Amanda Zhang Opens Up On Being The New CEO & President Of Mercedes-Benz Cars Malaysia

Born in Beijing, raised in Canada, and spending most of the past two decades in Germany, Amanda Zhang has been with Mercedes-Benz for 21 years. Her position as CEO & President of Mercedes-Benz Cars Malaysia is the second of such market assignments—she comes off a two-and-half year stint in Romania where she performed in a similar capacity. “It’s really a place where we see a huge potential from different perspectives,” she says of Malaysia. “Also, in terms of setting up our regional and global hubs, this is the place to be.” Zhang’s role goes beyond just the country—from her office in Puchong, she also oversees the automaker’s interests in the Southeast Asian region.

“It’s about how to drive growth, and how to translate luxury into very tangible customer experiences. It’s about electrification and sustainability, and it’s also about digitalisation,” Zhang says of her immediate goals. “And of course, in Malaysia, we also have something very specific and special. We’re the first luxury auto manufacturer that has implemented an agency model.” This allows the brand to be more directly involved with their customers, and enables them to offer a more extensive and consistent experience across their range of product offerings. “For me, the priority is to prepare and mobilise all resources in view of this change in the business model, so that all stakeholders are able to benefit from it,” she adds.

It is a rapidly changing time for the automotive market, especially in terms of electrification. “I think with the Mercedes-Benz brand, we can play a very clear leading role. We have had a very clear sustainability strategy in place as a company for years,” Zhang explains. “What I feel now seeing the highlights from the latest (national) budget announcements is that there is a clear awareness now. The future is electric. There are a lot of players—society is very keen to explore this field. And I believe we can be a bit louder and clearer with it—our brand being the most valuable luxury automotive brand, we should have that voice here, to support the trend that we’re seeing, support our peers to really drive this mindset shift.”

What are you most excited about for the year ahead?

The learning opportunities. I’m new in this position, so I’m excited already coming in. I feel it was really easy for me to transition into this new CEO role because of our clear strategy I mentioned earlier, so I can hit the ground really, really quickly, and then really take off on a new mission with the team on the agency model, as well as developing the growth strategy for the neighbouring countries and markets. This is what I’m super excited about.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a manager?

To listen, to be patient. In some contexts, I learnt to slow down the pace. In others, I felt I was not fast enough. Different strokes for different folks, I’d say.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Get my kids ready for school, brush their hair, and listen to their complaints!

How do you find calm?

Go out into nature. That’s what I enjoy.

When was the last time you unplugged completely?

A little while ago! I don’t know if it’s even possible these days. Mentally, I think you are always busy with ideas, especially if you are in a new role.

What is always worth paying for?

Quality time with the family.

Do you like to drive or be driven?


What have you added to your collection recently?

I have to say, not since I moved to Malaysia. I still need to discover the online shopping options!

Where is your favourite place to holiday?

The Canadian Rockies.

What is the ultimate luxury?


What does success look like to you?

Success for me is the journey of how to get there. If everybody is on the same path and going in the same direction, that is success to me.

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

Karaoke singing. I cannot sing! I feel that’s a very important skill in the region. That’s what people do, right? After dinner, they invite you to karaoke?

What languages do you speak?

Chinese Mandarin, English, and German. Maybe Japanese—I studied in Tokyo for a year. I know a couple words of Romanian, but I definitely would not claim that I speak Romanian!


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