Articles > Local & Regional Automotive Newsprintwrite comment

Mercedes-Benz


Mercedes Benz Egypt: Questionable sales practices and unprofessional marketing & communication strategies

It seems that the image of Mercedes Benz in Egypt is slowly but surely disintegrating and falling apart, with both the existing Mercedes owners as well as the potential new Mercedes buyers. But even more critical for the image and reputation of the Mercedes brand, is that the image of Mercedes Benz Egypt is falling apart with the non-automotive mass media and with the specialized automotive media in Egypt as well.

The most recent critical article about the questionable Mercedes Benz Egypt sales procedures and the unprofessional marketing & communication strategies was published a few days ago on one of the popular automotive websites in Egypt, www.alamelsyarat.com

In this article with the title "Policy of failure … sell less, win more!!", (read the original article here: Alam El Syarat article: Policy of failure ... sell less, win more!! ) the editor-in-chief of Alam El Syarat print magazine and the website, Mr. Hussein Saleh, was extremely critical about the current questionable sales strategies of Mercedes Benz and their marketing and communication strategies, explaining why the sales numbers and image of Mercedes are clearly behind its main competitor BMW in the Egyptian market.

Saleh also wondered why the Mercedes Benz CEO Thomas Zorn, on which many stakeholders had lots of hope in improving the image and performance of Mercedes Benz in Egypt, is not doing anything to repair the damaged image as well as the low and unprofessional performance of Mercedes Benz in Egypt.

Hussein Saleh also asked if Mercedes Benz CEO leaves his office in this hot weather for active field trip in the automotive markets, or if he is just sitting in his office and relying solely on the not-so-professional reports of his employees?

He also criticized the extremely unprofessional way with which Mercedes Benz Egypt organized the recent S-Class facelift static media launch event in Egypt, which was divided into two media groups and with almost 4 full weeks (!!!) between those two events.

This is surely not only extremely unprofessional but also shows an extreme lack of understanding and knowledge from the Mercedes Benz Egypt Marketing & Communication Manager Marie Zarif, on how the media in general and the digital media in specific functions in Egypt and anywhere on this planet.

Another example for this unprofessional and business-harming marketing and communication work of Mercedes Benz Egypt, is that Mercedes Benz Egypt does not participate at any of the important Mercedes Benz media test-drive events, such as media events organized recently for the new Mercedes G-Class, new Mercedes Sprinter, new A-Class, new Mercedes X-Class, new E-Class Convertible, new Mercedes E-Class coupe, Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, etc.

And when Mercedes Benz Egypt decides to participate at the media test-drive of the 'stinknormale' Mercedes C-Class facelift, the Marketing & Communication Manager invites 10 "media" representatives, which gives you more the impression like it is a shopping trip for friends rather than a test-drive trip for professional automotive media. But more to that in a few weeks.

So, what brought Mercedes Benz Egypt to this miserable situation in the Egyptian market?

Well there are several reason which we have already discussed in several articles during the past few months, such as

Bad Start for Mercedes Benz E-Class in Egypt:
http://www.autoarabia.org/articles/1539/Bad%20start%20for%20Mercedes%20E-Class%20in%20Egypt:%20%20Daimler%20employees%20probed%20for%20...

Mercedes E180 Top of Flop:
http://www.autoarabia.org/articles/1540/Mercedes%20Benz%20E180%20in%20Egypt%20–%20Top%20or%20Flop?

Let us summarize the past few years so that we can understand the currently unhealthy and regretful situation of the Mercedes Benz brand in the Egyptian market:

Over the past two to three years Mercedes Benz has not been playing any role in the segments of premium cars, including the segments for premium compact sedans, premium midsize sedans, large sedans and premium midsize SUVs. This was due to two main reasons.

The first one was the closure of the local-assembly line at the Egyptian German Automotive company EGA (which used to assemble annually 700-1000 low-quality Mercedes models such as the C-Class, E-Class, S-Class and GLK).

The second reason was because of the forced import stop through the Egyptian Customs Authority, which announced at that time that Mercedes Benz Egypt has supplied them with rigged and manipulated invoices for the imported cars, which were far below the real value of the cars. So, the Egyptian Customs Authority refused the release of the Mercedes cars which arrived at Alexandria port until they did their own investigations in coordination with the Egyptian embassy in Berlin and with other official authorities. They found out that the value of the cars which Mercedes Benz Egypt had declared on the import papers was not correct, and they issued an additional 250 Million pounds on the customs value which Mercedes Benz Egypt had to pay for the cars parked in the Alexandria port, based on the so-called Guidance Price List which the customs authority issued for the imported Mercedes Benz cars through Mercedes Benz Egypt as well as for some other Chinese car companies which also have been accused of manipulating and falsifying the invoices for the imported cars.

