When it comes to the all-important Gen Y car-buying demographic, Mercedes-Benz isn’t the first name that comes to mind. Instead, Gen Y buyers look at Mitsubiushi, Nissan and Honda, which means that Mercedes is losing potential buyers at a time when it’s branching out into even more affordable market segments. In the next year, Mercedes will launch a compact (B Class) and a subcompact (A Class), at prices not previously associated with Mercedes Benz in the United States.
Mercedes has to do something to attract Gen Y buyers, so they’re borrowing a page from Ford’s social media playbook. If you’re into action sports, Mercedes wants you to submit a 1 – 2 minute video of you doing your thing to Mercedes’ Facebook page. After the contest closes on October 14, Mercedes will pick the ten best entrants and give them a 2012 Mercedes Benz C-Class Coupe to use for one week; it will also fund your adventure by giving winners $2,000 for gas, food an (if necessary) bail money.
The 2012 C-Class Coupe starts at around $38,000, so I’m wondering how many Gen Y customers Mercedes will land (especially since Gen Y unemployment is around 20 percent these days). Still, the contest should put Mercedes on the radar of Gen Y buyers right before the automaker launches the more affordable B-Class and even cheaper A-Class. Is it cagy marketing or wishful thinking? You be the judge.