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Mercedes-Benz hooks up with Europcar for its courtesy cars

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Mercedes partner with Europcar for courtesy cars

Providing courtesy cars for customers is something of a pain for car makers. Customers expect a courtesy car when they come in for repair or service or after an accident, and that’s not easy to manage. So car makers partner with car hire firms to make the whole thing work and, usually, know they can put a customer in a courtesy car whenever it’s needed.

Mercedes Benz has just announced that it’s now partnering with Europcar to provide its courtesy cars, where formerly that role was fulfilled by Enterprise.

Europcar say they are Europe’s biggest car hire firm, with more car hires to their name than any other car hire company. Which could be at the root of Mercedes decision to jump ship on Enterprise.

Last year Mercedes had huge issues with failed injectors on their cars with the OM651 engine. It lead to big numbers of Mercedes cars with the afflicted engine piling up in Mercedes dealer car parks, as Mercedes struggled to cope with the supply problems.

That inevitably lead to enormous demand from disgruntled Mercedes owners with faulty C and E Class diesel Mercedes wanting a courtesy car whilst Mercedes fixed their car.

Initially, Mercedes were only offering a courtesy car after the second breakdown, but after Cars UK complained on behalf of our readers, Mercedes relented and offered a car to everyone whose car was faulty. But they struggled to deliver on that too.

In fact, our readers were ending up in 3-door Astras, Vectras, Mondeos and Insignias. Not that there’s much wrong with any of those cars, but when you’ve forked out up to £40k for a car that fails, being offered a relatively poor car as a courtesy car does rub salt in the wound.

So whether Enterprise bailed on Mercedes after the injectors debacle, or Mercedes bailed on Enterprise for the same reason, we don’t know. But we’re sure the faulty injectors saga played a big part in the move.

Let’s hope Europcar never have to face a repeat of the same grief that befell Enterprise with Mercedes.

By Cars UK