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Expert Car Advice, My Opinions

A Servant’s Heart

I’ve been here for about a month and a half now at Myers Hyundai Bells Corners in Ottawa, ON.  Over the last month we’ve hired half a dozen new salespeople, and I’ve been working diligently to train these very promising sales professionals and set them up for success.  We’ve covered a lot of different topics in our training, our role-playing and our discussions, but one thing that I’ve found myself repeating like a mantra is the one core, guiding principal that I believe governs everything we do with our clients and customers.  I say this at the beginning of my training sessions, and I close by mentioning this idea again, because it’s so, so important and I need this idea to be part of our ongoing conversation to make sure my guys are looking at their role from the correct vantage point.

The idea is simple:

  1. Provide unparalleled customer service and HELP our customers.
  2. Understand that the ONLY way to ACTUALLY help our customers is to close a deal and sell them a car.

I keep repeating this to my salespeople because it’s critically true.  Our customers reach out to us, they send emails, they call us, text us, come visit our store in person because they have a real, tangible problem that they are working to solve, and it’s our job to make ourselves available with a servant’s heart, an open mind, and to actually help them solve that problem to the best of our ability.

I want to put this core idea out there and elaborate upon it here on my blog – both for other salespeople who can learn something from this lesson, and for my clients who come to my site to learn about how I do business and what I believe in.

Any of my current or previous clients who have worked with me at any length know that I’m all about transparency, education, honesty and a no bullshit approach.  I’m not shy about explaining why I do anything I do – I believe that’s something my clients appreciate about my process – my straightforwardness and my utter commitment to bring about the right kind of sale of the perfect car that my clients can feel excellent about.

There’s a famous experiment in marketing done by a couple of psychologists from Columbia and Stanford universities, and it had to do with selling jam in a marketplace:

(You can click here to read the original study in it’s entirety, or click here to check out a great TED talk article where the study and others like it are referenced.)

The links are above, but the broad strokes are straightforward – they set up a kiosk at a fair marketplace to test their hypothesis, and they alternated their offering every hour or so.  For the first hour they offered 24 different kinds of jam, and the second our they offered only 6 flavours of jam.  They alternated which kind of offering they put forth, and tracked the results and the buying habits of the customer who shopped at their kiosk.

What they found, consistently, is that when you offer someone 24 choices, the customer experiences decision paralysis – they sample a few types of jam but consciously or unconsciously they understand that they haven’t put the time in (and frankly, don’t even have the time to spare) to thoroughly evaluate the ‘jam problem’ and pick the best jam for them.  The result?  No jam for them to enjoy at all – they move on without purchasing anything.

When only 6 flavours were offered though, the average customer who stopped to taste jam was a) actually looking to buy jam and would enjoy a jam, and b) were offered a selection that they could pick from confidently and feel satisfied with their choice and their purchase.  Fewer people stopped at the kiosk to take part in the free samples, given the smaller display with fewer products… but overall, the customer experience was far greater, and more often than not resulted in a jam buying decision being made.

In my view, this is a virtuous way to do business.  Yes, you COULD offer someone not only 50 flavours of jam, but various butters and peanut butters, marmalades, ketchups and every other kind of condiment under the sun.  And you COULD go tell your prospective client to go taste EVERYTHING, to pick the perfect condiment for them.

But the reality here is that nobody really wants to do that – not even close!  And in today’s car buying marketplace, by the time someone has reached out to us to discuss a new or used car in Ottawa, ON, they have already just approached our table of 6 jams, to talk about Hyundai jam, or the various used cars we have on our lot.

It’s our job as professionals, as people and as experts in our field, to help our clients who stop in at our store to help them properly – to interview and meet with them to meaningfully help them select from a small handful of targeted, qualified recommendations, and to ensure they leave both having solved their ‘car problem’, and are feeling great about their choice.

I hope my ethos is clear here for any sales professionals reading this article – asking your clients to test drive 10+ cars and then sending them home to ‘think about it’ is a total disservice to your client.  They will not make a choice at all.  They’ll tell you, “I’ll let you know,” and then never call you back.  And why should they?  You didn’t listen to them, and you didn’t help them, and you just showed them 40 different jams without qualifying either your client to a product, or qualifying a product to your client.

You only actually help your client if you can build a paradigm in which they feel safe, comfortable, and they can see the tangible value in making a purchase decision.  Nobody wants to feel like they settled, or they got screwed, or rushed into a decision.

