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Mercedes to test-drive online car sales at German dealership

2013-12-04 10:20:41     by

Tags: Mercedes, online car sales

  Mercedes-Benz will start selling cars online for the first time through its dealership in Hamburg, Germany, following BMW in experimenting with Web sales.

  Starting today, customers can choose from more than 70 pre-configured vehicles in a pilot test of direct sales via the Internet. The models, including the A-class hatchback, CLA four-door coupe and CLS Shooting Brake wagon, are offered in a package that includes lease, insurance and maintenance.

  "This is a new field," Andrea Finkbeiner-Mueller, head of dealer development and customer satisfaction for Mercedes, said at a press briefing on Monday in Stuttgart. "We're following our vision."

  Carmakers are increasingly looking to sell directly via the Internet. BMW is using the Internet to sell the i3 electric car. The push comes as traditional dealerships face increased competition from auto Web sites such as Mobile.de.

  Mercedes is targeting customers who haven't bought a Mercedes before, Finkbeiner-Mueller said.

  Online shops will help Mercedes to reach younger, more tech-savvy urban customers, IHS Automotive analyst Tim Urquhart told Automotive News Europe in a story published August 12. "Mercedes is looking to update its sales strategy in line with new technology all with a view to try to encourage younger customers to come to the brand," Urquhart said.

  While prices of the cars are equivalent to those at German dealerships, online buyers are rewarded with incentives such as a visit to a motor racing event or free rentals of roof racks for vacation trips.

  Dealers will be involved in online transactions, and the service will be supported by a salesman that can visit customers. Daimler plans to start a second pilot web store in Warsaw in the first quarter.

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