Fleets get first look at revolutionary A-Class
As part of an aim to grow fleet business, and be seen to be more open to it, the company’s head of fleet, Nick Andrews, wants customers to get an early look at the new five-door A-Class model which is making its debut in Geneva before going on sale in the UK next January.
Andrews said: ‘The A-Class is the car that is going to get us into a new audience that we have not been able to target before. It’s the final piece in the jigsaw for us.’
He admitted that the current A-Class has not stacked up against the likes of the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series for fleet customers, but believes that the new car, backed up by a raft of recently-refreshed or launched models, will ‘transform consideration of Mercedes-Benz in fleet’.
Andrews reports a healthy order bank for the new B-Class model, which went on sale on March 1, adding that he was looking for ‘a strong performance’ from the model in the fleet sector.
Mercedes-Benz has seen strong growth since it renewed its focus on fleet last year (fleet and business sales in 2011 were 36% up over 2010, accounting for more than 40% of all the brand’s registrations in the UK).
Naturally, C-Class models have been a key driving force behind the growth, especially with the addition of the Coupe version, and the Executive SE trim level on the larger E-Class has been selling ‘really well’.
Executive SE is a fleet-focused trim level which adds features such as satellite navigation and leather seats for a small premium in P11D price, benefitting drivers with lower company car tax and companies with low CO2 and lower lease rates.
As part of its strategy for further growth, Andrews wants to see an expansion in such fleet-focused models, adding: ‘Our strategy is to develop more models across the range which are fleet oriented – we’ve recognised that we need to do this in the UK. Discussions are taking place between us and Daimler AG – watch this space.’