New-model delays dinged Mercedes- Benz retailer profitability in 2018, and the luxury automaker suffered a "temporary dealer inventory shortfall" in July related partly to the 2019 model changeover.
As a result, retailer profitability last year inched just 0.1 percent higher, Mercedes- Benz executives told dealers during the make meeting at the NADA Show.
"We'll take every bit that we can get," Mercedes-Benz Dealer Board Chairman Greg Barnes told Automotive News after the meeting. "Dealer profitability is certainly the central focus for our dealer body, as it allows us to continue to invest back into our businesses and deliver best-or-nothing service to our clients."
Profitability is a work in progress, said Jeff Aiosa, owner of Mercedes- Benz of New London, in Connecticut.
"Obviously it's not our standard, so we continue to collaboratively work to get it up," said Aiosa, who is also the National Automobile Dealers Association brand rep.
Mercedes dealers are optimistic that profitability will increase this year.
"I don't think that we're going to have the constraints, the headwinds, that we've had with inventory" last year, Aiosa said.