Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific has appointed a new CEO.

    Jaime Cohen succeeds Florian Seidler as the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Australian operations, and arrives amid a sales drop for its passenger cars division since the move to a fixed-price agency model in 2022.

    Mr Cohen is a Mercedes-Benz veteran, joining the brand in 1987 and subsequently working in various roles for both the passenger vehicles division and its trucks arm across the Americas and Germany. He has recently completed a five-year stint as CEO of the carmaker’s Mexican division.

    “Every new market brings exciting opportunities but above all, I feel privileged to be working in such an important and successful region for Mercedes-Benz,” Mr Cohen said in a media statement. 

    “I’m sure I will draw on my background across diverse markets from North, South and Latin America, as well as in Europe.

    “Though I have only just arrived, my key priority is to tap into the great work that the teams in both Mercedes-Benz Australia and New Zealand are already doing and utilise my experience across the wider business to identify opportunities to take that to yet another level.”

    Meanwhile, Mr Seidler will take up the role of head of sales operations for Mercedes-Benz Cars Europe and Smart, following a three-year tenure as the head honcho in Australia.

    Though his predecessor, Horst von Sanden, was the executive who put the brand’s plan to move to a fixed-price agency model in place, Mr Seidler oversaw the transition which came into effect in January 2022.

    The move to the agency model resulted in Mercedes-Benz taking ownership of dealership stock, while removing the ability for customers and dealership staff to negotiate on prices – a change which dealers claimed would drive up prices of new models.

    The brand’s Australian sales have subsequently reduced year-on-year, with its passenger vehicle and van divisions combining for 33,034 deliveries in 2021, 31,281 in 2022, and 28,853 in 2023.

    The carmaker’s move to the agency model became the focus of legal action from its former dealers, with 38 of its 50 ex-franchisees taking Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific to the Federal Court in search of compensation.

    In August 2023, Federal Court judge Jonathan Beach dismissed their request.

    The group of dealers filed its appeal against the decision in February, however this appeal is yet to be heard.

    MORE: Mercedes-Benz Australia wins landmark court case against its dealers
    MORE: Australian Mercedes-Benz dealers appeal Federal Court’s ruling on agency model

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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