Brand Immersion Experience: Pt. 2

Throughout the experience we learned more and more about the brand and more of what Mercedes-Benz is all about. And to say that the Mercedes-Benz brand is trailblazing the road of innovation for the car world, wouldn’t be a lie. The sticker price on your car not only ensures that you have one of the most beautiful, high-performing, hand-crafted vehicles on the road- but it’s one of the safest and often times, the first of its kind.

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To date (or at least, as of February 19) Mercedes-Benz had 100,219 patents and counting. To put that into perspective, it’s significantly more patents than Apple has. Mercedes invented the trunk, the glove box, door handles that you can grab with your entire hand rather than lifting up- just to name a few. But the best part about all of these patented ideas, is that Mercedes-Benz sells them for $1 so that other organizations have access to this information and can use it for their own products.

Later in the day we got to see first-hand a lot of these patented ideas in action and headed to the Barber Motorsports Park for an off-road experience and then to the racetrack to try some cars our for ourselves. I’ll save the racetrack post for next week- it’s to awesome not be a standalone experience.

But the off road experience was wild! Groups of three piled into GL 450’s driven by MB USI employees. You either went one of two ways: into the woods, or on the open course. My group headed to the woods first.

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At this point, we were on a 70% incline- and the car completely adjusted itself to the necessary settings, and you can kind of hear our guide talk about that a little.

At one point they balanced the car on TWO wheels! From this it just looks a little messy, but it was super cool!

We also drove through nearly 2 ft. of water without an issue.

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This is what it looks like when the off road feature is engaged. This prevents the bottom of the car from scraping anything below.
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This is how your wheels look normally.
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The open course.
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Team Land!

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For someone who sees cars in the showroom and online, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to actually experience the innovation and safety feature I so often read about. Never, would I ever, have thought a GL was capable of the same off roading as a G-Wagon (surprise, it is!). Not to mention, this came with 360 degree camera views (even one up above) and a reallllly nice back camera for using your hitch- perfect for those of you who own horses, a boat, whatever else you can tow behind you.

After this, I definitely have a new level of respect for the mechanical technology in these cars. Especially the GL 450.

To see more videos from the trip, check out our YouTube Page.

Brand Immersion Experience: Pt. 1

What is it?

The Brand Immersion Experience is designed to bring over 26,000 Mercedes-Benz employees to the factory in Vance, Alabama. Over the course of two days, employees receive an immersion into Mercedes-Benz brand culture, including a factory tour, classroom training, and off-road experience and driving at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. You may remember that Erik went back in the fall, and Sable had the opportunity last week.

After spending all day at CVG due to flight cancellations and delays, I finally made it to Birmingham at roughly 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Day 1 commenced at 7 a.m. for breakfast and then we were split into our groups (Sea, Air, Land). Like Erik, I ended up in the Land group. Once on the bus we were headed to the MB USI Training Center.

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Inside the training center we did a few activities and met our facilitators for the next few days: Christie and Johannes. Both fantastic leaders and enthusiasts for the brand. Land group immediately hopped the bus and headed to the factory tour; however, the factory is a designated International Trade Zone, so we were unable to take pictures on the inside.

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Way back there, above the trees, you can make out the factory. MB USI produces some 200,000 cars a year. These cars, produced in the 5,000,000 sq. ft. factory, travel more than 6 miles over a span of 3 days before they roll off the production line. Shipped to over 130 markets worldwide, these cars are processed by 1,700 robots and touched by over 500 human hands.

The factory in Vance, AL., produces the ML, GL, C-Class, R-Class and new GLE models.

This GLE is from my trip to the Detroit earlier in the year.
This GLE is from my trip to Detroit earlier in the year.

The factory can put out 1,200 cars a day, which means every 90 seconds a car rolls off the assembly line. Every car is built because of an order, rather than mass production and handing dealerships however many cars MB USA thinks is good.

