Social media sites along with an increased number of sporty offerings are helping to push Mercedes sales to record levels in the UK, with the fleet market one of the major bright spots.
A company once regarded as stuffy and conservative is reaping the rewards from embracing social networking sites like Twitter and expanding its model range – with a big increase in the number of AMG performance versions.
Mercedes achieved a record 82,000 sales in the UK in 2012, including around 45,000 to fleets. That fleet total was up 7% in a sector of the market which was down by 5% – and it 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,” says Mercedes’ fleet and business manager, Nick Andrews.
“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 says. 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,” says Andrews. “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.”