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INTERVIEW: Oman’s Most Trusted Brand – Mercedes-Benz

5 Feb 2024 By GULAM ALI KHAN

Mercedes-Benz Oman: Paving the way for electric mobility

Muscat – Mercedes-Benz Oman has won the Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Award in the Automotive (Luxury) Category for the seventh consecutive year at a recent award ceremony held at the Sheraton Oman Hotel. In an interview with Muscat Daily, Shaun Michael, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Oman, discussed the brand’s strengths in the Omani market, the outlook for the luxury car segment, and Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to supporting Oman’s transition towards electric vehicle adoption.

What do you think are the core strengths of the Mercedes-Benz brand that have enabled it to consistently earn the trust of Omani customers and win the Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Award for seven consecutive years?

Mercedes-Benz stands out as a reputed and trusted brand, and customers across Oman appreciate that we will consistently deliver on our promise to offer reliability, safety, high quality, and sublime comfort, resulting in an enhanced overall driving experience. Throughout the years, we have been perfecting the customer experience, not just in terms of offering a superior driving experience but across every touchpoint with Mercedes-Benz as a luxury brand and with meticulous attention to every detail.

Mercedes-Benz traces its history in Oman back to the 1970s. At the same time, the brand has a distinctive and long-standing global reputation of over 130 years, defined by exceptional luxury, technology, innovation, and comfort. As a worldwide brand, Mercedes-Benz is committed to providing top quality and always strives for constant improvement as it prioritises investment in research and innovation. At Mercedes-Benz Oman we channel this commitment and reputation into the products and services we offer our new and existing customers in Oman.

We offer a collection of vehicles that are a fine blend of classic elegance and modern aesthetics, luxury, and sustainability. All of our vehicles embody features that are distinctly Mercedes-Benz. We also pride ourselves for our excellent customer services. We have many relationships with customers in Oman that span generations, and they are part of the ‘Mercedes-Benz family.’

Trust is a pivotal factor in maintaining strong customer relationships. Could you elaborate on the strategies and initiatives that the brand has employed to build and sustain trust with customers, both during and after the sales process?

Our motto is to remain laser-focused on our customers, whose requirements are at the heart of everything we do, and customer retention is one of the main pillars of our corporate strategy. After all, the trust of our customers, as well as of our business partners and our team members, is the foundation of our continued success.

We attach great importance to reaching our existing and potential customers directly in their surroundings in Oman and offering the best possible driving experience tailored to their needs. Plus, we are committed to making every point of contact with our brand a unique experience.

We are also consistently focused on the needs and expectations of our customers across all channels. Customers can use our websites or visit our state-of-the-art showrooms. It’s all about what is most convenient for them. We have dedicated experts who are available to help customers select a suitable vehicle that surpasses their needs. At the same time, our aftersales service care performed by certified technicians remains a top priority.

What is your perspective on the future of the automotive industry in Oman, and how does Mercedes-Benz aim to contribute to its growth?

At Mercedes-Benz, we believe that the future will be electric, including in Oman. Customers continue to redefine luxury, while Oman is trying to reduce its carbon footprint. Hence, I expect a future growth in the demand for luxury electric vehicles with high-tech features that can provide a highly personalised and sustainable driving experience.

There is a wide variety of trends in the automotive industry where comfort, innovation, safety, electrification and sustainable mobility are all playing a key role. Drivers are increasingly becoming more environmentally conscious, while being drawn to attractive new models and the allure of lower energy costs. With Oman committing to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, customers can also expect further improvements in public charging stations across the nation.

At Mercedes-Benz Oman, we will continue to offer a variety of high-end, premium passenger vehicles. Customers are currently able to choose from the latest models, with cutting-edge features, such as the new E-Class, the new GLC Coupé and the new GLC SUV. Meanwhile, we continue to strive for technological leadership in electric driving, and we are looking forward to meeting the increasing demand for electric vehicles by introducing innovative and powerful models in the near future.

What are the current trends in the luxury car segment in Oman, and how is Mercedes-Benz positioned to meet the evolving demands of this market?

