The star brand division responsible for light commercial vehicles is particularly active in France where its results for 2019 are positive. Network development, VO business and a new LLD offer are on the program for 2020.
In charge of Mercedes-Benz Vans France since September 2019, David Perdomo Hollatz found a house in good order. His predecessor, Harry salamon, worked for 5 years to make the light goods division of the star brand a structure with solid foundations. The 25,145 registrations recorded in 2019 bear witness to this, a volume up 14.5% compared to 2018. The French subsidiary was a good student for the manufacturer, which accumulated 438,400 registrations worldwide, synonymous with timid progression of 4% over the year.
The most popular model in France was the Sprinter with 13,247 units ahead of the Vito (10,044), the Citan (1,771) and the X-Class (183). The latter, for lack of sufficient volumes, especially in South America, will see his career end prematurely in May. "We are particularly satisfied with the performance of our various products, apart from the X-Class which has suffered from the change in taxation on the double cabin models. Otherwise, all of our products posted growth above the average for their segment.", welcomes David Perdomo Hollatz.
First exclusive site in Caen at the end of 2020
Among other reasons for satisfaction, the French subsidiary reached a financing rate of 37% via Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, its after-sales turnover reached 105 million euros (+ 2%), the penetration of service contracts amounted to 47% (11,527 contracts, + 3.9%) and its used vehicle activity jumped 10% to 5,427 vehicles. The Director General considers on this last point of the VO that a "considerable room for improvement is achievable, the objective being to move from a used vehicle for five new vehicles to an used vehicle for three new vehicles within three years". The large-scale deployment of the Label Certified, which is based on 10 commitments, will be the decisive weapon of the brand on this point."To date, 50 sites of the network are labeled, the objective is to go up to 80 in the long term", underlines David Perdomo Hollatz.
Still on the distribution network, which has 104 sites in France (58 common with Mercedes-Benz Trucks, 18 with Mercedes-Benz Cars and 28 with the VP and PL entities), it will finally see the emergence at the end of 2020 of its first antenna entirely dedicated to utility vehicles on the Caen side. Harry Salamon’s successor acknowledges here that projects are behind schedule, particularly in obtaining building permits. The first two 100% Vans sites were originally scheduled to be launched in 2019. According to Stéphane Renault, the marketing director of MB Vans, "in some areas there is potential to open 100% LCV sites that are not attached to a truck or car site. The idea is that we are as close as possible to our customers"We can therefore imagine that the main major cities of the country are concerned.
Focus on the electric
In the meantime, the brand is continuing the certification process for its network with the VanPro Center label now issued to 60% of the sites. This label implies, for Stéphane Renault, "a high level of requirements in terms of sales, after-sales and OV, which involves coaching and regular audits "." This is a guarantee of quality for our customers with more choices, services, expertise… This translates into significantly improved results for our investors", he adds. As for the new Mercedes-Benz distribution concept, MAR2020, it currently concerns three LCV sites, including that of the Kroely group in Metz. It involves in particular a new customer journey and the recruitment of new profiles in the network, in this case Van Experts, who support customers in their choices, in demonstrations and in the handling of vehicles.
Another initiative to highlight is the launch of a new long-term rental offer in partnership with Athlon, another entity of the Daimler group. Its name: MobiFleet Leasing. Since January, the distribution network has been able to offer this complete solution with drawers (assistance, maintenance, financial loss, insurance, fuel card, tires …) intended for small and medium-sized fleets. "We do not want to leave the field open here to the rental companies who act as screens between us and the customers", warns Stéphane Renault.
The brand's last essential axis, the product plan. It will start this year with the Vito (and the e-Vito), the restyled version of which will be unveiled on March 10. This will be followed by the launch of the 100% electric version of the Sprinter, which will join dealerships from summer, at the same time as the EQV. All that remains is to electrify the Citan. This will require waiting for the arrival of the next generation developed jointly with Renault, probably in 2021.