Mercedes franchised dealers will switch to an agency agreement in 2023 in the UK. Board member, Britta Seeger, made the announcemet, after an agreement was reached with Mercedes’ European dealer council.
“Our concern is that we achieve even stronger customer loyalty to our Mercedes-Benz brand worldwide. Together with the European dealer association, we have reached an important milestone for us and our partners in Europe. The starting point for changing our sales model is the changed behaviour of our customers in a digital world,” said Ms Seeger.
The move comes despite a legal battle in Australia where Mercedes dealers have filed a £350 million lawsuit against the manufacturer.
A Mercedes spokesman added: “The Mercedes-Benz agency model has been introduced in Sweden, Austria, South Africa and India. Its launch in Germany and in UK is expected in 2023. The focus of the new Mercedes-Benz agency model is on the seamless networking of all contact points.
“In the future, customers will have freedom to choose: regardless of whether they want to exchange ideas in the dealership; obtain information and conclude the purchase contract online; or want to get in touch with sales partners both digitally and physically.
“Agents thereby take on a central role in the so-named customer experience and enable a seamless customer journey – from the research phase through to purchase. Additional advantages for customers include increased price transparency and an even greater online selection of vehicles. The new agency model offers partners the opportunity to concentrate even more than before on customers and their support.”
Sue Robinson, NFDA chief executive, said: “NFDA has had meetings with Mercedes in the UK and with dealers. Agency agreements will vary depending on the manufacturers and it is crucial that any OEM proposing agency agreement takes account of the substantial investments both in people and premises that retailers have made.”