Collaboration with body and conversion partners is of particular importance to Mercedes-Benz Vans and is one of its success factors in the van industry. At the IAA for Commercial Vehicles in 2018, the Vans division presented the so-called “Conversion World” for the first time. A digital platform on which end customers have the opportunity to search for and compare body and conversion solutions before contacting suppliers directly. Categorised into eight sectors and accessible in 13 languages, the website now offers more than 110 products as well as the possibility to contact certified bodybuilders. Among the products on offer are low-level platforms for Sprinters, shelving installation for the Vito or refrigeration equipment for the Citan urban delivery van.
Ex-factory and partner-built solutions for daily transport tasks
Thanks to Conversion World, end customers are able to enter the product world using an intelligent search function, a soft configurator which questions the intended purpose of the vehicle solution or which allows users to access the relevant sector directly. Alternatively, clustering the offers into eight sectors (from construction to service, trades and services, CEP and logistics industries, retail and eGrocery industries, passenger transportation, solutions for persons with restricted mobility and finally emergency and municipal vehicles) provides a selected overview of those offers. Within those sectors, the body and conversion solutions are presented in a user-friendly manner, providing fast access to information and photos. Offers are complemented by company portraits of certified partners, accompanied by video reviews from selected bodybuilders.
At Conversion World, interested parties will find standard ex-factory solutions which have been developed in collaboration with partners and which are particularly in demand. In addition, certified conversion partners present numerous solutions as part of dual-invoice transactions. The manufacturers meet the given requirements with regard to quality, sales, technology and after-sales services and are assessed and certified by Mercedes-Benz Vans. Conversion World can be experienced under the following link: https://conversion-world.mercedes-benz.com/
New partner model promotes marketing of ex-factory solutions
Conversion World is an example for the newly oriented partner model at Mercedes-Benz Vans. By introducing this new orientation, the company is now doing more than just helping body and conversion partners with the promotion of their partner solutions. “For twelve years, Mercedes-Benz Vans has been working very intensively with bodybuilders to promote joint product solutions. Using our revised partnership model, we want to strengthen our collaboration whilst at the same time opening up new opportunities for manufacturers to position themselves on the market as partners of Mercedes-Benz Vans. In addition to existing benefits, we are offering concrete measures with which suppliers can underscore their competence and expertise as bodybuilders for Mercedes-Benz Vans. More than 300 certified partners from over 35 countries make use of this offer of intensive partnership”, says Peter Strobach, Head of the Bodybuilder Center for Mercedes-Benz Vans.
New orientation of the partner model with two partner labels in future
Following the new orientation, there will now be two labels for two different partner levels at Mercedes-Benz Vans. Mercedes-Benz VanPartner is the basis for a more intensive partnership and is destined for bodybuilders whose individual partner solutions deliver impressive competence and expertise. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz VanSolution Partner is the partner label for standard ex-factory body solutions. Mercedes-Benz Vans uses this label to distinguish strategic partners who are also involved in the development of new products.
With this distinction, body and conversion manufacturers demonstrate their strengths, whilst their importance to Mercedes-Benz Vans is obvious at first glance. There are also new opportunities which can be used for the presentation of the manufacturers’ own image: the close relation with Mercedes-Benz is recognisable inside and outside their premises, as well as in brochures, on the Internet, at trade fairs and in their day-to-day correspondence.
Become a certified Mercedes-Benz VanPartner
Bodybuilders in 35 countries already have the opportunity to achieve Mercedes-Benz VanPartner status via an evaluation system. An evaluation is made using a catalogue of specifications pertaining to sales, service, quality and technology. As soon as the bodybuilder has received this distinction, the company can communicate the good news actively and can make use of the specifically developed label to present itself as a partner of Mercedes-Benz Vans and, for example, submit body and conversion solutions for Conversion World.
Bodybuilders are companies which equip commercial vehicles with special bodies. The bodies available from bodybuilders include box bodies, refrigeration vehicles or highly-complex fire service bodies. In addition to the bodybuilders, there are also conversion specialists who expand (e.g. camper vans), convert (e.g. all-wheel drive or solutions with three or more axles), fit (e.g. workshop installations) or attach (e.g snow ploughs) equipment. All of these manufacturers are classified as bodybuilders.
Source: Mercedes-Benz Vans