Ian Hill

What makes an Approved Used Mercedes-Benz?

Ian Hill, Group Used Car Buyer, provides an insight into the used car buying process.

A growing industry.

There has been a big growth in new car sales in recent years, disproportionately so in the Premium Brand sector. As leaders in this sector, Mercedes-Benz has made giant leaps in new cars sales. As a consequence we are now seeing a fantastic selection of used Mercedes-Benz models become available direct from the manufacturer as the cars return from finance contracts.

At Mercedes Benz South West, we strive to select the best of these cars. However, it is a process that takes time and consideration.

The whole package.

All the available cars will be listed by the manufacturer and passed to us for selection. This list will detail the car’s age, mileage, condition (which is graded from 1 to 5), service history and, to a limited degree, specification. We will then look to match cars either to specific customer requirements or to fill gaps in our stock.

Specification is an important consideration for us as some models find buyers more readily if fitted with popular factory options. For example, SLK Roadsters sell much more quickly with heated seats, airscarf and parking guidance than without.

These higher specification cars carry a premium over a standard car but at a fraction of the cost when brand new. As standard specifications improve there are some real bargains on models for those happy to do without the extras. Often these cars come to us in batches of 10-15 identical cars. We snap them up when we can!

Price comparison.

The next step is for us to price-check the market. We have numerous platforms to monitor this internally. However, we recognise that our customers will judge value based on the information available online.

Consequentially, we price to the market taking into account model, mileage, specification and, importantly, available supply (how many matching models are available nationwide).

Approved used


Having completed the preliminary checks, our next job is to view the cars. Only those that are graded 1 or 2 for condition and that have a full Mercedes-Benz service history will have been selected but we nevertheless like to see and touch the cars in the metal.

Of primary concern is to view the condition of the bodywork and interior. We will then consider the costs of the works required and weigh up whether it still represents a value-for-money purchase for any potential buyer.

For instance, we would expect to refurbish wheels and attend to minor chips and scratches in order for the vehicle to meet Mercedes-Benz Used Car standards. Tyres need to be replaced if they have less than 4mm of tread, despite the legal limit being 1.6mm. Also, if a service is due within 90 days the car will be serviced on top of the mandatory Used Car Check at our retailer workshop.

All of these certain and potential costs are taken into consideration before we take on the vehicle.

A crowded market.

On our travels to view these cars we, of course, see a lot of others that don’t meet our high standards. These cars will likely be sold to trade, most often outside the Mercedes-Benz network. They will appear online priced sensibly but do they really represent value?

They will not have been be checked by a Mercedes-Benz technician armed with a factory checklist and factory diagnostic equipment ready to carry out any software updates. Nor will they have replaced parts that have worn below minimum factory tolerances. Our cars always meet these standards and as result always have a minimum of 12 months manufacturer’s warranty.

Our values.

In summary, we do everything we can to make sure that all of our used cars meet the high expectations of our customers. Whether they have come to us through part-exchange, from Mercedes-Benz UK or our trade contacts, all of our Used Cars undergo the same rigorous selection process. They must always be the right models, in the right condition, at the right price.

We may not always be the outright cheapest but will try very hard to be the best value-for-money.

Find your perfect match today.