For Sale By:Private Seller
Exterior Color: Burgundy
Trim: 4 door sedan
Interior Color: Tan
Drive Type: rear wheel drive
Milan, Michigan, United States
If you drop $100,000 on a luxury sedan, it seems only reasonable to receive some preferential treatment at the dealership you purchased from. After all, that price isn't just for the car - you're paying for the brand and all the cachet that entails. For Mercedes-Benz, those benefits have apparently been lacking relative to the German brand's luxury competitors.
That's set to change, though, as Automotive News reports that the German brand is placing a much greater emphasis on keeping its customers happy and loyal with its MB Select program. Starting with the new S-Class and spreading to the CLA-Class (and eventually beyond), dealers are being given money - up to $2,500 in the case of the flagship sedan - just to improve the customer experience.
We agree, improving the "customer experience" is quite a vague term, so it's nice that Mercedes USA's CEO, Steve Cannon, offered up some examples to AN at the LA Auto Show. For example, a customer couldn't fit his sunglasses into the overhead compartment. "So we bought him a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses that fit because of their shape," Cannon said.
The argument is made in a Reuters article: Audi is falling behind other luxury brands, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, due to a lack of research-and-development spending and "brain drain," or the migration of top executives and R&D chiefs to other parts of the Volkswagen Group. Reuters notes that Audi's current R&D chief is the third in 16 months.
Audi, which contributed to 40 percent of VW Group's $11.6 billion in profit the first nine months of the year, is delivering cars at a record pace: 1.31 million were delivered from January to October 2013 versus BMW's 1.35 million. Yet Audi, Reuters reports, doesn't have a halo car akin to BMW's new electrified i3 and i8 or an answer to Mercedes' plug-in-hybrid S-Class, and the R&D spending at Audi is less than BMW and Mercedes by a fair margin. It's noted in the article, however, that Audi benefits from other R&D spending within VW Group.
Reuters mentions that BMW "trumpets its new 'i' series" and the new Mercedes CLA and GLA ranges are winning "rave reviews" as part of its argument that Audi's recent lack of technological innovation could hurt future sales. Those cars do pack tons of new technology, some of which are firsts for mainstream production cars. But last time we checked, the i3 could be causing BMW's stock to slide, the CLA isn't receiving the rave reviews that Reuters would have you believe and the GLA hasn't been reviewed yet.
Mercedes-Benz seems to be expecting a lot of success from its front-wheel-drive CLA-Class. Automotive News is reporting that the sub-C-Class sedan could grow when its second generation arrives in 2018.
The current FWD platform for MB underpins the CLA, the B-Class, the GLA-Class, and the A-Class. The B-Class will arrive in North America as an EV for spring of 2014, while the production GLA crossover will arrive three to four months after that. The five-door A-Class won't be crossing The Pond. Sad faces all around.
According to AN, another model will be based on the front-drive architecture, but it won't be coming to the US market. Set to arrive next year, rumors are that it'll be a wagon version of the CLA, sort of like the ill-named five-door CLS Shooting Brake that is also a Europe-only item.