But… what if you were really listening to your clients needs?  Recommending 2-3 targeted options they can consider that directly fit their vehicle and budget requirements?  Allowing them their space to weigh those recommendations and select the one that best suits them?

If you provide that experience for your clients, you’ll sell a car and have a happy customer every time, because their ‘car problem’ is now solved, and they can go on with the rest of their busy, complicated lives without feeling like they rushed a big decision and made a mistake.

This right here is our core job as automotive sales professionals, and we should never lose sight of it, no matter how busy or complicated our own lives get.

~ James  🙂

 

Expert Car Advice, My Opinions

My First Week with a 2017 Hyundai Sonata

So after making the career change to Myers Hyundai in Bells Corners, I swapped my 2017 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG coupe for a 2017 Hyundai Sonata Limited sedan.

My first thought?  This thing is no AMG, what a difference, etc…  It was a bit of culture shock, no doubt.

But after a full week with the car now, here’s what I’m starting to notice:

  1. The 2017 Hyundai Sonata has WAY more space.  This sounds a bit like a stupid thing to say, but I didn’t realize how useless that coupe for anything else other than collecting speeding tickets and traffic violations.  My trunk is now 4x as large.  I have WAY more head space, leg room, arm space, passenger space…  I can fit two full size adults in the back seats and THEY are comfortable as well.  My cupholders are bigger!  My glove box is bigger!  It feels physically like three times the car.
  2. The 2017 Hyundai Sonata has WAY more options.  My AMG was loaded to the hilt, but the stuff that you get included in the Limited trim level on the Hyundai are options that Benz charges separately as expensive, individual options.  If used Mercedes-Benz pricing for what the Limited trim level is worth in the Sonata, the list is obscene.  Consider this – the 20117 Sonata Limited has the same options as a C300 build that’s optioned with the $3,900 Premium Package, the $2500 Premium Plus Package, the $2700 Intelligent Drive Package with Adaptive Cruise Control; the $1700 LED Headlight Package to get powerful headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist; the $1000 upgraded sound system; $250 for the heated steering wheel and $1200 for the cooling seats.  That’s $13,000 worth of options you need to add to a base C300 so that it would directly compare to the Sonata Limited.
  3. All of which matters a LOT when you consider that the 2017 Hyundai Sonata costs WAY less money.  That C300 sedan I referenced above has a base price of $44,000, and then you slap $13,000 of options on it to match the Sonata Limited option for option.  With about $3000 of freight/PDI/dealer fees and whatnot, you’re at just about $60,000 before tax for the Benz.  Compared to a $34,649 Limited that has ALL those options already included, add the same $3,000 dealer and manufacturer fees, you’re at $37,500 before tax for the Sonata!
  4. And then when you look deeper, you notice that the 2017 Hyundai Sonata is INCREDIBLE value.  Benz will charge you almost $23,000 MORE for the SAME options, LESS warranty (48mo/80k kms VS. 60mo/100k kms), LESS passenger and cargo space.  They’ll offer you HIGHER finance and lease rates, over SHORTER term, so even if you can get the 0% rates on certain cars, you can’t stretch it out longer to take better advantage of free money.

After I realize all this, having had a chance to thoroughly explore the car, I think to myself, “Well James, that’s all fine and good but nobody really cross-shops and compares a Mercedes-Benz and a Hyundai.”

And then I’m left wondering, after considering everything I considered above…  why not?

All in all, this exercise in comparison leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy because not only am I now selling cars that anyone can afford, I think it’s really possible that I’m now selling the best value cars available on the market today.

Thanks for reading!  If you have questions about the 2017 Hyundai Sonata, feel free to reach out to me at jbearzatto@myers.ca or call or text me direct at 613-798-3325.

~ James 🙂

Hyundai News, My Opinions, Site Updates

Bittersweet Goodbye to Star Motors

It’s with a sense of optimism and excitement for the future, and a heavy heart at the present that as of last Friday, April 21st, 2017… I formally resigned from Star Motors of Ottawa and joined the Myers group in a management role for our Hyundai store out in Bells Corners, with an eye towards our new Myers Barrhaven Hyundai store opening up at some point this late summer / fall.

While I feel blessed, honoured and challenged by my new role and the opportunity it presents for my personal development and career, I leave behind a store in Star Motors that I truly, honestly did love working for.

Let me tell you why I loved working at Star:

Thank you Jeff Mierens and Yves Laberge for bringing me on board and giving me the latitude to be myself and treat my clients the way I felt they should be treated.  I appreciate that most of all – Star Motors let me run my business of selling cars and taking care of my clients with no micromanagement, with genuine support, and I’ll say for the record that in terms of everyday work flow and environment, Star Motors is unquestionably an excellent place to work, live and sell cars.

