In 2017, Mercedes-Benz shocked the world when it overtook BMW to become the world’s number one luxury car brand. It marked the first time in twelve years that BMW wasn’t at the top spot. So how did they do it?
There are a few reasons behind this. From innovative car models to innovative business models, Mercedes has been focused on revolutionising the automative industry entirely.
A New Way To Buy
In 2020, Mercedes began a complete transformation on how it sells its cars. The way dealerships currently work is being dismantled as the company moves towards an agency model. This model has seen the Australian arm setting a national price – and that’s the price you will pay.
There will be no more haggling between dealers and customers. In fact, Mercedes-Benz will no longer be able to offer a deal at all. Rather, their value will be in answering questions and arranging your test drive. It’s a more streamlined but effective level of customer service that offers greater transparency and a simpler sales process.
This innovation also eliminates the hassle of driving around town in search of a better deal, as there simply won’t be one. In fact, previously, customers would visit a dealership an average of eight times before making a decision. The new innovation has seen a huge turnaround with purchases happening within the first two visits!
In addition, the new model sees Mercedes retaining ownership of their vehicles, with costs going towards warehousing. Many of the administrative features usually handled at the retailer level will also be taken up. Overall, it’s a much more efficient process both for the brand and its customers and guarantees product availability. Customers don’t have to settle for second best when it comes to things like selecting colours. It’s all there!
A New Design Philosophy
Unlike most other luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz has expanded its scope so much that it is now a fully fledged design consultancy. To date, they have extensive experience operating in furniture, bikes, yachts, aircraft and even architecture. By combining their experience and knowledge over such a diverse array of products, they have been able to provide design innovations like none other. And it’s all done under a single new philosophy that they call “sensual purity”.
As a result, Mercedes has essentially made the shift from being a simple automative company to a pioneering modern luxury company.
This philosophy has taken off again thanks to German Chief Design Officer, Gorden Wagener, who has ushered in the best looking lineup of cars since Bruno Sacco’s golden era – which lasted from the 1970s right through to the 1990s.
Under Wagener’s direction, Mercedes has pushed the envelope on original thought, pioneering technologies like electric driving and autonomous cars, leading the automative industry towards a true hands-free future.
By adopting a strictly minimal approach, Mercedes have completely revamped their designs, cutting their character lines to the limit. Even the brand’s signature feature line has disappeared, replaced by a shoulder area that is a play of light and shade. Of course, such strict direction doesn’t go without the required difficult discipline. Aiming for absolute minimalism means the more faultless the form and proportions have to be.
Thankfully, Mercedes’ avant garde technology and beautiful engineering has enabled them to pull it off. And to a greater extent, its this strive for ‘sensual purity’ that has enabled them to restyle their product range so effectively.
“In applying this design philosophy to our current A-class, launched in 2012, we have actually sparked a transformation in design” – Gorden Wagener.