The television, print media, web pages and WAP mobile phone advertising and information campaign costing in the region of £4 million is now in full swing for the new Mercedes B-Class range prior to the UK on sale date of 15 September 2005.
Although customer deliveries of the new models do not start until the middle of next month, dealers already have a B-Class demonstrator.
So what exactly does the advertising strap-line ‘All Roads Lead To B’ mean? Well Mercedes thinking is, all journeys are from A to B, all journeys are unique, distinctive and different, just like the new B-Class.
Mercedes say logically the B-Class sits between their new A-Class mini MPV and the more traditional C-Class Estate.
Mari Dyson Mercedes B-Class product executive said this week at the UK media launch, "We see B-Class customers as ‘Explorers’. They are young, urban and well educated and 65 per cent of them are under the age of 40. They like design and brands with status and they have more varied car demands. They require in their car the flexibility to transport equipment for varied leisure pursuits but they will have one child or be thinking about starting a family. They are affluent enough to be able to afford a car between £15k and £25k and many potential customers we think will be coming out of their current sports hatchbacks. This information comes from the feedback we have already received from potential customers via the B-Class web site and our dealers"
She added, "For some people our new A-Class is too small and the C-Class is too traditional so the B-Class establishes a new concept in travel. Currently no premium brand offers a compact MPV but we see the B-Class not so much as an MPV, more a multi-activity vehicle as 70 per cent of the interior of the car is load-carrying space for people, their goods, pets, luggage and recreational equipment. Our competitors for the B-Class include a wide range of models from the new Vauxhall Zafira through to new Peugeot 307SW to the Honda CR-V but these are volume models not premium, lower volume products. In a full year we expect to sell 6,000 units in the UK. For the remainder of this year around 1,500 B-Class models will be available and again from the information received from advanced orders and our Internet site we expect 75 per cent of sales to be to conquest customers. Petrol versions will account for 65 per cent of sales with the 95hp, B150 model talking up to 40 per cent of all sales. We expect approximately two-thirds of B-Class customers to be private buyers."
"The B-Class is strictly a five-seat vehicle, there will be no seven-seater as our research says seven seats are rarely used. With all the seats in position the B-Class offers 59 litres more of luggage space than the C-Class Estate with the seats in use. The luggage volumes range from 504 litres with the rear seats in position up to 1,605 litres with the rear seats folded. If the Easy-Vario extra cost seat storage system is taken then luggage capacity increases to 2,205 litres and the maximum load length is 2.95 metres."
Mari Dyson concluded, "The B-Class is an alternative vehicle to a medium sized MPV and it offers value, practicality and versatility but with Mercedes refinement."
Mercedes say the key design features of the B-Class are: it shares the same architecture and engines as the A-Class. It is a two-box design vehicle, strictly a five-seater with a high degree of versatility. The conventional Mercedes model line names are not used, just
Standard, SE and Turbo simplifying the range but there is a wide range of options so the B-Class can be personalised to specific customer needs.
The B-Class is available with a choice of six four-cylinder, Euro IV compliant engines, four petrol and two diesels ranging from 95 to 193hp. The 95hp petrol engine will be available for November deliveries. All models in the range are available with either manual or CVT automatic transmission.
Prices range from £16,995 to £22,795. The SE package is an option for all models except the Turbo for an extra cost of £950.
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