An influx of recently redesigned or freshened SUVs and crossovers has Mercedes-Benz dealers better positioned to gain share in the U.S. luxury market, but dealers will have to prepare to sell coming battery-electric offerings such as the EQC, Mercedes dealers heard at their make meeting.
"I think it's fair to give the manufacturer credit when things are going well," said Jeff Swickard, chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Dealer Board and dealer principal of three Mercedes-Benz stores — in Seattle, Atlanta and Wilsonville, Ore., outside Portland.
"They really heard the message about SUV-versus-passenger car and got ahead of that, and now we have a fantastic SUV lineup."
Swickard said demand for the EQC is likely to be strongest along the East and West coasts and "close in" to the middle of the country. Swickard said Mercedes dealers need "to compete head-to-head with Tesla," and the EQC, when it goes on sale in the U.S. in early 2021, should fit the bill.
"We need time as dealers to also get ready [to sell BEVs], and we're doing a lot of preparation to get ready; putting in charging stations, etc.," Swickard said.
Mercedes hasn't made volume demands on U.S. dealers to sell the EQC, and has said it will be a "pull" vehicle, meaning dealers who want to sell them are free to do so, regardless of their location, so long as they're prepared. "Their requests are really reasonable," Swickard said.