Needless to say this disrupted the sales and profit plans of Mercedes Benz Egypt for at least 18 months, until Mercedes Benz Egypt CEO and other managers from Mercedes Benz Stuttgart / Daimler AG met with high-ranking Egyptian officials, after obviously indicating to them that Mercedes Benz could be willing to invest significantly in the Egyptian market, after they closed down their CKD assembly line in 6th of October around three years ago.

That is when Admiral Mohab Mameesh, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority & Chairman of the General Authority for Suez Canal Economic Zone, met with Mercedes Benz Egypt CEO Thomas Zorn and other Mercedes Benz Stuttgart / Daimler AG managers at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

After that meeting many Egyptian automotive and non-automotive media published articles that after the meeting with Admiral Mohab Mameesh, Mercedes Benz will invest in a new CKD factory and logistic center in Egypt!!!

For some strange reason neither Mercedes Benz Egypt nor Mercedes Benz Germany confirmed those investment plans until today (22nd of May 2018) although those statements were published in the local media already in September 2017, nor did they decline those statements done by Admiral Mohab Mameesh and other high-ranking officials.

Only a few weeks later Thomas Zorn and the other Mercedes managers from the headquarter in Stuttgart (German) again met with the Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail in Cairo. During that meeting Prime Minister Sherif Ismail called the Minister of Finance and asked him to solve and find a solution for the problems of Mercedes Benz Egypt with the Egyptian Customs Authority.

Was this maybe the reason why Mercedes Benz Egypt nor Mercedes Benz headquarters / Daimler AG never commented or declined the statements of Admiral Mohab Mameesh and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail regarding the "new investment" of Mercedes Benz in a "new Mercedes factory" in Egypt???

But this is not the only strange thing about Mercedes Benz Egypt those days. Another extremely strange and untrustworthy behavior of Mercedes Benz Egypt, is that they keep advertising in all print and digital media outlets about the different Mercedes C-Class, E-Class and S-Class models. And when you call the Mercedes hotline they tell you that the waiting list is ONE year !!!! Yes, this is not a spelling mistake !!! in Egypt you have to wait one full year in order receive a 'stinknormale' Mercedes C180 car !!! This is not only not acceptable but also seems like a very shady and dodgy sales strategy in order to raise and additional "over-price" premium for the company, the dealers and the sales persons!

And not only that. In order to have a better position on this "one-year" waiting list, you must trade-in your maximum 3-years old Mercedes Benz model !! Another prerequisite for buying a new Mercedes Benz car from Mercedes Benz Egypt is that you buy this car through an installment program with them !!! Consequently you must sign an over-priced full-insurance package with them for the whole duration of the installment !!! They simply do not allow you to buy a car even if you can afford to pay the whole amount at once !!!

But what is even more astonishing is that this extremely short-sighted forced "trade-in rule" will prohibit BMW, AUDI, Lexus and Jeep Grand Cherokee from changing from their brand to the Mercedes Benz brand, as they do not have a 3-years old Mercedes model for trade-in in order to be able to purchase a brand-new Mercedes model!

It seems that there are severe discrepancies between the structure of Mercedes Benz in Egypt and their sales strategies on one hand, and the structure and business code of the Mercedes Benz headquarter / Daimler AG on the other hand!

I believe that internal revision of Mercedes Benz / Daimler AG should check if the questionable and unsavory sales strategies are compatible with the much-claimed 'standards and compliance of Mercedes Benz and Daimler AG as soon as possible. And maybe they should also revise and go over the marketing and PR activities as well, since they are at it.

I also believe that the new President of the Egyptian Consumer Protection Agency (www.cpa.gov.eg) must look into those shady sales practices of Mercedes Benz Egypt and update the Egyptian public and Egyptian media if those practices to collide with the anti-monopoly and consumer protections laws or not.

From our side, we will update our dear readers and listeners regularly about the questionable behavior of Mercedes Benz Egypt here on autoarabia.org as well as in my weekly live automotive radio program TEST DRIVE, every Thursday in the prime-time from 6-8pm on Radio DRN 93.7 (online live-stream www.drn.fm )

Mohamed Sheta
21.05.2018
Cairo – Dubai - Berlin


write comment

Readers Comments:

No comments yet