Bagging an order to the tune of 100 Mercedes car at a go is not very often for a car dealer. But this happened one day in March last year when BU Bhandari motors got a call. It is a Pune based motor dealer run by a father-son duo. Mr. Devender Bhandari, 26 expressed his initial reaction as that of being struck by a thunder bolt. To him it was something right out of any wish book, but he instantly knew that it was a genuine deal, courtesy to the orders close reference. That was enough for the father-son duo to have their nerves grinding and they immediately contacted Mercedes-Benz India. The buyers were a consortium of businessman and builders from the town of Aurangabad. They were represented by a group of 10 men, who were then promptly invited to visit the Mercedes-Benz plant at Chakan. They were given a detailed presentation about the test drive, entire line up of the products within the factory premises. Mr.Chandravadan Bhandari, the director of BU Bhandari Motors noted that the buyers were a group of down-to-earth humble human beings with a strong sense of community. He later learned that this was not a one-off incidence wherein they have come together, but previously they have booked an entire jet to go for vacations. The humbleness of these buyers was also noted due to their environment credentials as it was reported that they once planted 10,000 trees in and around Aurangabad.
The trip to the Mercedes-Benz trip was followed up with a showcase of the brand in Aurangabad, where the entire mode range from the SLS AMG sports car to the base models of the C- class were displayed. A further of 250 test drives were organized in Aurangabad.
A confirmed booking of 115 Mercedes was received a week later. Mr. Deven recalls that more friends of the group decided to buy the luxury car, swelling the order to 174 cars. Another factor of surprise that amused the father-son duo was the high level of co-ordination between the buyers. After a few more meetings it seemed that the buyers have acquired a fair deal of knowledge about Mercedes’ line-up as also some of its unique technologies, chief among them were the Blue Efficiency. The adage, when it comes to the buying a house or a car the woman has the last word, was found true. The women helped their better-halves to choose the color, trims and the specifications. The final order was 92 E-class, 20 M-class, 20 S-class, 45 C-class and 7 G-class cars.
Another notable thing was the pattern of buying that was noticed by Mr. Deven, if more than 1 car was purchased by a household, the type of model was strictly based on the hierarchy of the family. For example if the father chooses a S-class, the elder scion bought the E-class and the younger one bagged the C-class. The entire deal was finally valued at Rs 65 crores. The Director of BU Bhandari motors agreed that special prices were offered but that was not the only fact which fetched them this order. The group was very particular about the quality aspect of the products as well.
Many of the potential buyers were starters with no previous driving experience. Hence, the dealership put together a driving campaign for three days, just before the deliveries were scheduled. It was meant to give the new drivers practical training along with some basics of theory knowledge.
The wait for the deliveries was over by October 15th when the 1st batch of the cars among the 184-odd rolled out. To demonstrate the company’s commitment to its customers, BU Bhandari motors, a day before the deliveries, inaugurated a 10.000 sq.ft service outlet. The families of the customer were also treated with an entertainment show, at which noted singer KK performed, to the thrill of the audience. 150 deliveries were made in a single day.
Some of the buyers were not happy with their initial decision and wanted to change it. But Mercedes-Benz has already voiced its inability to make any change to the final order. Not to be dogged down by such hiccups, the Aurangabadi spirit of community was once again seen masquerading in the play, when they amicably decided amongst them to exchange cars with one another without making any changes to the final order.
Truly for the father –son Bhandari duo this was an experience of a life-time, whose memory they will surely cherish for a long time to come.