Mercedes-Benz will commence online sales of its vehicles in German and Polish cities by the end of 2013. Customers in Hamburg and Warsaw will be able to order and finance new cars via online shops, Mercedes said in a statement, adding that these Internet-based sales shops will provide the carmaker with important information on how customers respond to such a digital sales channel.
Once a customer has ordered and chose a finance package, he will be required visit a Mercedes dealer for a "final sales administration phase." A Mercedes spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe that customers could either pick up their units at a dealer, or have the vehicle delivered straight to them.
Customers will also be able to set test drives online at a place they prefer. According to Mercedes, company-owned and franchised dealers will still be the most important customer contact points for all activities.
Dealers will still be available to customers as a point of contact after the vehicle purchase. Mercedes said that the inner-city formats will “all channel new customers to the classic dealerships." The spokeswoman added to Automotive News Europe that Mercedes offer its most popular units and high-end cars through its Mercedes-Benz Connection Online store.
Although the models available online will be pre-configured, they will be available with the features customers typically order. Mercedes is planning to launch the online sales service in other cities. Tim Urquhart, an analyst for IHS Automotive, told Automotive News Europe that Mercedes’ online shops will help the carmaker reach younger, more tech-savvy, and urban customers.