Bangalore: German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz on Friday rolled out its new format of retailing cars in India with a ‘direct to customer’ model, under which it will own now the entire stock of new cars for sale.
Under its ‘Retail of the Future’ (ROTF), Mercedes-Benz India will retail its new vehicles via appointed franchise partners, by invoicing them directly to the customers.
Mercedes-Benz will also be responsible for processing and fulfilling the customer orders. With ROTF, there will be one nationally set price by the company, which will be uniform across the country, Mercedes-Benz India said.
In the previous conventional model, the company was the wholesaler, the dealers were the retailers and customers buy from the dealer at a price that the dealer defines. However, under the new format, Mercedes-Benz India now nationally sets the ‘best price’, it added.
Addressing a virtual conference, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Martin Schwenk said, “ROTF is a unique customer centric business model, which caters to the evolving trends of our customers, while empowering our franchise partners by significantly reducing their financial and operational risks in the market.”
The company had in June this year announced the new approach to retailing cars in India which is “highly customer centric and promised a seamless, omni-channel and transparent experience to our customers”, he added.
Mercedes-Benz India said it has already received over 1,700 units of customer booking through the ROTF in the beta phase.
ROTF further supports the company’s quest toward creating customer excellence as the franchise partners will now solely compete on providing a superlative customer experience, Schwenk said.
With the new format of retailing, Mercedes-Benz India said it will offer its customers national stock visibility transparently along with the production pipeline and there will not be any incidental charges for the customer.
Also, VIN (vehicle identification number) will be confirmed during order booking, a feature being offered for the first time in India, the company claimed adding it will offer 14 days for order confirmation.
“Customers can book a car by simply paying an amount of Rs 50,000 and then the order completion should occur over the next 14 days. For the first time in India, VIN number will be confirmed with order booking thus ensuring complete transparency,” the company said.
Stating that ROTF will be applicable only for new car sales, Mercedes-Benz India said it will not alter the functioning of separate business lines, including customer service, pre-owned cars and allied businesses.
“All franchise partners of Mercedes-Benz India have collaborated in implementing ‘ROTF’ in India, sharing the company’s ‘customer centric’ outlook and co-creating a future-ready business model,” it said.
The franchise partners continue to remain brand representatives in the market and are responsible for developing customer relationships. They will be managing operational handling of customer interactions and for developing local market requirements, the company said adding its current showroom infrastructure will continue to remain the same.