Garage Isla Verde, Puerto Rico’s only authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer, is rolling out an aggressive growth strategy this year to broaden its customer base that includes breaking ground on a new $9 million dealership in Mayagüez, company executives said Thursday.
The facility will be the second dealership for the company on the island and should be open for business in 2014, when it will create between 50 and 60 jobs, said Carlos Manuel Quiñones, general manager of Garage Isla Verde during a meeting with members of the media at a Condado-area restaurant.
“The space will follow the design guides of our main dealership [in Carolina], with the customer as the center and incorporating elements associated with the Mercedes-Benz experience of luxury and service,” said Quiñones. “We had a parts and services operation in Mayagüez for 15 years, but with this we consolidate our presence in the west.”
Aside from expanding its footprint, Garage Isla Verde is also gearing up to broaden its customer base with the arrival of the CLA 2014 model in September, a vehicle that will start at $32,000 and will likely make owning a Mercedes-Benz a better possibility for more consumers, Quiñones said.
The company sold a combined 2,000 new and certified pre-owned vehicles in Puerto Rico last year, of which about 900 fell into the latter category, reflecting a consumer interest for more economical Mercedes-Benz options.
Aside from launching the CLA, Garage Isla Verde will also usher in this year the redesigned “S” and “E” series Mercedes-Benz models that will arrive in the summer. Series E includes a hybrid engine version, which adds another element of innovation to the brand.
“We’re confident that 2013 will be a great year for Garage Isla Verde. Not only do we have a proven quality product but we strive to constantly innovate,” said Quiñones. “Our reason for being is to offer our customers the best service in the industry, which goes beyond a visit to the dealer.”
That said, the executive also unveiled Garage Isla Verde’s debut in the ever-growing mobile applications market with the introduction of an “app” of its own through which it seeks to establish “interactive and ongoing” communication with its customers.
The “app,” available for iPhone and Android smartphones, allows users — who must register with their buyer’s information — to communicate with the dealer in real-time, coordinate service appointments, roadside assistance, and identify and locate “World Class Benefit Program” participating businesses on the island where they will get special offers and discounts.
“This new ‘app’ is part of an ambitious plan to further develop the brand in 2013 and solidify our position as the leader in sales for the past seven years in the luxury car segment,” Quiñones said.
The dealer’s “customer-centric” strategy also calls for boosting its investment in communications, on which Garage Isla Verde will invest $5 million this year.
Part of the outreach plan includes a roadshow to upscale neighborhoods, called “Flavor On Wheels,” during which would-be customers will have the chance to test-drive Mercedes-Benz vehicles, no strings attached. Garage Isla Verde will also host auto showcase events at different local malls during the fourth quarter of this year.