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The Business Strategy of Mercedes benz

2015-04-20 20:45 字体:   打印 收藏 

 
Abstract
In this report the Mercedes Benz, a multinational automobile company has been critically analysed. The report mainly highlight the strategies which it adopted to not only survive in the market but also to lead the market, the company’s long term strategy, market position and external and internal environment have been analysed. Mercedes Benz uses differentiation strategy by inventing high tech automobiles but when the economic crisis hit the market it opted for a strategy which allowed it to deal with the problem without changing its target market or price of vehicles.
 
 
Introduction
In this report an critical analysis Mercedes Benz has been done, the overall strategy of the company and various strategies which it uses are analysed using different models and theories including swot analysis of the auto-motives industry, pestle analysis of the company Mercedes Benz porters five forces and VRIO analysis to understand the company’s market positioning strategy, strengths and weaknesses and the strategy adopted by the company which makes it a leading company worldwide.
 
Mercedes Benz is basically a multinational brand of a German automobile manufacturer AG Daimler; the brand offers a wide range of automobiles include buses coach’s trucks and luxury vehicles. The head quarter of the Mercedes Benz is in Stuttgart Germany. The first vehicle of Mercedes Benz was launched in the year 1926 under the brand name Daimler Benz but the origin of the company was from the Daimler Motormen Gesellschaft in the year 1901 and Karl Benz‘s motorwagen in the year 1886 which is rumoured to be the very first car in the history (Yip, 1989).  Mercedes Benz is among the world’s top three luxury car manufacturers and company is a part of the GERMAN BIG 3 TITLE which is given to the top three car manufacturers of the world including BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz  (Knowledgebase, n.d.).
 
1. Strategy of Mercedes Benz
1.1 What is strategy
According to Johnson (2005), strategy is the long-term direction of an organisation, it could help an enterprise to achieve goals and objectives by adapting necessary action, allocate available resources and solve critical problems. Goal achieving in changing environment depends on acquiring sustainable competitive advantages and has strong competence to make better use of resources and adapt the environment (strategy capabilities). Once these conditions are satisfied, individual's organisation tend to be successful. 
 
1.2 Long-term strategy of Mercedes Benz
The company is over a century old and it has not only managed to achieve success but also has managed to maintain it, now the company is focusing on the long term strategy of growth which will be implemented in the branches of Mercedes Benz in the world. The latest long term strategy of Mercedes Benz it called the 2020 growth strategy in which the company is planning to occupy not only the premium segment of the population but also plans to do so while maintaining its units of sale, brand, product and profitability (Baker, 2011).  
 
 
The company has planned to achieve these goals by various pre planned sets of activities. The most important factor is that Mercedes Benz obtained competitive advantages, that is to say, it has distinctive resources rather than simply adapting to the external environment. The distinctive resources of Mercedes Benz are high brand image and reputation (Johnson, 2014). Mercedes Benz built its brand over hundred years, which is very difficult for other organisations to achieve. It is also focusing on strengthening its core values of the brand, which include fascination, perfection and responsibility (Daimler, 2014). Furthermore, Daimler wants to broaden the target market segment and wants to introduce their products to the young people of the world. For this purpose the company is planning to introduce 5 more models of compact engine car and CLA shooting brake (Stuttgart, 2014).
 
1.3 Strategic position of Mercedes Benz
The strategic positioning of the company is down in a way that is considered a sign of success and its slogan is “elegance and authenticity through excellence in engineering”. The company positioned itself not for the products features but for the emotional value which it offers to the people. The tag line of the brand is nothing or best (Basha, 2010).
 
1.4 SWOT analysis of Mercedes Benz
According to Albert (2005), SWOT is a strategic planning method which is used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of specify the objective of the business venture or project. It could help Mercedes Benz to identify the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. However, this model also has limitation (Hall, 1999). SWOT analysis is time-sensitive, it only represents the time for making the analysis, the company in which environment of internal and external.
 
