TOKYO -- Mercedes-Benz is laying the groundwork for revisions to its dealership standards, in conjunction with an initiative to reach out to younger buyers.
No changes to the brand's U.S. dealership standards are expected soon, said the executive in charge of the initiative. But in a wide-ranging interview last month at the Tokyo Motor Show, Jens Thiemer, head of brand communications for Mercedes-Benz Cars, stressed that Mercedes plans marketing and branding changes to become more relevant to a new group of consumers.
His goal, he said, is to reposition Mercedes so that younger consumers view it as "not just a brand that they say, 'That's a brand I [will] buy later' or 'That's a brand my parents buy' but 'That's a brand for me right now.'"
Thiemer, 41, rejoined Mercedes-Benz Cars in Stuttgart Aug. 1 after six years at an outside communications consultancy. He has a mandate from Ola Kaellenius, 44, executive vice president for sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars, to reach beyond the brand's traditional buyers.
In China, the average age of an S-class buyer is 30 to 35. But in the United States, the brand's owners tend to be older than 50.
Mercedes' compact car initiative is changing that. With the arrival of the CLA, and its base sticker price of $30,825, including shipping, "we're talking to people 30 to 35," Thiemer said.
His assignment is to make the brand's marketing communications "really relevant to younger people, to modernize it and to bring in a new language" that will tie into Mercedes' vehicle design language, known as "sensual purity," he said.