How Can Mercedes-Benz Compete With Tesla If It Pushes ICE Vehicles Over Its Own New EV?
In an article by Teslarati, it was noted that Mercedes-Benz is doing what many traditional dealerships do in regards to selling EVs — pushing ICE (internal combustion engine) alternatives onto customers who don’t want them. Customers who want to buy a Mercedes-Benz EQA, which is the company’s new crossover, are finding that after they configure their EQA with their preferred options, Mercedes-Benz shows the customers a graphic that is provided in the tweet below:
Mercedes Benz meint es ernst?
Ich konfiguriere mir einen #EQA und am Ende kommt ein Vergleich der Konfig mit Hybriden und Verbrennern….WTF????
Das interessiert mich nicht. Schon schlimm genug wenn die Händler einem die EAutos ausreden, jetzt sogar die Website? pic.twitter.com/HpHv9KNQYj
— 46🔋janusPrime🔋80 #Semper_i ↯ (@janusPrime) February 5, 2021
At first glance, it looks like a typical car comparison chart, but why would such a chart be on the configuration page of a product that a customer is trying to buy? Upon looking closer at the chart, you can see a message that informs customers that their EQA order is “unique and it can take up to 12 weeks to build.” Now, the voice in my head is saying, “Okaaaay, soo?”
Basically, they are saying: This will take a few months (at least). Sure you don’t want a fossil-fueled Mercedes?
Mercedes-Benz is directing the customers from the EQA configuration page to several alternative “similar new vehicles that are already available” — none of which are EVs. Teslarati noted that several EV advocates who tried to order the Mercedes-Benz EQA were directed to hybrid alternatives also.
In my opinion, this shows that Mercedes-Benz is not serious about selling its EVs. I make jewelry and if I had someone wanting a piece of jewelry made with 24K gold and they were willing to pay the price and wait the amount of time it takes for me to order the materials, make the piece, and ship it, I would do it. I wouldn’t say, “You know what? It’s going to take around 2–3 weeks for me to make your pendant and 24K gold is pretty expensive. How about you just buy this copper piece instead because it has a similar stone?”
That’s completely senseless. No, the art of knowing your customer is knowing what they want and knowing their budget. If they ask for something custom made, then you know they are willing to wait.
People have many reasons for ordering a new car and choosing to wait for it. They wait in long lines for iPhones and Playstations, after all. People know what they want. If I, an artist with wire, can understand this, then certainly Mercedes-Benz can, too. And I’m sure it does — it would just rather sell its ICE vehicles.
Could Rebranding Play A Part In This?
Last month, CNBC reported that Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz tripled its EV sales. Daimler CEO Ola Källenius told CNBC that it was doubling down on electrification. “Next to the things that we know well — to build, frankly, the world’s most desirable cars — there are two technological trends that we’re doubling down on: electrification and digitization,” said Källenius.
Just this week, it was announced that Daimler would become Mercedes-Benz and split its truck units from its cars. It will rename itself Mercedes-Benz. The two divisions “are different businesses with specific customer groups, technology paths, and capital needs,” Källenius said in a statement. “We believe they will be able to operate most effectively as independent entities, equipped with strong net liquidity and free from the constraints of a conglomerate structure.”
Although this has nothing to do with EVs, perhaps the company is pushing ICE to its customers in order to generate sales of vehicles already made instead of having to actually use the money to fund the manufacturing of its EVs. Perhaps the company doesn’t really see EVs selling well for it, and believes it has a better chance at selling something that is already sellable.
Top image: Mercedes-EQ, EQA 250, Edition 1, digitalweiss. EQA 250 (Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 15,7 kWh/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km) // Mercedes-EQ, EQA 250, Edition 1, digital white. EQA 250 (combined power consumption: 15.7 kWh/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km). Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz.