Mercedes Benz Want To Be Number One In The UK Charts by 2016 – Then On To World Domination!
IOK, we are not talking music here, but it is the ambition of Mercedes Benz to become the UK’s number one “posh brand” and in doing that, outsell its German rivals BMW and Audi. So how’s this going to happen?
Well, Nick Andrews, who is the Head of Fleet Sales for Mercedes Benz (and a man we respect and like a lot) has said that as a first step the target is to increase its UK corporate sales from around 43,000 this year, up to almost 63,000 by 2016 and its anticipated this would contribute to overall sales growing to around 130,000 vehicles by 2016. To put that into some comparison, overall sales in 2011 were 82,000, so they have big ambitions here.
By 2017, the ambitious car maker is targeting becoming overall posh brand in the UK, but wait for it, world and global domination is their next target (where have we heard that before?) and this should be achieved by 2020. Don’t know about you, but I’m getting a bit frightened here!
Mercedes say that some of the growth is going to come from shiny new models with cars like the new A-Class attracting much younger drivers to the brand, but they have also vowed to ensure customers find it easier to do business with Mercedes, which has not always been the case and has in the past and has driven away potential sales.
As for the fleet sector, contract hire & leasing (what we do here at Bussey Vehicle Leasing) has been identified by Nick Andrews as a significant opportunity for Mercedes to increase sales, as their key competitors presently outsell Mercedes by three to one in the contract hire and leasing market. Whilst Mercedes are already making inroads into the leasing sector, they need to increase the numbers by 20,000 vehicles a year if they are going to hope to achieve their 2016 objectives.
10 years ago, Mercedes were the largest premium brand in the UK fleet market, and were mega desirable and they believe they fell behind because of inconsistent strategy, fuel consumption and Co2 levels, but to be honest, for us, it was all much more simple than that as both BMW and Audi in particular upped their games and not only offered new innovative and attractive products, they became super desirable and drivers aspired to be behind the wheel of them. From a fleet perspective, the other two German manufacturers were less prissy about their products and much more cooperative and helpful to companies like ours and they made it obvious they wanted to do business with us and that’s what we did. Don’t forget, from a contract hire company’s perspective, in all honesty, it does not really matter what make of vehicle we supply our customers, because our livelihood comes out of the contract itself, and not the brand of the vehicle and on that basis, we suggested our customers try Audi & BMW, because they offered stonking value for money.
I don’t believe for one moment that Mercedes are not serious about putting right the wrongs and for sure, they are right in waking up to the fact that they hadn’t made it easy to do business with them, but they’ve also got to be careful that in the process of re-establishing themselves and trying to achieving the growth that they need, that they don’t cheapen the brand with some kind of ‘fire sale’ approach, because already we’ve seen some very poor advertising within the leasing industry which does just that, and if that happens, residual values will fall along with the desirability of the product and a snowball of consequences will set off downhill and flatten Stuttgart’s UK ambitions in the process.
So, I guess its watch this space. The Mercedes dealers we have had dealings with recently have all done a great job and the products that we’ve tested have all impressed us, but then so have the staff and products from its two major rivals.