[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ercedes-Benz Centre at Lekki, Lagos hosted triple celebration last week, as it marked 25-year anniversary of M-B Automobile Services, 30-year of the four-wheel drive system developed by Mercedes-Benz (4matic) and 90-year of Bang & Olufsen.
At a press briefing held a day before the event, the Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Centre, Mr. Benson Uwatse, described the celebration as a special occasion for his company.
“We used to be called Mercedes-Benz shop out there in Masha, Surulere” he recalled. “And it was our dream that one day, we will have a place called Mercedes-Benz Centre. We did it in 2011.”
He said Mercedes-Benz had been in business for 130 years, while Band & Olufsen had done 90 years.
“And to celebrate their 90th year, they invented something that does not look like loudspeakers.”
Uwatse said there is a synergy between Mercedes-Benz and Bang &Olufsen, saying sound systems in most Mercedes-Benz come from the latter.
“Bang & Olufsen is a high-end quality product,” he said, “And Mercedes-Benz is also high-end quality product. In Nigeria, I am the link between the two. If you look in our database, you’d find that quite a few of the people that have bought Mercedes-Benz cars from us have also bought bang and Olufsen.”
According to him, it is a lifestyle for a very few people and those who belong in that status of life gravitate from Mercedes Benz on the road to bang and Olufsen at home.
Also speaking emphasising the synergy between the two premium brands, the General Manager of Bang &Olufsen Nigeria Limited, Mrs Chinwe Uwatse said just as one could find 40-year-old G-Wagon that is still on the road, and the owner will not sell it, the same applicable to buyers of Bang &Olufsen products.
“People, who buy it, are very passionate about the design, about comfort, about excellence,” she explained. “So their children and associates see that these are not just pretty faces, but things that add value to your life. You are looking forward to going home from work so you can relax and listen to clear music or you can relax in front of your television.
“Those are our clientele, the ones who have passion for excellence, and you find that over the years, since we’ve been around, we find that a lot of Nigerians are buying into the fact they can buy a television set that could last for 20 years before it starts degrading, that it might not even degrade if it is handled properly.”
Earlier, the company’s Deputy Sales manager of Mercedes-Benz centre, Kingsley Uwatse said the year 2015 had been challenging for the organization
“But we have managed the crisis successfully,” he assured. “Rather than of course shrinking, we have used the year as one for gathering momentum and restructuring our entire team. We’re transforming the way we operate to continuously improve our ability to satisfy all our customers.”
On the 30 Years of 4Matic by Mercedes-Benz, he said the all-wheel-drive has been used in a wide range of the Mercedes-Benz models, adding that vehicles such as the G-Glass even attained legendary status with the ‘G’ in the G-Class standing for ‘Gelandewagen’- German for off-road vehicle.
He recalled that Paul Daimler, son of Daimler Motor Corporation’s founder Gottlieb Daimler, headed the development of the world’s first ever all-wheel drive system in 1903, and, in 1907, installed it in Dernburg-Wagen, to create the world’s first four-wheel drive vehicle.
He added: “Today, 4MATIC is a core technology for a broad range of Mercedes-Benz SUV vehicles, numbering around 80 models worldwide. 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive provides for added dynamism, comfort and safety on normal roads and cross-country terrain alike, and is a striking example of a case where technology and deign meet at the intersection of comfort and practicality.”
On the company’s goal for another 25 years, the general Manager of Mercedes-Benz Centre, Mr. Michael Wagner said there is a plan to continuously keep up with the standards around the world.
“There is a large drive for us in developing our staff,” he noted. “And with a great support from Daimler in Germany and particularly, the focus would be on assembling, and a lot of development will take place, leading to generation of employment. I believe it is an exciting time and I’m sure you’d see Mercedes continue to lead in Nigeria.”
Affiliated to Weststar Associates Limited (authorised general distributor of Mercedes-Benz products in Nigeria), MB Automobile Services Limited is a fully-fledged Mercedes-Benz dealership that sells and maintains all passenger cars vans trucks imported into the country by the umbrella body.
Located on a 15, 000 square-metre space and featuring a 400 square-metre showroom as well as a 5, 000 square-metre workshop area with array of maintenance equipment, Mercedes-Benz Centre (as the complex is called) represents a dream-come-true for the brain behind the edifice, Mr Benson Uwatse, who had since 1990 nursed the ambition of domesticating in Nigeria the-best-or-nothing approach to auto business epitomized at the home of Daimler AG in Stuttgart, Germany.