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MERCEDES MARKS FIFTH YEAR OF 24-HOUR ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM; INDUSTRY-FIRST PROGRAM STARTED NEARLY 12 YEARS AGO

 MONTVALE, N.J., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz of North America, which pioneered on-the-road technical assistance programs a dozen years ago, is marking the fifth anniversary of its 24-hour Roadside Assistance Program.
 Initiated in 1981 to provide Mercedes owners with technical assistance, including on-the-spot vehicle repairs, the Roadside Assistance Program began providing 24-hour service in 1988. The program remains unique in the auto industry because it's available to every Mercedes owner, regardless of the car's age or whether the owner bought it new or used.
 Mercedes-Benz pioneered the concept of after-hours service in North America, providing on-the-phone and on-the-spot assistance to owners using factory-trained personnel. The success of the program led a number of other auto companies to evaluate Mercedes Roadside Assistance and develop their own emergency road-service programs, generally in the form of auto club memberships for new-car buyers.
 A toll-free hot line links Mercedes callers to factory-trained dealership technicians carrying satellite pagers. Nearly half of all calls are resolved over the phone, and in more than 80 percent of the cases where a technician is sent to the scene, the repairs are successfully completed, usually in less than an hour. If towing is required, firms with specific Mercedes expertise are used.
 Mercedes Roadside Assistance personnel report that owners sometimes call simply for information -- such as recommended brands of oil, anti- freeze or tires. The help often goes beyond merely servicing cars: Mercedes personnel once sent police to rescue a caller from being mugged, and at least one technician has taken a hit-and-run victim to the hospital.
 MBNA provides the phone assistance at no charge. In addition, spare tire changes and jump starts are free, and a few gallons of free fuel are provided to owners who've run out on the road. Repairs involve a basic service fee, plus parts and labor. Any payments to a servicing technician for items covered by the Mercedes-Benz four-year or 50,000- mile new-car warranty are refunded by the dealer. The vast majority of Mercedes owners, however, find the programs's biggest benefit to be peace of mind.
 -0- 6/2/93
 /CONTACT: Fred Heiler of Mercedes-Benz of North America, 201-573-2245/


CO: Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc. ST: New Jersey IN: AUT SU:

CK-WS -- NY039 -- 4435 06/02/93 11:53 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 2, 1993
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