Mercedes-Benz has announced (08/11/00) the launch of a new integrated used car sales operation in the UK that will sell used cars direct from the manufacturer to the customer. This latest investment in the retail business is designed to further strengthen the company's ownership of the life cycle of Mercedes-Benz products and management of the entire brand experience.

As part of this initiative DaimlerChrysler UK announced the acquisition of Lex Autosales in a deal worth £17.95 million. The sale covers seven sites and will include the continued employment of staff at each site.

The new operation will consist of a national network of branded Mercedes-Benz centres and, for the first time in the UK, will provide customers of used vehicles with a complete retail experience unique to one brand.

This new operation will supplement the sales already achieved through the franchised dealer network and supports their activities in what has been identified as a rapidly growing market.

The new business will be headed by John Bissett formerly General Manager Used Vehicles at DaimlerChrysler UK.

Joachim Eberhardt, Managing Director of DaimlerChrysler UK said:

"Over the last year we have been working on a project in which we have identified a growing demand for Mercedes-Benz used vehicles. It also identified the need to develop new ways of selling to satisfy that demand. This new structure will allow us to deliver to our customers an integrated Mercedes-Benz experience across an extended product life cycle from virtual to physical retailing."

Dermot Kelly, Director Passenger Cars, Mercedes-Benz said:

"We are delighted to have secured this purchase in which we are able to extend our own presence in the retail market. It provides us with the critical ingredients to meet the future needs of the used car market from which both the business and more importantly the customer will benefit.

"Over the next few years there will be a substantial increase in the demand for used cars which our current dealer network cannot satisfy alone. This new business will enable us to maximise that potential growth whilst ensuring our franchised dealer network continues to grow this important part of the business with an approved supply of vehicles," he said.