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Mercedes Halts Dealer Employee Discount After Abuse

Working for a car dealership can be a taxing career that involves long hours, working on holidays, and fighting for leads. But, one of the few perks that dealership employees have is getting to interact with the latest and greatest cars. Unfortunately, employees working at a Mercedes-Benz dealership won’t be able to take advantage of the automaker's unique program that gives dealers and employees a chance to live with a car for a year.

According to a bulletin that Mercedes-Benz sent to dealers on June 1st, the Mercedes Dealership Employee One Plus (DE1+) Program has been suspended until further notice. We’ve never seen an automaker halt an employee discount program like this before, especially one that’s a dealership employee discount and not a corporate discount.

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“Effective June 1, 2024, the DE1+ Program will be suspended until further notice, which was aligned with the MBDB Sales & FS Committee. This decision, though challenging, was necessary due to identified misuse and compliance issues surrounding the program,” the bulletin states.

Mercedes didn’t expand on what kind of “misuse” or “compliance issues” led to it halting the DE1+ Program but stated that the automaker would be in contact with dealers who did not pass the recent audit. "The Fleet & Alternate Sales Department will be contacting any dealers, who did not pass the recent desktop audit, for additional documentation. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work to address these issues and ensure the integrity of our programs.”

It's interesting to see Mercedes halt the DE1+ Program. In the same bulletin, the luxury automaker claims that the program is a “great benefit for Mercedes-Benz Dealership employees to drive and get acclimated with our product.” Doing so, as one would expect, gives dealers and their employees firsthand experience with the vehicles they are trying to sell. Unfortunately, it sounds like one or a few dealerships have abused the program, bringing it to an end, at least for the time being, for everyone.

Earlier this year, Mercedes sent a separate dealer bulletin that stated the DE1+ Program provides dealerships and their employees with "an opportunity to lease or finance up to two (2) vehicles per sales year at a very special price, to be kept at a minimum of 12 months of ownership by the dealer employee." The old dealer bulletin also provided some information on what the DE1+ Program, stating that the "required discount from the dealer is at least 12.25% off MSRP for a DE1+ sale, which is added to the DE1+ Cash contribution from MBUSA. The total resulting discount depends on the model."

As outlined in the older bulletin, the DE1+ Program gives dealers and employees a great way to experience one of the automaker’s new cars for a year. We could see dealers and employees abusing the program by keeping vehicles for longer, selling the vehicles when they’re supposed to keep them, or trying to get more than two vehicles at a time. We’ll have to see if Mercedes brings the DE1+ Program back in the future or if it changes the language to stop dealers and employees from misusing the program.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

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Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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