Mercedes-Benz Wants You to Purchase Options Digitally After Your Car Leaves the Factory
Daimler is updating its “Mercedes me” app to include on-board purchases via a virtual store, available across the globe. With the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class and GLE, customers can even order some optional equipment online after purchasing their vehicle. According to the manufacturer, customers can subsequently purchase digital radio, smartphone integration with Apple Carplay or Android Auto, and enhanced navigation. Think of it like downloadable content (DLC) in video games or new apps for your phone, only for your car’s MBUX infotainment system.
While it’s handy to have the ability to add optional equipment remotely, we’re always hesitant to praise anything that monetizes digital content. DLC and microtransactions have really pitted the gaming community against publishers, resulting in some pretty heinous schemes to nickel and dime the customer base. Now, the trend has moved beyond the borders of that industry and into the automotive sector.
Fortunately, it appears the upgraded “Mercedes me” doesn’t have the same gamification as Honda’s Dream Drive or the rampant corporate partnerships we’ve seen with
The automaker claims the addition should help resale values. However, we’re not entirely sure how that would work, as it also provides customers an opportunity to further customize their car, even if they’re buying it secondhand.
The required optional equipment [can be] activated via the Mercedes me Store in the head unit or online with a few clicks. This is particularly attractive in cases where the customer has forgotten to order an option ex factory. However, it is also a good opportunity for second or third owners to adapt the vehicle to their own wishes.
This also benefits markets where dealers order vehicles with equipment packages (build-to-stock), as well as the used vehicle sector and “young classics”.
Obviously, extras purchased online are limited to MBUX. You can’t get a bigger engine or all-wheel drive, which limits Mercedes me’s scope and any complaints we might have had. That rather cursory assessment is unlikely to change unless the automaker begins withholding options, or perhaps makes buying them via the app significantly more expensive than checking applicable boxes on an order form.
[Images: Daimler AG]
Multicam on Jan 25, 2019
This reminds me of the Wrangler YJ fuel tank. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Wranglers came stock with a 15 gallon fuel tank, but you could pay extra for an optional 20 gallon tank. I’ve never cared enough to look up how much that option cost. Well, it turns out every YJ came with a 20 gallon tank. All they did when you paid for the upgrade was change the filler tube that goes from the inlet down into the tank from a long one (about 12”) to a shorter one, which changed when the fuel pump at the gas station registered that your tank was full. I performed this “upgrade” myself about 3 months after buying my ‘94 YJ and very much enjoyed the extra 90-ish miles I could drive between fill-ups. This ain't new.
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