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Current market report: HAGI Mercedes-Benz Classic Index (MBCI) in November 2013
Numerous exclusive Mercedes-Benz classics can be counted among the most valuable vehicles in the world. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Index (MBCI) of the Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI) maps market developments. Here are the latest comments on the price performance of the MBCI in November 2013.
Following a rise of 11.51 points (8.93 per cent) in October 2013, the MBCI in November showed a fall of 4.7 points (3.37 per cent) over the previous month. At the end of November, the index was based on a price of 135.71 British pounds. It has thus risen by 21.55 per cent since the beginning of the year and by an impressive 35.71 per cent since the end of December 2011. The performance figures thus lie significantly above the long-term yearly average of around 8.8 per cent as measured by HAGI.
The slight fall in November can be attributed, for example, to the slightly weaker prices for the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121), 280 SL (W 113), and 300 SL Coupé (W 198) vehicles. Such declines in the index should not be interpreted as a trend, however, but taken in the context of the growth seen in the previous and subsequent months as well as the performance over the full year.
Active trading in classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles continued through November, with established post-war classics such as the 300 SL (W 198), the Cabriolet and Coupé variants of the 280 SE (W 111), and the 300 SE Cabriolet (W 112) leading the field. Participants in the market have reported that the Coupés of the W 111 model series have been particularly in demand recently and that prices of more than 100,000 euros are now being paid for very good examples. The details make all the difference: an electric sliding roof, for example, is an important and highly sought-after feature on the most valuable vehicles and is reflected in a premium on the purchase price.
SL vehicles from the W 113 model series (“ Pagoda”) currently make up 21.4 per cent of the HAGI MBCI. Whereas in the past the 280 SL was the clear favourite among collectors, a situation reflected in the prices traded, it is now being matched in value by the 230 SL and 250 SL models. Especially in cases where a complete restoration has been undertaken, the three models are now traded at more or less the same level, since the effort and expense involved in terms of working hours and replacement parts is generally deemed to be the same. The trend in Germany of buying back “Pagoda” models, for example from North America, continues. However, as ever, vehicles originally supplied in Germany continue to achieve higher prices.
After being reimported, the US vehicles are mostly being restored by European workshops. The quality of the work undertaken at this stage varies considerably, which in turn has an impact on the value. Buyers would therefore be well advised to use reputable specialist workshops with a proven record of success. Ideally, every detail of such a vehicle (for example bodywork, mechanical systems, equipment features, authenticity) should be meticulously inspected by an independent appraisal expert before purchase.
Compared with other markets for collectables, the historical automobile sector and the MBCI have performed well this year up to the end of November. The benchmark for fine wines, measured by the London-based “Liv-ex 100” index, fell by 2.64 per cent in November and has shown an overall decline of 1.15 per cent since the beginning of the year. Despite many headline-grabbing individual sales the art market, too, showed only modest growth of 2.2 per cent up to the end of November this year. The measures used in this sector include, for example, the “Mei Moses World All Art Index” in New York.
Other key indicators and index charts can be found in the HAGI MBCI fact sheet, which is available for download from the HAGI website at (registration and log in required).
Mercedes-Benz Classic Index (MBCI) background
The HAGI indices were first presented in January 2009. They are available for various car brands, and have established themselves worldwide as a value indicator in the classic vehicle market. They work on the same principle as indices for stocks and shares, but reference high-value classic vehicles as capital investments. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Index (MBCI) was launched in 2012, and initialised on 31 December 2011 with a value of 100 British pounds. It currently maps the performance for 29 Mercedes-Benz classic vehicles. Some 23 of these models are among the historically most important classic cars ever.
All HAGI indices are weighted according to surviving vehicles rather than using only production figures as a basis, as the latter are not very meaningful for vehicles aged 30 years or more. The MBCI pools more than 30,000 surviving Mercedes-Benz vehicles with a capital value of over 4 billion British pounds (as at 2012: equating to more than 4.9 billion euros). These vehicles date from the period 1926 to 1995. The index also takes other parameters into account to produce as accurate an overall picture as possible.
Background: Historic Automobile Group International
Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), founded in 2007, is an independent investment research institute and specialises in rare classic automobiles. The HAGI Top Index is published monthly on the websites of the Financial Times and Handelsblatt. The aim is to create market transparency and enable buyers and sellers to make well-founded decisions on the basis of indicative data. HAGI maintains a database containing more than 100,000 actual transactions. The entries begin with the production date of the vehicle and are updated on a daily basis. The data mainly comes from four sources: private contacts, brand specialists, dealers, and auction results.