Thank you to my boys on the sales floor – Adam, Kass, Sal, Gord, Dennis, Terry, Miles, Phil, Melissa… you guys made it fun and friendly to come to work, and our team atmosphere was phenomenal.  I’ll remember it fondly and hope I get to work with you guys again at some point later in our careers.

Thank you to our all-star sales support staff – Mony, Ana, Luis, Nathan, our stellar detail team.  Our receptionists Cassandra, Winnie and even Josee who moved on before I left.  The very best people in these sort of roles make everything easy, make it all work like a well-oiled machine, and I’ve never seen such a strong team in that respect.  I appreciated all your help immensely and I can say I would never have had the success I had at Star Motors if not for your incredible hard work to make the business of selling cars efficient, easy, and customer focused.

Thank you to my guys in parts and service, the people I came to lean on to ensure our customers are getting the help they need post-sale – Chris, Holly and Robert on the service desk, Trevor Button in client relations, Joe and Pete and Dan in parts, Kyle and Pat at the body shop, Steve, Shane, Tony, Davinder in the back swinging the wrenches.  Great team overall, thank you guys.

Thank you to my incredible clients and friends that chose to do business with me this past year.  Please know that I did not abandon you!  It’s not you, it’s me!  🙂  This was an opportunity that I had to jump on, and I am still at your disposal.  My cell number will remain the same at 613-798-3325.  Call me, text me, reach out to me through my website here – if you need help with your Mercedes I can put you in touch with the right people and ensure you’re taken care of.  And if, of course, you or someone in your network is looking for an affordable car – you KNOW that they’ll receive the same great Mercedes-Benz service while they shop Hyundai with me at my new store.

And finally, thank you to my beautiful wife Shannon who is a constant source of support, insight and direction for me.  Thank you to my old friends Mustafa, Ali and AJ for inviting me to come work with them at Hyundai and help take their store to the next level.

We’re gonna have some fun this year.  Hyundai’s motto is ‘New Thinking.  New Possibilities.’

Well here’s to new possibilities.  Stay tuned!

Warmly,

~ James  🙂

 

My Opinions

Authenticity

Social media and this blog, for me, works as a marketing channel.  Social media is also my platform to present my personal opinions and my commentary on life and the state of my industry.  It is both, at the same time.  It is one and the same, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I firmly believe that my strength as a person and as a sales professional is my authenticity.  I am the same guy whether you see me at work on the showroom floor, on the ice with my men’s league hockey league, at home, at my cigar lounge, as a guest in your home, hanging out with my closest friends and family, alone with my wife, or my cat, or just by myself with my thoughts.

I am direct, honest, and always to the point.  You’re never getting an act with me.  I only have so many hours in the day to live, work and enjoy this wonderful life that I’ve built with my wife and my workplace.  I’m not going to waste my time or yours.

I also invest all of myself in all of my relationships.  I’m an ‘all-in’ kind of guy.  I’m terrible when it comes to half-measures.  Whether you’re a client, a co-worker, or a stranger, you are 110% welcome to everything I can do for you.

Now with that all said – these days it seems I’m constantly having to censor myself, especially when it comes to my social media.  On a regular basis I post social media photos and comments that always seem to rub someone the wrong way.  I suppose it’s become so easy nowadays to be too forward, too direct, too abrasive, too insensitive, too inflammatory, too eager, too…  something.

If you’re celebrating something – well, now you’re just bragging.

If you’re confident in your abilities – you’re arrogant.

If you’re quick witted and articulate – you’re a smart ass.

But the flip side of that seems worse to me.  It seems full of empty platitudes, robotic policies, fake kindness, colourless advertising spam, repetitive commentary…  I feel like I respect people’s intelligence enough to know that they see through these stiff-collared, banal approaches to marketing.  I see these messages, I scroll past this badly designed noise every day on the exact same social media channels where I post what I post.

“We’re having a sale!  Limited time offer!  Click here to save $$$!”

That kind of message right there is the death of soul.  It’s not talking WITH anybody, it’s just talking AT them.  It’s just more noise in an already very crowded world.

In the end, marketing (and by extension, customer service) is all about connection.  Connecting people with products.  Connecting products with ideas.  Connecting ideas with people.  Connecting PEOPLE with PEOPLE.

