The versatility of the Mercedes V-Class is proving increasingly attractive to the Cambodian car buyer, drawing the Kingdom’s motorists away from the ubiquitous SUV.
The strength of the luxury people carrier is its multi-functionality, says Khun Chantha, sales and marketing director at Star Auto (Cambodia), the only authorised distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the Kingdom.
“The V-Class can be used for daily use, or for trips to the province at weekends, as business transport, or to carry VIPs from the airport to their hotel,” Chantha says.
And with large, plush “captain’s” chairs, a cool box, ambient lighting, Burmester surround sound system, climate control and a strong yet elegant design, whatever you use it for, you will do so in comfort, luxury and style.
The growing popularity of the six-, seven- or eight-seat (depending on your chosen configuration) multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) reflects the importance of the family for Cambodians.
“Customers choose the V-Class to transport the family in luxury. In many Cambodian families, the father may have one car, his wife another, while the son and daughter will have their own cars.
“With the V-Class, the whole family travels together, strengthening their relationship while saving money, whether this is for weekend trips or special occasions, or for daily use,” Chantha says.
The V-Class’ diamond grille is the face of the changing landscape of Cambodian motoring, with the revamped Mercedes-Benz MPV featuring a sportier look.
Chantha says the Kingdom’s auto sector has travelled far in a short space of time.
“There is a very long history of the SUV in Cambodia, even back to the [post-conflict] days of the early 90s, and with the country having very poor road conditions, many Cambodians dreamt of having an SUV.
“But with the roads a lot better, even from Phnom Penh to the provinces, people began buying sedans. Now they are buying the V-Class, which is a multipurpose vehicle that can carry more than five people in comfort,” he says.
While outside Cambodia the V-Class is available in three wheelbase lengths, Star Auto sells only the extra long version – and it is a lot of car for your cash, all beneath the prestigious Mercedes badge.
“With the introduction of the V-Class five years ago, we showed that a stylish and dynamic presence is also possible in XXL [extra long version] format. In doing so, we were able to convince families, leisure adventurers and business customers alike – from Europe right across to Asia.
“Proof of this can be found in the 209,000 or so V-Class units that have been sold since its market launch, as well as in the fact that the vehicle has one of the youngest buyer groups across Mercedes-Benz.
“As of the beginning of 2020, we’ll be continuing this success story. With the facelift, we’re building on the strengths of our MPV in a targeted manner,” says Wilfried Porth, director of labour relations at Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Prices for the V-Class start at around $131,000, and Chantha says this is some $50,000 less the V-Class’ nearest competitor in the luxury MPV segment, while even V-Class MPVs bought on the grey market cost more.
“The prices at Star Auto are so affordable because of the great support from Mercedes, with special prices from the factory to offer Cambodians the chance to own a very special vehicle,” Chantha says, while financing is available to get you behind the wheel of your dream car.
Buying a Mercedes from Star Auto also means benefiting from the German car giant’s renowned after-sales service.
“Our after-sales service is the best in the country, with our international technicians – including from the UK and Australia – having been trained by Mercedes, while our local technicians are very experienced with Mercedes, with at least five to 10 years’ experience.
“In the unlikely event that a problem can’t be fixed here, we can have a technician come over from the Mercedes-Benz regional office or from Germany, depending on the case. We also have a body and paint workshop, which nobody else in the country has,” Chantha says.
The focal points of the V-Class range include a striking, restyled front end, as well as the introduction of the OM 654 generation four-cylinder diesel engine, with the V250 reaching 211hp. The V-Class also offers unparalleled safety, scoring a full five-star rating after Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) testing, and carries the latest technology safety and assistance systems.
The V-Class line from AMG is proving to be Star Auto’s biggest seller, with bodystyling from the high-performance division impressively enhancing the MPV’s dynamic appearance.
The front apron with its prominent air inlets, diamond-pattern mesh and chrome trim, the expressive spoiler lip and the diffuser-look rear apron emphasise the muscular character of the MPV, with AMG 19-inch light-alloy wheels in a seven-twin-spoke design rounding off the sporty look.
“When you buy a Mercedes from Star Auto, you are getting a premium car without equal, and we are less expensive than our competitors and even the grey market. A vehicle from Star Auto is guaranteed to be unmodified – a real Mercedes – while the V-Class is the right car for the family and for business,” Chantha says.