Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned Program

By

Contributing Editor

A veteran auto journalist and editor of Tirekicking Today, Jim has contributed countless reviews and articles to such publications as autoMedia, New Car Test Drive, and Kelley Blue Book, as well as J.D. Power, cars.com, Consumer Guide, and the Chicago Tribune. He began by writing about antique/classic cars and how-to tasks, before turning to new and used vehicles. Most of his 30 published books have dealt with auto history, along with six children’s titles. His most recent book is the Tirekicking Used Car Buyer’s Guide.


, Contributing Editor - August 23, 2016
Pre-Owned Mercedes

Ever since certification of used (pre-owned) vehicles began to appear, two decades ago, Mercedes-Benz has been among the leaders. Initially, luxury models were considered the prime candidates for certification. Cars that went through an automaker’s CPO program would give buyers a third choice, no longer limited to new or pre-owned.

Only cars that meet specific requirements for age and mileage can be certified. Each one goes through a comprehensive, multi-point inspection process at the dealership. Flawed components are repaired or replaced. That could include such items as tires, brake pads, or a windshield. Certification’s ultimate goal is to bring the car as close as possible to nearly-new condition.

A Vehicle History Report is obtained, to make sure the car’s title is unblemished and it has no record of major damage. Either the original new-car warranty is extended for a specified period, or a new warranty is issued.

Factory-certified CPO cars are backed by the manufacturer and sold by its franchised new-car dealers. Certification is also offered by several other organizations, such as Costco, CarMark, and Motor Trend. Those cars are inspected, and an extended warranty is available; but the original manufacturer and its dealerships are not involved.

To be acceptable for factory certification, a Mercedes-Benz model must be no more than six years old, with up to 75,000 miles on its odometer. Inspection by factory-trained technicians at a Mercedes-Benz dealership covers 164 points. That number is about average for factory CPO programs.

Mercedes-Benz advises that the procedure covers all significant systems, including the engine, undercarriage, powertrain, and body/chassis, as well as overall appearance. After appropriate repairs are made, each certified vehicle is road-tested.

The CPO warranty begins at expiration of the original 4-year/50,000-mile new-car warranty, plus one year of additional coverage, with unlimited mileage. Extended coverage for up to two years is available at extra cost. No deductible is charged for warranty-related service visits. Roadside Assistance and Trip Interruption coverage are included. If you sell the car to a private party, the CPO warranty can be transferred.

Mercedes-Benz offers special financing for selected CPO vehicles, typically consisting of a reduced interest rate (APR). Such benefits as a one-month payment credit and two-year complimentary, pre-paid maintenance may be included in special offers. Unlike most automakers, Mercedes-Benz offers an Exchange Privilege, for seven days or 500 miles (whichever comes first).

Because of the extra costs involved, certified pre-owned vehicles cost more than their non-certified counterparts. According to the 2016 NADA Consumer Survey, as reported by Auto Remarketing magazine, the average “price premium” for a certified luxury-brand vehicle is about $2,160.

A surprising number of customers mistakenly believe it’s the dealer who does the certifying. Although dealership employees do the inspections, the manufacturer is the certifying agency for factory-backed CPO programs, and stands behind the procedure.

For the first half of 2016, Mercedes-Benz has led the luxury-brand group in CPO sales, with 60,000 certified vehicles going to customers. BMW ran a close second, with 59,000, according to the NADA Used Car Guide. Between 2012 and 2015, Mercedes-Benz certified pre-owned sales grew by 50 percent.

Leasing is most popular among luxury-brand vehicles, and off-lease models are the ones most likely to be eligible for certification. Almost one-third of vehicles marketed nowadays are leased rather than sold, so the supply of certified pre-owned is likely to remain substantial for the foreseeable future. JD Power predicts that off-lease supply will be 64 percent higher in 2018 than it was in 2015.

Additional details on Mercedes-Benz certification may be found at https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/cpo.

, Contributing Editor

A veteran auto journalist and editor of Tirekicking Today, Jim has contributed countless reviews and articles to such publications as autoMedia, New Car Test Drive, and Kelley Blue Book, as well as J.D. Power, cars.com, Consumer Guide, and the Chicago Tribune. He began by writing about antique/classic cars and how-to tasks, before turning to new and used vehicles. Most of his 30 published books have dealt with auto history, along with six children’s titles. His most recent book is the Tirekicking Used Car Buyer’s Guide.