Limited “Edition 1” versions of Mercedes-Benz’ first electric vehicle in Australia have already sold out, and those wanting to get their hands on an “optioned version” need to wait until the second half of 2020.
Mercedes-Benz says demand for the zero emissions and innovative luxury SUV is already outstripping supply, even as it embarks on a new business model that will see the German carmaker sell its electric SUV directly to the customer both online and through showrooms.
Even though the all-electric EQC 400 starts at $137,900, approximately 3,000 registrations of interest were taken in the first weeks in Australia when the EQC 400 was globally debuted. Mercedes-Benz says it has been taken by surprised by the age range of those taking up registration to purchase.
With customers aged from as young as 18 and all the way through to 86 years of age, the most common reason for wanting to buy the EQC 400 is an interest in technology and innovation, said product communications manager Ryan Lewis at a press launch in Torquay, Victoria on Monday.
Lewis would not divulge exactly how many customers have registered to purchase, but said that almost half of customers registering to purchase cited tech and innovation (45%), and almost a third (27%) cited sustainability as their motivation to buy the EQC 400.
The EQC 400 is packed with oodles of recycled materials (up to 100 components made from recycled and sustainable raw materials are used in every EQC 400 depending on options), and has ability to drive around 350km (based on the European WLTP cycle) with zero tailpipe emissions.
But the customers will have to wait, unless prepared to buy one of the few pre-optioned vehicles Mercedes-Benz Australia is able to get its hands on in early 2020.
Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific (MBAP) will then ramp up supply throughout 2020, selling initially via a select 9 dealers nationwide as well as online to offer better convenience, ensure transparency of pricing and give customers access to stock nationwide.
“The nine EQ agents we have chosen to launch the EQC will focus even more strongly on conveying the emotions of the brand,” said MBAP chief Horst von Sanden.
The new business model will mean that MBAP will retain ownership of the vehicles and handle functions usually handled by dealers, allowing them to focus on focus on delivering on customer experience.
Dealers will still earn a commission for vehicles sold.
“We consider the new business model to be an opportunity for our authorised retailers to be able to help shape the future challenges within the automotive industry,” said von Sanden.
“It will allow us to offer our customers an improved experience and gives us the possibility to better recognise the customer’s needs and respond faster to them.”
Once availability of stock is ramped up, customers will be able to access “live stock” throughout the nation through the online system, giving them the option to buy currently available vehicles immediately, with delivery costs covered by MBAP.
Those wanting to option their vehicles will be able to order and place a deposit before being contacted by MBAP with an estimated delivery date before confirming purchase.
While the new business model is in place in certain location overseas, it is the first time Mercedes-Benz has introduced it in a market purely with the EQC 400, and it is a first for Australia.
The nine initial EQ dealers include Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Sydney, Parramatta, Melbourne, Waverley, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, and Canberra, as well as Diesel Motors in Perth.
After sales servicing will be handled through usual authorised metropolitan Mercedes-Benz service centres and can be done either under a capped pricing, PAYG or discounted upfront option, with specialist service departments within the EQ network tasked for major jobs.
The EQC 400 represents the beginning of an electric offensive by German automaker Daimler, which intends to bring 7 EQ models across all its ranges including AMG and Maybach.
However, as part of its push into electrification, the automaker said Friday it is planning to cut at least 10,000 jobs globally by the end of 2022, either by not filling vacanted posts and by offering severance packages to those in certain administrative positions in Germany.
The news follows a statement by the company on November 14 that it was planning to cut costs by 1.4 billion euros ($A2.27 billion) by culling a tenth of managerial positions and other measures, for which it did not give details at the time.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.