We’ve become accustomed to DLC (downloadable content) in our video games, as well as with software updates for the various pieces of tech we use every day. When you think about how much tech is packed into your car, it seems like it was only a matter of time before a manufacturer applied that concept to the cars it sells.
Naturally, it’s Mercedes-Benz, and the company is aiming to eliminate, or at least partially eliminate, the buyer’s remorse commonly associated with failing to order the right equipment with your new car.
Owners of these cars will simply need a data connection and a Mercedes me account to be able to purchase these optional extras from the Mercedes me Store, also known as MBUX. In just a few clicks, they’ll be able to download and use the features they forgot to order, without visiting a dealership.
According to Mercedes-Benz’s press release, the automaker expects it to improve resale value as well, since future owners will be able to take advantage of this feature as these cars move to their second owners and beyond.
In fact, many European owners will have to make use of this on-demand feature whether they want to or not. Starting next year, all new cars sold in the EU will be required to have digital radio capability. Owners of 2019 models not so equipped will likely add the feature to make their cars easier to sell when the time comes.
While this is a minor step forward, there’s (obviously) still no easy hardware upgrades. That means that we’re likely to hear the moans of “I could’ve had a V8!” long into the future.
Gallery: 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon
New developments at Mercedes me: Mercedes me is becoming more international and varied, and is making online purchasing of optional equipment possible in the car
Stuttgart. The product range of Mercedes me is becoming increasingly varied, and is available in more and more markets. With Australia, New Zealand and Thailand on board since the beginning of this year, the number of markets in which Mercedes me can be used has risen to 45. And for customers in the EU, the particularly good audio quality of the music-streaming service Tidal is available via Mercedes me – even without a subscription fee for 12 months when purchasing a new Mercedes-Benz with MBUX, integrated into the vehicle and usable with "Hey Mercedes". In the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class and the new GLE, customers can also order optional equipment online in the car or via the Mercedes me Store after purchasing their vehicle, thanks to MBUX.
Mercedes me is becoming more international. The online portal is now also available to customers in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Technical, legal and commercial considerations determine in which countries the platform can be used, and which applications are available there. At present the number is already 45 countries, with more in preparation.
Flood rather than waves: the Tidal streaming service with Mercedes me
For the European market, the Tidal platform is the first music streaming service to be integrated into the Mercedes me package. For the first 12 months after purchasing a new Mercedes-Benz, customers can use this service with no subscription fee - the only costs are those for data transfer. Tidal with corresponding settings is fully integrated into vehicles with MBUX, and it is sufficient to instruct the vehicle with "Hey Mercedes" for Tidal to play the driver's favourite song.
Tidal streams the almost 60 million titles in its music library at a loss-free compression rate of 1411 kB/s, corresponding to CD quality, which is a higher audio quality than possible with other streaming services that use greater compression. Buyers of a new Mercedes-Benz without MBUX can also test the quality for themselves for twelve months, without a subscription fee, by connecting their smartphone to their Mercedes me account and using Tidal via WiFi at home, for example.
Ordering optional equipment in the car or online after vehicle purchase
Even after vehicle purchase, using the new function "on-demand feature", customers can use MBUX (icon "Mercedes me Store") or the Online Store (https://shop.mercedes-benz.com/en-gb/connect/) to order further optional equipment. This is initially possible for the following vehicles:
- Mercedes-Benz A-Class (via MBUX: production time first quarter of 2019; Mercedes me Store: from market launch)
- Mercedes-Benz B-Class (via MBUX and Mercedes me Store: from market launch)
- New Mercedes-Benz GLE (via MBUX and Mercedes me Store: from market launch).
Even if the vehicle has already been delivered, customers can subsequently purchase the Digital Radio, Smartphone Integration (Apple Carplay/Android Auto) and Navigation. This requires the customer to have connected the car with Mercedes me, with a working data connection. The required optional equipment can then be activated via the Mercedes me Store in the head unit or online with a few clicks. This is particularly attractive in cases where the customer has forgotten to order an option ex factory. However, it is also a good opportunity for second or third owners to adapt the vehicle to their own wishes.
This also benefits markets where dealers order vehicles with equipment packages (build-to-stock), as well as the used vehicle sector and "young classics".
Not least, it also helps the long-term value retention of cars. For example, Digital Radio will become mandatory for new vehicles in the European Union from 2020. Customers can therefore upgrade their existing vehicle with the latest technology at a later time, increasing its resale value.