When the former DaimlerChrysler dissolved in late 2007, the newly formed Daimler Insurance Americas had a chance to start over with a "clean slate," said Anamika Singhal, general manager of the insurance unit.
One of the first things Daimler Insurance did, Singhal said, was get feedback from Mercedes-Benz dealers about products such as guaranteed asset protection, wheel-and-tire coverage and wear-and-tear policies.
Dealers complained that aftermarket finance and insurance products didn't measure up to the Mercedes-Benz brand image, Singhal said. So the company created its own products under the brand name of the captive finance company, Mercedes-Benz Financial.
Separately, Mercedes-Benz USA, the sales and marketing subsidiary, offers the brand's extended service contracts.
"Third-party products really didn't fit the M-B customer segment," said Singhal, 37. For instance, she said, coverage limits designed for less expensive cars might be inadequate to cover a Mercedes. Dealers also said it could be a hassle for customers to go through the fine print in aftermarket policies to try to force a vendor to cover a claim.
The concern from dealers was that "the overall customer experience needed to be what a luxury customer in an affluent segment expects," Singhal said in an interview. "They wanted to make sure the experience with the product would enhance the overall experience of the customer."