LOS ANGELES -- Mercedes-Benz plans to revamp U.S. dealership sales procedures next year as it prepares for a wave of new front-wheel-drive vehicles and new young buyers.
Mercedes will launch three U.S. fwd vehicles starting in 2012.
"We are going to make sure the processes and how we present the cars and how we do delivery is right," Ernst Lieb, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, said last week at the Los Angeles auto show.
Mercedes has agreed with its dealer council on handling the review. Changes go into effect in 2012. Among the processes being studied:
-- Vehicle walkarounds
-- Presenting and explaining technology
-- Handling young customers.
The review is important because Mercedes' new fwd vehicles will rely heavily on conquests.
"We have unique elements in the instrument cluster and controls," said Lieb. "We have to make sure they feel comfortable with the way we do things."
For instance, Mercedes-Benz mounts its cruise control on a stalk next to the turn signal indicator, which is confusing for the first-time owner, he said.
Lieb also wants the sales process to focus on unfamiliar technology, such as lane assist. Lieb says he doesn't want owners surprised when the steering wheel starts to shake when the car veers into the next lane.
Mercedes also plans to bring all of its 353 U.S. dealers to its Stuttgart headquarters in April and show them products planned for the next three years. That will be a first.
"We want to assure them that they are with the right brand," Lieb said. "It is to get them in the boat."