MERCEDES-BENZ GETS NEW MULTI-BILLION NAIRA HOME IN LEKKI
•The new Mercedes Centre in Lekki
Twenty-one years after opening an impressive one-stop Mercedes-Benz Place in the Masha area of Lagos where the three-pointed star vehicles were sold and serviced professionally, MB Automobiles Services Limited has raised the bar of standards even higher with the opening of a new complex in Lekki, another part of the city where auto business is gradually gravitating to.
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 new complex is called) represents a 21 year-old 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.
Interestingly, the new Mercedes-Benz Centre is already attracting more than passing glances and comments from motorists along the expressway and the general public. And this is mainly due to the attention-grabbing revolving three-pointed start sitting conspicuously on the roof of the centre with sparkles that help beautify the skyline.
Beyond the sophisticated interior of the showroom which is typically Mercedes, the workshop area was clearly built with all segments of Benz business in mind. For instance, commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses have their own sections, while special products like Guard, super sports cars and premium luxury Maybach, expectedly, have a deserving and dedicated service section.
Another section with purpose-built bays and lifts is reserved for general service and maintenance, just as the body works and paint section features truly modern spray booths that are manipulated through a cluster of buttons and knobs at the entrance of each.
The workshop has the capacity to take at least 20 vehicles at a time.
Uwatse, who confirmed that it took quite a lot of financial and material resources over three-and-half years to complete the new centre, disclosed, however, that MB Automobiles, as a matter of policy, resisted the option of taking facilities from any bank to see to its early fruition.
He was visibly gleeful that the dream came true at last: 'My personal ambition has been to set the highest standards for Mercedes-Benz in Nigeria. I have been informed that not only have we met the standards, but have raised it higher… The revolving star on the roof is the only one of its kind in Africa. We are bringing in state-of-the-art equipment, so that any Benz available in the country, whether car truck or bus , will be maintained to the Mercedes-Benz standard'.
He disclosed that the Mercedes-Benz Centre has been adopted by Daimler AG as the training centre for the entire West Africa, adding that from next year, technicians from countries in the region where Mercedes has business, would be coming to Lekki for refresher courses.
Uwatse introduced the General Manager, Mr Christoph Heckhausen, whom, he said, would be bringing to bear on the Centre his wealth of knowledge and experience earned within the Mercedes-Benz global family.
It was learnt that MB Automobiles has won the marketing rights for Chrysler's Jeep range, and was already preparing a section of the showroom for the all-wheel-drive SUVs.
Also located within the Centre is a bank and showroom for the class electronic products of Bang & Olfsen brand, as well as a fitness equipment marketer.
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.