Strengths of Mercedes Benz 
Mercedes Benz has strengths which is strong brand image and reputation. Mercedes-Benz company's concept of brand is elegant, comfortable, safe, which can be delivered to the customer by high-quality products and a strong engine (Daimler, 2014). Once this idea be mentioned, people tend to associated it with Mercedes Benz. Since the brand association are build, it is hardly taken by others companies, such a connection not only is the brand reputation of Mercedes Benz, but also is an unique resources. Therefore, Mercedes Benz have strategic capability that can help it to gain competitive advantages and allow it to become a legend worldwide.
 
 
Pricing strategy of Mercedes Benz 
The Mercedes Benz's vehicles are very expensive. For example, the price of 2014 Mercedes Benz S65AMGL is £170,000 (Mercedes-Benz, 2014). So, some people think the high price is a weakness of Mercedes Benz but it is not true. Mercedes-Benz's high price is mainly due to the company's differentiation strategy. In other words, Mercedes-Benz vehicles for the customer is a valuable and rarely products, and this value is difficult to imitate (Han, 2013). Therefore, these advantages will be converted into price premium of products. The target customers are willing to pay these costs to meet their psychological needs. So, the high price could bring excess profits for the Mercedes Benz, which is a good news. 
 
Threats of Mercedes Benz 
For Mercedes Benz, it is a severe fact that increasingly drastic competition of automotive industry. According to Zetsche (Clack, 2012), as for the luxury-car segment ,Mercedes has been trailing since losing the top spot to BMW in 2005. moreover, The Daimler unit’s sales have advanced 19 percent through this year while BMW increased 31 percent and a dramatically 70 percent jump experienced by Audi. Obviously, existing strong competitors with similar products and brands is one of the main reasons leading to drastic competition. Furthermore, as Doherty stated, small companies can affect the sales of the Mercedes, which made the market saturate more. Therefore, the increasingly drastic competition of automotive industry is the biggest threats to Mercedes-Benz.
 
2. Environment analysis and discussion 
In this section of the report the environmental analysis of the brand is conducted in order to understand the position of company in the market currently and to predict it for the future. There are two types of environment in which a brand can be analysed; macro environment and micro environment in this analysis of the brand in both environment are conducted in order to be able understand the current situation of the brand in a better way (Copper, 2003).
 
2.1.Macro environment analysis —— PESTLE
In macro analysis the role of external factors which may affect the company are studied the PESTLE analysis technique is included in the macro analysis technique. PESTLE is a method for analysing the macro environment, which includes political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental (Dcosta, 2011). 
 
The PESTLE analysis has some contributions and limitations. PESTLE is a simple framework and easy to be used, which could help Mercedes Benz to reduce the impact and effects of potential threats and encourage the development of strategic thinking. However, time and cost are considered as key limitations in organization's survey because valid and useful information are too costly to collected by organizations without quality techniques (FME, 2013).
 
In terms of PESTLE analysis, Mercedes Benz's external environment is complex, but the key driver of the development of the Mercedes-Benz is technology (Technofunc, 2014). There are three reasons could explain why technology is the key driver. Firstly, the developed technology makes Mercedes-Benz has more comprehensive product portfolio to meet the needs of different market segments. Mercedes-Benz continues to upgrade its engine start with two-cylinder engine to 4 cylinders, 6 cylinder, 8-cylinder and 12-cylinder engine at present (Mbusa, 2014). These engines not only enhance the performance and quality of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, but also provide more choices for consumers. Secondly, technology could helps Mercedes Benz have ability to follow low-carbon dioxide policy which is a global trend, thus the company could occupy more market share. Their aim is to markedly reduce fuel consumption and emissions. To this end, developing advanced spectrum of state-of-the-art drive technologies is the main undergoing process (Daimler, 2014). Finally, in 2014, Mercedes-Benz launched a new braking system and airbag systems which enhance the degree of safety and comfort of vehicles, hence greatly improving the company's brand reputation. Obviously, technology is the key driving in the automotive industry and is crucial for Mercedes Benz. In other words, technology, as a key driver, once be grasped by Mercedes Benz, it could help the company to adapt the turbulence external environment.
 