That’s my purpose.  I’m a communicator.  I talk and I laugh and I joke and inform and teach and advise and share and I will always be that guy.  I will always be looking to engage, to listen…  to invest in my relationships, as the same honest guy, giving people the same honest version of myself whether they are my client, my colleague, my family member or the strangers I meet every day out in the world.

I poke and I prod and I push boundaries to make sure I’m noticed so that the people that DO respond well to me and DO enjoy my honest, direct style can actually FIND me out in amidst all that lazy, superficial noise. 

I don’t think I’m changing the world or making an impact just peddling cars.  I don’t get out of bed to just sell cars.

I make an impact by building great relationships, building great networks, and helping people solve problems and find happiness in the decisions they make.

If what I’m writing resonates with you, and you’re in the market for a Mercedes-Benz in Ottawa, ON – you already know by now that I’m the guy for you.  Shoot me a call or a text and let me know how I can help!  613-798-3325

Warmly,

~ James  🙂

Mercedes-Benz News, Site Updates

Promotion Section is ONLINE!

Took me a bit but I’ve got the promo section up and running, I tried to break the highlights down in a more digestible way than just posting a PDF of 65 pages of spreadsheets.

If anything is unclear, please accept my apologies, but you should be able to rely on that section being updated within the first week of every month.

Half the value of my service, in a lot of ways, is being able to help navigate the various programs and combining incentives to get my clients the best deal possible.  Part of that is helping manage the trade-in question, part of that is knowing which inventory can move at what price, and part of that is knowing our programs inside and out to combine as many of them as possible when they’re applicable so that you’re not missing out on opportunities available to you!

Click this link to check out the new section and view March 2017’s news and promos.

~ James  🙂

My Opinions

What we do affects everyone

So I’m sitting up at the front desk on a slow night, the other night, and it must have been getting near to closing time for the service department, 5:00 or 5:30pm, something like that.  And as I’m chatting with the reception staff and another sales colleague, one of our technicians here at Star Motors of Ottawa is getting something off the communal printer and he turns to me and says that he’s been seeing all these great reviews I’ve been getting on Dealerrater.com and Google Reviews and whatnot.

So I say good, that’s why I’m asking my clients to help me with their public reviews, it’s great marketing and it’s nice to have a visible presence online in hopes that I can attract more clients that I’ll be able to help find a great Mercedes-Benz vehicle that suits them.

And he tells me, and I’m paraphrasing here, something along the lines of, “Well yeah, that’s good but we used to have a lot of shitty reviews and frankly it was kind of embarrassing.  I feel better working here with better reviews online, we look a lot better now.”

And listening to his point, I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks.  I hadn’t previously considered that my work in the sales department and how I conduct myself and treat our clients and guests, how that would affect how our service staff would feel about working at Star Motors.  It was a real eye opener to me.

So I guess I’m writing this post to just say thanks to this technician who took time out of his day to share his point of view with me.  I’m proud of the work I do here and I’m glad that the side-effect of my modest success here at Star Motors improves the overall dealership brand, both publicly for current and future clients, but also among the staff here where I work.

Not everyone can claim they work with excellent people but I’m fortunate to be able to brag a little bit – I have great co-workers and colleagues, even when people are having a rough day they’re still awesome and personable and willing to help.  It’s one of the many reasons I work at Star Motors.

I’m glad that our improved online footprint and the way we present ourselves is something our staff can continue to take pride in, and I encourage anyone reading this to take a second and consider how your efforts, both good and bad, and your work, both successes and failures, affect your colleagues and improve or diminish their pride in their work.

Sometimes the people you help best, you’ve never even realized you’ve helped.  It’s probably best to just aim to do a great job every day, because while you might never be as lucky as I was to get direct feedback about it, you may very well be making someone’s day.

Cheers,

~ James  🙂

My Opinions

Customer Feedback is IMPORTANT!

Often times with blogs or social media accounts attached to a company or a service, they only show the bright side of how their operation goes, only the polished side or the perfect services offered.  I think maybe back in the day, that was expected, and well received.

I think nowadays however, that’s a disingenuous approach.  Things go wrong in any business, despite the best efforts and good intentions of any organization to try to keep things running smoothly, and in those moments, I think any business is better off learning from their hiccups, and taking their client feedback seriously.

One of our loyal clients at Star Motors delivered to us as part of his post delivery survey a number of very reasonable improvements we could explore here at Star, and I thought giving them some public light in this post would be a solid thing to do – both to admit publicly that things don’t always go perfectly in this business, but also as a sort of “Thank You” to a valued client for taking the time to make some sensible recommendations to us at Star.

