Mercedes-Benz is piloting a new sales channel aimed at winning more registrations from small fleet operators and also taking business away from brokers.
The manufacturer is aiming to build on its success in growing corporate sales over the past two years (up by 16%), and is also aiming to remove brokers from the sales channel.
Mercedes-Benz Business will be aimed at small fleets operating between two and 25 vehicles, offering the full range of cars on a contract hire basis supplied direct from the manufacturer.
Wilfried Steffen, president and chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz UK, said: “We are in the early stages and will be piloting this initiative in the first quarter of this year.
“We have seen an increase in the broker market which means we have lost the chance to build a relationship with customers through our retailers. This initiative will drive business through the website and link it in to dealers.
“Our retailers have invested heavily in facilities and training – they are the best people to serve our customers and build relationships.
“Obviously this will get them to come back again, and also helps keep servicing within the retail network. We are competitive in service, maintenance and repair terms – people don’t need to go to non-franchised dealers.”
Corporate sales now account for 60% of Mercedes-Benz registrations in the UK, driven mainly by the C-Class
range and the recently-revised CLC coupé.
The manufacturer also has high hopes for the new E-Class saloon which will be launched in June.
Steffen added: “We have identified growth potential in corporate sales – people think a Mercedes-Benz is not a company car but we have seen 16% growth in the last two years. In 2005 we had eight people working in corporate sales, but now in 2009 there are more than 20.”