Óscar Benitez
Marketing Manager
Mercedes-Benz Vans
View from the Top

Mercedes Sprints Ahead in Mexico

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:24

Q: What fueled Mercedes Vans’ MX$433.2 million (US$23.7 million) 2016 Q1 sales results in Mexico?

A: Our first-quarter results are thanks to a global effort that included Mexico’s contribution. Each market requires different strategies that may include specifications, product offers, financial plans or specialized marketing. We reached a substantial market share in Mexico because Mercedes’ vans are versatile and offer multiple configurations. The Sprinter has been welcomed by the Mexican market because of its versatility. This is one of the most agile, flexible and safest vehicles on the Mexican market. Another factor for success is our sales strategy. Demo vehicles are available to be used in reallife conditions. It is important to establish a presence and inform clients about product highlights.

Q: How have the company’s financing services delivered results in new markets?

A: Mercedes-Benz México has a financing program aimed at retail and small fleets, mostly for tourist transportation. Most larger fleet companies have their own international financing. Retail customers and small fleets choose us because our products can be customized with technical support from our specialized team. Financial packages have a more significant impact on the retail segment since these are one-time purchases and they help Mercedes reach younger markets.

Q: How has Mercedes-Benz Vans improved its vehicle technology and how have innovations been passed on to customers?

A: Mercedes-Benz Vans’ product range includes a large variety of models with several size, engine and payload variants in the cargo, passenger and special vehicles segments. The assistance systems available in our vans enhance driving safety and comfort. Our trademark Adaptive ESP (Electronic Stability Program) increases stability in critical dynamic situations. The system has a further safety advantage when braking with new functions such as Brake Disc Wipe and Electronic Brake Prefill. Additionally, Adaptive ESP includes Crosswind Assist, which significantly reduces lateral drift.

We also developed Vans Connection in collaboration with Geotab as an operational program that supports fleet management. The platform offers information about the vehicle’s performance, location, route and maintenance needs. In the past, these systems were expensive and complicated. Many managers took courses to learn how to use them and they required a minimum number of vehicles to justify the investment. Today, even businesses with only one van have the option of using Van Connection in a friendly environment with key information for making decisions in real time. The tool also allows owners to program vehicles to react automatically in particular situations. A speed limit can be set up to avoid accidents in extreme conditions and the vehicle’s lights can be configured to turn on when certain parameters are met.

Our superior products constantly set new benchmarks. Our vehicles were the first to run on diesel in this segment and now the sector is 80 percent diesel. This fuel registers better mileage and the new technology in our engines makes a four-cylinder diesel engine equally powerful to an eight-cylinder gasoline unit. This allows our vehicles to be slimmer, providing larger capacities with smaller environmental impacts.

Q: What strategy is the company following to maintain its position as a pioneer in the industry?

A: Mercedes-Benz México plans to continue its Vans Connection program, which will include even more vehicles. Considering how quickly technology is advancing, we expect to develop a more sophisticated system in the short term that provides even greater cost reductions. Autonomous driving is also an important project being incorporated into our product lines. This technology took its first steps 30 years ago and is finally starting to reap the benefits. Vehicles react faster and new technology helps avoid human error. Over the next few years the automotive industry will be closer to creating self-driving cars with the implementation of intuitive technology. Technology changes occur practically every month and we are conscientious about staying up to date.