Mercedes-Benz Opens First Stand-Alone Service Center
26 June 1998Mercedes-Benz Opens First Stand-Alone Service Center; New $1.5 Million Service-Only Facility Opens in Rocklin, California
ROCKLIN, Calif., June 25 -- Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc., (MBNA) today held the grand opening of its first stand-alone Service Center near Sacramento, California. The facility -- located at 2810 Granite Court in Rocklin -- is one of three pilot Mercedes-Benz Service Centers. The Service Centers are free-standing facilities situated in convenient locations to provide top-quality, competitively priced routine services and associated parts for Mercedes-Benz owners. The Service Centers are built and operated by authorized Mercedes-Benz dealers, and they offer solely routine service (i.e. no vehicles will be sold at these facilities). A typical Center will contain between six and ten service bays, plus reception and administrative areas and will be specially designed to encourage interaction between customers and the technicians working on their cars. They are typically located in areas convenient to customers, near shopping centers, office areas and transportation hubs. Because of their relatively small size, the facilities can be situated in locations which might otherwise be unattainable for traditional-size dealerships. Joe Eberhardt, vice president of marketing for MBNA explains that opening the Mercedes-Benz Service Centers is one way the company is addressing dramatic changes in the automotive retail environment. "More than 80 percent of all cars retailed by Mercedes-Benz dealers are still on the road today, and three-quarters of these are out of warranty," Eberhardt says. "While Mercedes owners tend to be less likely than the industry as a whole to 'defect' to independent shops after the warranty runs out, the remainder represent a challenge in terms of lost business and an opportunity in terms of customer satisfaction," he adds. According to Wade Hubbard, general manager of product management/service, parts, accessories and customer care for MBNA, "We know from talking to our customers that, all things being equal, they would prefer to have their vehicles serviced by knowledgeable Mercedes-Benz technicians using genuine Mercedes-Benz parts, even after the warranty period is over." Hubbard adds that historically, many Mercedes-Benz owners have been attracted to independent facilities because they offered lower prices for parts and service on out-of-warranty vehicles, as well as more convenient locations and hours of operation. "Over the past few years, we have taken the bull by the horns: reduced our parts pricing, instituted menu pricing for service, variable labor rates and now -- with the opening of the first Mercedes-Benz Service Center -- we're tailoring our service to the needs of our customers," Hubbard says. "We believe that today there is no better value for a Mercedes-Benz customer than that offered at an authorized Mercedes-Benz facility." The Rocklin Mercedes-Benz Service Center, representing an overall investment of $1.5 million, is a 7,622-square-foot facility designed to encourage interface between customers and the service team. A customer lounge -- with amenities such as work stations (including phones & modems), coffee and beverage service -- features a large clear glass window enabling customers to watch the work performed on their vehicles. The lounge connects directly to the eight-bay service area and customers are encouraged to talk with their service technicians while a vehicle is being repaired. The Rocklin facility is operated by George Grinzewitsch, Jr. who also owns Von Housen Motors, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Sacramento, California. According to Grinzewitsch, this Service Center combines the quality of service, parts and technical training found at our Sacramento dealership with the convenience and feel of "neighborhood service" offered by independent repair shops. "The Service Center is competitive with independent shops in terms of convenience and price. The difference is that it is staffed exclusively with factory-trained technicians, the work is done with Mercedes-Benz parts, and is backed by the integrity of the entire Mercedes-Benz organization," says Grinzewitsch. "We're looking forward to bringing a lot of customers back into the Mercedes-Benz family." A second Service Center located in Cincinnati, Ohio, will be operational during the summer. A third Service Center in Las Vegas, Nevada is planned to open in the first quarter of 1999. Based on the results of the pilot program, Mercedes-Benz will evaluate additional Service Centers in the future.