MERCEDES-Benz South Africa has announced that Co-CEO and Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars Johannes Fritz, who steered the country’s top-selling premium car brand since September 2017, will be moving back to Germany to head up Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans in Bavaria – one of the largest sales regions in the German market.
Fritz, who spent four years in South Africa, believed firmly that the brand’s biggest differentiators in a highly competitive market would be an innovative retail experience, an unwavering focus on customer care and a strong partnership with its agent partners.
As such, one of the key achievements of his tenure was the launch of the new Agency Model, hailed by global professional services firm Deloitte as the “Emerging New Retail Model”.
Fritz was also a driving force behind the recently launched Mercedes-Benz Sandton flagship dealership showcasing the ‘retail of the future’ design concept and being one of the first of its kind in the Mercedes-Benz world.
His efforts to broaden the brand’s appeal were recognised through several awards, including the ‘Coolest Brand’ from Sunday Times Gen Next, and ‘Top Brand’ from the Sunday Times – awarded consecutively since 2017.
Fritz also left his mark on the community through the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation where Mercedes-Benz continues to be the country patron. As a trustee member, he played an active role in supporting the foundation especially through trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fritz will be succeeded by Mark Raine, who is currently Vice President of Product & Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars in Korea. The move is something of a homecoming for Raine, who grew up in Pretoria before joining Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart in 2002.
Raine has played a key role in driving the company’s digital transformation and further enhancing its brand value in the Korean market, while working to reduce complexity and improve the product portfolio. He previously worked in the company’s Middle East operation, before heading marketing and sales for Mercedes-Benz in Malaysia.
One of Raine’s main strategic objectives will be the successful introduction of the highly anticipated Mercedes-EQ range into the South African market from Q1 2022 onwards. Other strategic imperatives include pursuing sustainable sales growth by enhancing the brand’s digital ecommerce offering.