Wireless hand-held devices used by Mercedes-Benz dealerships to inspect new vehicles before they are delivered to customers now can be used to inspect vehicles at the end of their leases.
Mercedes-Benz USA rolled out the devices to speed up and standardize dealers' pre-delivery inspection of new vehicles. But then, "We saw a great opportunity to get rid of the paperwork we have with our lease-end process and replace it with a digital process," says Jeff Gartland, director of remarketing at Mercedes-Benz Financial.
Today, Feb. 22, Mercedes-Benz Financial will add a menu option to the device enabling dealers to scan the vehicle identification numbers of end-of-lease vehicles that dealers accept on behalf of the captive finance company. That eliminates key-punch errors and allows real-time transmission of data to the finance company. Scanning also immediately reveals the vehicle's factory-installed options, Gartland says.
The hand-held technology saves time so dealers can focus on customers, Gartland says. It enhances a program introduced last year that moved the lease-end inspection and billing process from a third-party company to dealerships. The software upgrade and training is free for dealers.
The device was provided to dealers about a year ago to streamline new-vehicle inspection. Windows, door locks, air conditioning and other features must be checked before vehicles are delivered to customers.
Mercedes-Benz Financial expects to add other enhancements to the device, such as a signature pad, a credit card scanner and the ability to take photos that can be sent to the captive.
Each dealership has up to four of the devices depending on the store's size. Dealers may purchase additional devices, but Gartland says he has no information about cost.
Hans Ang, owner of Mercedes-Benz of Encino, in Encino, Calif., typically processes about five end-of-lease vehicles a day. "It's so simple and so easy," he says, "and it will cut time and paperwork. This is awesome."