Mercedes-Benz of North Orlando’s Ongoing Reinvention
Few companies live up to the term “legendary” like Mercedes-Benz, which has a slogan, “Since inventing the car in 1886, we’ve simply never stopped reinventing it.” What is more, only a handful of manufacturers even exist that are nearly 130 years old and an even smaller portion of them are still focused on the ongoing evolution of their initial product, pushing the envelope on what all automobiles may someday become.
Mercedes-Benz’s “history of making history” doesn’t just include the first car. As interest grows in the latest electric vehicles, one should be reminded that Mercedes-Benz introduced the first electric car, truck and bus back in 1906. In 1931 the Mercedes-Benz featured the first-ever fully independent suspension. They introduced the first crash-testing program in the late 1950s, anti-lock brakes in 1978, and in 2002, introduced the first PRE-SAFE® vehicles that actually respond by preparing the occupants for a crash before it happens.
What’s next? According to Walter Grundorf of Mercedes-Benz of North Orlando, “Research into sensor technology not only makes Mercedes-Benz automobiles safer and more comfortable, but soon they will actually drive themselves. Mercedes-Benz tends to lead the innovation curve with their ‘Best or Nothing’ approach, leaving other auto manufacturers scrambling to catch up.”
Several Mercedes-Benz models are manufactured at their huge plant located between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., which employs more than 4,000. For Grundorf, the quality and innovation of Mercedes-Benz is something customers have come to expect; his most crucial task is finding qualified technicians with the kind of sophisticated training and aptitude to work on these technical marvels.
Technicians For Tech Marvels
“With new models and new designs coming out which will be dominating the marketplace, we look for sales- people who can grasp the technology and simplify it for our customers. Our biggest challenge though is finding the high-caliber technicians we need. That is the busiest part of my job—staffing our service department,” Grundorf said.
“These individuals must have tremendous computer and electrical skills on top of their mechanical know-how,” he continued. “Their level of education and acumen has to be way beyond your typical mechanic. But, they can make a lot of money and work in places like our air-conditioned service department. How many car mechanics work in an air conditioned environment? Plus there is terrific job security, because dealerships are fighting for that type of worker.
“We make a tremendous investment in our technicians to ensure they are up on the latest developments. But finding these individuals reflects a real gap in this country. They took technical training out of most high schools and young people are almost forced into either a menial job or college, when there is this huge market for highly skilled, well-educated technicians.
“Service on a Mercedes-Benz doesn’t begin under the hood, but in front of a computer that is hooked up to the car,” Grundorf concluded.