Mercedes-Benz has created an online app to help car buyers locate both new and used vehicle that are currently in stock and available to buy in the UK.
The new application, which has officially gone live this week, allows online car shoppers to view a live stock locator, which can be narrowed down by location.
It also has the capability to run a finance quote which includes the retailer’s best offer on a specific car and accept a deposit for a chosen vehicle.
The creation of the app could eventually feed into the German premium brand’s ambition to drive its online sales to 25% of its total volumes by 2025.
That aspiration was shared with AM at a conference centred around the MercedesMe app, in the Hague, last year.
However, AM’s questions as to whether the new platform has the ability to transform into an end-to-end direct sales channel, was met with a spokesperson's comment that the online showroom was "the next step to bring the buying journey online."
As far back as June 2017 the brand’s chief executive, Gary Savage, had told franchised retailers in the Mercedes-Benz network to “Prepare for direct sales”.
In its statement regarding the new online new and used car stock locater, the brand said that – while the system will not support orders for new, individually configured cars – standalone options had been packaged together into well-equipped model lines, which meant that customers could compare different cars, retailers and offers to ensure they are getting the best deal.
The Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said that the final stage of every lead generated via the now stock locator app would be to "visit the retailer for a test drive and to complete the purchase", adding: "All sales generated from the online showroom will go to our franchised retailers who will transact with the customer and arrange handover and delivery at their convenience (which may be at their home or workplace)."
Mercedes-Benz's UK sales director, Rachael Thompson, said: “In the digital world, the online showroom is a hugely important part of the changing customer journey.
“We want to make it as simple as possible for a customer to research and choose their Mercedes-Benz.”
She added: “The idea behind the online showroom is to allow customers to search for their perfect car from cars readily available and in stock – this means significantly reduced waiting time as the car is already here.”