If you need maintenance or service work done on your Mercedes-Benz vehicle, look no further! Here at Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, we offer Mercedes-Benz Express Service to get you in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible. So, when you need service on your vehicle in Miami or throughout South Florida, you can trust our team at Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables. Read the rest of this entry
Celette Products Enable Miami Collision Center to Provide Exceptional Service & Certified Repairs
Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center
Location: Miami, FL
Company At A Glance…
Type: Collision Repair Facility
In Business Since: 1990
Number of Locations: Three
Combined Production Space:
42,000 square feet.
“It’s our guide to everything we do,” said Scott Woodard, general manager of Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center. “We have a ton of long-term employees, and the ownership is motivated with investing in the people. You can’t run such a large facility without having hard-working, dedicated employees.”
Bob Brockway, chairman and CEO, attributes the customer philosophy to the company’s tradition.
“We follow the golden rule: treat people fairly and honestly in the same way you would want to be treated, and you will have a customer for life,” he said.
Woodard said the business’s tenured and professional staff guides clients through the insurance claim process, while certified technicians with more than 100 years of combined experience use the latest technologies to complete repairs to like-new condition. This includes using original Mercedes-Benz parts and factory-approved paint systems to return vehicles to their original pre-accident condition.
“Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, part of the Bill Ussery Motors Group, is the second-oldest Mercedes-Benz dealership in the United States,” said Woodard. “Over the years, we’ve delivered the ideal combination of exceptional Mercedes-Benz sales and service.”
Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay continue to be recognized as two of the premier dealerships in the country.
“We have many long-time customers,” said Woodard. “We are even selling to our original customers’ grandchildren.”
As a result of their efforts, the business has been recognized by Mercedes-Benz USA as one of the “Best of the Best,” which includes the top 22 percent of its retail network.
Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center, incorporated in 1990, opened its state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot facility in Miami, FL, in 2008. In 2013, the shop evolved into the present-day Elite Certified Aluminum Structural Mercedes-Benz Repair Facility, a prestigious tier II certification awarded by Mercedes-Benz. The certification means that Mercedes- Benz-certified repair technicians perform aluminum structural repairs that strictly adhere to the Mercedes- Benz standards. It also gives the body shop access to purchase certain OEM parts as directed by the manufacturer. Currently, the business has grown into a multi-shop facility that serves customers for both dealerships and South Florida.
Left: Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center depends on Celette benches to ensure a quality, certified repair. Right: Scott Woodard stands near the Celette bench at Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center.
Woodard has worked in the industry for more than 35 years at every level and been consistently looking for a better way to fix cars and be ahead of the competition. When he joined the collision center in 1999, he was familiar with conventional structural repair methods. That same year, he became familiar with the Celette brand and incorporated the use of the Celette bench in the shop. Since then, he has found that Celette collision repair products offer superior accuracy and efficiency.
“For the last 20 years, we’ve put every car on a Celette bench that had any signs of structural deviation. It’s a very well-designed industrial piece of equipment that seems to last forever,” said Woodward. “Also, it gives us the ability to market what we do and most importantly deliver a quality and safe repair.”
Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center currently utilizes two Sevenne benches and a Sevenne XL and most recently purchased Celette’s NAJA 3D electronic measuring system in an effort to maintain its Elite certification. The measuring system uses a sliding measuring arm connected wirelessly through Bluetooth. It allows the collision center to measure vehicles with or without the mechanical parts installed.
For more than 60 years, Celette has been evolving alongside OEM automobile makers, adhering to the industry’s changes in safety and materials and striving to develop repair options that are quick and easy.
“NAJA 3D does an amazing job,” said Woodard. “It’s similar to triage; we are able to tell exactly where the vehicle is broken.”
Technicians pre-measure vehicles with the Celette NAJA 3D to determine structural damage. As a secondary precaution, they also remeasure vehicles to ensure they are within the specs of the machine and accurately document the damage so it can be shared with the customer or insurance company. The collision center also saves the file so that if there is an issue with the vehicle in the future, there is documentation proving the condition of the car when it left the facility.
Since using the NAJA 3D measuring system in combination with the Celette benches, Woodard has found that the quality standard it gives its customers is unmatched.
“Every vehicle that leaves our shop is structurally straight,” said Woodard. “I’m a dedicated Celette body shop guy forever because of what I’ve seen those benches do. It works so well; it’s fool-proof.”
