Higher payout from Mercedes-Benz
Agresta: A win for dealers
Mercedes-Benz's top-performing dealers will benefit from a new margin program that went into effect Jan. 1, said Joseph Agresta, Jr., chairman of the Mercedes-Benz dealer board.
"Right off the bat as a dealer body, we are guaranteed to have a higher payout in total then we did in the past, so that automatically is a win," said Agresta, president of Benzel-Busch Motor Car Corp. in Englewood, N.J. "I think on all fronts it will help improve dealer profitability for the entire dealer body, and in addition it will help the top performers exceed where they have been."
Mercedes-Benz USA will spend $50 million annually to reward dealers who achieve the highest scores in a new customer satisfaction survey. Dealerships that rank in the top 70 percent of the survey will receive a "customer experience leadership bonus" that could push their profit margin from the former maximum of 13.5 percent to 14.1 percent, adding about $300 for each vehicle sold.
Agresta said dealers will monitor the changes in the margin structure "to make sure the realignment doesn't have any unintended consequence and that it is really performing as expected on all sides." The changes were tied to new customer experience programs and training initiated by Mercedes-Benz USA.
"There has been a lot of time and a lot of money invested in the past couple of years around improving the customer experience and really revolutionizing it for the customer," said Agresta. "We really want to focus in on it and make sure that we are having an impact there and that the efforts are yielding a positive result."
The "Customer One: Driven to Lead" training program "has raised the bar of expectation within the dealerships because Mercedes-Benz has placed such a focus on it and created so much more of an awareness of how we approach the customer," said Agresta. "It is a cultural change more than a project.
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