7 Mar 2013

Mercedes let bloggers test their cars, show increased sales

Mercedes-Benz is the highest selling premium brand in the UK.  They also invite a lot of journalists to drive their cars on a regular basis.  Coincidence?

Mercedes-Benz organises a media day every month and have done for the past few months.  These events are typically attended by 30-50 people from across the motoring journalistic spectrum.  The monthly magazines, websites large and small, journos from daily newspapers, from local newspapers and the bloggers.  We all attend and we drive Mercedes' fleet of cars from the SLS AMG to the A Class.

It costs Mercedes money to put these events on but, as they hold them at their own centres (generally Mercedes Benz World at Brooklands, or the truck centre in Yorkshire), and use their existing fleet of press cars, probably no more than having a car on long term loan to an intern at a monthly magazine.  This generates column inches across many websites and magazines.

The smaller bloggers get a chance to drive the cars and comment on them, the larger sites and magazines to get a wider understanding of the full range.  Plus, it's fun.  And having fun with Mercedes gives one a warm fuzzy feeling about them.  Which undoubtedly affects the unconscious mind when commenting elsewhere about them.

So it's no coincidence that Mercedes-Benz is the UK's highest selling premium brand of the moment.  Here's an extract from the press release:
  • A total of 3,329 cars were registered by Mercedes-Benz in February – a gain of 13.5 per cent.
  • According to the SMMT figures, nine market segments are led by Mercedes-Benz cars. The C-Class Saloon, C-Class Coupé, E-Class Saloon, E-Class Estate, E-Class Coupé, E-Class Cabriolet, SLK-Class, CLS-Class and S-Class each occupy the top spot in their respective, hard-fought segments.
  • Once again, the C-Class appeared in the top 10 registration figures in the UK – achieving ninth place.
No other premium brands feature a model in the top ten sales figures in 2013.  BMW, VW and Audi continue to shun anyone outside of a top name magazine or website, and are losing sales to Mercedes.

The bloggers, tweeters and smaller websites, led by the excellent Simon's Car Spots (which gets over half a million hits per month) are wielding increasing influence.  People read our reviews and believe what they are reading, partly because we take no advertising income from the manufacturers and partly because we interact with our readership on social media.

Mercedes, and other companies who put on similar events (all named here) don't do this for fun.  They know it increases sales.  Sadly this is a point missed by a few manufacturers who still live in the prehistoric era.