BMW and Mercedes-Benz know how to keep big clients close image

The German automaker, the world’s biggest maker of premium cars, last year began offering perks that money can’t buy to owners of its flagship model in a bid to keep its most profitable clients loyal.

As always, Mercedes-Benz quickly followed suit with a similar program of its own, as both carmakers were responding to down-market shifts by the more exclusive Maserati and Jaguar brands as competition for elite buyers intensifies.

The BMW and Mercedes preferred-customer programs represent an effort to strengthen relations directly with customers who can afford any car they want. The initiatives also reflect the tightening race as BMW and Mercedes vie to be the world’s leader in upscale cars.

“The aim is to retain these customers, and we think we have an attractive package that encourages them to stay,” said Stephanie Boeckler, project manager for the BMW Excellence Club in Germany. “It’s important to be in contact” with buyers of the brand’s flagship model.

The BMW Excellence Club, which started in July 2012, is currently only offered in Germany and comes automatically when a person buys a 7-Series. The program entitles members to attend exclusive events like skiing with two-time Olympic ski gold medalist Rosi Mittermaier, a private golf tournament ahead of the BMW International Open and an evening at silversmith Robbe & Berking hosted by German television celebrity Thomas Gottschalk and catered by Michelin-star chefs.

BMW’s club was countered in February by starting the Mercedes-Benz Circle of Excellence, which also holds events for members and offers preferred status at elite hotels such as Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the French Riviera.

Via Bloomberg