Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) strengthens its commitment to expand its luxury and performance portfolio this year. In a press release that recaps the year 2020 for the company, MBM says that it intends to offer desirable and innovative products, leveraging its strength as a luxury brand, and also to grow local economic value.

Going digital is a main push, and the main pillar here is its virtual showroom that allows customers to browse cars online. Available for both new and Mercedes-Benz Certified pre-owned cars, customers can search for stock availability, calculate financing options and directly request a quote from their preferred dealer, all online.

“2020 placed great demands on us as a society. Despite the challenges, the situation also presented us with an opportunity to be more resilient and agile in this new technology-led environment. While the safety and of our customers is our top priority, we explore innovative ways to optimise our offerings. The virtual showroom is an example of our pursuit in continuous digitalisation effort to bring the best experiences for our customers,” said Claus Weidner, MBM’s president and CEO.

“We want to assure our new and existing customers that we are with them throughout their ownership. We have accelerated most of our efforts to combine physical and digital touchpoints for a seamless customer journey. From dealerships with luxurious brand presence to digital launches and virtual showroom – it is all now easily accessible from anywhere. This new and improved presence is meant to simplify processes and enhance our brand experience by leveraging data and technology in this era,” added Michael Jopp, MBM’s VP of sales and marketing.

With the virtual showroom, customers begin their order process at home. Stock availability is displayed within the search criteria at the selected dealership. Users can ask to “Request for Quote” or “Contact Me” and a quote will be generated for the specific vehicle, along with a dedicated sales agent. The Financial Services Widget provides a monthly finance quote based on the actual car price.

In 2020, MBM digitally launched a couple of models. New additions to the range include the Mercedes-AMG compact trio of the A 35, A 45 S and CLA 45 S; the GLB SUV (three variants) and the second-generation GLA (two variants). The large GLS SUV and GLE Coupe also made their entry last year.

MBM’s CKD locally assembled range spans 13 variants from five model lines – C-Class, E-Class and S-Class sedans, GLC and GLC Coupe SUVs, as well as two Mercedes-AMG models, the C 43 and the GLC 43 Coupe. The company is aiming to expand its CKD footprint with plans to localise additional models in the compact car and SUV segment this year. The compact car and SUV in question could be the A-Class and GLA, or the GLE.

Last year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled newly-renovated dealerships in Alor Setar (Cycle & Carriage Bintang) and KL city centre (Hap Seng Star), which features the first of its kind Mercedes-Benz Lifestyle Accessories and Collection Boutique. Despite the pandemic, after sales saw over 140,000 vehicles return in 2020, supported by offerings such as Express Service, Drop&Go, Door-to-Door, Star Mobile, and the implementation of Mercedes-Benz Star Shield Programme. Also introduced was the Mercedes-Benz Original Tyre Programme.

Mercedes-Benz has been doing a good job in training talent via its Advance Modern Apprenticeship Programme over the years, and last year saw the graduation of another 54 apprentices, making it over 940 graduates since the programme started.

Upon completion, students will receive three certifications; Mercedes-Benz Automotive Mechatronic Training Certificate, Mercedes-Benz Qualified Maintenance Technician Certificate, and the National Dual Training System Certificate, equivalent to the Malaysian Skills Certificate Level 3 (SKM 3). Graduates are rewarded with a four-year employment.

Mercedes-Benz Services Malaysia (MBSM) has a good year, financing more than 50% of all Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold by authorised dealers in Malaysia and reaching a concrete servicing portfolio of RM2.27 billion. It recorded new contracts worth over RM717 million and introduced new products Star Protect and Star Protect Plus.

Moving forward, MBM plans to “unlock the full potential of its unique sub-brands” – referring to AMG, Maybach and G-Class – and have a renewed focus on luxury, “making it (luxury) an integral part of its product, customer interactions and digital technology”.

“We are cautiously optimistic about the auto industry’s recovery in 2021. Geared with our comprehensive customer-centric strategy, we are confident it will be an interesting journey as we innovate new ways we communicate and conduct businesses in the future together with our partners,” said Weidner.