As the automaker’s new-car store in Mississauga, Ont. grew, so did its used department -- so much so that its sales growth dictated that the used department be given the status of a new store, or something close to it.
That officially came to pass on June 17 when Mercedes-Benz Canada CEO Marcus Breitschwerdt joined 650 staffers and guests to toast the opening of the new wing built to house the used department.
General sales manager Peter Fuller told Canadian AutoWorld the north end of the building had been expanded to allow for a 15-car showroom exclusively for used with outdoor storage for about 100 more, all in view of the showroom.
And equally as important, the department boasts its own frontage, its own doorway with a sign over it proclaiming “Pre-Owned Vehicles,” its own concierge, or greeter, and a delivery area.
As for the test drives, Fuller said the cars are positioned to make them accessible. After all, with each car being unique, the store doesn’t enjoy the luxury of being able to take a look-alike out of inventory for a test drive.
The staff numbers will soon go up from four to five.
All sales people can sell new and used, but used staff will deliver 80 to 90 per cent used and vice versa, he said.
While the look and feel of the store are meant to mirror the new side, the customers are different, or at least, their buying habits are, said Fuller, who has headed up the used department for eight years.
They don’t shop as much. They’ve done their homework by time the come in the store, so they don’t have to hear about the features. They come to buy, he observed.
Selling new is about relationship selling because new-car buyers rarely buy on the first visit; used buyers do.
“If the mileage is good and the colour is right, the customer will often make a spur of the moment decision.
“These are people who are comfortable buying something at a good price with some use on it. They have an open mind to pre-owned.”
The new buyer is also focused on the monthly payment; used buyers look at the price.
Used buyers worry about the car’s condition. They want to know if it has been damaged?
He said the store won’t sell any that has been in an accident or has a spotty maintenance history. It has to have something left on its new-car warranty. That means it’s rare for the store to offer a car over three years old.
To overcome any lingering doubts, each car comes with a Signature Class warranty good for 24 months. An ELW (36-month) warranty similar to the new car warranty is also available.
Fuller said the store’s used sales are the best in the Mercedes-Benz network. They delivered 70 in June well beyond the usual 40.
“Some of this is due to the opening; some to the facility and some to the location. Mississauga is a good place to sell used,” he said.