Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) is enjoying a tremendous time as the leading premium brand in Malaysia in terms of sales volume, but they’re not contented with sitting pretty. In the first 6 months of 2017, MBM launched 5 dealerships – the latest being the Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Kuching Autohaus, the first integrated one-stop center in East Malaysia. There’s also the Mercedes-Benz Cycle & Carriage Bintang Cheras Autohaus, the Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Bukit Tinggi Autohaus, and the Mercedes-Benz Mofaz Kota Bahru and Kuala Terrengganu Autohaus.
Mercedes-Benz now has 31 dedicated dealerships around Malaysia which in the first half of 2017, serviced a total of 61,850 vehicles (a double digit growth of 17%). Its concurrent approach to improving ownership experience has helped MBM achieve its highest Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) After Sales score in history.
“Keeping true to our ‘Best Customer Experience’ promise, we continue to implement new consolidated approaches in the areas of marketing, sales, financial services and aftersales, under a central maxim: offering customers a consistent premium-brand experience whenever and wherever they come into contact with the three-pointed star. Ultimately, we aspire to deliver seamless personalised experiences throughout the customer journey, from invoking interest to establishing loyalty,” Dr Claus Weidner, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia President and CEO, explained.
MBM’s ‘The Best Or Nothing’ approach has helped it to not just increase customer satisfaction, but increase its customer base as well. In the first half of 2017, MBM delivered 5,913 vehicles, giving it a year-to-date market share of 2.2% as of May 2017. Contributing to Mercedes-Benz’s dominance of the premium segment are its limousines (C-, E-, and S-Class) with 3,663 vehicles sold; the C-Class was the prime mover with 2,075 units sold. Aside from the limousine class, Mercedes-Benz sold 739 compact cars and 1,233 SUVs in the same period.
“We have had a very successful first half in 2017, ending it with a new best-ever month in June further extending our lead in the premium segment. This was possible due to the comprehensive customer-centric strategy, the broad premium product portfolio and superior services. With the good momentum of Q2 and our locally produced products, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is on track for yet another record year in 2017″, said Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mr Mark Raine.
But selling a car in this day and age, particularly a premium one, is more than just having friendly showroom staff or competent service personnel. Mercedes-Benz knows this and continues to offer more. SalesTouch, a mobile sales tool, enables Mercedes-Benz product experts and sales consultants to provide customers with real time information, including virtually customizing their Mercedes-Benz car according to desired specifications and also providing a real-time update on the car’s availability. This of course, has limitations when it comes to locally assembled models due to production complexity; you can however, still pick exterior and interior colors. However, ordering a completely built-up (CBU) vehicle will afford you more personalized options.
Going forward, MBM will introduce OneWeb by Mercedes-Benz, an integrated digital platform for new and existing customers. This platform will include such features as The Mercedes-Benz Online Test Drive Booking System and The Mercedes-Benz Online Service Booking, which allows customers to reserve the vehicle of their dreams for a test drive or make a workshop appointment online anytime.
To further personalize its services for customers’ benefit, MBM is extending its ‘Customer Care Center’ (CCC) which is a round-the-clock service for rapid accident assistance, as well as general product and brand information. The CCC will assist customers with any service inquiries and serve as a first point of contact for new customers with questions related to the Mercedes-Benz brand.
“We want all our customers and fans to have a consistent premium brand experience whenever they come into contact with the Mercedes-Benz brand. So we are very much looking forward to the second half of 2017, when we begin rolling out our new after sales customer contact points in Autohauses nationwide, once again setting new benchmarks in the local auto market. Our focus has always been, and continues to be, on delivering the Best Products and Best Customer Experience. We are confident of maintaining our leadership position,” Dr Weidner said.
Additionally, the Mercedes-Benz Gallery, a mobile showroom, will bring the brand closer to its potential customers with the help of virtual reality and digital interaction.
Of course, financing is an integral part of selling and Mercedes-Benz Services Malaysia (MBSM) offers a list of customizable financial and insurance solutions. The latest on the menu is Lease2Go which does away with unnecessary ownership commitments. This financing option allows the customer to customize the lease tenure (1 – 4 years), and anticipated annual mileage (20,000, 25,000 or 30,000 km). This package also conveniently includes costs like insurance premium and road tax into a fixed monthly lease. Also included are tire & rim coverage and 24/7 roadside assistance. The car will be returned at the end of the lease period and the customer has the opportunity to continue with Lease2Go with a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle (call the Mercedes-Benz Services Malaysia finance and insurance customer service center (1-800-22-6237) for more information on this package).
“By developing a financing solution focused on usership, we have created another easy way for our customers to fully immerse themselves in the Mercedes-Benz experience. The zero commitment of ownership feature is also an advantage, particularly for companies, as it translates into an off-balance sheet item. Customers are also protected against the risk of asset depreciation and the hassle of disposing their vehicles,” said MBSM Managing Director, Mike Ponnaz. And it is options like this that attract 4 out of 10 new Mercedes-Benz buyers to use the company’s financial solutions; MBSM currently services a portfolio of over RM2 billion.
But while you can conjure up the most innovative schemes, they can come to nought without proper execution and stewardship. And the ones currently steering the MBM ship – President and CEO, Dr Claus Weidner; Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mark Raine; Vice President, After Sales, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Heinrich Schromm; and MBSM Managing Director, Mike Ponnaz (and not excluding the contributions of Vice President, Production Plant, Ingbert Grombach and many others), seem to be on the same figurative page. Of course the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry but they also have with them a dedicated team of women and men, from the assembly plant to the showroom floor to the corporate office, to see plans through.