Mercedes-Benz aims to raise its game in the van aftermarket says customer services director, commercial vehicles, Liam Ilbury.
Under the Service Assistant banner it’s produced a sheaf of leaflets designed to encourage operators to take their vans to Mercedes-Benz dealers for everything from a pre-MoT inspection for a fiver and small repairs to paintwork and upholstery to safety checks on the brakes, tyres and lights and a service for the air conditioning system.
Clever promotions include a 25 per cent discount off labour and oil charges if the operator is willing to accept a standby booking; in other words, if he’s happy to wait until the dealership has a cancellation before he brings his van in for a service. A similar discount is available to tempt customers who may have drifted away from the Mercedes network – possibly into the arms of an independent dealer – back into the fold.
“Around 30 to 35 per cent of four- to six-year-old Mercedes vans continue to be serviced by our dealers and our aim is to increase this total to between 50 and 60 per cent,” Ilbury states.
Having a light commercial serviced at a Mercedes dealership isn’t as expensive as many operators suppose he contends. “It’s worth noting that we support vans through our commercial vehicle dealers and that they charge a lower labour rate than passenger car dealerships,” he observes. “Typically it’s 30 to 40 per cent less. What’s more, many of our dealers are open 24 hours a day,” he adds. Van servicing is provided from 110 locations.
Mercedes is also marketing packages that cover service costs in exchange for regular payments. “Around 25 per cent of our vans are now sold with some sort of service package compared with 5 per cent two years ago,” he observes.
City West Commercials is the new Mercedes-Benz van and truck dealer for the south west of England. Its appointment follows the manufacturer’s decision to terminate the franchise of previous incumbent Commercial Motors (South West) which went into administration in early February.
A Mercedes car dealer, the City West group also services light commercials at sites in Exeter, Plymouth, Truro and Taunton and runs a used van centre in Taunton too. It’s now looking for facilities that will allow it to take on its new role. City West and Mercedes are also hoping to safeguard the futures of as many of the 200 Commercial Motors (South West) employees as possible.
City West will also be handling Mitsubishi Fuso’s Canter. Canters are sold through Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the UK.