A lot of this is made possible by the incredible Kuka Robotics systems in place. At 10 ft. tall, with the ability to life 1.2 tons, the Kuka can select, identify and install parts. When the factory first opened in 1997 there were only 24 Kuka’s, there are now nearly 2000.

With the ability to measure accuracy up to a nanometer, the Kuka is all about precision. In the body shop, it is assembly production only. No casting or forging takes place here, where 90% of the process is automated. At some stations the Kuka has over 300 targets to check as well as welds.

Take a look at the video below to get an idea of what the Kuka is capable of.

Reed, our tour guide, let us know that if there are ever any errors they are corrected or the car is scratched completely- there are never “repairs”.

The factory is also set up with what they call “Just In Time” which is a mechanical delivery of parts to different areas. These robots deliver parts to the machines to last them 24 hours. This way, if anything were to ever be damaged it only effects one day of production as opposed to many.

From the body shop, cars head to the paint shop, which is a pressurized environment that applies: e-coat, primer, base coat and top coat. Did you know that prior to top-coating, each body is cleaned with emu feathers on rotating rollers to remove the finest dust?

After the paint shop, the cars head to Assembly, which is the opposite of the body shop: 90% hands on interaction and only 10% automated.

The factory, much to my surprise, is a 0 landfill site and contributes no waste! Incredible, when you consider how the large the facility is! From paper to plastic caps, there is a container with a flyer about why recycling this product is important.

To say that the factory tour was impressive would be an understatement. The attention to detail for each and every car is astounding, and adds up to a total of some 15,000 parts- double the average car.

The AutoSpa Membership

The Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell AutoSpa membership is designed to maintain your vehicle’s appearance between detail services. Members receive an automated soft cloth exterior wash and an interior vacuum of the passenger compartment. The dashboard is lightly wiped down and the exterior of the car is dried with a soft chamois.

Complimentary ‘Pit Stop’ service is also available upon request.*

*Pit Stop service includes: inspection of tire tread depth/condition and nitrogen pressure adjustment, four-wheel alignment inspection, battery power test, top-off windshield washer fluid. This first-class service is completed in about 15 minutes while you relax and enjoy refreshments in our client lounge.

*Due to weather restrictions, the car wash will be closed when it is 30 or colder outside! Please check local weather listings, as well as our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates.

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AutoSpa Charter Membership

Anyone who purchases or leases a vehicle from Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell will qualify for an AutoSpa Charter Membership. You’ll receive unlimited Spa service/Pit Stop inspections for however long you own or lease that vehicle.

Have you already purchased from, or serviced a vehicle at MBFM? GREAT NEWS!!:

  • Anyone who serviced their vehicle with Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell from our opening in October 2013 to December 31, 2014 qualifies for a Charter Membership!
  • Anyone who purchased or leased a car with Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell from our opening in October 2013 to December 31, 2014 qualifies for a Charter Membership!

AutoSpa Memberships

Are available to anyone who owns a vehicle, regardless of make or model, for $250 plus tax. AutoSpa Memberships are purchased per vehicle. The membership guarantees unlimited Spa service/Pit Stop inspections for 1-year from the date of membership purchase.

AustoSpa Memberships can be purchased in the Service Department. Your vehicle must be present at the time of purchase so that the exterior can be inspected to ensure there are no accessories or other physical characteristics determined to be incompatible with our mechanized car wash.

How Does It Work?

Each AutoSpa Membership is tied to a vehicle VIN number. You’ll receive a clear windshield sticker that is placed near the VIN plate. The sticker must remain on the car in order for memberships to remain valid. If you lose the sticker, it can be replaced at MBFM for no additional charge.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

I own another car. Does the AutoSpa Charter Membership/AutoSpa Membership cover this car too?

AutoSpa Memberships are Vin specific. One car = one membership.

Can I share a membership with a friend or family member?

No. Memberships are non-transferable and are VIN specific.

I have paint that requires my car be hand washed. Is this included in the AutoSpa Membership?

