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Mercedes-Benz to equip dealers with Apple iPads
Daimler AG's captive finance organization, Mercedes-Benz Financial, just announced that it will equip its Mercedes-Benz dealers with Apple iPads.
Posted October 05, 2010
After a successful pilot project last June in which 40 select Mercedes dealers were given an iPad to assist them out on show floors, Benz Financial announced today that it is distributing the 3G version of the Apple iPad to the entire Mercedes-Benz U.S. dealer network, giving all 355 dealers instant mobile access to its proprietary dealer point-of-sale system called MB Advantage.

While iPad is normally described as a "consumer focused" device, Mercedes-Benz Financial became one of the first companies in the world to use the iPad for a business application.

During the pilot, Mercedes-Benz Financial collected feedback from dealers on how MB Advantage on iPad performed.

"MB Advantage on iPad allows Mercedes-Benz dealers to increase their mobility and efficiency," said Andreas Hinrichs, Vice President of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial. Describing uses that ranged from finance and lease processes through to the lease turn-in procedure, Hinrichs said that the feedback was so positive that the decision to make iPad a nationwide business tool was clear.

In fact, as a result of the dealer feedback, Mercedes-Benz Financial has developed what it describes as "signature pad functionality" for MB Advantage, which will allow customers to sign certain documents electronically on the iPad screen. That functionality will be available by the end of the month.

Many dealers in the pilot found that in addition to the benefits of using MB Advantage on iPad in the sales process, starting with credit applications or checking special marketing programs without leaving the showroom floor, iPad also enhanced lease vehicle turn-in processes, expediting the inspection and agreement on maturity statements.

"As I process lease returns on the iPad, customers can accompany me through the turn-in inspection," said Robert Bostwick, Sales Manager at Schumacher European in Phoenix, AZ. "I can show them on the iPad what I'm noting and we can discuss it while the vehicle and the inspection forms are right in front of us."

In addition to utilizing MB Advantage on iPad, Mercedes-Benz Financial was the first auto finance company to create an App for customers to manage their accounts via iPhone and following that with a mobile website for all Smartphone users in early 2010. As a result, Mercedes-Benz Financial has received more than $10 million in monthly lease and finance payments via a payment channel that was established only 12 months ago.

Photo: PRNewsFoto/Mercedes-Benz Financial
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