Mercedes-Benz has launched an extensive value-added campaign to hit back at aggressive incursions into its customer base by luxury rivals. With BMW, Audi and Lexus all improving market share ahead of Mercedes, the once-dominant luxury leader has added equipment and technology across its range.
While the additional features are accompanied by price increases up to $5100, Mercedes insists the overall value equation is a positive for customers.
Mercedes-Benz Australia's Horst von Sanden says the widespread moves are not simply a knee-jerk reaction to the success of other luxury brands.
“We have spent a lot of time listening to our customers about what they need and want in their new Mercedes-Benz and these changes are commensurate with their feedback,” von Sanden says.
“These model revisions have been in development for some time. The all-new C-Class was the first car in our range to benefit from this new approach to our product strategy.”
Von Sanden says Mercedes has undertaken extensive research into what customers want in each of the product ranges. “As I have previously stated, leadership is not solely about numbers. Mercedes-Benz's goal is to be able to offer the best possible products and services to customers in order to exceed their expectations,” von Sanden says.
Mercedes claims that about 70 per cent of the model range has benefited from the upgrades with much of the additional equipment, such as side and curtain airbags, the night-vision system and keyless start systems, previously having been offered as optional extras.
BMW holds a comfortable lead in the luxury passenger car market this year with almost 1500 more sales than Mercedes.
Mercedes has improved its sales figure by just 1.7 per cent over last year, while BMW is up more than 7 per cent and Audi, from a much lower base, is 43 per cent ahead of where it was in 2006. Lexus is showing an 11per cent improvement for the same period.