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Mercedes-Benz dealers now using iPads to sell cars

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz is equipping 40 dealerships with iPads in an effort to more effectively sell and lease cars, keeping customers comfortably in the vehicle while handling a credit application.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, a fleet of iPads loaded with the company's MB Advantage app will enable dealers to pull up the latest discounts or rebates and complete a credit application for potential customers on the spot, rather than requiring sales people to lead the customer to a desk with a PC.

Andreas Hinrichs, vice president of marketing, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview, "We wanted to bring the mobile revolution into the dealership. The iPad is consumer centric but there is a business side to it as well."

Lease returns via iPad

The company's iPad app also allows dealers to review the condition of vehicles returned at the end of their lease while the driver is present.

Bernie Moreno, the owner of a Mercedes-Benz dealership in North Olmsted, Ohio, told the Wall Street Journal that formerly, "when someone came in we would go out with a pad and a pencil and scribble down all the problems, like a scratch here or a dent there and then go back to the desk and enter everything in the computer."

Moreno said he started using his own iPad on a limited basis to handle leased vehicles, and is now among the dealers in the company's official iPad pilot program. When the customer arrives, Moreno carries his iPad with him outside to do returns on the spot.

"Now I can do it all right in front of the customer and it just gives us more of a sense of credibility," Moreno said. The report indicated the company's pilot program may eventually result in Mercedes-Benz Financial distributing iPads to all of its 350 US dealers.