20 sep 23

“Seize the opportunities of this transformation”

Mercedes-Benz sponsors the Global Fleet Manager Award at this year’s Fleet Europe Awards (23 November, Lisbon). An excellent occasion to have a quick Q&A with Sabrina Eickelkamp, Head of International Corporate and Direct Sales at Mercedes-Benz, on the company’s take on the state of global fleet management today. 

Everybody’s talking about sustainability, and moving towards fleet electrification. How is Mercedes-Benz responding to this trend? 

“We take responsibility for the environment in which we operate. That’s why sustainability is the foundation of our electric-only strategy. It is our top priority to become all-electric by 2030, wherever market conditions allow. We will be ready, and remain flexible to respond to market conditions. We’re preparing for further EV growth and investing in three new vehicle platforms. From 2025, all new vehicle architectures will be all-electric.”

“And on top of that, we’ve set ourselves the target of making our fleet of new passenger cars net carbon-neutral along the entire value chain – and this by 2039, 11 years earlier than EU law demands.”

“To support the EV strategy of our fleet customers, Mercedes-Benz will establish its own-brand global high-power charging network, supplied with green energy wherever possible. We will install more than 10,000 chargers in North America, Europe, China and other key markets before the decade is out. The network will be open to all brands, but with pre-booking and other exclusive benefits for Mercedes-Benz customers.”

“Additionally, we are relying on collaborations such as Ionity (the joint-venture charging network founded by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford and VW, Ed.) and the recently-announced joint venture of seven OEMs (BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Stellantis and Mercedes-Benz announced in July they would install at least 30,000 high-powered chargers along highways and in cities across North America, Ed.) to expand charging options for our customers.”

Digitization is the other major trend impacting the global fleet market. What’s your take?

“Indeed, next to the move towards electro-mobility, we see digitization – including online sales – as a major trend. We are increasingly connecting the online world to the offline world. With the agency model as a key enabler, Mercedes-Benz is working on offering a fully digital car-buying experience via online stores, but also on an elevated physical retail experience, with new iconic store concepts. We want both options to give our customers the true ‘Mercedes-Benz experience’ they are looking for, always according to their needs. With our concept CLA Class, which we just presented at the IAA in Munich, Mercedes-Benz has a clear vision of the path to our future.”

You’re on the jury for this year’s Fleet Europe Awards. What are you looking for in the candidates?

“First off, I hope to see candidates who are seizing the opportunities generated by the ongoing transformation of our industry, and who are reflecting this in their respective car policies. There should be a clear focus on electrification, digitization and connectivity of their multi-brand, multi-country fleets. Especially important for managing international fleets is the use of digitized tools and solutions.”

“Also, since vehicle selection remains an emotional experience, and sometimes a time-consuming one as well, I’m wondering whether we will see any ideas to simplify and smooth the communication between sourcing manager and user-chooser, in order to increase time-efficiency.”

The Fleet Europe Awards are part of the Fleet Europe Days (22-23 November) in Lisbon, Portugal. Click here to learn more and to reserve your place.

Image: Fleet Europe