We can always be better, do more, and work harder for our clients.

Taking their feedback seriously and looking for opportunities to improve our client experience is a major priority, and we can’t ignore our client’s comments when we publicize them like I’m doing here.

Without further ado, here’s the list!


  1. Have a dedicated delivery specialist.
  2. Have a checklist to ensure that all components associated with the delivery are completed to a standard that meets or exceeds MB expectations.
  3. Ensure that delivery specialist visually inspects vehicle prior to delivery to confirm that all items associated with checklist are completed to the accepted standard.
  4. If special requirements/requests are made by customer as part of delivery (i.e. to not having front license plate mount attached), ensure that these requests are clearly identified and confirmed as part of the pre-delivery inspection checklist.
  5. Ensure that tire pressure matches that of recommended tire pressure setting posted in gas cap for both front and rear wheels.
  6. For new vehicles, ensure that all pre-delivery related stickers are removed from the exterior of the vehicle door jams, etc.  (This includes additional protective covering material around consoles and other protected interior items.)
  7. For new vehicles, I would suggest leaving the protective covering on the Command / Navigation screen.  (This allows the customer to remove it themselves at either time of delivery or post – similar process to when you buy an iPhone from Apple.)
  8. When selling a used MB vehicle, ensure that the paint behind the pre-mounted rear license plate bracket is not damaged by screws used to hold license plates to said bracket.
  9. If demonstrating features like Park Assist, please ensure that demonstration of said feature results in perfect execution of the feature functionality.  (Not all conditions are ideal based on make and model, but for demo purposes this should be flawless.

Adam’s additional comments:

Attention to detail is paramount for all departments, not just the salesperson, to contribute to the overall success in delivering a vehicle.  Having a delivery specialist can help bring a level of consistency across all deliveries.  Having experienced the MB purchase process on many occasions with and without a delivery specialist, my personal experience has concluded that utilizing a delivery specialist has been the way to go.

Furthermore, you may want to also consider including the delivery specialist, associated sales person and sales manager business cards with the MB Owners Manual book package. There are 2 pre-cut slots specifically for this purpose.

Lastly, if you are planning on presenting a pen to customers as part of a vehicle purchase, you could seamlessly incorporate this as part of the delivery process when a customer is signing the finalized paperwork.


As you can see, our client took his time in making clear, well-reasoned suggestions.  This is a guy who is a long time Mercedes-Benz client, an owner of some of the top end AMG models, and arguably a sort of brand ambassador for the Mercedes-Benz attitude.

I very much appreciate having him as our client here at Star Motors and I hope we’re able to incorporate his ideas into our discussions as a sales team of how we can continue to improve the service we deliver to clients like him.

For myself and on behalf of Star Motors of Ottawa, we thank Adam for his suggestions and for his continued relationship with us, and we appreciate his continued support.

For anyone else reading this that might work in the automotive sales industry, I encourage you to do something similar – make your customer’s comments public, and take them seriously.  Use your marketing and advertising channels for more than just offering products to customers.  Respect your client’s time enough to invest in their desires.

More times than not, the very best service you’re providing to your clients is LISTENING to them – these people are passionate about YOUR brand, and their feedback is the best resource you’re either using – or squandering.

All the best,

~ James  🙂

Mercedes-Benz News

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz News Recap

2016 was a HUGE news year for us at Star Motors of Ottawa Mercedes-Benz.  Massive product announcements, regional inventory struggles, new staff at the dealership, a new technological flagship, huge sales volumes – there’s been a lot of news this year for sure.

This post is going to recap a lot of stuff that was covered in the news media, so whether you’re new to the brand and you’re just diving in, or you’re a longtime MB fan and you’re looking to catch up on the latest, you’re in the right place.

So in no particular order, here’s some of the best Mercedes-Benz highlights from 2016 (with links)!


02-16c964_17

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class light truck

Announced late October of this year, Mercedes-Benz is entering into the light truck arena, with the world’s first true luxury truck.  Build on the same base platform as the Nissan Navara pickup, the X-Class is expected to rock a turbodiesel 6-cylinder engine and a robust 4×4 drivetrain.

No North American release is planned until the truck is tested in their key target markets Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe.

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


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The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The new E-Class shines a spotlight on where Mercedes-Benz feels they want to go with their new round of redesigns of the product lineup.  Expect to see the stardust LED taillights and multibeam LED headlights migrate onto the S-Class refresh coming soon, and I’ll actually predict right now that from the C-Class up, the dual screen layout with the fully digital layout will be part of the go-to premium package on the whole lineup.  It’ll be the big deal that separates Benz from the rest.

