By Kelly Gray
Photos by Steve Salnikowski
Mercedes Benz Winnipeg’s new location on Rothwell Rd. off Kenaston Blvd. is a perfect example of how this Winnipeg dealership has gone beyond expectation. At 55,000 sq. ft. the new site is a glass and steel monument to the excellence that is Mercedes-Benz. But, says Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg (MBW) President/GM Brian Lowes, “It’s just bricks and mortar. The real story goes beyond this new building and the perfection of the cars on the showroom floor. Our success is a direct result of the commitment of our staff and our ability to service our customers in a manner that adds value to the total Mercedes-Benz experience.”
Certainly, the ability to add value to the experience is behind the development of the new location that is larger and better equipped than their older facility in west Winnipeg. “We are taking service to a whole new level with this site,” says MBW Service Manager Ryan Borton. “When you purchase a Mercedes-Benz you just expect more and our goal is to deliver with highly skilled technicians, state of the art equipment and support staff that ease our customers through the service process.”
Speaking to this, Borton points to the wash/detail area where MB Winnipeg offers three detailing bays and a PDQ LaserWash AutoXpress Touchless Automatic Wash system from Winnipeg affiliate D.A. Lincoln Pump Service & Supply. The install of the $140,000 LaserWash system took place during construction of the new facility that opened this past summer.
According to Doug Lincoln, owner D.A. Lincoln Pump Service & Supply, the job included not just the LaserWash Auto Xpress, but equipment for three detailing wash bays as well. Here the Winnipeg-based company provided their Lincoln 3000 wand wash system as well as soap, wax and water treatment equipment.
The new AutoXpress system has a variety of settings that allow for a fast three-minute wash or a lengthier multi-pass cleaning. According to Borton the idea had always been to create excellence in the service area that sees about 35 vehicles each day, so they wanted to leave nothing to chance with the new site. Development of a dedicated car wash area was a must for a demanding customer base that seeks out perfection in automotive engineering as well as service.
“When a customer picks up their car from the Winnipeg Mercedes Benz shop it’s delivered back to them cleaner than when they brought it in,” he says, noting that new customers are surprised at first when they get a clean car back from service, then they realize that this is the level of care they can expect every time they drop in. Customers of Mercedes Benz Winnipeg enjoy occasional complimentary car washes and often appear at the dealership seeking a quick rinse at a moment’s notice. “With the new equipment we don’t have to turn people away. When they ask to have their car washed, we are ready.”
Certainly one thing that differentiates Mercedes Benz Winnipeg from many of its competitors is that they not only clean the cars that leave the service area, they clean them before they come into the shop as well. “This is Winnipeg, and cars can have all kinds of surface dirt and mud when we get them. A quick rinse before service helps us keep the shop clean and our technicians can concentrate on the job at hand rather than working around road dirt and filth. From our perspective a clean car is a good starting point for service.”
Once service technicians have competed their final inspection on repairs, the detail crew takes over. Borton reports that one of the three full time auto care crew removes the car from the service bay and prepares it for their special touch. This includes an interior vacuum before the car is placed under the LaserWash for a full touch-less exterior clean.
Next, the luster of the great Mercedes Benz paintwork is brought out with a hand dry before a team member rolls it out to the lot or brings it to the waiting customer. “We have three staff that just wash by hand,” says Borton, adding that some things in life simply require a personal touch. “Our customers told us they didn’t want brushes. Many people were concerned a friction-wash would scratch paint. Here, the only thing that touches your car is a human hand with a chamois.
“It might seem like we have too many staff (MBW’s new location has 20% more personnel), but we did not want to compromise on service in any area. The experience we offer our customers is essential to our success and the new car wash is essential to our ability to offer great service,” he says.
The new location for the Star Award winning dealership has been open for about five months. According to Borton, the new wash system means less time waiting for customers of whom many would wait a half hour for cars to be cleaned after servicing at the old Moray & Portage location.
Here, Brian Lowes concludes, “To get to where we are today we have had to move beyond just excellence. This thinking extends throughout our organization and this includes the wash area. Our goal is to exceed expectation and the new wash system helps us deliver on our service promise one car at a time.”