Traditional elements such as craftsmanship, safety, performance and quality remained powerful buying factors, while customers are also increasingly interested in the latest technologies and a more personalised experience. It all should feel very unique, high-end and modern to them, while driving relatively long distances on the road, whether for business or pleasure.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the car market around the world, including in Oman, has seen many disruptions. In contrast, and despite the current global economic uncertainty, industry figures demonstrate the significant impact and potential growth of the luxury cars market worldwide.

Relatively speaking, we achieved robust sales in Oman throughout 2023. We gain a considerable number of insights in the needs of our customers, including from the Internet and on social media. Plus, we leverage modern technology to understand our customers’ needs even better. We know their purchasing history and we can anticipate what the customer is looking for.

Are there any new models or technologies that Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce in the Omani market in the near future?

We recently introduced the new 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class in Oman, an exemplary and redesigned version of its prestigious kind with its executive comfort, effortless style, new dimensions of digital customisation, and spaciousness. Earlier in 2023, we launched the new GLC Coupé, combining sporty performance with high efficiency. The new GLC SUV is another vehicle we introduced in 2023 and which is defined by its confident looks, luxurious comfort, advanced technological features.

Mercedes-Benz is focused on changing the future of technology and our planet for the better. In this context, Mercedes-Benz is in the process of shifting from an electric-first to an electric-only strategy. This decision was a significant and bold step as it means a massive transformation as we aim to transform into the world’s most sustainable luxury car brand.

As I mentioned earlier, we look forward to meeting the increasing demand for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by introducing innovative and powerful models soon. Meanwhile, as we continue to perfect the customer experience and not just in their vehicle, other key focus areas include further digitalisation and the e-commerce journey to make it more convenient for customers to select their new Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

As emerging technologies like EVs gain momentum, how do you foresee their impact on Oman’s automotive market in the years to come? Could you provide insights into Mercedes-Benz’s plans for the electric vehicle segment? Do you anticipate EVs capturing a significant market share in the Middle East in the next few years?

Customers in Oman and the wider region have a growing interest in electric vehicles. The Oman Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology revealed that by 2035, at least 79% of all vehicles on the road should be electric, which is aligned with the national strategy for reducing carbon emissions.

We aim to play our part and contribute in supporting Oman to achieve its net-zero objective by 2050, while climate protection is a high priority for most of today’s customers. Economic, environmental, and social responsibility go hand in hand — along the entire value chain. Hence, we look forward to receiving more innovative electric vehicles and promoting the transition from conventional hydrocarbon-based fuels to renewable energy.

In the transition to EVs, what challenges do you foresee in markets like Oman, and how is Mercedes-Benz equipped to address them?

Combustion engines still power most vehicles on the road today; and deciding to buy an electric vehicle instead takes a lot of consideration. We need to continue to build more public trust when it comes to encouraging EV adoption; for example, drivers want to know if they can drive long distances and if the technology used is environmentally friendly.

The progress of electric vehicle adoption varies significantly from one region to another globally. The adoption of electric vehicles and its charging infrastructure in the wider GCC region still needs to catch up to China, the United States, and European countries, for example. However, the transition to hybrid and even all-electric vehicles has steadily been picking up speed, especially in the luxury segment, as more and more people want to choose a vehicle that can help them save money and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.

With Oman’s focus on sustainability and its net-zero emissions target for 2050, how does Mercedes-Benz plan to integrate these priorities into its operations and offerings in Oman?

As I mentioned, we continue to play our part in contributing and supporting Oman to achieve its net-zero objective by 2050, while climate protection is a high priority for us and our customer base.

From 2025 onwards, the plan is to enable customers to choose an all-electric alternative for almost every Mercedes-Benz model. All global markets are expected to switch to electric-only by 2030, provided individual market conditions allow for this to happen.

We will continue to communicate the top reasons why one should consider buying an electric car, which include, but are not limited to, cost-efficiency, a greener lifestyle, and convenience. At the same time, customers do not have to compromise on style nor on performance.

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