Adam Chamberlain, 43
Vice president - Sales, Mercedes-Benz USA
Big break: Being hired by Mercedes-Benz in 2013 as vice president of sales for the U.K.
The accomplishments for Mercedes-Benz USA during Adam Chamberlain's first year on board were many. The brand regained the U.S. luxury sales crown; sales of AMG and certified used vehicles grew; and U.S. executives improved allocation of the SUVs and crossovers in hot demand.
But there's more work to do, says Chamberlain, who's been vice president of sales for the U.S. unit for one year. For instance, with regard to market demand for trucks, "we're not there yet," Chamberlain said. "Some of our cars, like the GLC, right now are so hot, the dealers always say we never get enough."
Chamberlain, who spent 15 years with Volkswagen AG before joining Mercedes in 2013 in the U.K., also puts simplification of store processes high on his to-do list. He spent six days at Park Place Motorcars of Dallas last May as part of Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler's dealership immersion program for executives.
It reminded him of the immediacy of the retail side of the business. "We need to take as many bits of things of bureaucracy or administration away from the dealers that gets in the way of them selling cars, parts and service hours," Chamberlain said.
He started with simplifying the dealer margin scorecard and making online training for sales personnel more flexible.
Chamberlain, a Brit, dreamed of working in the car business since his teenage years cleaning cars at a used-car dealership.
After majoring in international business with a German emphasis, Chamberlain went to work for VW and ended up in Ireland at the start of the global financial crisis. When vehicle sales tumbled 60 percent, it became a formative experience, he said.
"Trying to keep dealers going, manage inventory and get a return for the business was a huge challenge," Chamberlain said.
-- Amy Wilson