 billion. Revenue rose 11% to $44 billion.

The reason? CEO Dieter Zetsche gave full credit to the strong sales of the E-Class and its advanced driver-assistance and safety features. Just a shame that, as with most marques, advanced safety has to come in at a price.

The Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ and the E 400 4MATIC Coupé are destined to keep the cash register ticking.

And it is something of a birthday gift. It’s the 50th anniversary of AMG performance and the quirkily named “Stroke Eight Coupé” was launched in 1968.

A couple of golden anniversaries indeed. – Written by Derek Watts

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