Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) has initiated its export efforts with the roll-out of the Mercedes-Benz C180 in sole Avantgarde trim for the left-hand drive Philippines market. The first batch of the Philippines-bound model will be shipped this month, according to the company. The export to the Philippines is more feasible than for the market to establish its own plant, said president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Dr. Claus Weidner.
The C180 for the Philippines market is powered by a 1.6 litre M274 turbocharged engine producing 156 hp and 250 Nm of torque, channeled to the rear wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission; this is similar to the C180 Avantgarde for the Malaysian market, which is also locally assembled.
Thus equipped, the C180 Avantgarde clocks a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 8.6 seconds. The Philippines-bound car is kitted with 17-inch wheels shod in 225/50R17 tyres and LED headlamps, while the interior receives Artico leather upholstery, aluminium trim and ambient lighting. Infotainment is courtesy of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch media display, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Active brake assist is also included.
Exact annual export numbers for the left-hand drive C180 that is bound for the Philippines have not been revealed, though this will be in the ballpark of ‘low three figures’, said vice president of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars Malaysia, Michael Jopp.
The Philippines was chosen as the first ASEAN left-hand drive market to receive MBM’s LHD export models as it is a growing segment for premium cars, according to Weidner. For now, the company is also looking to reach into additional export markets, though specific countries have not been named.
The C180 was chosen to be the first export to the Philippines as its relatively basic specification made it more suited to the country’s less prohibitive standards for vehicles, and the selection of a sole variant helps simplify matters on that front, Weidner added.