With a new sedan already on showroom floors, the E43 on it’s way, the E63 right behind it pushing 600+ horsepower (pictured above), and with the announcements of the E-Class Estate wagon and the new 2018 E-Class coupe, these cars are now hands down the best products we sell, both in terms of build quality and technology available.

The redesigned E-Class from tip to tail is a live, drivable, buyable concept car for the next 5-6 years of Mercedes design, and I can’t wait to see where that path leads.

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


mercedes-amg-gt-r-beast-of-the-green-hell-share

The AMG GT-R

The successor to the outgoing SLS AMG, the new AMG GT debuted in 2016 in Canada as a GT S model alone.  Designed to take on the Porsche 911, this is the first car entirely designed and built by AMG as a track monster.  Newly announced this year, the AMG GT R is the next evolution in the improvement and tuning of this design, and it’s creating a lot of buzz.

Retro front grill, huge rear spoiler and this gorgeous ‘Green Hell’ design MAGNO matte paint finish combine with some brutal power under the hood – 577 HP and 518 lb-ft of torque.

We expect a further evolution of this design into the return of the AMG Black Series GT later on, but for now, this is the king of the hill for Mercedes-AMG racing coupes.

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


vision-mercedes-maybach-6-concept-live

The Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 concept

If AMG is the sport-racing wing of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach swings the needle in the other direction, aiming for ultra-luxury designed to compete with the likes of Bentley and Rolls Royce.  The sub-brand resurfaced in a big way with the 2015 Mercedes-Maybach S600, a powerful luxury upgrade to what is already one of the best cars on the road in the Mercedes S-Class.

Announced and released to the public eye in 2016 is the Vision 6 Maybach coupe – a concept car designed to signify that Maybach is very well on their way to building their own AMG GT – but this one should be one of the most comfortable, well appointed and special road cruisers you can buy.  With cameras for rear view mirrors, razor thin LED lights and outlandish proportions in every direction, the critical reception for the styling and design is unmistakeable.

Maybach is just gearing up, and if any of their next production cars look anything like the Vision 6 concept, buyers will be in for a treat.

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


2017-mercedes-amg-c43-coupe-rear-end

The 43 AMG model lineup

For years now Mercedes-Benz has frittered around with it’s mid-sized, goldilocks-tuned versions of their cars.  Not everyone wants the comfortable efficiency of a small, robust engine, and not everyone wants to go full AMG with twin turbo V8s jamming out 500+ HP and RWD.

For those of us that want a little of that AMG-tuned driving goodness paired with a flexible engine and powertrain that provides the option for weekend fun OR just casual daily commuting, the ’43’ lineup finally nails it.

Engine by Mercedes, steering, suspension and exhaust by AMG, and AMG tuning of the Benz transmission and 4MATIC system for performance driving gives the perfect balance and mix of sport, comfort and luxury while sacrificing nothing save for the very top echelon of power and sport poise on the track – which most of the people buying these cars would never use anyways.

And what’s best is this flexible powertrain is rolled out right across the board:  C43 AMG sedan and coupe, E43 AMG sedan and coupe, GLC43 AMG SUV and coupe, GLE43 SUV and coupe – all the core vehicles now have this excellent powertrain available for them and the reviews are stellar.

If these vehicles fit your budget comfortably, the new 43 lineup is the place to be with Mercedes-AMG.  🙂

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


smart fortwo, BR C453, 2014

The completely redesigned Smart fortwo

Launched in 2016 is the 3rd generation of the Smart fortwo, a car that’s generally been panned in the past as a strangely driving vehicle.  An anemic CVT transmission that shifts like a sledgehammer contributed largely to a driving characteristic that most would call strained.  Well, not any more.

Released in 2016, this fully redesigned Smart fortwo is starting to turn into a real car, using a smart dual clutch automatic transmission and reworking the interior and exterior styling to make the car more fun, usable and functional, while retaining the core strength of the vehicle – it’s compact, easy to drive and easy to park.

If you’d considered a Smart car in the past and decided to go another direction, you owe the new 2016 Smart another look.  This is a purpose built car for a very specific sort of clientele, and it’s the best version of the Smart fortwo ever built.

