Daimler Marketing and Sales History

Daimler Marketing and Sales History
November 2009
  • From the outset the automobile calls for a dedicated sales organisation
  • Constant adaptation to the prevailing circumstances and economic realities
The invention of the automobile in 1886 was at the same time the invention of automobile marketing and sales, because the new product called for a new kind of sales structure. It differed from all previous technical products for the final consumer in many respects that remain characteristic to this day: for instance, the operation especially of the early motorcars required a great deal of explanation. Indirectly linked with sales was also the demand to ensure proper servicing and repair of the automobile in combination with the supply of spare parts and the accompanying transport logistics. Internationality further added to the complexity of the topic of sales, with all its facets: from the very start motor vehicles were exported and soon were to be found on all continents.
In its almost 125-year history Daimler AG thus looks back not only on pioneering technical and entrepreneurial achievements, but pioneering ventures in the field of automobile marketing and sales as well. This extensive history now is available in condensed form. The account shows above all how sales must constantly adapt to the prevailing circumstances and economic realities.
The early period is described first, and in close temporal linkage with it the first foreign sales, initially to France and Britain, but soon also to the USA, for example. A major break was caused by the First World War, after which sales was given new structures. The 1920s and 1930s raised new challenges, for instance through the merger of Benz & Cie. and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft into Daimler-Benz AG in 1926, but also the world economic crisis. The Second World War marked another major turning point; domestic and foreign sales subsequently were extensively reorganised. In the years and decades after, the worldwide sales activities expanded almost continuously through the growth of unit volume. Further circumstances to which sales and marketing must adjust include company mergers and the advancing globalisation of trade. 


First ever competitive vehicle run from Paris to Rouen, 22 July 1894. Emile Roger in the 3-hp Benz Vis-à-Vis finished in 14th place. Drawing by Hans Liska dated 1960.
Mercedes-Benz sales and service outlet Rostock in the 1930s. Benz & Cie. opened a branch there in 1911.
DMG sales and service outlet in Frankfurt/Main at Rathenauplatz, around 1920: for a brief period at the beginning of the 20th century, DMG sales throughout Germany were organised from Frankfurt, the major trading centre.
The West End Motor Co. in Glasgow: Mercedes-Verkaufsstelle in Schottland, frühe 1920er Jahre.
“General Agent for France, Belgium and America”: newspaper advertisement of “Mercedes Palace” in Paris, published around 1905.
The West End Motor Co. in Glasgow: Mercedes sales outlet in Scotland, early 1920s.
Elegant interior: Mercedes sales outlet in Paris on the splendid Avenue de Champs Élysées, around 1910.
Modern flair in the fashion capital of the world: Mercedes-Benz in Paris, photographed around 1980.
Modern flair in the fashion capital of the world: Mercedes-Benz in Paris, photographed around 1980.
“Mercedes-Garage”: palatial showroom in The Hague, Netherlands, around 1910.
“Mercedes-Benz Automobiel”: sales outlet in Amsterdam, Netherlands, around 1926.
The Daimler Company Ltd., Coventry: around the turn of the 20th century the company was one of the biggest automobile factories in the world; Gottlieb Daimler had a hand in founding it.
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Large-scale order for China: the Gaggenau plant handed over the 2000th truck of a major contract in March 1938.
Early foreign production: Daimler Manufacturing Company on Long Island, New York, USA, photographed around 1895.
“Wheeling Motors”: night photograph of a Mercedes-Benz salesroom, probably taken in the U.S.A. in the 1960s.
Pioneer car salesman: businessman Emil Jellinek (1853-1918) sold DMG’s Mercedes cars very successfully.
On the black continent: a Mercedes-Benz W 110 series “Tailfin”. Photographed in the 1960s.
On the way to Argentina: Mercedes-Benz trolleybuses, type O 6600 T, 1951.
Fashionable flair by night: Mercedes-Benz in Graz, Austria, in the 1950s.
Public conveyance: Mercedes-Benz O 319 buses in Africa, probably in the 1960s.
Early Benz sales: the Royal Garage in Milan, Italy, photographed around 1910. But products competing with Mercedes also could be had, as the sign in the gateway reveals.
Assembly facility for the “American Mercedes” in New York, 1906: Daimler Motor Co. was set up to get around the high import duties and offer competitive prices.
Mercedes automobiles sold here: a sales outlet of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft around 1910, probably in Strasbourg in the Alsace.
Top product at a top location: Mercedes-Benz sales outlet in Paris at Avenue des Champs-Élysées 138, around 1928.
Address with a fine ring to it: C. L. Charley operated the “Mercedes Palace” sales outlet on Avenue de Champs Élysées in Paris (around 1905).
Mercedes-Benz for California, U.S.A.: sales outlet in Los Angeles, probably photographed in the 1920s.
Advertising with the portrait of the inventor: street scene in Finland, probably photographed in 1910 or thereabouts.
New York in the 1950s: a Mercedes-Benz intermediate range car, popularly referred to as the “Ponton”, against an impressive skyline.
Central location: Mercedes-Benz salesroom in the middle of New York. Photographed in the 1950s.
Early foreign production: Daimler Manufacturing Company on Long Island, New York, USA, photographed around 1895.
Two partners in India: emblem of Tata Mercedes-Benz (around 1979), a joint venture for commercial vehicle manufacture.
Striking advertising: Mercedes-Benz neon sign in Hong Kong, around 1960.
The first motorcar in South Africa was a Benz Velo (built from 1894 to 1900). To the right of the vehicle the owner A. P. Hess.
Two automotive pioneers in France around 1904/1906: seated at the wheel is C. L. Charley, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft agent in Paris. Emil Jellinek (on the right, with light-coloured hat) walks towards the car.
The automobile overcomes national boundaries: Switzerland was among the early customer countries of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. Photographed around 1910.
Mercedes-Benz agents and service outlet: Garage Ottiger A.G. in Lucerne, Switzerland, around 1950.
Turkey: a Mercedes-Benz MB 800 beverage truck. Photo made in 1996.
After the merger: the branch in Frankfurt/Main at Rathenauplatz (photographed in 1927) emerged from a sales and service outlet of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. (Also see photo No. 1975DIG965.)
Benz & Cie. in Hamburg: a sales and service outlet was set up in the Hanseatic city as early as 1899.
Important foreign location: since 1997 the Mercedes-Benz M-Class is manufactured in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; the R-Class too since 2005.