Mercedes drives fleet sales with new product and new thinking
Helped by social networking sites such Twitter and a large increase in the number of AMG performance versions, the carmaker achieved a record 82,000 sales in the UK in 2012.
This includes around 45,000 sales to fleet – up 7% in a market that was largely flat last year – with fleet-specific models playing an important role here too.
And Mercedes is at pains to point out its fleet sales figure does not include demonstrators or cars run by Mercedes employees and people in the dealer network.
‘Every one of those cars went to a customer,’ said Mercedes' head of fleet, Nick Andrews.
In addition, a total of 10,770 sales of new Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in 2012 were achieved by the Mercedes-Benz Retail Group Fleet Sales Division – up by 38% over 2011.
Commenting on the brand's fleet appeal, Andrews said: 'Our product development programme has never been as exciting as in the last two years. We have had new products in segments we have never been in before – the new B- and A-Class and the C-Class coupé.
‘The C-Class has been completely restyled, and we now have Executive SE versions exclusively for the UK and targeted at the business market,’ he added.
The decision to advertise the new A-Class ahead of launch and prompt a response from Twitter users had a massive effect in attracting interest in Mercedes' first transverse-engined five-door hatch, Andrews said. And there has been a big increase in the number of younger buyers thanks to the spread of models with AMG tuning or bodywork.
‘AMG has been seen as something of an exclusive club – our best-kept secret,’ he explained. ‘Now we've removed the barriers. Thinking about what we've introduced in the past 18 months and what we plan to introduce, it's been a complete revolution.’