Horst von Sanden is retiring as Mercedes-Benz Australia’s managing director and CEO, with Florian Seidler taking the reins as CEO from next year.
Seidler has been with Mercedes-Benz since 2006, more recently serving as CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa from 2012 to 2017, and then as sales and marketing head for Region Overseas at Mercedes-Benz Cars. In this most recent role, he has helped set the company’s strategy for its overseas operations.
Matthias Luehrs, head of region overseas Mercedes-Benz Cars, said of Seidler’s appointment, “I am convinced that he is the perfect person to strengthen the competitiveness and even more to be a benchmark for future sales and marketing in a rapidly digitising world.”
“I’m sure together with his team he will continue our outstanding track record in Australia and New Zealand.”
Indeed, Mercedes-Benz Australia has enjoyed an impressive track record under von Sanden’s leadership. He’s served as managing director of Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific since July 2003 and became CEO in 2014. He first joined Mercedes in Australia in 2000.
During his tenure, he’s presided over massive sales growth with volume increasing from under 10,000 vehicles per year to more than 35,000. The brand has been the market leader in luxury car sales since 2013 and became the first German luxury brand to introduce a five-year warranty Down Under.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz Cars alone sold 31,985 vehicles, more than double what Audi managed and triple Lexus’ volume. BMW came closer with 23,307 sales.
It’s been a messy year for new car sales – and for everything, really – but despite a sharper year-to-date decline of 8.9 per cent, worse than BMW’s 3.9 per cent drop, Mercedes-Benz retains the lead in luxury car sales.
Its A-Class, GLC, GLE and C-Class coupe and convertible models remain comfortably ahead in their segments, though the C-Class sedan has fallen narrowly behind the recently redesigned BMW 3 Series and its E-Class is neck-and-neck with the 5 Series.
Von Sanden will leave before Mercedes-Benz’s switch to an “agency” sales model. The company will begin offering fixed prices across its range from 2022, having already trialled this with the EQC.
“Horst von Sanden, together with his team, has been one of the driving forces behind the success story of Mercedes-Benz in Australia and New Zealand in recent years,” said Matthias Luehrs.
“We would like to thank Horst for everything he has done for our company, for being an amazing team player and a great leader.”