Blog: RALPH MORTON
MERCEDES is really beginning to pick up the pace in the business car market.
And, along with the products, much of this push is being led by its energetic head of fleet Nick Andrews.
I met Nick recently at the plush Mercedes towers in Milton Keynes.
Nick has a boyish enthusiasm for the product and what needs to be achieved, balanced by a sense of perspective and polish that feels very three-pointed star.
Take the new Mercedes E300 BlueTECH Hybrid – is it too expensive to be popular, I questioned?
“It’s all about monthly rental and whole life costs,” Nick counters. “From running costs, the hybrid efficiency gives real benefit and it’s available in both saloon and estate.
“One company is thinking of replacing their six chauffeur cars with the new E 300 Hybrid. Mercedes branding, hybrid technoogy and reduced CO2 emissions – it sends out a very strong message to the industry.”
I still think the Hybrid is expensive, and on the business car lease rates I’ve seen, I can imagine many SME companies just opting for the E220 Diesel instead. But from a company car tax driver point of view, the car is a real winner. I suspect it will be more about the balance of the two – that’s where the trade-off will occur between business and driver.
I must also add that it’s pretty awesome to drive, too: the electric drive and turbo diesel combo provide an astonishing level of shove-you-down-the-road torque more akin to sports car than a big luxo exec car like the E-Class.
You can read David Wilkins’ car review of the new Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid here: Mercedes E300 hybrid – pulling off the impossible.
And then there’s the Mercedes C-Class MY13
The new Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid isn’t the only new business car offering from Mercedes. There’s the revamped C-Class range, too.
“The underpinnings of the new C-Class range is to rationalise and simplify it so our C-Class range is easier to understand and therefore easier for business car buyers to make the right choice,” explains Nick.
“For the company car and business sales market we already had the E-Class SE Executive – it proved such a success we repeated it for the C-Class, with leather and so on.
“We also rationalised the derivatives and developed the sporting AMG side – one of the jewels we’ve had tucked away at Mercedes-Benz.
You can read our car review of the Mercedes here: Mercedes C-Class: sporting suit tailored for business.
On CO2 emissions – the key driver on company car taxation – Nick admits that Mercedes still has some way to go.
But back comes that get-up-and-at-em boyish enthusiasm again. “We’re on the move,” says Nick.
“For example we have the Mercedes A-Class at 98g, the E-Class at 109g. We’re pushing this forward but recognising that some of our key competitors, in some cases, are ahead of us.
“However, we shall see constant updates to the Mercedes engine range both petrol and diesel.”
A pause, and then a beaming smile: “Right from the start of 2013 is an exciting time for us. You watch!”
Rumour has it that Mercedes will be introducing a range of low emission turbocharged petrol engines – and perhaps some smaller diesel engines, too.
We look forward to the moment. A revitalised Mercedes is always good for small businesses and business car drivers. And with Nick’s enthusiasm, you can be sure you’ll be the first to hear about them.
For more on Mercedes in the business car market read:
- Click: Mercedes revamps Fleet Strategic Account Manager team
- Click: Mercedes heads for the top of the premium business sales sector