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Feature Stories

Mercedes-Benz Moves to Boeing Buildings

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 12
6/13/2014


By Kirt Ramirez

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is coming to Long Beach and will be housed at the former Boeing location on Lakewood Boulevard between Carson and Conant Streets.

A ground-breaking ceremony took place Wednesday, June 4, where city and Mercedes-Benz officials celebrated the start of construction on the 1.1 million square foot West Coast Campus.

“I am thrilled Mercedes-Benz selected Long Beach as its new West Coast home,” Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said in a statement. “This is an iconic brand moving into an iconic building with a plan to re-imagine the former 717 site into a state-of-the-art facility that will activate this property for many years to come.”

The new facility will consist of two buildings, totaling 1,091,754 sq. ft. on a 52.2 acre lot. The historic location opened in 1941 as home to the Douglas Aircraft Company and later served as the Boeing 717 aircraft manufacturing facility until closing in 2006, a MBUSA press-release noted.

Located across the street from the Long Beach Airport in an area known as Pacific Pointe at Douglas Park, the new facility is expected to be ready for business early next year.

“Southern California is the car culture capital of the world and it remains one of the largest markets for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Hollywood, great weather, a passion for the automobile and continued growth of the luxury market have all contributed to this singular position,” Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for MBUSA, said in a statement.

“Thirty years ago Mercedes-Benz planted roots in Southern California and expanding sales volume necessitates that we have the most efficient and effective structure to support our dealers in providing a world-class customer experience,” he added.

The new facility will bring business units together to increase efficiencies, which includes the Vehicle Preparation Center, Western Region Office and Learning and Performance Center. Two-hundred MBUSA employees will work in Long Beach.

The Vehicle Preparation Center is where the Mercedes-Benz vehicles will go after arriving by boat at the local ports. The center will make sure the vehicles are ready to deliver once they arrive in the United States from various plants all over the world.

Distribution tasks include receiving vehicles from vessels, inventory management for the U.S. market, port of entry services, shipping and wholesaling of vehicles.

Also the center will ensure each car is in top quality condition by doing vehicle inspections and factory quality checks. Then the vehicles will go to dealerships all over the West Coast. MBUSA operates three U.S. Vehicle Preparation Centers located in Baltimore, Md., Brunswick, Ga. and Carson, Calif.

The current one in Carson will close and workers can come to Long Beach.

There will be a Western Region Office at the Long Beach location as well, which will replace the current one in Irvine.

The MBUSA Western Region supports 82 dealerships with sales and fixed operations across 12 states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Utah. MBUSA has three other regional offices in the U.S.: Parsippany, N.J., Rosemont, Ill. and Jacksonville, Fla., the company press-release states.

A third business unit to be part of MBUSA Long Beach is the Learning and Performance Center, which provides training to dealership and MBUSA employees. MBUSA Learning & Performance conducts instructor-led training, e-Learning, virtual classrooms, peer-to-peer training, and mobile learning to ensure that customer-facing personnel have the information and ability to deliver to the highest professional service. MBUSA operates Learning & Performance Centers in Houston, Texas, Itasca, Ill., Jacksonville, Fla. and Montvale, N.J., according to the press-release.

Meanwhile, in California there’s no sales tax generated until a car is sold to a retail customer. If sales transactions were to take place at the Long Beach location, such as the wholesale selling of vehicles to dealerships across the West, the City of Long Beach would not receive sales tax revenue. Typically it is not taxed until it is retailed.

MBUSA spokeswoman Diedra Wylie said, “The new facility in Long Beach is not a dealership, it’s a corporate office. Sales will not happen at the new facility.”

Long Beach however will receive monies from business license activity and the ports will get rent/fees. In addition, the 200 MBUSA employees working in Long Beach as well as visitors coming in for training will benefit the local economy whenever they spend money.

The SARES-REGIS Group leases the MBUSA space on behalf of Boeing and the lease is reportedly for 15 years.

MBUSA is headquartered in Montvale, N.J., and is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the SLS AMG GT, the press-release states.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com.

Meanwhile, Long Beach does not have a Mercedes-Benz dealership. Mercedes-Benz of Long Beach used to be in Long Beach but now is located in Signal Hill.

kirt@longbeachcomber.com