Joe Eberhardt honed his marketing skills during his 21/2 years at a dealership. He shared his thoughts on the luxury market last week with Staff Reporter Frank S. Washington; here are edited excerpts.
What dynamics are at work in the U.S. luxury market?
There really is not a luxury market as we knew it 20 years ago, which consisted of big sedans. Today, the luxury market consists of a whole lot of individual segments, from trucks to vans to station wagons to sedans. We expect the segmentation to accelerate in the future.
How will Mercedes-Benz operate in the type of market you describe?
We have learned from our past. We cannot let our products sit in the market year after year. We'll improve them every year to be the best in every new segment we enter.
What did you learn as general manager of Mercedes-Benz's New York dealership?
First, no two customers are alike. Therefore, marketing and service must be tailored to the individual. Second, customers are tolerant of bad news, if it is delivered openly and honestly.