#usseryvisits in a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS the Cape Florida Lighthouse, located at the south end of Key Biscayne. Constructed in 1825, it guided mariners off the Florida Reef, which starts near Key Biscayne and extends southward a few miles offshore of the Florida Keys.
The lighthouse has a remarkable and fascinating history including an attack by Seminole Indians in 1836. Although it survived, it was severely damaged and was rebuilt in 1855. Then, in 1859, it was once again badly damaged by Confederate Sympathizers during the American Civil War.
From 1888 to 1893, the Cape Florida lighthouse was leased by the United States Secretary of the Treasury for a total of $1.00 (20 cents per annum) to the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club for use as its headquarters. It was listed as the southernmost yacht club in the United States, and the tallest in the world. After the lease expired, the yacht club moved to Coconut Grove, where it still is active.
In 1903, a private land owner bought the abandoned Cape Florida lighthouse from the United States Treasury for $400. The southern third of Key Biscayne, including the lighthouse, was bought by the State of Florida in 1966. It established the land as Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, named for the editor of the Miami News, who had urged protection and helped arrange the deal for preservation of the land. A joint project with the Dade County Historical Society in 1995–1996 restored the lighthouse. A museum was installed in a replica of the keeper’s quarters, to give visitors a sense of the maritime history of Florida. As part of the renovation, the light was replaced with its present optics before its reactivation.The lighthouse was relit in time for the Miami Centennial celebration in July 1996. It is now owned and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
After your visit, head to the Boater’s Grill for lunch! Located just 5 minutes from the lighthouse, this is casual waterside dining overlooking Hurricane Harbor. The menu has a terrific selection of seafood and more.
When you go…
Bills Baggs Cape Florida State Park is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until sundown and the lighthouse is open to visitors from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. There are guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. You must be 42 inches tall to climb to the top of the lighthouse.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Cape Florida!
THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPS ‘BRIDGE FORECAST’ TO PREDICT AND ALLEVIATE COMMUTER WOES
Launched in Partnership with Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, AI Forecasting Technology Works to Solve for Miami Traffic
MIAMI – APRIL 25, 2019 – Innovative, cross-cultural global creative agency the community has launched Bridge Forecast, a first-of-its-kind system that monitors drawbridges in real time to inform commuters of potential traffic delays. Unveiled in partnership with Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, this smart technology leverages computer vision and machine learning to predict and convey when Downtown Miami’s three major drawbridges, along the Miami River, will rise.
In researching the commuting patterns of Miami, the agency found that the tension between cars and boats had peaked, especially since the population in Downtown Miami had swelled 40 percent since 2010 and expected to grow close to another 20 percent by 2021. Businesses and commuters pushed to limit bridge closure times during peak rush hours to combat the many traffic delays. In turn, boaters and the U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates traffic on the Miami River, fought back, noting this would hurt their industry and cause navigational hazards in the water.
With traffic jams only increasing, and commuters and boaters at a draw, the community, under the leadership of Co-Founders & Chief Creative Officers José and Joaquin Mollá, launched Bridge Forecast as a solution. The system uses artificial intelligence and the placement of around-the-clock cameras overlooking the drawbridges on Miami Ave., Southwest 2nd Ave., and Brickell Ave.
By monitoring boat traffic and bridge openings using Computer Vision technology, the community created an understanding of bridge behavior. Then using machine learning, the agency took the behavioral data and began predicting openings in various time intervals. The system then conveys the information to commuters, allowing them to seek alternate routes and avoid traffic congestion.
“Knowing when a bridge is up is helpful but the gamechanger is predicting when it will go up,” said Raphael Franzini, Creative Director at the community. “The more people using it, the better we believe traffic will be. This is why we opened up our API for all to use.”
“Bridge Forecast started like an infant and, as its brain grew, it became a bridge expert,” said Chris Neff, Senior Director of Innovation at the community. “This brain fuels our forecast but we hope other navigation apps will adopt it as well.”
Recognizing the value Bridge Forecast would bring to commuters, Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables has partnered with the community to launch the system and promote it with its customers.
“Mercedes-Benz represents the best in safety and technology,” said Greg Barnes, President of Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables. “It’s beyond exciting to be part of something so forward- thinking that will enhance the driving experience and have an immediate positive impact on so many in our community.”
