What does the Mercedes direct-to-customer sales model mean to you?

Shirish Gandhi

Mercedes-Benz recently announced a complete overhaul of its sales model in India. Starting in the fourth quarter of 2021, the automaker will begin selling cars directly to customers. This is in sharp contrast with the existing system, in which the car manufacturer first sells its products to the dealer, and then the dealer retails the car to the final consumer.

So, what can future Mercedes owners expect? How does this affect the process of buying a “three-pointed star”? We break it down for you.

  • Test drive and vehicle delivery will still be carried out at the dealership
  • You will pay Mercedes-Benz India directly for your new car, not the dealer
  • The price will be uniform, there is no scope for negotiation and personal discounts

Mercedes-Benz dealers will not disappear

Mercedes dealers will still exist. Whether you book online or book a car online, the showroom will still constitute the interface between you and Mercedes. “For customers, first of all, when they want to buy a car, nothing really changes. They can still go to the dealer to get the car,” Martin Schwenk, general manager and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, accepted OurIndia explained in an interview.

However, Mercedes itself will issue you the final invoice for the car at the time of purchase, not the dealer. “The sales contract will come from our (Mercedes) system, and the payment will go against us,” Schwenk commented. But this does not mean that the customer will pick up the car directly from the company. That point, as well as the test drive, will still be handled by the dealer. In addition, the dealer must also provide service to the vehicle nearby.

On the surface, the overall sales experience will not change much. However, behind the scenes, there will be some key differences.

Waiting time for vehicle delivery can be reduced

Instead of the distributor, it will now be Benz This will own and maintain the inventory of all cars in India. Although dealers will not make financial investments in inventory, cars will still appear in showrooms. Therefore, if the dealer you contact cannot provide the exact specifications of the model you plan to buy, you can buy it from another dealer nearby. Earlier, orders for such models had to be placed to Mercedes and shipped from the factory, thus extending the delivery time. Therefore, under the new system, you can expect the waiting time to decrease.

Schwenk further elaborated, “Not only can customers get the cars in the inventory of the dealership they go to, but they can also choose a vehicle anywhere in India, whether it is Mercedes-Benz or any other dealership.” Mercedes hopes This will provide a “better customer experience”, which is one of the factors that motivates its transformation of the system.

“On the other hand, we believe that dealers will get higher profits because we will provide them with remuneration, which will pay for their operating costs. And the costs of these dealers will no longer include any inventory costs. Therefore, this means As our franchise partners (dealers) can save money, we hope that over time, new car sales will gain better profitability,” Schwenk said.

For better or worse, no longer negotiate

No matter which city or dealer, they will give customers a uniform price in front of the showroom, which is set by Mercedes-Benz, and there is no room for bargaining with dealers.

“Finally, price transparency is very important to get the best value. With this model, you will never pay more than it should be, because the price will be the same and centralized and fixed.” Because Mercedes is responsible for inventory , Dealers will not be forced to indulge in random discounts to clear pending inventory.

However, the prospect of not being able to negotiate and obtain personal discounts may discourage some consumers. In cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, with multiple Mercedes dealers, you will no longer be able to let one dealer compete with another dealer. The best offer for vehicles. Therefore, you will not be able to brag about how much you have gained.

According to our dealer sources, discounts are considered an important part of the car purchase process, and luxury car customers usually equate the buying experience with a good deal. Then, Mercedes may take a back seat here, at least until the new sales concept becomes popular.

“Yes, I can’t rule out this may happen, of course, with our transparency, our competitors can also see what is happening. This is true,” Schwenk explained. Then, customers only need to learn to get used to the prospect of buying a luxury car and zero negotiation.

The head of Mercedes India believes that this should be seen as a positive move, because the outsourcing system works well for those who can extort discounts from dealers, but it makes others feel a little bit Deceived.

Despite adopting a bold new strategy, Schwenk believes that the company’s updated product portfolio is sufficient to attract buyers. “We think the content of the product is so persuasive that customers will still buy cars.” The German brand has been updated Class E This year, and launched a new one type with GLAThe company emphasizes that it meets its goals 15 models launched in 2021.

The discount will not disappear completely

Schwenke reiterated that the new system will not completely abolish the concept of customer benefits. Therefore, although both Mercedes and dealers offered discounts earlier, they can only be set by the company now. “The quotation will ultimately come from our (Mercedes) system,” he said. Therefore, the same discount will be extended to everyone across the country instead of variable discounts.

In the long run, this method of centralized sales of cars can benefit customers. “We have better transparency about what is happening in the market, and we can do better inventory management and planning. So there are many advantages. This is a very big move, but I am very confident that we can successfully do this. One point,” Schwenk said. A streamlined retail network and lower management fees may eventually encourage Mercedes to reduce prices by 1-2% across the board.

See also:

Mercedes-Benz evaluates local assembly of EQ models in India

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