Mercedes-Benz coming to Bermuda
First ever showroom on the island for one of the world’s best loved marques
Friday, December 08, 2006 6:29 AM
It's coveted by everyone from foreign diplomats and film stars to rappers and racing car drivers.
Status Symbol: Affluent Bermudians looking for a new toy will have to wait till after Christmas for this one. Mercedes-Benz has entered into a deal with businessman Richard Davidge to sell the high-end automaker’s products in Bermuda, including this SLK sports car.
Now the fabled Mercedes-Benz marque is coming to Bermuda.
Though wealthy individuals have been able to import the cars for some time, the first-ever local dealership is set to open its doors.
Richard Davidge, who also sells Renaults, has secured a deal to sell Mercedes-Benz vehicles from Executive Auto Ltd, his auto dealership in Pembroke. He hopes to be up and running by mid-January.
"The Mercedes-Benz is a definitive car," he told us. "[Many Bermudians] are looking for a high-end vehicle."
He'll be offering three models - the B-Class hatch-back, the C-Class coupe and the SLK sports car.
Initially, Mr. Davidge will bring in five vehicles within the first three months of the New Year, but he doesn't expect them to stay in the showroom long.
He'll bring in an additional 20 B and C-Class models, but if you want the sports car, you'll have to order it directly.
He said the cars will be "fair and reasonably priced," with the B-Class starting at anywhere between $57,000-to-$58,000; the C-Class coupe between $60,000-to-$65,000; and the SLK sports car starting at $97,000.
"I'm looking at fair pricing of the vehicles [and] looking for fair value and return on my investment," Mr. Davidge said.
He said there are many Bermudians who don't bat an eyelid when paying tens of thousands of dollars for a car. "I recently heard of somebody paying $120,000 for a vehicle," he said.
Mr. Davidge stressed that the Mercedes he's bringing to the island are manufactured specifically for the Bermuda market.
"The cars haven't been sitting in some warehouse for years," he said. "They're being built for Bermuda."
The move here was part of Mercedes-Benz' larger push into the Caribbean, and it was a team of Benz salespeople who approached Mr. Davidge to be their local distributor.
"They came to Bermuda looking for somebody to introduce the car. I don't know who else they talked to but they decided on me," he said.
They picked him, in part because his was a smaller company, but with a full slate of sales and repair staff and equipment.
Asked if he thought talk of reducing the number of cars on the island - as reported in our paper on Wednesday - was a threat to his business, Mr. Davidge said he wasn't worried.
Besides, he noted, any new legislation would target the second-hand car market - a market he said was oversupplied.
"There a glut in the [second-hand] market. Just look how many cars are listed on e-Moo … the market is full."
He indicated one way to reduce the number of cars on the road was to enforce the current laws.
"No family is supposed to have a second vehicle … they should be looking at that."
To help service the Mercedes deal, Mr. Davidge has hired a sales manager and will hire another salesman closer to the launch date.
He may also hire another mechanic.
The new showroom, which is next to one of Mr. Davidge's Renault dealerships on Woodlands Road, is currently being revamped to fit the Mercedes-Benz style.
"There's a certain brand image and we have to keep that," he said.
"Our way of doing business is to look after the customer, to cater to them. The Mercedes customer is a premium customer.
"On the after-sales side [that is, for servicing], we'll pick up their vehicle at their home or office, and drop it off. I don't know anybody else who does that," he said. "We're trying to raise the bar."