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


Handshake between two business executives

Record breaking Mercedes-Benz sales results

2016 was our best year ever and we achieved record-breaking results in all of the following categories…

  • Mercedes-Benz combined sales of 48,320 units (up 8.5%)
  • Mercedes-Benz passenger car and light truck sales of 40,526 units (up 4.0%)
  • Mercedes-Benz passenger car sales of 21,243 units
  • Mercedes-Benz luxury light truck sales of 19,283 units (up 8.5%)
  • Mercedes-Benz Pre-Owned sales reach 12,700 units
  • Mercedes-Benz Vans sales reach 5,919 units (up 22.4%)
  • Mercedes-AMG sales up 84% (!!)

An excerpt from our press release below.

Mercedes-Benz Canada is delighted to announce that the company and its dealer network once again exceeded previously-established all-time records, with 48,320 Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, vans and smart units delivered in 2016, representing a growth of 8.5% or 3,794 additional vehicles delivered over 2015.

This outstanding result marked the third consecutive year in which the company has been the top luxury manufacturer in Canada.  In 2016, Mercedes-Benz passenger car and luxury light truck sales totaled 40,526 units. This exceeded last year’s sales figures by 4.0% or 1,550 units.

Mercedes-Benz Canada retailed a total of 21,243 passenger cars, which is more or less on par with last year’s sales figures. Luxury light truck sales amounted to 19,283 units, for a notable increase of 8.5% or 1,509 units.


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test One - Day 2 -  Barcelona, Spain

Mercedes F1 championship and Nico Rosberg retires

Mercedes has been dominant for the past few years now, just destroying all challengers in the battle for F1 supremacy.  Lewis Hamilton has been a stellar pilot for them, but his wingman Nico Rosberg was the one to really shock the F1 racing world this year.

Battling Hamilton all year for the Driver’s Championship, Rosberg snuck out a big win in Abu Dhabi and then prompty retired from the racing world, leaving Mercedes PETRONAS F1 without a second driver – a spot they have still yet to fill.

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


2016-gle-class-suv-rdgallery-001-goe-d

Mercedes-Benz diesel droughts due to VW’s mistakes

In the wake of Volkswagen’s snafu regarding their diesel emissions, many automotive manufacturers were inspired to re-certify and audit their own diesels to avoid the same financial burdens and destruction of public trust that VW is currently enduring.

Mercedes-Benz is no different.  The popular turbo diesel engine mated to the old ML / new GLE class and the old GL / new GLS class vehicles are now in high demand as new GLE/GLS vehicles are unavailable with the diesel as of the last half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 to come.

Due to the time and resource intensive process of the re-certification process, the C class and GLC class diesels have been scrapped for 2017, as well as all 4-cylinder diesels models scheduled for production.  Instead, the focus will be on re-certifying the 6-cylinder diesels for the GLE/GLS as soon as possible – at this time we expect to see the new diesels land for Q3 next year.

Click here, here, here or here for more info.


Thanks for reading and please contact me if you have any questions about any of this stuff or you’d simply like to know more!

~ James  🙂

Expert Car Advice

HOW TO SELL a used car in Ottawa, ON

Because I just picked up my C43, that meant that I needed to sell my 2012 Infiniti G37x.  I wanted to sell it fast and to get fair money for my car.  I think those goals are shared by just about everyone who’s looking to sell their car privately – they want to sell it quick, keep costs manageable, and get fair money for their used car.

There’s a right way to sell cars and a wrong way.  This goes for new cars, used cars, wholesale cars, scrap cars – just about any sort of cars.  Used cars have always kind of been my thing, so I’m going to work up a few guidelines here that may be useful to someone looking to sell their car in 2017 and want to do it the right way.

