Worldwide, Mercedes-Benz had a great start to 2020 considering the challenging market conditions. The Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans departments sold a grand total of 547,829 units and delivered 477,400 vehicles worldwide by the end of the first quarter.
At the end of the first week of April, Mercedes-Benz USA released its sales report for the first quarter. MBUSA sold a total of $72,266 vehicles, a decline in sales by 4.3% compared to this time last year in 2019.
This slight drop in sales is pretty impressive considering how COVID-19 has dismantled the car industry. MBUSA credits its updated lineup of SUVs to its strong start in 2020. Like other automakers, MBUSA is bracing for an extremely difficult second quarter as COVID-19 persists and production plants are on pause.
The Mercedes-Benz top seller in Q1 was the GLC and GLE which sold 13,098 units and 11,802 units respectively. The E-Class/CLS had sales of 7,060 units. In other news, the automakers certified pre-owned vehicles also had a strong start in 2020 with 32,109 units sold, which is an increase of 5.7% compared to the first quarter of 2019.
To maintain inventory levels accordingly, the automaker furloughed over 3, 700 employees at its Vance, Ala. facility which is where the GLE, GLS, GLE Coupe, and C-Class models are made. The Charleston, S.C. plant has also been temporarily closed. The company plans on reopening these plants on April 20.
Right now, Mercedes-Benz has a spring deal where customers can get 0% APR for three years for most models, as well as a 90-day first payment deferral. The automaker has also updated its online presence as well as its offerings to help protect its employees and customers. Customers can use the recently introduced vehicle service pick-ups and drop-offs system.
The company also announced relief efforts for customers who finance or lease through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. If these customers are experiencing financial challenges related to COVID-19, they are encouraged to log in to their account and request a deferral. The automaker has not publicly announced how long payments can be deferred.
What Else Has Mercedes-Benz Been Up To?
Mercedes-Benz’s German headquarters recently announced that they will reopen select facilities in Germany for production also beginning April 20. The facilities were temporarily closed following Germany’s strict shelter-in-place guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.
To help support its community, Mercedes- Benz offered to help provide medical equipment with assistance from 3D printers.
Like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz also has introduced a new way to engage customers digitally. The widely-acclaimed Mercedes-Benz Museum exhibits can now be accessed online. The massive physical museum in Stuttgart, Germany has been seen by over 800,000 visitors and is about three miles long.
The automaker claims that this is the only museum that offers a consistent timeline of car industry history spanning over 130 years. The museum holds 160 vehicles and there are over 1,500 exhibits. While the virtual version of the Mercedes-Benz Museum is not very interactive, it consists of a beautiful photo gallery and interesting background stories that car enthusiasts will appreciate.