2.2 Micro environment analysis 
There are different methods to analyse the micro environment of the company but two only three of them are used in this report to analysis the micro element which affect the strategy of the company. The three analysis techniques used to study micro elements affecting the strategy of Mercedes Benz include 
Porter’s Five Forces
Clock strategy
VRIO framework (Dhamija, 2014)
 
2.2.1 Industry environment analysis —— Porter's five force
The porters five force model determine the rules of developing a competitive strategy in order to survive in a particular industry, the rules which the company has take care of include five elements (Porter, 1980).
 
 
Figure 1: Porters Five Force Model
 
Source: Adapted from M.E. Porter, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors © 1980,  Free Press, 1980, p. 4. Copyright 1980,1988 by The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc. Reproduced with permission
 
Basically, porter’s five forces help to analysis industries economics. Moreover, it is regarded as an essential tool for organizations to recognise the big picture and the organizational position. However, this model based on the assumption that there are less likely to have collaboration but competition in a industry. It is have been argued that the operation of business need various types of collaboration (Conklin and Tapp .2000). 
 
The analysis of Mercedes Benz based on this above mentioned rules indicate the following 
New competitor’s entry in the market 
The Mercedes Benz faces an intense competition from small car manufacturing company and the reason these small companies can affect the sales of the Mercedes is the economic crisis faced by the world people prefer to opt for a small less costly car (Doherty, 2005).
The threat from the already available substitutes 
The substitute of the company are BMW and Audi both of the companies are market leader like Mercedes Benz, so the fact that they all are facing the same economic crisis and the sales of all three brands is down, on the other hand as Mercedes is the innovation company from these three then it give it a competitive advantage over the others (Caliskan, 2010). 
The power of the consumer to bargain
Mercedes is rigid in its price this is the reason because the company does not offer vehicles for the young people because they fail to afford the luxury cares of Mercedes so this is a big drawback for sales of the company because it rigid on its prices.
The power of supplier to bargain
The company does bargains with the suppliers, suppliers are first carefully selected by carrying out bidding then a fixed price is set by multi consent then material is provided by the supplier.
The rivalry between the existing competitors 
The rivalry between the three competitors is very high all of the three companies sometimes launch new cars at same. The media and analyst conduct comparisons and reviews of the launched cars and intensify the competition and rivalry between them (Drugan, 2009).
 
Consequently, the increasingly drastic competition of automotive industry is not conducive to the development of Mercedes-Benz. Therefore, Mercedes-Benz need to develop long-term strategies and emergency strategies to resist competitive pressure within industry.
 
2.2.2 Company analysis —— Strategy clock 
Bowman's strategy clock is a graphical which represent the relationship between customer value and price (Bowman, 1997). The framework allows company to travel eight different directions, thus providing a different value of the product to the customer. 
 
The Bowman’s strategy clock has some contributions and limitations. On one hand, strategy clock is a simple and easy to used model which could help Mercedes Benz to understand how it compete in the market. That is to say, strategy clock could help Mercedes Benz to evaluate the current strategy, to clear the strategic position and to create the competitive advantages (Simister, 2011). On the other hand, strategy clock need to use in certain conditions but it not statement what these conditions are. Then, costermers are sensitive to slightly changes on price, such a characteristic greatly reducing the strategic clock accuracy of the forecasts (Simister, 2011).
 
