Tag Archives: April Fools

Sears Imported Autos to Enter Lucrative Mercedes-Benz Funeral Coach Market Segment

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As luxury auto sales hit record numbers during the first quarter of 2013, the sales race between Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus is heating up. Dealerships are looking for new ways to differentiate themselves and offer their customers something new and innovative. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van sales are brisk across the U.S. Mercedes-Benz trucks and commercial vehicles are the norm in Europe. Sears Imports Mercedes-Benz in Minnetonka, a family owned car dealership for more than 40 years, continues to innovate with their announcement of a business expansion in to the lucrative Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles market, specifically, the funeral coach market, hearses based on the Mercedes-Benz E class.

It’s this type of innovation that has kept Sears Imported Autos in Minnetonka, MN at the forefront of Mercedes-Benz sales and customer service over the years. To say Sears a full service dealership is an understatement, they take care of their customer’s vehicle needs throughout their lives, and now, beyond.

“Sears is a unique company in that we’re willing to take calculated risks to enter a new market if we think it can work” says Mike Roeder, General Sales Manager at Sears Imported Autos about their foray into the funeral coach market.

“The baby boomers aren’t getting any younger,” says Gary Emfield, new Mercedes-Benz manager at sears Imports, “after polling a number of local funeral homes regarding their transportation needs it became clear that a high end option for funeral coaches was grossly lacking, we’re simply offering an alternative to the typical Cadillac or Lincoln hearse.” Emfiled is optimistic about the new segment “Our first three units are already spoken for, due to be delivered to local funeral homes later this month.”
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It’s true, Europeans have been taking their ‘last rides’ in Mercedes-Benz hearses for more than 50 years. Sears Imports believes their clients who drove Mercedes-Benz vehicles throughout their lives, will appreciate taking their ‘last ride’ with dignity in a Mercedes-Benz.

Teaming up with the German firm Huiskamp Carrosserie, makers of specialty vehicles for over three decades in Germany, Sear Imports hopes to deliver between 100 and 125 units throughout the United States during 2013. “We are the exclusive Huiskamp representatives in the United States” reports Roeder, “We’re making the investment, we knew we wanted an exclusive deal with Huiskamp, it’s the only way we would have done it.”

For more information on these new Mercedes-Benz hearses, please feel free to contact me directly… Dave Tobin, 952-512-6685, you only go around once, right?
(See date on this post below… April Fools!)

Dave Knows Cars Uses Mercedes USAA Discount to Successfully Negotiate Sale of 9 Military Spec Mercedes Benz G Wagens to Minnesota National Guard


It’s been more than 8 months in the works; negotiations, debates regarding specifications and eventual production and use, but the final balance payment was released by the State of Minnesota to Mercedes-Benz today, finalizing the sale of 9 military spec Mercedes-Benz G Wagen vehicles to the Minnesota National Guard.

“The idea of a specialized fleet of G Wagens for the Minnesota National Guard was planted in my head by Dave Tobin when we got to talking after we were introduced at the local Minneapolis Mercedes-Benz Club’s German Car Fest car show last June” said Minnesota National Guard Maj. Gen. Warren Oates.

“Dave mentioned these Mercedes army trucks that they use all over the world, and I’d seen them back in the late 1970s when I was stationed in Germany, he thought they’d be a great recruiting and public relations vehicle for us, I just took the idea and ran with it… all the way to the State House.”

According to sources in the Minnesota State Capitol funding was “not immediately forthcoming” for what some perceived as an unnecessary ‘pet project’ but the Major General can be persuasive and with some creative use of available discounts from Mercedes Benz and USAA, funding was eventually secured for the project.

Dave Tobin of the Dave Knows Cars Blog insists he “was just joking when (he) mentioned how cool it would be for the Minnesota National Guard to have a fleet of military spec G Wagens, but General Oates had the vision to use a fleet of specialty military vehicles as a recruiting and public relations tool and wouldn’t let the idea go.”

“General Oates was an interesting guy to meet and work with on this project,” says Tobin “after just a couple of conversations he knew what he wanted and he knew who to talk to in St. Paul to get the funding to purchase them.  In fact, he was a pretty shrewd negotiator and, because his wife is currently in a Mercedes-Benz E class lease he was able to apply the ’lease loyalty discount’ to the G Wagens and because the vehicles were for the military, they were able to apply the aggressive USAA discount to each vehicle purchased, General Oates saved Minnesota tax payers a LOT Of money with these discounts.”

While Mercedes-Benz G Wagens are in use by more than 30 militaries around the world, including most Western European countries and Canada the U.S. has always produced their own military transportation, most recently the AM General HMVEE.

The vehicles were recently produced at the Steyr Daimler Puch factory in Graz, Austria. While the new fleet of G Wagens are fully militarized, several with mounted Browning .50 caliber machine guns, most will see little more action in the Minnesota National Guard beyond recruiting and public relations efforts.

The Minnesota National Guard G Wagen fleet out side teh factory in Austria. Several models present here, including flat beds, troop carrier, and scout models.

“Hum Vees are great vehicles in combat, but they lack a certain ‘refinement’ that the G Wagen, even in military trim can deliver,” says General Oates, “With dwindling numbers in our ranks, these G Wagens will be instrumental in reaching the public and potential National Guard recruits.”

The fleet of G Wagens will be stationed at Fort Snelling, near the Minneapolis / St. Paul International Airport (MSP). They’re due to be delivered in early June, just in time to be introduced to the public and be shown at the Mercedes-Benz Club of America’s Twin Cities Section 17th Annual German Car Fest at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Shakopee, MN June 12, 2011.