Custom-wrapped Metris van will deliver Zoo to You education program to the school community
Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay and Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables granted Zoo Miami Foundation $30,000 for the lease of an educational outreach Mercedes-Benz Metris van. The custom-wrapped van will assist in delivering the Zoo to You education outreach program to the school community in the tri-county area.
Zoo Miami Foundation’s outreach programs increase awareness of conservation initiatives for habitats and endangered species by bringing ambassador animals to share the threats their species face today. These outreaches enhance classroom lessons through 45-minute informal presentations with multiple animals. Topics covered include the Everglades, animals’ sensational senses and fascinating creatures from around the world. To book an outreach program or for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-255-5551.
“We are excited to finally have a beautiful van that represents Zoo Miami Foundation and recognizes Mercedes-Benz’s generosity during our school visits. Our van will surely turn heads on the streets when people see the amazing animals and bright colors that we have featured on it,” said Jessica Parks, Director of Learning Experiences.
“Zoo Miami is excited to bring educational programs, such as Zoo to You, to local Title 1 schools. It’s made possible through the support of our partner, Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay,” said Ron Magill, Zoo Miami Communications Director.
“Bill Ussery Motors Group, parent company of Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay, is excited about our partnership with Zoo Miami,” said Greg Barnes, president. “Community outreach is an important aspect of who we are and this commitment provides the perfect opportunity to bring unique lessons to countless children across Miami. It’s a wonderful program and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Mercedes-Benz is excited to bring to the market the all-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan.
The A-Class is joining the Mercedes-Benz family as its new entry-level vehicle. With a starting MSRP of $32,500, the model is positioned to be the car most Mercedes-Benz drivers first fall in love with. What has been the biggest surprise about the A-Class? Automotive publications have consistently shared that, although it is a compact vehicle, the A-Class boasts a much roomier cabin that most might expect. Additionally, its high-tech features truly sets it apart. For instance, its infotainment system, called MBUX, features advanced voice recognition software as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Say good-bye to some of the old commands and talk as you naturally do. You can say, “Hey, Mercedes, it’s cold in here” or “I’m really craving pizza and I want to go to Miami Beach,” then cue the proper response. And, speaking of technology, the A-class offers an extensive suite of standard and optional driver-assistance technology, which includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and more. Also, let
the car park itself! The days of awkward parallel parking are over. When you hear about artificial intelligence in cars, this is what they are talking about. The digital dashboard is also so much more than functional—it has fantastic graphics and a sophisticated appearance, just to continue
to enhance your experience. The A-Class will be the perfect accessory to your new home! Its clean lines, LED lighting, and elegant stance will bring beauty to any neighborhood. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class hits showroom floors this spring.
Ussery Visits Miami Beach!
#Usseryvisits Lincoln Road Mall in a 2019 Mercedes-AMG GLS! There’s no place like this incredible pedestrian-friendly 10-block promenade of restaurants, cafes, bars, and, of course, amazing shopping. This is truly South Beach’s crown jewel where there’s always something exciting happening. Day or night there is an unmistakable energy and an ultimate spot for people-watching – both tourists and locals. Come on out and enjoy the amazing South Florida sites and weather!
Since strolling makes you hungry, consider stopping in at the iconic Nexxt Café, located right in the center of the mall. It’s got something for everyone and you can sit in or out.
After you fill up, walk out to the beach and take in what might be your last view of the famous Lifeguard Stands on Miami Beach. These are going away in April and will be replaced with something more durable, but much less pretty and cool.
Where are you taking your MB?
The Biltmore Hotel hosts the Mercedes-Benz Club of America South Florida Section’s 7th Annual Concours d’ Elegance
On Sunday, January 13, the iconic Biltmore Hotel, nestled in the heart of Coral Gables, hosted the Mercedes-Benz Club of South Florida’s 7th Annual Concours d’Elegance, an exclusive event, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay. The event showcased over 70 of the club’s most collectable Mercedes cars ranging from vintage beauties to the latest models. Trophies were awarded for the best presented cars.
“We are thrilled to have served as hosts of this year’s Mercedes-Benz Club of South Florida Concours d’Elegance. Mercedes-Benz is renowned as one of the premier automobile brands, so it is only fitting that they chose to showcase the local club’s finest vehicles at The Biltmore Hotel,” said Philippe Parodi, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the Biltmore Hotel.