Figure 2: The Strategy Clock
 
Source: Adapted from D. Faulkner and C. Bowman, The Essence of Competitive Strategy, Prentice Hall, 1995
 
The SWOT analysis conducted previously in this report that main strength of the Mercedes Benz is that is lead the market by differentiation strategy. The reason it adopt a differentiation strategy it to lead the market and have a competition advantage over other competitors such as BMW and Audi. in order to under this concept in a better way bowman’s strategic option clock model is applied on the Mercedes Benz .The Mercedes Benz’s main strategy is differentiation and it does not sell it on low price so it is not a hybrid strategic option, instead its main segment is middle age men and women belonging to middle and higher class so this indicates that Mercedes Benz lies in second and fourth quadrant of the figure adopted a focus differentiation strategy which has a high perceived value in the eye of the customer and it is also a high price. For example, AMG series and S Classic series of Mercedes-Benz is the Mercedes-Benz's high-end products. These vehicles have strong power and luxurious appearance which completely different from the ordinary car. Obviously, the price of these vehicles are extremely expensive, ranging from £110,000 to £170,000 (Mercedes-Benz, 2014). Therefore, the Mercedes Benz’s main strategy is differentiation.
 
2.2.3 Company analysis —— VRIO
To further this the strategic option of Mercedes is analysed by VRIO frame work advantage of the Mercedes Benz and it covers four dimension valuable, rarity of product, cost to imitate, organised to capture value. (Han, 2013)
Figure 2: VRIO Framework
 
Johns, G. Whittington, R. & Scholes, K. Exploring Strategy 9th edition 2011 Prentice Hall
Firstly, Mercedes-Benz has value of strategic capabilities. (Johnson, 2005) Mercedes-Benz products deliver its value for customers, including the emotional value and additional value. The point is that Mercedes-Benz could make customers to recognize this value, so the company will have a value of strategic capability, which can be seen as a bridge link Mercedes-Benz company and its customers.
 
Secondly, the Mercedes-Benz have rarity capability. "Rarity capability are those possessed uniquely by one organisation or by a few others" (Johnson, 2005, P 77). Mercedes-Benz has Rarity capacity that it has a competitive advantage, in other words, it must have unique resources or capabilities (brand reputation) which is difficult to copy by rivals.
 
Thirdly, the Mercedes-Benz has inimitable capabilities. Inimitable capabilities refers to those that competitors are hardly or costly to substitute (Johnson, 2005). Mercedes-Benz has its own unique history and accumulated experience. For example, Mercedes-Benz is derived from the name of her daughter's friend Karl Benz, its stand for happiness and elegant, which is the Mercedes strategic concept now. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz accumulated experience enable it to continuously reduce costs, and enhance competitiveness.
 
However, such capabilities are less likely to last permanently, Mercedes-Benz need to well organized these capabilities to ensure a sustainable competitive advantages and stay the leading position in automotive industry
 
2.3 Turbulent environment strategy development and change
Mercedes Benz is having a damaging effect on the environment it used car which emit a lot of carbon dioxide and company wants to change and it can change this issue by introducing fuel efficient cars. The turbulent environment is the external environmental problems which cause instability of the organisational structure and performance issues. The problems faced by the Mercedes Benz are critically evaluated below.
 
3. Evaluating strategies of Mercedes Benz 
The economic crisis faced by the world is creating a big issue for the business of the world, most of the organisations are reducing their prices in order to increase the over sales of the organisation and to compete in the market effectively (Copper, 2003). Another problem  for Mercedes Benz  is that is uses all the original parts its automobile which makes more costly than other brands  so people for the opt for other cheaper brands because of the strong competition in the market this problem is effecting the profitability of the organisation and the second reason is the economic crisis . Mercedes Benz also cannot produce fuel efficient or to introduce oxygen omitting vehicles as it will cost it a lot. Even the diesel hybrid model of Mercedes which are costly as compared to other vans such as Toyota in luxury cars the c class of the Mercedes Benz is very popular but is one of weakness for the brand (Hoek, 2011).
 
