Mercedes-Benz Of Manhattan Sells New Tech To Potential Technicians


Mercedes-Benz USA isn’t alone in trying to help its dealers recruit and train enough technicians to keep their high-profit service departments humming, and the American arm of the German luxury automaker isn’t alone in facing tremendous frustrations in that task. One of the biggest obstacles faced by the entire industry is getting young people to understand how high-tech an environment the automobile dealership actually is.

The onset of electric vehicles — such as the models Mercedes-Benz now is rolling out based on its EQS all-electric platform — are helping to change that equation in the industry’s favor.

“The high-voltage systems in EVs really have changed the automobile industry, and with that comes different requirements for knowledge and skill sets for repair, an we have the ability to work with schools and bring in entry-level technicians who’ve developed basic understanding of these systems,” Patricia James, assistant manager for technician learning and development at Mercedes-Benz Manhattan, told me.

Another way the big dealership in New York approaches this challenge is bringing potential technician candidates to the store. It partners with local high schools to bring groups of kids into its service department, where they can see state-of-the-art electronic diagnostic and repair equipment and meet technicians who can dazzle them with those devices as well as get them excited about the prospect of working on new technologies such as all-electric vehicles.

“Most times, they’re amazed,” James said. “They understand why this isn’t the kind of place you just come in for a year or two. The environment and our team members help them think about career development and opportunities here.”

The dealership also attends local career fairs. “Being the only corporate-owned Mercedes-Benz dealership in the country, and the Mercedes-Benz name, sometimes sell themselves,” James said. “At the [fair] table, we tell candidates about the opportunity here and how we’re not looking for someone who wants a part-time job but for someone who wants to come to Mercedes-Benz as a career. We want to grow our own technicians who can move up the ranks, if they’re a good team player.”


Is it an uncommon message these days to demand long commitments from recruits, in a labor market where many young people have been led to believe they can hopscotch through jobs and employers?

“Yes, it is,” James said. “But our approach resonates well, and candidates look at career development and opportunities they have within our tech teams.”

In fact, James said, in working with local schools to help recruit future technicians, “one question we tend to get is how quickly can they progres through the ranks and become a systems technician. We’re able to answer that question because we’re aware of their curriculum and what their development path would be. We can consult with them and let them know what their starting point would be and how they can develop from there.”