2014 Mercedes CLA-Class shortage could discourage new buyers
Mercedes-Benz has hit a home run with the all-new 2014 CLA-Class four door coupe. It’s been so successful that the German automaker is running out of the new four-door coupe. The new CLA-Class is selling so well that Mercedes-Benz had to notify its U.S. dealers to expect fewer deliveries of the new coupe in the first half of 2014. The all-new 2014 CLA launch is successful beyond what dealers had expected. Is this going to discourage new buyers if they have to wait?
Daimler AG sent a letter to its Mercedes dealers saying it anticipates “tight inventories and low days supply” from February through June because of the car’s “overwhelming success” worldwide. The letter went on to say, CLA production at the two plants in Rastatt, Germany, and Kecskemét, Hungary are running at full capacity, and output should support demand by July.
Mercedes is attracting new buyers to the brand like never before and they seem top be happy with their new CLA. They like the price ($29,900 before destination) its coupe-like styling and high-tech features that make it appealing. But will the short supply of the new Mercedes premium compact deter potential new buyers?
Mercedes says that they have a commitment to put their customers first with every decision they make. In the recent past, Mercedes-Benz has one of the worst customer service ratings of all the luxury brands. Mercedes ranked ninth of 11 luxury brands in the 2013 J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Index Study, which measures satisfaction with dealership service operations. For a premium brand that has a goal to be the number one luxury brand in the world, that’s unacceptable.
Now Mercedes dealers will have to tell new customers who have never purchased a Mercedes-Benz vehicle before, that they don’t have any CLAs to sell them. This could be a problem for the next six month’s for the German automaker as they ramp up production and fill the pipeline with the new car. They’ve done a great job of designing and marketing the new car, but now can’t deliver any.
Mercedes could potentially lose those customers and now alienate a new generation of buyers that they are trying so hard to attract. The CLA has been the most successful launch in 20 years for the brand. Mercedes had a great idea with the new CLA-Class as the automaker wanted to establish a new segment for the brand to appeal to a younger demographic. But it’s working better than they expected.
Now Mercedes needs to come with a better plan to keep those new buyers happy that want a new CLA but can’t get one. This could potentially do more harm than good if their dealers don’t find a way to put these new customers first. What decisions will Mercedes make now? They won’t be able to switch these new buyers to a more expensive model. We’ll find out next month as Mercedes-Benz dealers begin to run out of the popular 2014 CLA-Class.
We would like to hear from CLA-Class buyers about your experience.
Image source: Mercedes-Benz courtesy of Aisha R.