FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz will start selling cars online for the first time through its dealership in Hamburg, following BMW in experimenting with web sales.
Starting Tuesday, customers can choose from more than 70 pre-configured vehicles in a pilot test of direct sales via the Internet. The models, including the A-Class hatchback, CLA four-door coupe and CLS Shooting Brake wagon, are offered in a package that includes lease, insurance and maintenance.
"This is a new field," Andrea Finkbeiner-Mueller, head of dealer development and customer satisfaction for Mercedes, said at a press briefing today in Stuttgart, Germany. "We're following our vision."
Carmakers are increasingly looking to sell directly via the Internet. BMW, the biggest luxury-car maker, is using the web to sell the i3 electric car. The push comes as traditional dealerships face increasing competition from auto Web sites such as Mobile.de.
Mercedes, the world's third-largest luxury-car brand, is targeting customers who haven't bought a Mercedes before, Finkbeiner-Mueller said.
While prices of the cars are equivalent to those at German dealerships, online buyers are rewarded with incentives such as a visit to a motor-racing event or complementary rentals of roof racks for vacation trips.
Dealers will be involved in online transactions, and the service will be supported by a salesman that can visit customers. Daimler plans to start a second pilot web store in Warsaw in the first quarter.