“We already have an online system for used cars in this country and an in-house e-commerce company, so we have the expertise,” he said. “We also own four dealerships in the UK, which is different from other prestige manufacturers.” Industry sources believe these outlets could be used to distribute models sold online, bypassing the dealer network. The German scheme (AM243) allows customers to choose colour and specification of model before placing an order.
Mercedes will launch a sports coupe version of the C-class to the UK in May, priced similar to the £20,440 entry-level saloon.
Jurgen Hubbert, DaimlerChrysler board member with responsibility for passenger cars, said the coupe “typifies our strategy of creating new, high-growth market segments”. He added: “This 2dr model is pitched especially at young customers with a zest for life who want a car that is strong on emotion.”
The model comes with three engines – 2.3-litre, 2-litre and 2.2-litre common rail diesel. A decision on a 3.2-litre V6 version, with AMG, will be made early next year. Mr Kelly said the UK price of the entry-level C-class sports coupe would be “roughly the same” as the German price, under £21,000, though it may have higher levels of equipment as standard.
Sales have initially been set at a “conservative 2,750”, due to supply restrictions from launch. “The UK is worth more as it is the biggest coupe market in Europe,” said Mr Kelly.