Mercedes-Benz today opened the first showroom dedicated to its EQ sub-brand for electric cars.
The dealership in Yokohama, Japan, was designed to promote the sub-brand, so wears its black-and-blue-lit livery and features amenities including a suite of Chademo chargers.
Inside is an example of each EQ model currently offered in Japan – the EQA hatchback, EQB SUV, EQC SUV, EQE saloon and EQS saloon – and a respective expert for each.
Vehicle rentals are also offered so that buyers can decide whether an EV fits into their lifestyle.
The move is likely a response to widespread scepticism regarding battery-electric cars in Japan. According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA), just 21,693 BEVs were bought in the country during 2021. That's fewer than were sold in the UK in December 2021 alone (27,705).
And the lack of demand isn't down to infrastructural shortcomings: Bloomberg reported in August 2021 that Japan had too few electric cars compared with chargers, having heavily subsidised their installations a decade ago.
Mercedes is yet to confirm whether it will open similar showrooms in Europe and the UK. Autocar has approached a company representative for clarification.
Premium rival Volvo currently operates a similar model with its Studio showrooms, which showcase EVs and direct buyers to make purchases online.
For example, the Volvo Studio in London's Brent Cross shopping centre displays only the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge electric crossovers. Its purpose is to bring “the technology, style and desirability offered by our range of new electric cars to a wider audience,” said Volvo Car UK managing director Kristian Elvefors.