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Mercedes to tackle public sector with Smart

Date: 28 April 2014   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Mercedes is gearing up to take on more business in the public sector head of the launch of a new generation of Smart models. 

Smart, a subsidiary of Mercedes that specialises in small cars, is set to launch two new models in 2014: the ForTwo, which is a replacement for the outgoing city car of the same name, and the ForFour, a revival of the former five-door supermini. 

Speaking to BusinessCar, Mercedes' head of fleet sales, Nick Andrews, said the company intended to take on a new member of the fleet team with specific responsibility for getting Smart's fleet sales off the ground: "We are investing in a new role, which will be a Smart-dedicated strategic account manager for the UK, because of the product that's coming.

"Specifically, we know that that will have a massive appeal in the public sector channel. 

"From a fleet and business sales perspective we're putting our money where our mouth is really, and taking on somebody who's dedicated to exploit the fleet and business sales opportunity directly for Smart." 

Andrews admitted that the firm had not dabbled in small car public sector sales: "Because of the ForFour principally - that's a brand new product into a segment that we've not played in for several years and we know it's going to lend itself very nicely to the public sector. 

"From the wheels up [it] is a completely different car, similar in terms of concept [to the old model] but different in driveability and appeal.

"If you were to do some analysis of, let's say, the public sector sales, which is very difficult to do, it's that supermini segment that does extremely well. So we've not had a product in that segment."  

He added that the company also plans to market the next ForFour to other areas of the corporate market: "We've used the public sector opportunity to gain the investment in this resource, but that car could lend itself across most channels to be honest with you.

"It could be a great accident replacement car, it could go into the rental industry, it'll go into those companies that want to downsize, it'll go into those companies that want salary-sacrifice schemes."