  • DO YOUR RESEARCH.  Before I went to list my 2012 G37x online, I went on Autotrader.ca and looked at what these things are going for.  So first off, I searched for 2011 – 2013 G37x sedans.  Then, since my car had about 54,000 kms, I narrowed the search to 2012 G37x’s with between 45,000 – 65,000 kms.  This showed me about 30 cars.  That’s a perfect sample size.  Anything over 75-80 cars is way too many search results.  Anything under 10 isn’t ideal either.  Somewhere in the 20-40 range is perfect, you want to get a good look at what cars like yours are selling for – that’s the metric you’re going to use to price your car for a quick sale.
  • YOUR PRICE NEEDS TO MAKE SENSE.  Every car has a selling point.  Some are the lowest price, some are the lowest km’s, some have a rare colour combo – every car has *something* going for it.  You want to be able to clearly answer the question, “Why should someone buy MY car instead of the one next to it?”  Your asking price needs to directly match your car’s condition and what it offers, relative to other cars of similar year and mileage.
  • PROPERLY PREPARE YOUR CAR FOR SALE.  Do not show your car in anything less than the exact condition you intend the next owner to pick it up in.  In my case for my Infiniti, I had it fully detailed inside and out, with buffing done, compounding done, paint sealant, everything.  I tried to make it look, feel and smell as new as possible, and I took pictures directly after the car was done being cleaned.  This is incredibly important to succeed with the next tip, because you want to…
  • STICK TO YOUR ASKING PRICE.  If you put the time in to research directly competitive cars, and your price you listed it for sale at represents good value, then stick to your guns.  You don’t need to waste time haggling about price when you invested time to clean your car, advertise it properly and priced it fairly.  Discounting more than $1,000 on a private sale means you didn’t price the car correctly in the first place.
  • And finally, above all BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF through this process.  If your car is beat up, you need to be priced cheaper.  If there’s literally 400 similar cars like yours, with no options in the car and the same kms, you need to be priced cheaper.  If you have accidents on the car, you need to be priced cheaper.  If you didn’t take good photos, if you didn’t clean the car, if you trying to sell the car ‘as-is,’ well, you need to be priced cheaper.  90% of all your problems trying to sell a car fast is either a) You’re not being honest with yourself about what it’s worth, or b) You didn’t put a real effort in to clean it up and advertise it properly.

That’s the main points for sure.  You stick to a simple strategy of a) clean car and make it nice for sale, and then b) price it correctly, that’s literally the whole formula.  There’s 10,000 other ways to improve your chances and build more value in your car, but that’s the nuts and bolts to it.  It’s not rocket science at all.

BUT, if you’re looking to become an expert here, I can offer a couple of other small tips to consider as you go through the process of listing your car for sale and selling it well…

  • You’ve got to advertise your used car for sale in multiple places.  Pick the biggest three websites in your area.  For me, it was Auto Trader, Kijiji Autos, and Autocatch.  I duplicated my listing on all three sites.  I also guessed that Trader would be my best bet, so I invested $50 to list my car near the top of the list for the next 60 days.  Small advertising investments like these can really help your used car get proper exposure.
  • If someone lowballs you or offers you something stupid and insulting, your best bet it to ignore it completely.  You can’t turn an idiotic offer into anything meaningful – if this person wanted to work with you on your car, they would have offered something sensible to start with.  Don’t even bother with these losers.
  • Everything you do to simplify the selling process works in your favour and supports your goal of sticking to your asking price.  Bringing cars to meet them in their part of town builds value.  Throwing in your accessories like winter mats builds value.  Communicating with people via their preferred contact method (phone, text, email) builds value.  Being a pleasant person to deal with builds value.  Do these things, make it easy for someone to buy your car.
  • Good pictures means good lighting.  Cellphone cameras are good enough, but never shoot pictures at night, and never shoot pictures with angles where shadows cover the car.  You want large, high resolution, well lit shots.  Make sure 90% of the frame is the car itself, not the background.  Make sure you get shots 360 degrees around the car, get a shot of the exact mileage, and highlight with your photos the top tier options like navigation, rear cameras, upgraded trim or upgraded stereo in the car.  Use 15-20 photos, no more, no less.
  • Write a detailed description, with as much meaningful info as possible.  Exact colour names from the manufacturer (Obsidian Black, Canvasite Blue).  Exact names of options and trim levels.  Original retail price for what it sold for new is awesome to have in there.  Owner history, accident history.  Why you’re selling it.  All of this is excellent to include in your listing and makes you seem like an organized person.  Selling a car is a team effort between buyer and seller.  Be a great teammate!

Hopefully this gives you a solid idea of what you’re trying to do.  If it still seems like a crazy process or you’re having trouble selling your car – reach out to me!  Let me help!  I can get your car appraised both as a trade in and as a retail sale, and give you targeted advice for FREE on how to accomplish your automotive goals.

Literally, please, contact me today if I can help.

~ James  🙂

Site Updates

C Class is up!

C300 is the focus of the section, you can find it through the top nav or click here.

I’ll have the C43 and C63 permutations worked up through the AMG section, but the core models are getting built out first.

And yes, I know that a 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 wagon / estate is on the way, but we’re not sure when it’ll be here.  There’s questions about whether it will land as a 2017 or a 2018 model year as well, so I’ll get those adjustments made when the wagon actually becomes available.

Enjoy!  As always I welcome any and all feedback on the format of the sections and the utility of the content.

~ James  🙂