Sponsored feature: Mercedes Centre of Excellence -

Sponsored feature: Mercedes Centre of Excellence

Credit: autocarindia.com

  • Dec 07 2017 13:55About: 6 days ago
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Forty esteemed guests of Mercedes-Benz and Autocar India spend a day at the former's Centre of Excellence to experience luxury in its purest form.

One fine November morning, 40 discerning guests from Mumbai and Pune settled into a range of chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz cars to be whisked to the company’s plant in Chakan, near Pune. They alighted outside a modernist building housed in the north-western corner of the facility to be greeted by a board that read,   ‘Centre of Excellence’.

The Centre of Excellence is a customer-focused initiative started by Mercedes-Benz that allows its customers to experience the brand, in its entirety. Mercedes-Benz is more than just a maker of cars. It is an experience that largely revolves around its cars but also transcends them. This is what the Centre of Excellence aims to underline.

The guests started their day with hand-crafted beverages at Café Mercedes, before settling down for a presentation by Michael Jopp, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Mercedes-Benz India. Jopp shed light on Mercedes’ past in India, its current operations and its plans for the future. It was especially interesting to hear about what the reputed carmaker has in store for India in the coming years, ranging from exciting new technologies to futuristic powertrains.

After Michael Jopp’s presentation, the guests spent some time admiring the Mercedes-Benz vehicles put on display at the Centre of Excellence. The Mercedes-Maybach S-class attracted many a guest: it’s hard to not be awed by its superlative luxury. The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe also garnered much attention on account of its gorgeous profile and sporty cabin. Guests also tinkered with the iConfigurator – a unique program that allowed them to virtually explore the near-endless customisation options available on Mercedes-Benz cars.

Next on the schedule was a truly unique experience – an exclusive chance to step into the space where Mercedes cars are born. A part of the Centre of Excellence experience is a visit to the Mercedes-Benz India assembly lines at the Chakan plant. Armed with state-of-the-art headsets, the guests were taken on a guided tour of the Mercedes-Benz India assembly line, where they watched – with great awe – the complete manufacturing process of a Mercedes-Benz car. The process starts with the body shell, immaculately painted and lifted onto the production line. From there on, all the components, systems and parts that form a Mercedes are fitted on – by hand – on a high-tech, state-of-the-art assembly line. The majority of components of Mercedes-Benz cars in India are imported to maintain quality levels on par with those prevalent internationally, and are then hand-fitted into vehicles by highly-trained staff.

It was a heartening experience for guests to watch the transformation of a body shell into a fully-functional, road-ready car. Current owners of Mercedes cars felt a greater connect to the brand after watching how their prized possessions come into existence, while potential customers of the brand got a rare glimpse into the high quality of craftsmanship that goes into the making of these cars.  In the words of Amal Tanna, a car collector and connoisseur from Mumbai, “I am currently a Mercedes owner and seeing the facility probably justifies me owning a Mercedes-Benz. It makes me proud to own it and even justifies any future Mercedes-Benz purchases that I will make.”

The Centre of Excellence experience was not over yet, though. Guests were whisked from the plant in GLE 350d 4MATICs to an off-road course specially created by Mercedes-Benz to showcase the go-anywhere ability of its SUVs. The course was a daunting one, consisting of steep inclines and declines, along with pits, trenches and 35-degree side inclines. As the GLEs effortlessly navigated this course, one could see guests gasp in shock and disbelief at the capabilities of these cars. At more than one occasion, the GLE had at least one wheel suspended mid-air, compelling the 4MATIC system to redirect power to those wheels that did have some traction in order to move the car along. According to Abhishek Mantri, a Pune-based DJ, “I used to think the GLE was only a luxury vehicle, but now I think it can take a serious bashing. I think it’s a great vehicle, and it’s been a great experience.”

After a day of immersion in the full three-star experience, guests were visibly elated.  “This was a very different type of experience,” says Samit Hede, a business owner and Mercedes-Benz loyalist. “I have attended most of these events, like the Star Drive and the Luxe Drive, but this was quite unique.”

Rajen Shah, a Mumbai-based jeweller, quite enjoyed his experience at the Centre of Excellence, too: “My trip here has been worth every bit,” he said. “We went around the plant, we experienced the off-road track – the whole experience has just been outstanding.”

After a hearty gourmet lunch, the guests started leaving one by one, stepping into the chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz cars to be whisked away in style and luxury back home. 



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One fine November morning discerning guests from Mumbai Pune settled into range chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz cars whisked company’s plant Chakan near Pune. They alighted outside modernist building housed north-western corner facility greeted board that read   ‘Centre Excellence’. The Centre Excellence customer-focused initiative started allows customers experience brand entirety. more than just maker cars. largely revolves around also transcends them. This what aims underline. The their with hand-crafted beverages Café Mercedes before settling down presentation Michael Jopp Vice-President Sales Marketing India. shed light Mercedes’ past India current operations plans future. especially interesting hear about reputed carmaker store coming years ranging exciting technologies futuristic powertrains. After Jopp’s presentation spent some time admiring vehicles display Excellence. Mercedes-Maybach S-class attracted many guest: it’s hard awed superlative luxury. Mercedes-AMG 4MATIC Coupe garnered much attention account gorgeous profile sporty cabin. Guests tinkered iConfigurator unique program allowed them virtually explore near-endless customisation options available cars. Next schedule truly exclusive chance step space where born. part visit assembly lines plant. Armed state-of-the-art headsets were taken guided tour line they watched great complete manufacturing process car. starts body shell immaculately painted lifted onto production line. From there components systems parts form fitted hand high-tech majority imported maintain quality levels those prevalent internationally then hand-fitted highly-trained staff. It heartening watch transformation fully-functional road-ready Current owners felt greater connect after watching prized possessions come existence while potential rare glimpse high craftsmanship goes making these cars.  words Amal Tanna collector connoisseur Mumbai “I currently owner seeing probably justifies owning Mercedes-Benz. makes proud even future purchases will make.” The over yet though. 350d 4MATICs off-road course specially created showcase go-anywhere ability SUVs. daunting one consisting steep inclines declines along pits trenches 35-degree side inclines. GLEs effortlessly navigated this course could gasp shock disbelief capabilities occasion least wheel suspended mid-air compelling system redirect power wheels have traction order move along. According Abhishek Mantri Pune-based used think only luxury vehicle take serious bashing. vehicle been experience.” After immersion full three-star experience visibly elated.  “This very different type experience” says Samit Hede business loyalist. attended most events like Star Drive Luxe Drive quite unique.” Rajen Shah Mumbai-based jeweller enjoyed Excellence too: “My trip here worth every bit” said. “We went plant experienced track whole outstanding.” After hearty gourmet lunch leaving one stepping away style back home. 

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