Mercedes-Benz Announces First Class Protection

June 2012. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA presented to a group of MAMA members recently, sharing their news about some “first class protection” options available through MB. The first of the optional benefits introduced originally in 2006 and enhanced for 2012, is the First Class Wheel and Tire Protection Plus which covers all costs for replacement wheels/tires, and wheel repair for most scrapes, scratches. Available for up to 60 months, this protection plan can be financed as part of the retail or lease contract.

Donald Berry, U.S. Insurance Manager for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services manages the relationships with the major underwriters who provide administration and retain underwriting risk for the products.  In addition, Berry creates aftermarket retail insurance initiatives and vehicle protection plans for MB dealers.

Berry shared with the group that in 2011, Mercedes-Benz financed two out of every three vehicles therefore, offering protection products makes a lot of sense.  Making available several different protection plans, noted Berry, provides Mercedes-Benz customers not only peace of mind but incentive to stay with the brand.

Other first class protection plans offered to Mercedes-Benz customers include:

*First Class Paintless Dent Repair. Non-invasive repair of minor dents/dings with unlimited visits allowed at Mercedes dealer.

*First Class Lease Protection.  Coverage of dents, scratches considered beyond normal wear; waiving of up to $7500; coverage of up to $200 per missing items; single incident coverage up to $2,000; $0 deductible; 60-day free look period.

*First Class Guaranteed Auto Protection. Covers gap between insurance settlement/balance on finance contract; Eligible vehicle is $200,000; maximum benefit $100,000; protects from out-of-pocket expenses; provides up to $1,000 for reimbursement of insurance deductible.

*First Class Windshield Protection. All costs for replacement due to road debris covered; use of original MB replacement glass; maximum benefit of $5,000; no deductible; available on new/used vehicle.

*First Class Interior and Exterior Protection. Interior and exterior protection, including fabric and leather protector against stains, high temps, discoloration, cracking, aging; 5-year guarantee after application.

*Sprinter Guaranteed Auto Protection. Covers gap between insurance settlement, outstanding balance; maximum coverage of $100,000; protection from out-of-pocket expenses; provides up to $1,000 for reimbursement of insurance deductible; can be financed with MB Springer for small addition to monthly payment.

*First Class Insurance. Use of genuine MB parts, new vehicle replacement, stable 12-month premium, competitive rates up to 10 percent rate discount offered, additional discount for Mbrace customers and on homeowners and other vehicles, 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge services.

As with all policies, customers must read the fine print, but Mercedes is making strides to keep their lease and finance customers. During the 2008 dive in the economy, Mercedes did not pull out of the leasing market; rather they strengthened their business.

Hoping to build awareness of these high class protection plans, Mercedes-Benz Financial sells the plans to the dealers and trains their financial people. Dealers are responsible for setting the retail price of each protection plan; usually at a markup. While Mercedes still sells extended warranties-as do all dealers-there is no overlapping coverage with the protection plans.

Mercedes-Benz maintains 359 dealers, 128 Springer and 88 Smart car dealerships. There are 538,000 accounts in Mercedes-Benz Financial Services portfolio; 56 percent lease and 44 per

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