Mercedes overhauls car-selling process in India, puts customers in bigger focus
Mercedes-Benz India on Wednesday announced a massive change in how customers in the country can now buy their luxury vehicle in a move that is likely to benefit not just buyers but dealers as well. Terming it as 'Retail of the Future', Mercedes-Benz informed that it is implementing a Direct to Customer (D2C) model with its established franchise network and on its official online sales platform. The first-in-India move, the car maker claims, will help Mercedes buyers not only help make informed decision from the complete product list but also strive for a more seamless buying process.
Under the Retail of Future model, customers of Mercedes-Benz in India can look at a larger pool of cars for consideration from Mercedes-Benz dealers while saving time and effort. Mercedes states that there won't be any need for negotiating as the best prices will be offered by the company directly. Additionally, there is the assurance of complete transparency while buyers can also make price comparisons in a more simplified manner, as per the car maker.
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Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO at Mercedes-Benz India, is of the opinion that while the new business model for new cars would appeal to buyers, it also takes Mercedes dealers into strong consideration. "The advent of new sales channel have brought sweeping changes in customers’ aspirations and requirements, and being a customer obsessed brand, we have adapted our current business models to meet our customers’ aspirations and needs," he said. "We are also glad to have the collaboration of our Franchise Partners in this transition, further empowering them to have significantly less financial and operational risks, resulting into a profitable and sustainable business model.
Most significantly, the centralized stock will now be owned by Mercedes-Benz India and it will usher in a centralized ordering system. This is likely to ensure better financial health of dealer partners due to lower cost structure and zero inventory. Why this could be a shot in the arm for Mercedes dealers is during times of lockdown and restrictions because of Covid-19, these dealers are most likely to now suffer less of a hit than before. Mercedes further highlights that it could mean better customer relationship building and no market-facing risk.
Mercedes maintains that the cars eventually will be sold through its dealers and that these franchise partners will remain brand representatives in the market.
Retail of Future business model, however, is only applicable for sale of new cars and there will be no changes in separate business lines like customer service, pre-owned cars and accessories.