How Big Changes with MBUSA May Impact Mercedes-Benz Dealers in 2016 and Beyond
This year is destined to be monumental for Mercedes-Benz in the United States. Several big changes are taking place as the German luxury car maker focuses more intently on customer service and experience, as well as product marketing and operational efficiency.
Leadership changes, a headquarters shift and new vehicle models are just a few of the big developments that are taking place in 2016 and beyond. How will these changes impact your local Mercedes-Benz dealer and your experience buying a car? It might not be as big of a deal as you think and if things go as planned, you won’t even notice at all. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be informed.
Here’s a run down of what’s new with MBUSA this year:
New Person in Charge
Dietmar Exler became CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA effective Jan. 1, succeeding Steve Cannon, who left MBUSA to become CEO of AMB Group, which owns the Atlanta Falcons. Exler, 47, had been U.S. sales chief since January 2014. Cannon, 54, will continue to serve as a consultant toMBUSA until Jan. 31, 2016.
“Dietmar’s” Dietmar’s appointment is central to reinforcing our strategy and our standards around the world, and will continue to strengthen the ties and collaboration within our marketing & sales network,” OlaKaellenius, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales said in a press release.
Dietmar, who is originally from Austria, is responsible for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and the smart car brand in the US and NAFTA regions. He also leads MBUSA’s more than 1,500 employees and the 373 dealerships throughout the US, plus an additional 1,240 employees in Canada and Mexico.
After 50 years in New Jersey, MBUSA is in the process of moving its headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia. The company began the transition last summer. Construction of the new headquarters is expected to be complete in 2018. Until then, employees are working out of a temporary office in Dunwoody, GA.
The new $100 million headquarters will be situated on a 12-acre campus at the intersection of Abernathy Road and Barfield Road, just outside of Atlanta in Sandy Springs, GA. The site is best known for its historic Glenridge Hall Mansion. The new headquarters will include a 250,000-square-foot office building and employ around 1,000 people. Groundbreaking on the project will take place in 2016.
The move is being made in order to to help the brand be more profitable and to become more efficient. It will put them closer to the brand’s growing Southeast customer base and MBUSA’s port in Brunswick, GA. There also is an international production facility located in Alabama.
Mercedes-Benz joins several other luxury car brands that call the South home. Bentley is located in Herndon, VA and Porche built new headquarters in Atlanta. Meanwhile, BMW, Maserati and Jaguar Land Rover remain in northern New Jersey.
New Name for Their New Home
Mercedes-Benz USA is cozying up to its new hometown of Atlanta. Last year, the brand announced that it had been given the naming rights for the new Atlanta stadium. Now known as Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the multipurpose venue will be home to NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and major league soccer team the Atlanta United.
The agreement, which was made with AMB Sports & Entertainment (the same company that former CEO Steve Cannon left MBUSA to run) is good through 2042. The deal includes the naming rights, as well as other partnership benefits. The Mercedes-Benz brand will be prominently displayed inside and outside the building, including on the roof; in plaza areas; on directional, on-field and tunnel signage; in club areas; in VIP parking and entrance areas; on the first-of-its-kind video halo board; and in additional areas.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is under construction and is expected to be completed in 2017. It is the second stadium to have the Mercedes-Benz name. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans has had that name since 2011.
Mercedes will launch several redesigned or freshened vehicles in 2016. This spring, dealers will receive the newly redesigned C-Class coupe, the new S-Class Cabriolet convertible and the freshened SL and SLC roadsters and CLA sedan.
The new full-sized GLS SUV will arrive in April. The redesigned E-class sedan goes on sale in early summer.
This year has been called “the zenith” of Mercedes-Benz’s product offensive in the extremely competitive world of luxury cars. The company plans to market its new vehicles vigorously, punctuated by the brand’s “Best Customer Experience” marketing and sales strategy. The strategy focuses on addressing the needs of customers on an individual basis. By 2020 Mercedes-Benz wants to be the most attractive luxury automobile brand. Part of that strategy includes appealing more broadly to women. This initiative includes the new “She’s Mercedes” marketing platform. Mercedes also is hosting special networking events for women, special training for sales staff and hiring more female sales associates, according to The Auto Channel.
New Parts Distribution and Learning & Performance Center
A new regional parts distribution warehouse and Learning & Performance Center is being developed in Grapevine, Texas, near Dallas. It will replace a learning center located in Houston. The facility will accommodate training of Mercedes-Benz dealership technicians from the southwestern United States. Another aspect of the project will be a new 254,000-square-foot parts distribution warehouse, which is one of six of its kind in the country. The warehouse will distribute Genuine Mercedes-Benz parts throughout the southwest. The facility will be complete in January 2017.