A little more than five years since opening its doors, dealer principal Garth Blumenthal has purchased 100% of the equity and became the owner of Mercedes-Benz of Temecula.
“It was supposed to happen in 2024, but then it got moved forward a few years,” Blumenthal said during an interview in a conference room outside his office at the facility that sits between the Harveston community and Interstate 15. “The timing was a little bit unexpected, but it’s still, obviously, a really great thing.”
Before making the move to Temecula, Blumenthal served as general manager of Fletcher Jones Motorcars for 26 years and helped lead a team that was the No. 1 Mercedes-Benz dealer in the United States for 19 consecutive years.
“I started with Mercedes-Benz right after university,” Blumenthal said. “I’ve been with the brand for the last 39 years and started in South Africa for the first three years of that time and then immigrated to the United States and spent my entire career in Newport Beach, and I was in Anaheim for two years. And then, of course, I’ve been a part-owner of this business since April 2014.”
Blumenthal said over the last five years, the community has embraced the dealership.
“I think it’s been fantastic,” he said. “I think we’ve been well received by the local community and some of the surrounding areas. It’s our goal and responsibility to try to make sure that we forge some serious long-term relationships with our clients and continue to reinvest in the community with the schools and children’s charities, which is our primary focus.
“We appreciate the support, we appreciate the opportunity to be here, but we want to support what’s important to our customers as much as possible,” Blumenthal said.
The 50,000-square-foot facility isn’t just for selling and servicing cars, again, the dealership welcomes the community to experience and use the facility for events.
“What we’ve done for a number of years is we’ve facilitated, hosted a number of events here at our facility,” Blumenthal said. “We’ve made our facility available to a number of different organizations that would like to have a meeting. I think it’s not only good for them because they can use office ability, but it’s also a great exposure for us to know where we are and to the great product that we represent.”
That welcoming, comfortable attitude extends throughout the property.
“I’ve always considered that we’re in the people business first and that Mercedes-Benz or the industry itself is second,” Blumenthal said. “It’s my belief that people may not remember everything you tell them when they interact with us. But one thing for sure is they remember how you make them feel. That is the most important thing we can do is make them feel good about their visit. And even if they’re not buying a car today, we want them to go away with a positive feeling from the experience, from the interaction, from being here.”
Blumenthal said the dealership offers free car washes Tuesdays through Saturdays for preferred owners, and it has been extremely popular.
“It’s a value add to where someone can come in and get the car washed and maybe network a little bit, socialize a little bit, possibly look at a new car,” he said. “The whole idea is to try and do a lot more than would be expected, a lot more than maybe other car dealerships or owners feel that they want to deliver.”
Blumenthal is quick to point out that new buyers should be aware of how affordable a Mercedes-Benz can be.
“Of course, there’s a lot of people that have bought their Mercedes either here or somewhere else that are buying their second, third, maybe 10th Mercedes,” Blumenthal said. “There’s also a whole lot of people that are coming here for the very first time that have never owned a Mercedes that are able to transition into our brand.
“What people don’t realize is that we have full cars that lease out for under $400 a month. And that’s extremely competitive with both the domestics and some of the imports like Honda and Toyota and others. We really do have something for everyone in our model lineup,” he said.
Blumenthal said the dealership is working to improve all the time.
“We’re working on a lot of things right now,” he said. “We’re working on strengthening our team by going out and finding quality people to add to our team. To make sure that the guest experience is world-class.
“We’re working on quality control. I know that sounds crazy, but we recently added an executive manager that is focused primarily on quality control. And that could mean anything from the landscaping to the culture that we’re setting up that we want our team to buy into – the vision. And quality control is consistency, the consistency of service, consistency of making sure that we have the most efficient processes possible to take care of and service customers.”
Part of the experience includes making contact with each customer that comes through the doors.
“We are making certain that our guests have a great experience and meet the manager or the general manager or me when they come in to visit,” Blumenthal said. “We want them to meet our managers or our team as early as possible in the process so that we can have an impact and influence how that experience goes. We’re not going to leave it to chance.”
Blumenthal said he intends to continue to weave the dealership into the fabric of the community and to become a cornerstone. Everyone in the lot and inside the offices are wearing suits, which he said is important.
“(Our employees) are not casually dressed,” Blumenthal said. “That’s not to disrespect anyone that wants to dress that way, but we want our clients or our guests to know who our people are. We’re the ones delivering the experience and hopefully providing everyone with a better understanding of the features and benefits of doing business with us and with Mercedes-Benz, the brand.
“We do think that today everything is going toward lifestyle that luxury and lifestyle are synonymous, and in order to make sure that we are successful, we really want to partner with certain wineries and Pechanga (Resort Casino) and we want to make sure that we become almost a destination in itself by virtue of the type of experience that people can enjoy when they visit us.”
Mercedes-Benz of Temecula is located at 40910 Temecula Center Drive in Temecula. For more information, visit www.mbtemecula.com or call (951) 216-7800.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at email@example.com.