Mercedes-Benz has become the latest manufacturer to offer rival products through its leasing arm in an effort to achieve growth.
According to AM's sister magazine Fleet News, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has struck a deal with Leasedrive, which will allow it to target customers who want a wider variety of brands but still value a direct relationship with the premium manufacturer.
“This partnership means we can support a wider range of customers,” said an MBFS spokesman.
“Mercedes-Benz can provide vehicles that meet every fleet requirement, but we do recognise that some customers may have a specialist requirement for other vehicles.”
In addition to making the brand more flexible for customers, the strategic shift will also open up the potential for solus contracts with large fleet customers which operate a wide range of brands.
Other manufacturers that have successfully exploited this strategy include BMW through its Alphabet multi-marque leasing brand. VW Group has also enjoyed success through its investment in LeasePlan.
MBFS was listed seventh in Fleet News' FN50 with 55,000 vehicles. Despite the multi-brand offering, MBFS still expects its premium offering to dominate as it prepares for substantial product and sales growth.
This was identified as a key reason for the appointment of Leasedrive. When the contract goes live in the autumn, Leasedrive will effectively be a supplier to MBFS, offering fleet management services, quote, order, delivery and disposal services. It will also take the residual value risk on non-Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
MBFS takes the risk and reward of funding its own brand cars and vans.
Mercedes-Benz will be able to use the resources of Leasedrive to cope with the expected numbers of enquiries and orders as the range expands, with sales building for the new A-Class along with the arrival of other models.
Bob Middleton will remain managing director of MBFS, while Leasedrive will also report into the fleet department, led by Nick Andrews, head of fleet sales.