Why would a car manufacturer promote sales of previously owned versions of its vehicles when its primary goal is to sell new ones? It is a very good question, and one that pertains to the Mercedes effort to get consumers to buy what it calls “Certified Pre-Owned” versions.
Mercedes has given potential customers a handful of strong reasons to buy its used cars. First among these is that the vehicles receive rigorous testing. This includes complete tests of the engine, drive train, electrical systems and outside appearance. Those things are not much beyond what most smart people would ask a dealer to do with a used car. Mercedes’ primary point about these reviews rests on the fact that the work is done by Mercedes mechanics at Mercedes dealers.
Mercedes does stand by the work of its mechanics and the overall quality of the cars before inspection. The warranties for these used vehicles often include unlimited mileage. Mercedes also offers prepaid mechanic service and 24/7 personal roadside assistance.
Mercedes offers two other services to sell its used cars. First is special financing packages that often run as long as 66 months. The interest rates vary and are as low as 1.99% for the company’s E-Class. And, finally, what would all these programs be worth if Mercedes did not help potential customers to find a dealer and search its inventory. So, it provides an online means to do so.
None of this tells why Mercedes goes to all the trouble. One reason is that it may be doing work on the part of its dealers. These dealers often make large margins on used cars. And Mercedes dealers do not want to compete with other outlets that sell them as well. By controlling supply, particularly via offering special services, Mercedes drives buyers toward their dealers, and not away from them. If the “Certified Pre-Owned” program is nothing else, it is a tool to improve dealer relations.