- Green Growth
- Your Consultant
Michael Behrens, general director of Mercedes Benz Vietnam, talks shop with VIR’s Linh Mai.
Many luxury hotels have bought Mercedes Benz cars. How did you persuade these important customers to buy?
I read in an article in VIR a couple of weeks ago, that Vietnam is emerging as a deluxe destination on the world tourism map, taking the lead in the growth of the Asian hotel sector with a forecast annual growth rate of 15 percent for the 2012-16 period, followed by the Republic of Korea, India, Malaysia, China and the Philippines. There are more than 5.3 million international visitors to Vietnam in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 11.2 per cent over the same period last year. For years, deluxe hotels and resorts have always been our key customers. We are proud to be one of the pioneers of this trend. The luxury hotels make tenders for every new or replacement fleet.
Many luxury brands were considered besides Mercedes-Benz. Take the Park Hyatt Saigon for example, their conclusion after many consecutive record orders of our fleet of S-Class since 2008 is that Mercedes-Benz offers the most complete package for their needs in terms of low total cost ownership, superior quality and excellent after-sales services, including training for drivers, warranty, maintenance and the fast availability of spare parts offered only by our 12 sales and service locations throughout the country, double the number of the nearest competitor.
Does Mercedes Benz also sell cars to big hotels in other countries?
We have cooperation with luxury hotels worldwide, especially in South East Asia and the Middle East. For example, in Thailand, we have limousine contracts with Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, Sukhothai Hotel, Renaissance Rajchdamri, to name but a few. S-Class and E-Class are their first choice, the same in Vietnam.
Furthermore, we have global agreements in place with the Shangri-La Group and maintain many national contracts with Starwood Hotels, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Intercontinental and the Mandarin Oriental. A majority of the hotels’ customers are brought to their airports in a Mercedes. They then expect to be picked up by one. It is, simply said, the right choice for someone who is chauffeured.
It seems that Mercedes Benz still gains positive business result at this difficult time. So what is the key reason driving Mercedes Benz to success?
You are not able to claim the number one position in the luxury segment, repeatedly, for nearly two decades based only on appealing products or a competitive price or customer service, but a mixture of them plus many other factors such as the largest network nationwide, exclusive promotion campaigns, customer relationship activities and excellent aftersales service.
Difficult economic times are the right for us to meet, talk and better understand our customers’ requirements. Recently, we have had an open and straightforward discussion with the Mercedes-Benz Fan Club from Otosaigon Forum. They told me what they like and what not. I enjoy this type of openness. We will continue to have more dialogues with many target customers.
Do you have any promotion to support customers?
Until the end of this year, S-Class buyers nationwide can enjoy “The First Class” campaign awarding two Lufthansa First Class tickets to Germany, the birthplace of the automobile, or a three-year free-of-charge warranty and maintenance package.