The term ‘used car’ can blur the fact that to its next owner, it is ‘new’. Mercedes’ TV advert for its approved used programme cannily makes this point (you can see it on YouTube).
The stock of used C-Class estates listed on Mercedes’ approved used site was generous – 834 results, three within 10 miles of me. Prices ranged from £19,990-£25,490, aged between 2014 and 2016, mileage from 17,558 to 32,515 and the finance range was from £308 to £355 a month.
Alongside the technical details of each car were more than 20 pictures, finance quotes, location, dealer’s contact details, compare option and what I’ve looked at previously. All wholesome stuff to carry you to a purchase decision, but my hand isn’t quite held all the way. It’s not a true premium experience, set apart from what you would find on Auto Trader, Motors or Parkers.
For example, there’s no video and no live chat. The dealer location map is not interactive to the point of giving directions. On Auto Trader, there were 813 C-Class Sport diesel estates. I found the same vehicle I had looked at on Mercedes’ site. But now there was the ability to chat, an ‘about the dealer’, an invitation to start a conversation with the dealer about a part-exchange and an Auto Trader and owners’ rating. It was more inviting and reassuring. Mercedes has some way to go to provide a premium online buying experience adequately supporting its dealers.