Mercedes-Benz Retail Group has closed its car dealerships in Bromley, Caterham and Chelsea as part of a “realignment” of its operations in the London market area.
A spokesperson for the German premium brand told AM that while the used car and aftersales business in Caterham will close fully, the Chelsea and Bromley sites will continue to provide and aftersales function for customers.
She added that the closures were unrelated to the COVID-19 crisis, stating that the changes were "aligned with" with the redevelopment of other facilities in the market area.
The OEM-owned AM100 dealer group recently opened a new flagship showroom in Dartford, a new aftersales site is being built near Heathrow and Brentford Mercedes-Benz dealership is also in the process of redevelopment.
The statement, issued to AM by a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson today (June 26), said: “Mercedes-Benz Retail Group is realigning its retailer representation across London to ensure the business is financially and operationally secure for the future.”
Mercedes-Benz Retail Group’s decision to consolidate its London operations is likely linked to property and business rates costs, which prove prohibitive for many retailers located in the market area.
The brand has also embarked on a push towards online retailing.
At a ‘Future of Retail’ conference in The Hague, which was attended by AM 12 months ago, Mercedes-Benz said that 25% of its new car sales transactions will be completed online by 2025 as it develops a “single log-in” digital strategy offering lifestyle, mobility and shopping solutions to owners and non-owners alike.
Mercedes’ variety of customer touchpoints has been expanded to include temporary pop-up-stores, lifestyle-focussed Mercedes Me stores, events and conferences since a change of strategy in 2013.
And speaking at the event last year Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars marketing and sales, said that it was time for further diversification in a bid to better merge Mercedes-Benz’s digital and physical retail experiences.
“The world is changing fast and so are the needs, the wishes and the expectations of our customers,” she said.
“Being ‘always on’ is a game-changer which strongly influences our daily lives today and will do so even more so in the future.”