Struggling Mercedes Dealers Finding it Difficult to Market EVs, Express Discontent with EQS lacking ‘Aspirational’ Appeal

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By Car Brand Experts

Mercedes-Benz, like numerous other car manufacturers, has ambitions to transition entirely to electric vehicles in the forthcoming years. This initiative commences with the limited EV selection currently available at its dealerships; however, these same dealers are encountering challenges in promoting these vehicles and attracting customers to their premium EQ-branded models. Furthermore, they have begun anonymously voicing concerns to the media about Mercedes’ mishandling of its electric vehicle introduction with models that are deemed lacking in “aspirational” qualities. Not an ideal situation!

The predicament is multifaceted, as outlined by personnel from various dealers interviewed by Automotive News, who opted to remain anonymous due to concerns of potential repercussions. A representative from one dealership mentioned that there has been minimal support in terms of lease agreements, despite the premium pricing associated with the brand’s top-tier EVs. Another individual highlighted that Mercedes has prioritized ensuring a healthy inventory of the high-end $105,000 EQS sedan and SUV, at the expense of the more budget-friendly EQB and EQE models, which have been more popular among buyers.

“Our vehicles ought to be considered desirable,” a dealer informed Automotive News. “The S-Class has sustained strong loyalty due to its aspirational nature. An EQS is not something that most individuals aspire to possess.”

In response to these concerns, Dimitris Psillakis, the company’s U.S. head, mentioned that delays in the supply chain have impeded Mercedes from achieving the desired volume in a timely manner, particularly for the more affordable models. Recently, Mercedes disclosed that in the third quarter, they sold 10,423 EVs out of a total of 90,011 vehicles, with 7,727 of those attributed to the EQB and EQE models.

Dealers acknowledge that the entry-level EQB SUV, which begins at $53,900, has been easier to sell.
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Dealers acknowledge that the entry-level EQB SUV, which begins at $53,900, has been easier to sell. Mercedes-Benz

Despite the circumstances, the prevailing situation paints a less optimistic commercial forecast for Merc’s higher-priced electric models. One source interviewed by Auto News estimated that while they had around a 50-day supply of gasoline-powered vehicles in stock, the inventory for electric vehicles appeared more abundant, with a supply lasting up to six months. Another highlighted a 20-day supply for conventional vehicles versus a 60-to-90-day supply for EVs.

Nevertheless, one retailer disclosed that about 65 percent of the vehicles allocated to their dealership currently feature EQ branding. Some dealers took matters into their own hands by implementing discounts and promotions on Mercedes’ EVs; however, this makeshift solution posed challenges for many franchisees. These factors have contributed to the reality where Mercedes’ electric models take significantly longer to sell compared to those of one of its primary competitors. As per Edmunds, EQ models typically spend approximately 82 days on the lot, contrasting with 38 days for BMW’s electric vehicles.

Reading between the lines, the implication is that the EQS—a sedan that our colleague Peter Holderith recently likened to a wireless computer mouse—lacks appeal to buyers and necessitates additional sales support. On a somewhat reassuring note for Mercedes-Benz, it appears that they are not alone in facing these challenges at the moment.

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