Communication with dealers is top priority at Mercedes
ORLANDO -- The Mercedes-Benz Dealer Board is taking steps to improve its communications with the dealer body.
The 13-member board will schedule quarterly conference calls in each region with a regional representative so dealers can receive updates on programs, sales and other information.
Minutes of the board meetings will be delivered electronically to each dealer principal, not just posted on the board's Web site, said Joseph Agresta Jr., chairman of the dealer board and president of Benzel-Busch Motor Car in Englewood, N.J.
"We want to take the conversations we have with the factory and not just download them," said Agresta, "but [also] get feedback, so when we are sitting down with Mercedes-Benz we can give them the pulse of the dealer organization."
Improving communication between the board and dealers was a topic raised in NADA dealer attitude surveys, said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.
"We have a great back and forth between us and the dealer council, but the rest of the dealer board may not know what we have decided and why," he said. "There is a gap there, so we will try to close the gap."
At the make meeting, Cannon said he told dealers that Mercedes-Benz expects record sales this year with help from three launches planed for 2013: the facelifted E-class family, the redesigned S-class range and the new CLA compact sedan. Mercedes-Benz sold 274,084 vehicles in the United States last year, an increase of 12 percent over 2011.
Cannon said Mercedes' Customer One customer satisfaction program will continue to be a major priority this year. The next step is a training program called Mercedes-Benz My Way that he said is "part process, part culture."
Mercedes will begin sending teams to dealerships in April. About 200 stores will undergo training this year, and eventually every store will be visited.
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