Listed below are among remarkable cars that were awarded (a full list of winners are available upon request):
Class 1 – AMG & CLS
- 1st place: 2011 C197 entered by Jerry Aguirre
Class 2 – SL 1957-1976
- 1st place: 1970 280 SL W113 entered by Bruce and Sheri Rubin
Class 2.5 – Modified
- 1st place: 1967 250S W108 entered by Hedi Enghelberg
Class 3 – SL 1977-1989
- 1st place: 1986 560 SL R107 entered by Stephen Greco
Class 4 – SL & SLK 1990-2019
- 1st place: 1999 500 SL R129 entered by Henry Ovares
Class 5 – Coupes, Cabs & Sedans 1958-1972
- 1st place: 1971 280 SE W108 entered by Richard Hoppe
Class 6 – Coupes, Cabs & Sedans 1973-1991
- 1st place: 1991 420 SEL entered by Robert Paulsen
Class 7 – Coupes, Cabs & Sedans 1992-2019
- 1st place: 2003 32 SLK entered by Sherry (Michael) Werner
- 1971 280 SE W018 entered by Richard Hoppe
Best of Show
- 1958 Adenauer entered by Guy Lewis“We enjoy so much our affiliation with the Mercedes-Benz Club of America,” said Greg Barnes, president of Bill Ussery Motors, parent company of Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay. “This organization provides many the opportunity to see Mercedes-Benz classics that are both beautiful and technological marvels of their time. As a dealer, we enjoy celebrating the past while bringing to today’s market the newest and most remarkable offerings that Mercedes-Benz has to offer. We applaud and join MBCA in a shared commitment to this wonderful brand and we look forward to our continued partnership. We also thank Biltmore Hotel for providing the most perfect possible venue for the show.”
Aside from the outstanding array of vehicles on display, guests also enjoyed a cash bar and The Biltmore’s renowned brunch.
For more information on The Biltmore Hotel, please visit www.BiltmoreHotel.com or call 800.727.1926. For more information on the Mercedes-Benz Club of South Florida, please visit www.southflorida.mbca.org.
What is going on in the car business, particularly in the world of Mercedes-Benz?
Did you know? Our Bill Ussery Motors’ president, Greg Barnes, is the Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz USA Dealer Board. This means he is at the helm of the brand nationwide from the dealers’ perspective and is in constant communication with MBUSA, Mercedes-Benz Financial, and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, based in Germany.
Because of this role, he was recently interviewed by reporter Urvaksh Karkaria from Automotive News to get his perspective on what is happening in the automotive industry, specifically as it relates to Mercedes-Benz.
Here is a copy of the interview.
Mercedes-Benz Dealer Board Chairman Greg Barnes is “cautiously, yet enthusiastically, optimistic” about 2019. The mixed emotions are fanned by offsetting factors.
Rising interest rates, a slowing economy and pricey investment toward electric vehicles move will put pressure on sales and dealer profitability.
“The competition from other luxury brands is a definite headwind,” said Barnes, president of Bill Ussery Motors Group in Coral Gables, Fla., which operates two South Florida Mercedes stores. “Without a doubt, the entire luxury car market is going to be challenged by an increase in interest rates.”
“We are seeing a lot of consumer demand shift between passenger cars and SUV,” Barnes said. “The fact that we are coming with all the updated and new SUVs in a growing segment, bodes well for us.”
To shore up profitability in the new year, Mercedes dealers hope to lean on pre-owned sales and initiatives to grow the parts and service business, Barnes, 57, told Staff Reporter Urvaksh Karkaria.
A Q&A with Greg Barnes:
What’s your outlook for next year?
The competition from other luxury brands is a definite headwind. We’ve got make sure that we are staying competitive. We’ve got to keep our product fresh.
2019 has been deemed the “Year of the SUV.” This is great news for Mercedes-Benz since we’ve got remarkable new product in our SUV line-up on the horizon. Mercedes-Benz recently launched the all-new 2019 G-Class, so we will have a full year of sales in 2019. Dealerships currently have a long waiting list for this model, so most are sold even before they arrive.
What are the top issues on the dealer board’s agenda in 2019?
