If you drop $100,000 on a luxury sedan, it seems only reasonable to receive some preferential treatment at the dealership you purchased from. After all, that price isn't just for the car – you're paying for the brand and all the cachet that entails. For Mercedes-Benz, those benefits have apparently been lacking relative to the German brand's luxury competitors.

That's set to change, though, as Automotive News reports that the German brand is placing a much greater emphasis on keeping its customers happy and loyal with its MB Select program. Starting with the new S-Class and spreading to the CLA-Class (and eventually beyond), dealers are being given money - up to $2,500 in the case of the flagship sedan - just to improve the customer experience.

We agree, improving the "customer experience" is quite a vague term, so it's nice that Mercedes USA's CEO, Steve Cannon, offered up some examples to AN at the LA Auto Show. For example, a customer couldn't fit his sunglasses into the overhead compartment. "So we bought him a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses that fit because of their shape," Cannon said.

Another buyer had an issue with a fussy check engine light, which required a quick software reflash. "The problem was fixed immediately, but we said that does not happen with the S-Class, the best car in the world. Dinner is on us. That customer was so thrilled he came in the next day and bought an SL off the showroom floor," Cannon told Automotive News.

Dealers seem to be onboard with the new program, as well. AN spoke to Josepeh Agresta, the chairman of the Mercedes Dealer Board. "This was Mercedes-Benz putting their money where their mouth is about customer service and empowering people at the front of the line both at their organization and the dealer network to make quick decisions and to try to help customers out in difficult situations with a new car."


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  • 44 Comments
      Fugsworth@yahoo.com
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is pretty smart, actually. Straight cash on the hood would be less effective, because S-Class buyers aren't particularly price sensitive and incentives on your flagship car probably do more harm than good. However, EVERYONE likes "special treatment".
      SAAj
      • 1 Year Ago
      You have truly mastered the art of bullshit when you can look a customer right in the eyes and claim that constant electronic malfunctions don't happen in a modern S-Class.
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Improving the dealership experience is good no matter how you slice it.
      Duuuuuuurr
      • 1 Year Ago
      The new S-Class is the first 100K car that I think is actually a bargain.
      Basil Exposition
      • 1 Year Ago
      Little perks like that go a long way in my mind.
      Daekwan
      • 1 Year Ago
      The regular guy like me will see thats silly and a waste of money. I'd much rather have $2500 deducted off the price of the car or mailed to me in the form of rebate check.. than purchasing a pair of sunglasses or taking me to dinner. But I also understand that the upper class, rich and well off in this country spend their money (and their loyalty) differently than I do. For someone who has $100,000 to spend on any car they wish.. alot of times it comes down to little perks that makes them choose one model (or manufacturer) over another. And for many people deciding whether to purchase an S-class, A8 or 750.. experiences like this could be what pushes them over them over the fence. Or more importantly what keeps them from jumping over the fence when it comes time to purchase their next vehicle. The type of guy who purchases a $100,000 S-class. Is probably the same type of guy who pays $1000 more for an airline ticket, simply so that for next 3 hours he can sit in a leather seat that is 6 inches wider than most other seats on the plane and drink a couple of $6 cocktails. Paying an extra $1000 to fly first class for 3 hours also makes little financial sense, but for those who dont have to worry about spending a $1000.. the slightly better experience is absolutely worth every penny. Its something you will simply not understand, until you have been afforded the capability to spend a $1000 without worrying about it.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Daekwan
        FWIW, First Class isn't typically $1000 more a 3 hour flight. And most of those people sitting up there were probably upgrades. I typically sit in coach, but have gotten 1st class a dozen or two times, all but twice was from an upgrade. One of those times I used miles because I needed to work on the flight, the other I paid because I had a long week and it was something like $100 to upgrade.
      Feurig
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is awesome and should be emulated by all luxury OEMs. Giving dealerships the ability to offer great customer service in a way they see fit is perfect for creating loyalty to the brand. The only problem I see might be how they dispense the dealer cash. Do they say "here, dealer, have this money for customer service," or do they specify? If it's the former, I can see dealers doing a "free ipad with car purchase of $50k or more!" promotion, which would totally defeat the purpose.
      Just Stuff
      • 1 Year Ago
      Must have been one hell of a dinner. The dealership where my son bought his first car (nissan versa) bought us dinner while doing all the paper work, and it wasn't even a $20,000 car.
      Hernan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Investment into the dealership experience goes much further I think than these 'perks.' I do think it's important for MB to make its customers feel special - how about an AWESOME loaner car? Or a first-class customer lounge? Or picking up the car from your house for free? MB may offer these things already, but regardless this is the kind of thing I think customers would value most.
      Bradford
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is great customer service. Honestly, anyone spending $30k+ these days should be treated this way (perhaps on a slightly smaller scale, but still). I know $30k isn't that much in the car world these days, but it's still a freaking TON of cash to most people. If I'm willing to spend that kind of money on your product, you should be willing to treat me like a king. The strangest part about this article to me is that they bought the one guy a pair of Ray-Bans. Those are the glasses that the average 17 year old picks up at the mall with their first paycheck from the movie theater. They are basically on par with Oakleys. It's a very odd choice for the S-Class demographic.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bradford
        Maybe he likes Ray-Bans? Most kids I know buy $3 Aviators at the "spinny racks" of any given drug store, etc.
      Floridian
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The problem was fixed immediately, but we said that does not happen with the S-Class, the best car in the world. Dinner is on us. That customer was so thrilled he came in the next day and bought an SL off the showroom floor" I love that "we are the best carmaker in the world" mentality.
      dn
      • 1 Year Ago
      My 89 300ce has a busted rear window shade. Buy me dinner.
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