Police fleets form part of Mercedes growth plan
20 November 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to target police fleets as part of its ambitions to grow corporate sales by 50% and re-engage with the corporate market.
Addressing an audience of contract hire and leasing bosses at the firm's CEO business forum, fleet director Nick Andrews asked: "We don't sell a single car to the police today - why not?"
Speaking to BusinessCar later at the same event, he added: "Today the police channel is split into 'blues and twos' and unmarked. It's worth about 15,000 cars a year - about 7000 unmarked and about 8000 'blues and twos'.
"We'd like at least a proportion of unmarked."
"The CID division wants a portfolio of cars and they want to blend in. The entire range lends itself to that."
Andrews said marked police vehicles are required to undergo additional testing and that fleet deals are done on a formal tender basis, but when asked about the possibility of blue-light Mercedes he said: "Never say never."
Speaking about the firm's fleet strategy and addressing the audience, Marcus Breitschwerdt, CEO and president of Mercedes-Benz UK, confessed: "I would have to admit we haven't had one previously.
"We have reconsidered the high importance of this business for performance in this market. We really want to be in an ongoing partnership with you."
Andrews agreed Mercedes hadn't been forthcoming with its fleet business and that firms had been put off due to perceived high prices: "Previously our doors have been closed. Now they're very much open.
"We've had recent examples of customers who won't even talk to us because we are perceived as being expensive and that isn't the case."
The firm announced ambitious plans to grow its corporate business by 50% and reinforced previous claims that it is on the road to becoming the number one premium brand in fleet.
It plans to grow this side of the business from the current annual figure of just over 43,000 to almost 63,000 sales in 2016.
Andrews announced other measures to improve the firm's relationships with leasing companies including so-called "clinic days".
"Our account managers will book regular days when they work from your office," he explained. "They are empowered to make decisions on the ground."
He added the firm would run regional fleet seminars throughout November and that fleet demonstrators of key models would be ramped up.
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