Dealer profitability is, and will always be, a priority. To compete in the top luxury area, we’ve got to invest in our people and our facilities. That requires a fair profit. There’s probably a little bit more pressure with the flattening of sales over the past couple of years. Rising costs relative to interest rates obviously puts some pressure on profitability. With electrification coming, we are going to have to think about what that looks like for different [dealers] in terms of future investment.
New-car margins are getting squeezed throughout the industry. What are Mercedes dealerships doing to help profitability and reduce expenses?
There is a big emphasis on pre-owned. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz USA and the dealer network are working to significantly grow service and parts, where we see additional opportunity. Of course, reducing expenses is a continuous process and we are working together to identify opportunities.
How are declining new-vehicle sales affecting dealerships’ profitability?
There is certainly a negative impact. However, we are offsetting some of this with the increased pre-owned business. And, the service and parts business has been very strong this year with some nice year-over-year growth.
How are rising interest rates affecting Mercedes dealerships?
Vehicle payments are going to be higher than they were two or three years ago. People will step down a model. That’s why it’s important to have a more affordable model, like the A-class.
Is vehicle affordability a concern for Mercedes dealers? What is the company doing to address any concerns?
That is a concern for all manufacturers, particularly luxury brands, in an environment of rising rates. We are eagerly anticipating the launch of the A-Class this year and the GLB later in the year. These two models will add a couple of more products at the entry-level to the Mercedes-Benz line-up.
Are production and inventory levels in line with demand?
Overall inventory levels are good. There are always issues with specific models, either a few too many or in some cases, too few. We are certainly low on the G class and a little light on the S class. We have the new GLE coming next summer. That model, as it’s going out, has still got very nice demand and it’s going to be tight as we get into spring.
What were your big-selling models in the past few months?
The GLC has been hugely popular, and it’s expected we will continue to sell more of the GLC than any other model in our lineup. It’s a great product at the right time, in terms of this whole demand for SUVs. It’s priced right. We’ve got a coupe version we can’t keep on the shelf.
How important is the A-class subcompact sedan for Mercedes in the U.S.
The A class will be hugely important. While it’s a great vehicle for the entry-level luxury buyer, it’s also a staple for our existing client base who want to continue to drive a smaller sedan. These clients, many of whom will be former C-class drivers, desire a luxury ride and amenities, but aren’t looking to transition to the next generation C class that is larger in size and price. We also think the A-Class provides a great opportunity for conquest.
Are there too many models to support?
Our diverse product line-up is one of our greatest strengths. We have something for everyone and it drives traffic. Often, a customer visits a Mercedes-Benz dealership thinking they want one particular model, but, once there, they decide on something else once they see the other product offerings.
Mercedes parent Daimler is betting big on EVs — anticipating between 15 percent-to-25 percent of its global sales to be EVs in 2025. Do you see adequate consumer demand for electric vehicles?
While our sales staff receives numerous inquiries about electric vehicles, it seems that the large majority of people are asking from a curiosity standpoint.
#usseryvisits Coral Castle
We love going places! As such, we are kicking off a series called #usseryvisits. We will be visiting, in a fabulous #mercedesbenz of course, interesting and unique places around South Florida. You will get to see cool photos while learning about the destination. There is so much out there, so we are excited you will be joining us on this adventure. We will be posting to @mercedesbenzcg and @mercecedesbenzcb – sometimes to just one and sometimes to both. So, to see them all, please follow both. We can’t wait to see your comments.
Coral Castle, referred to by some as America’s Stonehenge, Coral Castle is a sculpture garden of limestone in south Miami-Dade built by one man, Edward Leedskalnin. From 1923 to 1951, Ed single-handedly and secretly carved (without machinery) over 1,100 tons of coral rock, and his unknown process has created one of the world’s most mysterious accomplishments. Did you know that Ed was 5 feet tall and weighed just 100 pounds? No one quite knows how he pulled this off. The story goes that Ed built this beautiful stone garden for his love, Agnes. The story also goes is that the love was unrequited and she never saw the castle.
Please consider visiting the castle and learning more about Ed! Both the story and structure are amazing. For more information, visit www.coralcastle.com.
Of course, after your visit, you will be very hungry. We suggest stopping in at Shivers bbq for the best barbecue this side of Pinecrest!
Stay tuned for our next Ussery Visits or follow-us on Intagram to follow our journey when we visit more interesting places around South Florida in a Fabulous Mercedes-Benz!