The Mercedes Benz shifted its focus from luxury to safety in its marketing campaign. When the economic crisis hit markets the priorities of the buyers shifted from who has the most expensive car in friends to how little one spend on a new car, even the buyers did not want to being bankrupt over a brand name, at that Mercedes started thinking how to relaunch the product from a different angle  (Baker, 2011). The Mercedes Benz still didn’t want to sell the vehicles at a lower cost or select a new market segment instead it launch its new vehicles with emphasizing over a new feature and selling it to the same target market. The company declares it to be a life - saving car, and the mocked the new hybrid and fuels saving cars by saying these less expensive cars have provided the Mercedes Benz to focus on safety of the people (Cooper, 2009).
 
 
Conclusion
In the end it can be conclude that Mercedes has a very strong market position and it has been leading the industry for over a century now. If the company alters its strategic management and market strategy and include vehicles for young people at low price the company can increase the average sells of the company more than it can increase its sale by introducing these safety cars.
 
Recommendations 
It is recommended the Mercedes Benz should focus on make the unique policy such as providing more security to the customers and they should try to reach out to the  potential customers and inform them about the product feature using different channels, forums advertisement social media sites, digital media marketing is one of the most effective  marketing techniques these days.  Mercedes Benz can retain its old customer as well attract new customer by using direct marketing approach. Telemarketing is also a good marketing strategy through which the company can take direct feedback from the customer about the product; there is no need of signal, expensive advertisement campaign (Horváthová & Davidová, 2011). There are four elements of direct marketing, an offer which a marketer gives to his potential, a clear call to action, providing the customer with enough information to make the right decision when the customer is making a choice about a product and the last element is responding to the needs of the customer via email, through a webpage, through a toll free number etc. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix
1. SWTO analysis of Mercedes Benz
Strengths
Leader is creating innovative vehicles, diesel engine anti - locking brakes and fuel injections 
Mercedes Benz is among the leading automobile manufacturers of the world.
No financial and capital constraints
Mercedes Benz is a well - established company and produces high quality vehicles.
Strong branding strategy. 
Provides Luxury vehicles with solid design and comfortable rides. 
Company has access to global market with a wide range of agreements and alliances 
Weaknesses
The vehicles are very expensive 
The brand marketing campaign are rare and the manufacturing of the vehicles take a very long time which leads to impatient costumers.
Does not care about changing consumer needs
Opportunities 
Creating hybrid and fuel efficient cars 
Exploring the developing countries’ emerging market like china and India 
Creating new products for a different market segment
Increased income of the and fast growing luxury car market 
Threats
Increasing competition  from global automobile manufacturers 
Increased taxes on the luxury cars  from different governments
Increased fuel prices 
Social and cultural factors affect the future profitability (Chatterjee, 2009) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. PESTLE analysis of Mercedes Benz
A PESTLE analysis of Mercedes Benz is given below
Political factors 
The new policy of the united Europe on emission of carbon dioxide from new should be cut down to 130g/km by the year 2015 
The chances of reduction in legal hurdles with European car manufacturer will be reduced in next 5 years
Road tax will be equal to the quantity of carbon dioxide is emitted and MOT, prices will be increased.
Government has shown interest in making the automobile industry less rigid 
Economic Factor 
Economic crisis  affected the automobile manufacturers badly including Mercedes Benz  the sales rate are dropping and some of the company are even force to close their manufacturing plant due to extreme loss in business. 
The difference between the euro and pound lead to the sterling effect on the price of automobile (Copper, 2003).
Social factor 
Mercedes target market are middle aged people and ignore the young people due to the fact that they cannot afford the brand as it is too expensive and young people cannot afford it so it targeted high class middle aged people.
Lack of wide range of target market due to price constraints.
Technological Factors 
Advance technology application in the manufacturing of cars include the shatter proof windscreen , collapsible ,air bags etc
The efficiency of the manufacturing plant also affects the overall progress of the company.
Another factor which is independent from the PEST analysis but also has a huge impact on the company’s external environment includes ethical factor
Ethical Factor
Ethical factors have a huge impact on the external environment of the company factors such as consent, confidentiality, business terms office secret act and business ethics extra.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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