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Current market report: HAGI Mercedes-Benz Classic Index (MBCI) December 2013
Numerous exclusive Mercedes-Benz classics are among the world’s most valuable vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Index (MBCI) by Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI) maps market developments. This document reports on the performance of the MBCI in December 2013, together with a summary of the whole of 2013.
The MBCI recorded an increase of 6.07 points (4.47 per cent) in December 2013 compared to the previous month and had an index level of GBP 141.78 at the end of 2013. The index grew by 26.98 per cent over the whole year. The figures are therefore significantly higher than the long-term annual average growth rate of about 8.8 per cent as measured by HAGI. The other market indices compiled by HAGI also showed strong increases this year, with the MBCI, comparatively speaking, at the lower end of the performance spectrum. The HAGI Top Index, which measures the total market for rare collectors’ vehicles, grew by more than 46 per cent in 2013.
Some significant performance variances were noted within the MBCI itself. Without a doubt, the 300 SL (W 198) models led the way last year, belonging as they do to the most visually striking and most traded vehicles in the whole classic car segment. Growth of between 30 and 40 per cent was not uncommon for certain vehicles in this model series in 2013.
Trade in the 190 SL (W 121) and the 280 SL “Pagoda” model series W 113 became somewhat more subdued towards the end of the year. According to some dealers, revenue actually declined, accompanied, in individual cases, by weaker prices. But for top-of-the-range models and vehicles that have been completely restored, premium prices continue to be demanded and paid on the market.
The open-top “Ponton” models 220 S and 220 SE (W 180/W 128) can now be regularly seen at auctions and in the showrooms of prestigious dealers in England and the US. The growth in their prices was, impressively, in the high single-digit range for 2013, but they cannot yet hold their own against the higher-profile, later models such as the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet (W 111). The complexity and cost of an expert restoration is the main reason for the slower growth in value of the “Ponton” models.
The value of pre-war vehicles and early post-war models with rare body shapes as well as racing cars grew at just about the same rate as the MBCI price index and enjoyed record results again in 2013.
The state of preservation is the main determinant of market prices for more recent classic cars such as the R 107, W 124 and W 201 models. To be given a top classification, they must still have their original paintwork and parts. The value of low-volume production models such as the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution and 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201) was upheld even more emphatically by collectors, and achieved double-digit growth rates in 2013.
Everyone active in this market confirms that vehicles that are regularly driven and maintained are extremely well thought of – and this is reflected in their trading value. This is because any potential technical defects can be fixed earlier, more as a matter of course and more in keeping with the vehicle’s functions in such vehicles, compared to vehicles that are exclusively exhibition models. This is reflected in the overall state of preservation and has a direct effect on their price.
Other key indicators and index charts can be found on the HAGI MBCI fact sheet, which is available for download from the HAGI website at (registration and login 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 GBP 100. It currently maps the growth in value of 29 Mercedes-Benz classic vehicles. 23 of these models are among the historically most important classic cars of all.
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 GBP 4 billion (in 2012: equating to over 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 specialising 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.