The AutoSpa memberships are strictly for service by our state-of-the-art automated car wash. However, if you purchase a vehicle from MBFM that requires hand washes, we are happy to perform this service. Please expect this car wash service to take a significantly longer amount of time, especially during peak hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Can I purchase a gift card for a membership?

You are welcome to purchase a gift certificate in the amount of a membership ($265.06 after tax) but no membership will be issued until the vehicle and owner are present for the required vehicle inspection. Membership enrollment is not guaranteed until the vehicle has been inspected.

What about gratuity?

Gratuities are a lovely gesture, but not necessary or accepted.

I heard you offer a courtesy wash, is this true?

Yes. Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell offers one complimentary courtesy wash for any Mercedes-Benz vehicle that has not been purchased, leased or serviced here with the option to purchase an AutoSpa membership.

I purchased my car from another Bernie Moreno Company dealership, do I qualify for a courtesy wash?

Yes. Any client that has purchased a car through a Bernie Moreno Company dealership qualifies for one complimentary courtesy wash with the option to purchase an AutoSpa membership.

The 2015 International CES

10377248_10152558576114834_9183922739999281132_n“The International CES (Consumer Electronics Show®) is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It’s where business gets done: on the show floor, in and around our conference program, in impromptu connections and in planned meetings and special events,” according to cesweb.org.

Traditionally, the show has been geared more towards gadgets and gizmos, and less towards cars. However, in recent years, with the rise of technology in cars, CES has become the platform from which car companies debut their newest technology. “A Compass Intelligence survey of smart phone-owning drivers released in December concluded that “the primary needs and wants out of technology … is the enhancement of the driving experience.” –The Hollywood Reporter

“This is the digital lifestyle not just coming into concept but into practical execution,” said John Curran, managing director of communications, media and technology at the consulting firm Accenture. “The Internet of Things is touching almost every aspect of your life, and it’s bringing in a host of new companies and new partnerships,” via nytimes.com.

Which leads us to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, who will deliver the 2015 International CES® keynote address focused on the latest advances in autonomous vehicle technology. (Read the official press release here) You can watch his speech, live, at 8 pm tonight, here.

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“During a keynote devoted to autonomous vehicle technology, Mercedes’ Zetsche is expected to unveil an egg-shaped self-driving concept car that it teased earlier this week on Facebook. Mercedes has been deep in development of autonomous cars for years. Its Intelligent Drive system, which debuted on the 2014 S-Class and incorporates 3D stereoscopic cameras, radars and other sensors that allow the car to automatically brake for obstacles, stay in its lane and drive itself in traffic jams, is the most advanced available today. Look for enhancements to the system to debut on the concept car — which will probably drive itself onstage, with Zetsche emerging from the rear passenger’s seat, if his performance with the S-Class at the Frankfurt Auto Show is any indication,” speculates The Hollywood Reporter.

With features like the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive system already in place, it’s not hard to fathom than an autonomous car is within the near future. Once again, Mercedes-Benz is placing itself at the forefront of innovation and technology. It would be something special to see the brand that created the first automobile to lead the car industry with a self-driving vehicle.

The future will be bolder than you’ve ever imagined.

twitter-logo-icon-by-jon-bennallick-02Follow us on Twitter (@MBFtMitchell) as we tweet about what’s going on at the conference. Use #CES2015 and #mbCES to stay current with the conversation! Join us in watching Dr. Zetsche’s keynote address, live, at 8 pm tonight.

Top 10 Reasons to Buy from MBFM: #4 and #3

#4: Discounted valet or garage parking at CVG Airport!

Sign Up for the CVG Parking Advantage Program and use your Parking Advantage card when entering and exiting the CVG Garage and ValuPark lot. For CVG Curbside Valet, present your parking card to the attendant during the check-in/check-out process.

Members enjoy the following benefits:

  • No fees to enroll
  • VIP access to Express Entrance and Exit lanes
  • Ticketless system with no waiting to pay
  • Parking fees charged to your credit card on file
  • Electronic receipts
  • Online account access
  • Earn points for FREE parking
  • Discounts apply to business and leisure travel

If you want to have your vehicle serviced while you’re away, simply make arrangements with our Service Team. You’ll drop off your vehicle at CVG valet, and we’ll service it while you’re away!

