In a move that signals a potential shift in its retail strategy, Mercedes-Benz has expressed openness to selling the dealerships and workshops it currently owns in Germany. The announcement was made through a written statement reported by Reuters on 19 January.

The car manufacturer cited positive experiences in other European markets as the impetus for evaluating the independence of its Group-owned retail branches within Germany. The statement noted, “After very positive experiences in various European markets, we are now also examining how we can set up our Group-owned retail branches more independently in Germany.”

While considering a potential sale to experienced and renowned dealer groups, Mercedes-Benz emphasized that such a move is currently under evaluation and not ruled out. The plans are reportedly awaiting approval from the carmaker’s supervisory board, with Germany’s Handelsblatt daily being the first to report on the impending review.

Mercedes-Benz clarified that the review would be conducted on an individual and branch-specific basis, dispelling any notions of a blanket closure of branches. The focus would be on 20 branches housing 80 dealerships and employing approximately 8,000 individuals, according to Handelsblatt. The German daily estimated the value of each branch to be up to 40 million euros.

Prospective buyers eyeing these branches must meet specific criteria set by Mercedes-Benz, including possessing “automobile retail expertise” and committing to job guarantees in Germany. The overarching goal, as stated by the carmaker, is to ensure the long-term sustainability of regional jobs and maintain the competitiveness of the branches.

This move follows a pattern for Mercedes-Benz, which has previously divested itself of showrooms in various European countries, including the UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the Czech Republic, in past years. The outcome of the supervisory board’s decision on Friday will shed light on the carmaker’s strategic direction in the competitive German automotive market.

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