VFACTS March 2022: Mercedes-Benz rebounds after weak February

Mercedes-Benz sales rebounded in March after a slump in February, as the industry keeps a close eye on the German brand’s new fixed-price business model.

Mercedes-Benz has posted its strongest sales since switching to a new fixed-price business model at the start of this year – even though last month was the weakest March result in almost a decade.

Industry observers are keeping a close eye on Mercedes-Benz sales figures following the switch to fixed prices in January 2022, six months after Japanese car maker Honda introduced a non-negotiable business model in Australia.

After sales of Mercedes-Benz cars hit a 10-year low in February 2022, the March 2022 result for Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs was the weakest since March 2014.

However, the March 2022 tally for the Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle division (2397) was almost double the February result, when 1245 vehicles were reported as sold (up 92.5 per cent).  

Mercedes-Benz also remains at the top of the luxury sales charts, outselling rivals BMW and Audi in March 2022 – and for the first three months of this year.

Official new-car sales data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) shows, year-to-date, Mercedes-Benz is down 26.8 per cent (to 5958 vehicles), BMW is down 13 per cent (to 5369 vehicles), while Audi is down 38.4 per cent (to 2713 vehicles).

As with other car companies, Mercedes-Benz says the flux in sales is caused by interruptions to production and shipping delays.

Mercedes-Benz also says the success or failure of its new fixed-price business model – which is the subject of a legal challenge by a group of Mercedes-Benz dealers – cannot be judged in the first three months of sales.

Unlike the traditional car dealer business model – in which a car dealer owns all the showroom stock and is free to negotiate with customers on price – the new fixed-price business model reappoints dealers as selling “agents” to facilitate each sale, but they cannot negotiate on price because the showroom stock is owned by the car company.

“Similar to previous months, our order intake is currently outstripping supply, as the volume of Mercedes-Benz vehicles arriving in Australia continues to be affected by ongoing delays in logistics,” said Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman Jerry Stamoulis.

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