Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it will launch a multi-marque telematics proposition, Connect Business, in quarter four this year.
Connect Business is a separate organisation set up by Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler and the service will be available on a subscription basis.
Head of fleet Rob East told Fleet News in May that the brand was “about to start the first pilot”. Now he has revealed the pilot is with a well-known London-based chauffeur company, which already has Mercedes-Benz vehicles on its fleet and has been utilising its connected car app, Me Connect.
When Mercedes-Benz launched Me Connect, a number of leasing companies declined to sign up to its terms and conditions as the app had the potential to send the driver to a franchised dealer when a service was due rather than keeping the car within the leasing company’s preferred network (June 15, 2016).
However, this has been addressed with Connect Business as the service notification will go direct to the leasing company or the fleet manager.
Rob Morris, national fleet operations manager at Mercedes-Benz, said: “When Me Connect was established it was very much a retail proposition that was tweaked for fleet usage. This solution is purely aimed at the fleet controller or fleet manager and supporting them to drive down costs and better manage and utilise their fleet.”
He added that the leasing company would have access to the data provided that the fleet customer and company car driver had agreed to share the data.
Daimler also plans to develop a white label solution for leasing companies.
“They (the leasing companies) are aware of the pilot and those that we’ve spoken to said they would be keen to see the product once it’s up and running,” Morris said. “There has been an initial engagement and excitement from a handful as to how this could work as a solution for their entire fleet.”
An adapter is used in order to connect to a non-Mercedes vehicle, which Morris said he was “relatively confident” would work without any technical glitches as the system is already in use with a number of customers in Germany.
The chauffeur company piloting the technology in the UK will initially use it in its Mercedes-Benz vehicles and then on a multi-marque basis.
“There will be an API data feed directly into its own fleet management system and that will pull through all the service maintenance requirements for them to better manage their fleet,” Morris said.
Customers will be able to choose from a number of packages such as vehicle monitoring and maintenance, safety and CO2 monitor (which allows fleet managers to check how the vehicle is being driven), theft and asset management, and corporate car sharing.
A ‘vehicle health’ dashboard will enable customers to check the status of tyre pressures, brake pad wear, coolant, brake fluid and washer fluid and when a service is due.
At a later date, AdBlue levels will also be available.
Drivers, meanwhile, will benefit from a digital mileage log and will be able to switch between private and business journeys.
Morris declined to comment on the price of the subscription model, the name of the chauffeur company or the expected take-up but said that “we will recruit someone specifically to go out into the market and engage with the market on this product”.