The Mercedes-Benz dealership in Flagstaff closed earlier this month.
But it is not clear whether it will stay closed, or why its doors closed in the first place. Mercedes-Benz USA said the franchise ceased operations and is considering options to reopen the dealership. Mercedes-Benz officials said they hope to continue to sell and service vehicles in Flagstaff.
“In the meantime, factory warranties and extended warranties purchased through the dealership will continue to be honored by surrounding Mercedes-Benz retailers,” the statement concluded.
An owner of the Flagstaff Mercedes-Benz dealership did not respond to multiple attempts for a comment by email and phone.
The dealership's website is still operational, however a pop-up warns visitors that the site is "unavailable until further notice." That being said, the website showed more than 20 employees who worked at the dealership who are likely not working during the current standstill.
Whatever the reason for the closure, the dealership had not been open long. Mercedes-Benz had only been at its present location in the Flagstaff Auto Park on the east side of Flagstaff since September 2018.
Before that, the dealership had been located on Switzer Canyon Drive next to the Flagstaff Buick GMC.
Martin Automotive Group, which owns the Flagstaff Mercedes-Benz dealership, also owns Flagstaff Buick GMC and Lake Powell Ford dealership in Page.
The dealership closed a month after the city held a joint meeting between the Flagstaff City Council and members of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce to discuss challenges felt by local businesses.
At that meeting, Robby Findlay, one of the owners of the Findlay Automotive Group which operates a Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen dealerships in Flagstaff said there were significant headwinds to business growth in the city.
Findlay told council the city’s higher sales tax may push locals away from Flagstaff to purchase vehicles in other markets such as Phoenix.
Later, he told the Arizona Daily Sun that the apparent closure of the Mercedes-Benz dealership is an example of how those headwinds can affect some businesses and brands more than others.
“I think it just shows that if the town and the economy isn’t growing, it’s going to be tough on the lower volume brands,” Findlay said. “[Mercedes] is obviously an expensive, low volume brand and I think if the locals who are considering a Mercedes weren’t shopping there or purchasing there, it’s tough to make the business work.”
Findlay added those challenges are more difficult to weather for a newer, less established dealership. It takes time, Findley said, to grow a loyal customer base who also services their vehicles at the dealership.
“I think it’s important that the Flagstaff community not only purchases their vehicles in Flagstaff, but also services their vehicles in Flagstaff,” Findlay said. “They hadn’t established a foot print. It was just a very tough business model.”
Adrian Skabelund can be reached at the office at email@example.com, by phone at (928) 556-2261 or on Twitter @AdrianSkabelund.
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