Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc.
Mercedes-Benz Launches New Interactive Retail Initiative
MONTVALE, N.J., Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz of North America,
Inc. (MBNA) today announced the first phase of a new interactive retail
initiative that is designed to be the most comprehensive in the automotive
The initiative currently consists of three key components: (1) an
enhanced corporate brand Web site, www.MBUSA.com; (2) an all-new Mercedes-Benz
Dealer Web Site Network; and (3) interactive kiosks for the showroom floor.
All three are designed to form a seamless, convenient information flow to new
and current customers. MBNA plans to add additional components throughout the
year to further personalize and customize information for customers, while
simplifying the retail process.
Mercedes-Benz Corporate Web Site
The Mercedes-Benz corporate Web site (www.MBUSA.com) was recently
recognized as one of the top 10 automotive Web sites, as well as the most
improved in the Web Site Survey 3, conducted by Automotive Marketing
Consultants, Inc. (AMCI), a leading auto marketing, testing and research
consulting firm. It was also voted Best Overall Creative Design at the @dTech
Conference Awards in Chicago in June.
The site features extensive information on the entire Mercedes-Benz model
line, including the sophisticated vehicle ``configurator,'' an interactive
application that allows users to put together different color and option
combinations on any Mercedes model. By the end of the year, 360-degree
visuals will be incorporated into the configurator to enable users to view the
vehicle they build at virtually any angle, inside and out. Information on the
many leasing and financing options available through Mercedes-Benz Credit
Corporation can be obtained on the Web site along with accessories, personal
items or gifts which can be purchased through MBNA's online boutique
(currently being updated to showcase the soon-to-be released fall catalog).
Furthermore, a function called Dealer Locator allows users to find their
closest dealer, and obtain turn-by-turn driving directions to the dealership.
The Dealer Locator also opens the door to the second component of MBNA's
overall interactive initiative, the Mercedes-Benz Dealer Web Site Network.
Mercedes-Benz Dealer Web Site Network
The all-new Mercedes-Benz Dealer Web Site Network offers individual,
customizable Web sites to all authorized Mercedes-Benz dealers. Nearly all of
MBNA's 320 authorized dealers now have Web sites which can either be accessed
by using their own individual web addresses, or through direct links from the
Dealer Locator at www.MBUSA.com.
The new dealer Web sites, within the Mercedes-Benz Dealer Website Network,
are designed to complement the corporate site in appearance and function, and
contain graphically-rich, customizable pages, and a searchable pre-owned
``The Dealer Web Site Network is a phenomenal success. Within five months,
99 percent of MBNA dealers have signed up and virtually all sites are now
online,'' said Bill Hurley, manager of new media and relationship marketing for
All participating Mercedes-Benz dealers offer access to their pre-owned
inventory, which is automatically updated daily to dealer Web sites from the
Mercedes-Benz pre-owned vehicle database. This enables customers to shop
before they enter a dealership, offering timely and accurate information
including the VIN, original standard equipment, optional and dealer-installed
equipment, as well as mileage. In most cases, it also includes vehicle price.
Photographs are added for a visual reference.
Once a user locates a vehicle that interests them, they can submit a
request to the dealer for more information, ask for a test drive or make a
sales appointment, all with the click of a mouse.
Each Web site has sections on dealership information and events, service,
parts, pre-owned vehicles, and links to appropriate sections of the corporate
site for additional information. Users can also communicate with their
dealers by using these Web sites. Through a variety of e-mail forms, users
can not only request information on a particular pre-owned vehicle, but also
inquire about specific parts, as well as obtain information on scheduled
maintenance and request a service appointment online. Dealers will also have
the opportunity to enhance their sites even further, with other features which
are being expanded and enhanced on an ongoing basis, such as showcasing
selected accessory items for purchase inquiries.
The third component of the Mercedes-Benz interactive initiative is the
interactive kiosk. The kiosk was awarded a Bronze Pencil at this year's One
Show Interactive Awards, and was the only interactive kiosk to be honored.
Consumers can access in-depth vehicle and company information through
interactive kiosks that are located in approximately 100 dealerships in major
U.S. markets. The kiosk allows the shopper to build their dream car, take a
simulated test drive, complete with a selection of music and life-like sound
effects, while supplying key information on safety, reliability, quality and
performance -- all cornerstones of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Beyond the
``driving'' experience, the kiosk offers a variety of entertaining interactive
games that challenge the customer's knowledge of automotive technology and the
history of Mercedes-Benz. In addition, shoppers can use the kiosk to explore
leasing and financing features.
The kiosks will be linked to the corporate and dealer Web sites in the
near future when MBNA launches NetStar, a new Dealer Communications System
with a tightly integrated manufacturer-dealer Intranet.
``We have launched an initiative that links the customer, dealer and
manufacturer to an extent that has never been done before within the
automotive industry. We are in the process of creating an online community at
Mercedes-Benz which sets a new standard in building and enhancing
relationships with our current customers -- and all potential new ones,'' said
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