Mercedes Group Buy Campaign: Selling a Car a Minute

Joining the ranks of The Gap and Dell, Mercedes is venturing into the Group Buy arena – allowing consumers to club together and buy its diminutive Smart car at a group discount (-22%) off list price.

Trialling the group-buy deal in China, on the “Juhuasuan” group-buy platform of China’s largest e-commerce site Taobao, Mercedes sold 205 Smart cars in 204 minutes on September 9, 2010. Not bad, considering Mercedes usually sells only one Smart car a day in China.

Even with slashed margins per vehicle, the increase in volume sales may have made the deal worthwhile for Mercedes as well as their happy new customers (the Smart car usually retails for RMB175,000 (US$25,750) in China, with the group buy deal offering the car for RMB135,000 (US$19,860)).  And then there’s the publicity.  According to People’s Daily, the first car was sold in 24 seconds, 55 cars were sold after six minutes and 205 cars were gone after three and a half hours.

So two questions: 1) When will Mercedes roll out Group Buy in the US and Europe?  And 2) When will a startup step up to create a US/EU version of Taobao’s “Juhuasuan” group-buy platform to host these deals?

If Groupon is the fastest growing company ever – selling group-buy vouchers for low value goods and services – just think about the potential for a group-buy platform for big ticket items?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by david barrowcliff, Paul Marsden, Sean Weller, Mustafa Duran, GiantnerdCEO-Randall and others. GiantnerdCEO-Randall said: Mercedes Group Buy Campaign. Selling a car a minute […]

  2. September 29, 2010

    Thanks for the post. I am currently doing some Smart Car research for the Central Florida dealership. This was helpful.

    • September 30, 2010

      Glad you found it useful Omarr…

      • Matt Dailey
        May 16, 2011

        Hi Paul,

        Thinking about level of personalisation people like with their cars, was there a set specification that everyone had to accept (when was this communicated to customers?) or was there a set amount of variance allowed and again when was this communicated?
        Many thanks

  3. […] to Paul Marsden, a digital marketer, the deal is not bad, considering Mercedes usually sells only one Smart car a […]

  4. […] in China ‘Tuangou‘ has spread online to 1,664 group-buy social commerce platforms; Mercedes recently sold a car a minute on one such group-buy site.  In the US, retailers – online and store-based – are […]

  5. […] Select Players: Lashou (100+ cities)…, Meituan 12 Cities (leading group buying site in China)…, Dingping Tuan (7 Cities)…, QQ Tuan 11 Cities… Juhuansuan (part Taobao [ran the Mercedes group-buy deal) […]

  6. […] ticket items are not new to group-buy platforms, Mercedes sells cars on them, opticians (Foulkes) offering $4000 eye surgery on them (for $2000 – 237 purchases), and bike […]

  7. […] the future of social buying will lie in specialization, luxury, kids, sports, travel, wine, auto (Mercedes sells cars on Group Buy sites) – and especially B2B – is an early pioneer in this space.  Our […]

  8. June 22, 2011

    Yeah for cars there are few sites around now. I saw a different concept on

    Check it out.

  9. […] View article: Mercedes Group Buy Campaign: Selling a Car a Minute | Social … […]

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