MONTVALE, NJ. Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), the company that led the industry when it pioneered a comprehensive on-the-road emergency assistance program in 1982, has marked the twentieth anniversary of its Roadside Assistance Program.
Mercedes-Benz initiated the program in 1982 to provide its customers with an extra measure of security and convenience by way of immediate technical assistance, including on-the-spot vehicle repairs. The Roadside Assistance Program is available 24/7 to every Mercedes customer, regardless of their automobile's age, mileage or ownership.
Mercedes-Benz pioneered the concept of after-hours emergency service in North America, providing on-the-phone and on-the-spot assistance to customers using factory-trained personnel. A major factor in the success of the program is the use of Mercedes technicians as opposed to outsourcing these services to automobile clubs or providing auto club memberships solely for new-car buyers, as is common practice.
A toll-free hot line (1-800-FOR-MERCedes) connects customers directly to MBUSA's Customer Assistance Center, which in turn links Mercedes callers to factory-trained dealer technicians by satellite pagers. Nearly half of the 350,000 calls received each year are diagnosed and resolved over the phone because of the Roadside Assistance Representatives' expertise with Mercedes products. In those instances where a technician is dispatched, the majority of the repairs are successfully completed, usually in less than an hour. If towing is required, companies with specific Mercedes expertise are used.
Anecdotes abound about the help going beyond merely servicing cars: a Mercedes on-site technician once saved a customer from being hit by an oncoming vehicle by getting him out of the way in the nick of time.
As part of Mercedes-Benz Sign and Drive program, several services are provided free of charge regardless of the vehicle's model year or mileage. Sometimes the assistance is as simple as helping a customer who has run out of fuel, in which case the technician brings two to three gallons, and if the battery runs down, a jump-start is provided. In case of a flat tire, the existing spare is mounted onto the vehicle. Other, more extensive, repairs may involve a basic service fee, plus parts and labor.
Said Paul Juron, general manager of the Customer Assistance Center which administers the Roadside Assistance Program, "Over the past 20 years, we've helped millions of customers. The program gives customers that extra measure of security knowing that we're there for them all day, all night, all year. And it makes sense - we build to a certain standard and we back our products to that same standard."