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Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell has negotiated special parking rates with the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for on-airport parking:

  • CVG Curbside Valet – Offering the ultimate in comfort and convenience for the discounted rate of $18 per day.
  • CVG Garage- Covered parking adjacent to the terminal at $15 per day.
  • CVG ValuPark – Featuring friendly staff and continuous shuttle service for only $8 per day.

#3: Savings on Ultimate Air Shuttle executive jet tickets to New York City, Chicago and Charlotte, NC.

Looking to get away for a quiet weekend without all of the big airport hassle? Then Ultimate Air Shuttle is perfect for you! Enjoy 10% discount vouches on flights.

We also give away a monthly pair of tickets to a lucky winner who checks-in on Facebook when they swing by the dealership!

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And look for us in Ultimate Magazine, Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell is the official automobile dealership!

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Top 10 Reasons to Buy from MBFM: #5

#5: MBFM is the only tri-state area Mercedes-Benz Dealership offering free car washes and ‘Pit Stop’ vehicle inspections!

When you purchase, lease or service your car at Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell, you’ll receive a complimentary AutoSpa Charter Membership! This means for as long as you own your car, you’ll have access to unlimited car washes and vacuums, and Pit Stop inspections.

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Pit Stop includes:

  • alignment check
  • battery power test
  • tire inspection
  • tire nitrogen adjustment
  • washer fluid top-off

The AutoSpa Charter Membership is only available for cars serviced, purchased or leased before 5 pm on December 31st! Give us a call for more details on qualifying services.

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Life Made Easier

After a successful road trip yesterday, Sprinter Dan asked me to join him on a delivery today. So, I hopped behind the wheel to drive my first Sprinter and we headed to the Hyde Park area to meet up with Anna.

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Anna, who has a partial C4 spinal injury and some neurological complications, has been wheelchair bound due to her injuries for the past 7 or 8 years. Anna told me that after spending so much time in Ambulettes – and currently her standard sized Dodge Van – that she wanted a “real car, not something that has been chopped and modified.”

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Anna’s van she’s been renting

“I feel comfortable in a Sprinter, and not like I’m being ‘transported’ as I do in other vans.” Anna’s rented van allows her very little room to get in and out, sometimes taking up to 15 minutes to get situated. There’s also no room for friends and family to be passengers without crowding Anna and the wheelchair. Additionally, Anna felt unsafe due to the close proximity of the passenger side airbags to her legs.

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Price was the other factor that ultimately led to Anna’s choosing the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. After all is said and done, “the Sprinter has a similar price point to Dodge or Toyota,” (roughly $70-80,000). Bonus: Anna’s Sprinter also has heated seats with massage components.

Anna’s new Sprinter allows her to more easily transfer into a comfortable seat so that she is not confined to the wheelchair during road trips. She said she’s excited about the fact that her friends and family will now have the space to join her on outings and also for the 2-3 times per month she travels to Columbus for appointments with her doctor. I asked Anna if she had any big trips planned and she said it would be nice to be able to take the Sprinter to visit her family in New York, but she was most excited by the fact that it would “make everyday life so much easier.”

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Anna, like Brady, is working with M.C. Mobility Systems, Inc. to outfit her Sprinter with a wheelchair lift. “It’s a great Christmas present to finally have it. One of my dreams come true. Dan has gone above and beyond to make this a reality. He’s driven the car back and forth to Indiana to make sure everything is just right.”

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From left to right: Chanette – Anna’s Certified Nursing Assistant; Anna; Jimmy – Anna’s Dad; Dan Tilley – Sprinter Expert (aka Sprinter Dan).

Opened in October 2013, Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell is a Bernie Moreno Company. We serve the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area. MBFM is a luxury dealership with a personal touch. Our vision is to be recognized as a place of delight where engaged team members take ownership of our client's experience, regardless of their role, with the goal of creating positive memories.