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World Class in the Deep South Aloof Serious Not youthful Definitely not fun These were the unfortunate epithets applied

World Class in the Deep South “Aloof.” “Serious,” “Not youthful.” “Definitely, not fun.” These were the unfortunate epithets applied to Mercedes-Bent by a market research firm that assesses product personalities. Research among dealers in the United States also revealed that consumers felt so intimidated by Mercedes that they wouldn’t sit in the cars at the showroom. To boost sales and broaden the market to a more youthful and value – conscious consumer, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (www.mbusi.com) came up with a series of inventive, free-spirited ads featuring stampeding rhinos and bobbing aliens. Although the new ads boosted sales, the company needed more than a new marketing message to ensure its future growth. What it needed was an ad-new Mercedes. Enter the Mercedes M- Class, a sports utility vehicle (SUV). Mercedes places its M-Class to compete squarely against the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Not only was the M-Class Mercedes’ first SUV, it was also the first car that Mercedes had manufactured outside Germany. The rough-hewn town of Vance. Alabama (population 400), in Tuscaloosa County is where people hang out at the local barbecue joint. And it is the last place you’d expect to find button – down engineers from Stuttgart, Germany. But this small town appealed to Mercedes for several reasons. Labor costs in the U.S. deep south are 50 percent lower than in Germany. Also, Alabama offered an attractive $250 million in tax refunds and other incentives to win the much-needed Mercedes jobs. Mercedes also wanted to be closer to the critical U.S. market and to create a plant from the ground up, that would be a model for its future international operations.

Apr 26 2020 View more View Less

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