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Auto blogSat, 28 Dec 2013 14:59:00 EST
It's only been a week and a half since Mercedes-Benz revealed the new C-Class, and it'll likely be a while yet before the replacement for the C63 AMG comes along. But if you want to see a preview of what it'll look like, look no further than the AMG aero kit that has just surfaced.
Expected to debut on the new C-Class at the fast-approaching Detroit Auto Show, the AMG Line Exterior Pack adds a new bumpers front and rear, side skirts, dual exhaust tips, mesh grille, aluminum window frames and - most importantly - 18-inch alloys packing upgraded brakes and fitted to a lowered sport suspension. All of which will help any C-Class look the part, even if the engine remains stock.
Alex Rodriguez, in case you haven't heard, is seemingly the new Most Hated Man In Baseball, ostensibly replacing commissioner Bud Selig (for now). Rodriguez was slammed with a 211-game suspension due to his role in the MLB's latest steroid scandal in which "A-Roid," as fans have taken to calling the former superstar, was cited with steroid use and attempts to hide his involvement by "engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate" the investigation, according to the MLB's official report.
Why is this on a car site, then? Because Rodriguez' name is attached Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz in League City, TX. An Ad Age report cites Mercedes-Benz USA in saying that A-Rod owns "about half'" of the dealership. Mercedes, for what it's worth, isn't going to any to any lengths to distance itself from its dealership or its controversial namesake, saying, "We never promoted the fact that A-Rod owned a dealership, so there's really nothing to 'distance' ourselves from. And since his activity is not illegal but rather prohibited by MLB, there's nothing actionable here."
With the scandal still a fresh piece of news and A-Rod's pending appeal, it's difficult to tell what sort of effect, if any, his name will have on the dealership's sales. Ad Age contacted the GM of Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz to get the dealership's view, but no calls were returned. According to Mercedes, any name change is up to Rodriguez and his partner(s) at the dealership. Somehow, though, we think A-Rod has other things to worry about beyond his dealership's name.
If you drop $100,000 on a luxury sedan, it seems only reasonable to receive some preferential treatment at the dealership you purchased from. After all, that price isn't just for the car - you're paying for the brand and all the cachet that entails. For Mercedes-Benz, those benefits have apparently been lacking relative to the German brand's luxury competitors.
That's set to change, though, as Automotive News reports that the German brand is placing a much greater emphasis on keeping its customers happy and loyal with its MB Select program. Starting with the new S-Class and spreading to the CLA-Class (and eventually beyond), dealers are being given money - up to $2,500 in the case of the flagship sedan - just to improve the customer experience.
We agree, improving the "customer experience" is quite a vague term, so it's nice that Mercedes USA's CEO, Steve Cannon, offered up some examples to AN at the LA Auto Show. For example, a customer couldn't fit his sunglasses into the overhead compartment. "So we bought him a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses that fit because of their shape," Cannon said.