This year’s Paris Motor Show saw premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and BMW trying to impose more standardized cars, all with a simplified list of options and services.
The goal is to simplify the complex process of configuring a car with options and services, which in turn would bring the automaker’s costs down and give fewer headaches to the buyer. If you’ve ever seen a premium make’s list of option you’ll understand what we mean.
“There is no customer desire for all these options. The iPhone has demonstrated that you can compete by selling a good well thought out product,” comments Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson. “They out-competed rivals who offered many more model variants.”
The companies pointed out during the Paris event that customers are growing weary of the ever surging list of model variants, multimedia features and safety technology that a new car can boast.
“There are two approaches, you build to order, or you build to stock,” adds Ola Kaellenius, Mercedes-Benz sales boss. “In Germany the classic approach is to build to order, but in the United States the dealer orders the cars and waits for the customer to drive them out of the showroom. We offer both.”
“We have packaged a number of trim levels to help the customer and ourselves, because the complexity was very high. A clearly understandable package was the M sport package,” says Ian Robertson, BMW’s chief of sales and marketing.
The new 4 Series coupe comes in four different trim levels, while the make’s new i8 hybrid sports car only has three such packages.