Mercedes dangles free maintenance on select pre-owned models

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For the month of May, Mercedes-Benz USA is offering no-charge scheduled maintenance and two months’ worth of payments free for certain certified pre-owned vehicles.

In the short term that takes prepaid maintenance, a finance and insurance staple, off F&I menus for some CPO units. People don’t buy what they can get for free. But the head of the Mercedes dealer board says that’s not a problem.

“I like the program a lot,” says Jay Agresta, president of Benzel-Busch Motor Car Corp. in Englewood, N.J., and chairman of the Mercedes-Benz USA Dealer Board.

“Yes, you do lose the opportunity to sell that one product, but it does tie the customer to our service department. It’s an attractive incentive to get customers in the door, and it gives them an incentive to come back in the future, so it benefits us two ways.”

Customers must take delivery between May 1 and June 2, 2014. The offer applies to C-class, E-class, M-class and GL-class vehicles. It excludes AMG and diesel models.

Since Jan. 15, all Mercedes-Benz CPO vehicles also have come with a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty with no mileage limit. Customers can opt to purchase upgrades to 2 or 3 years. A company spokeswoman said sales penetration for the upgrades is increasing, although the company won’t disclose numbers.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com.

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