Mercedes-Benz Revs Up for All-New 2008 C-Class Launch


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SEE ALSO: Mercedes-Benz Buyers Guide

The C Drive Tour to Hit the Road with Exciting New Sedan

MONTVALE, N.J., July 16 -- Gearing up for its August retail launch, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is taking its long-awaited, new-generation C-Class sedan on the road to allow some 30,000 potential buyers to get an advance preview of the new vehicle and put it through its paces. The ride- and-drive event, called The C Drive, goes well beyond the traditional driving event by literally bringing the vehicle to the streets where buyers live. The C Drive is the hands-on element of a multi-faceted integrated marketing initiative -- the largest in the company's history -- which has been underway for several months now in anticipation of the debut of the newest generation of its best-selling model line, the C-Class.

According to Steve Cannon, vice president of marketing for MBUSA, "The C-Class is literally the gateway to the Mercedes-Benz brand. We have among the strongest aspiration of any automaker, and this is the vehicle that allows new customers and younger buyers to fulfill that aspiration to own a Mercedes. The C-Class models are the most youthful and exuberant cars in our model line, and now, for the first time, we'll be offering two distinct models, each geared toward a different buyer. On the one hand, we have Luxury models which will appeal to the buyer looking for the traditional luxury sedan -- their first Mercedes. On the other hand, the Sport versions offer a youthful, aggressive styling and performance that younger buyers are typically looking for. Both models provide all those attributes on which Mercedes-Benz has built its century-long reputation and with class-leading value -- a combination that we're pretty confident will put the new C-Class on a lot of shopping lists for people who are considering stepping up to a luxury vehicle or over to Mercedes. Our marketing will reflect that."

MBUSA has been building interest in the new C-Class through relationship marketing outreach to over 1 million prospective buyers and a microsite (http://www.mbusa.com/TheNewC) on MBUSA.com which, to date, has yielded over 40,000 potential buyers and averages 40,000 visitors each week. Beyond photos and information, the microsite is designed to bring the new C-Class to life, allowing visitors to turn the new C-Class models 360 degrees, examine them inside and out, and watch a video of what other prospective C-Class owners think about the new C-Class. Visitors can also get details about The C Drive tour and can register for their local event as space permits. The integrated marketing campaign also includes banner advertising on select third-party sites, events and relationship marketing outreach.

The C Drive

The C Drive tour will go to 11 cities across the country starting in San Francisco on August 4. According to Cannon, "We know from experience that what really convinces people that the C-Class is the right car for them is spending some time behind the wheel. The agility, performance and sheer fun- to-drive factor of the C-Class takes a lot of people by surprise. Plus, bringing the vehicle literally to the streets where they live and showing it off in venues that are familiar to them -- yet maybe a little unexpected -- really personalizes the experience, which is important to our buyers."

Unlike traditional ride-and-drive events in the automotive industry, The C Drive gives guests a chance to drive the vehicle on city streets, in addition to experiencing a closed-course route. The dual test drives allow participants to put the C-Class through its paces and experience the unparalleled combination of performance, handling and safety available in the 2008 C-Class.

To further showcase the new generation C-Class, MBUSA will be hosting events at some of the hottest social scenes around the country -- non-traditional ride-and-drive venues such as art galleries, design studios, and airport hangers. At these sites, customers will not only receive information about the new C-Class and what sets it apart from the competition, but will also be feted by companies and services which complement the C-Class lifestyle.

At each venue, guests will be treated to a custom music soundtrack mixed by on-air talent from SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Other lifestyle partners for The C Drive tour include Bon Appetit, Continental Tires, Fiji Water, Harmon/Kardon, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Kinerase, Kitchen Aid, Miele, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Redken, Saks Fifth Avenue, Supersmile and W Hotels.

The events are free to those interested in attending, but pre-event registration through the event's web site at www.TheMercedesCDrive.com is required on a first-come, first-served basis.

                        The C Drive Tour Schedule

  August 4 - 5, 2007                  San Francisco, California (Left
                                      Space Studios)

  August 11 - 12, 2007                Orange County, California (Gothic
                                      Moon Productions)

  August 18 - 19, 2007                Los Angeles, California
                                      (Hangar:8)

  August 25 - 26, 2007                Houston, Texas (Warehouse Live)

  September 1 - 2, 2007               Chicago, Illinois (Union Station)

  September 8 - 9, 2007               Farmingdale, New York (Republic
                                      Airport)

  September 15 - 16, 2007             Morristown, New Jersey (Morris
                                      Airport)

  September 22 - 23, 2007             Washington, D.C. (tbd)

  September 29 - 30, 2007             Atlanta, Georgia (The Atlanta
                                      Contemporary Art Center)

  October 6 - 7, 2007                 Miami, Florida (Collins Building)

  October 13 - 14, 2007               Dallas, Texas (The Dallas
                                      Contemporary)

  Saturdays 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.;  Sundays 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

A national advertising campaign is planned for early September in conjunction with full retail availability. In conjunction with the retail introduction of the all-new 2008 C-Class in early September, MBUSA will launch a national advertising campaign. A multi-tiered effort covering broadcast and print on both the national and regional levels will focus on the engineering prowess and DNA of the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz family.

The All-New 2008 C-Class

Set to begin arriving at Mercedes-Benz dealerships throughout the U.S. on August 7, the next-generation 2008 C-Class sedan was inspired by the legendary AMG performance division and comes with a greater emphasis on driving dynamics, comfort and safety. This new model is larger than its highly successful predecessor in virtually every dimension -- about 3.5 inches longer and 1.7 inches wider with a 1.8-inch wheelbase increase. An impressive list of standard equipment includes a power sunroof, eight-way power front seats with lumbar support, two-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a central controller, and an LCD display screen.

The 2008 C-Class will be launched in three variants: the C300 Sport and C300 Luxury, each powered by a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 228-horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque; and the C350 which is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268-horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. With the exception of the C300 Sport which features a six-speed manual transmission, the C-Class is the only vehicle in its class to offer as standard a seven-speed automatic transmission which allows for maximizing fuel economy and making the transmission's reaction time extremely fast. In September, the C300 Sport and Luxury models will be available with an all-new 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.

With a lineup that will begin at $31,975 for the new C300 Sport Sedan, including a $775 destination fee, the all-new 2008 C-Class offers segment- leading value.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. In 2006, MBUSA achieved an all-time sales record of 248,080 new vehicles, setting the highest sales volume ever in its history and achieving 13 consecutive years of sales growth. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found on the Internet at www.mbusa.com and www.maybachusa.com.

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