Mercedes-Benz Financial has announced that the results of its limited iPad pilot program were so “overwhelmingly positive” that the company is expanding the program to all 355 dealerships in the U.S. During the pilot phase, select dealerships in the U.S. were letting potential customers fill out paperwork on the spot using iPads, instead of forcing them into a dealership office to complete the sale, with the hopes of preserving more sales lost at the last minute. “We were surprised,” Andreas Hinrichs, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial, said in an interview with Macworld. “The feedback was so positive we said, we need to push this out to all the dealers and take the financing process to a new level.” The company will also begin use of the 3G-enabled iPads in its leasing process, allowing customers returning vehicles to watch the post-lease inspection and sign the completed forms using their finger.
In addition, Mercedes is showing off a prototype iPad docking station at the Paris Motor Show. Similar to the one shown at the show by rival manufacturer BMW, the Mercedes mount sits horizontally behind the front seat headrest and allows back seat passengers full use of the iPad while it charges. No pricing or availability information has yet been announced.