Mercedes-Benz dealers, once they've updated their stores to the brand's second-generation Autohaus image standards, won't be required to make more changes to their dealerships until January 2024 at the earliest.
The pledge, announced this year to the Mercedes dealer network, is unusual. It follows the contentious launch of the original Autohaus standards in 2008. That initiative kicked off a period of tension in which dealers of many brands objected loudly to automakers' demands for dealership image changes.
Work on the 2024 pledge was initiated under former Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon, who left the company at the end of 2015. But the brand's current U.S. chief says he's fully behind it.
"It was the right thing to do," Dietmar Exler told Automotive News. "There is no backtracking from that. We've made a commitment to the dealers."
The reasoning for the 2024 timing is that the first dealerships to convert to the second-generation standard, also referred to as Autohaus2 or Autohaus Black, launched in early 2014, Mercedes spokeswoman Donna Boland said. The intent is to provide a 10-year cushion.
Most of Mercedes' 379 dealerships have yet to complete Autohaus2. Dealers were required to submit renovation plans to the company by last Sept. 30. Work is to be completed by June 30, 2018.