DETROIT — Mercedes-Benz dealers are being encouraged to turn a portion of their showrooms into what looks like a racetrack pit lane to display AMG models, the automaker's high-performance vehicles.
The intent of the performance center is to create a showroom-within-a-showroom experience to display such AMG models as the C63 sedan, S65 cabriolet and GLE63.
"You will walk into the dealership and easily identify an AMG area, " Tobias Moers, chairman of the management board of Mercedes-AMG, told Edmunds in a recent interview. "It looks like a pit lane. The floor looks like tarmac and there are tire marks on the floor."
The display features videos on "a power wall where we explain the product. It's interactive. We have a sound bar where you can choose and listen to the sound of a car, " Moers said.
AMG competes with BMW M and Audi S performance models.
The display will be installed at his other stores later this year, Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell, in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky and Mercedes-Benz of North Olmsted, in North Olmsted, Ohio.
Prior to the installation of the AMG Performance Center at the Burlington dealership, Moreno said "we had a separate area in the showroom, but there wasn't a lot of energy in that area in terms of enthusiasm. It was basically a stand, a platform, a touchscreen. It was not an amazing retail area."
"However, the new display is a completely different retail experience for AMG, " Moreno said.
A group of local businessmen visited the Burlington dealership earlier this month and their reaction to the AMG Performance Center was "amazing. They said it was cool, unbelievable."
Moreno is confident the display will have a big impact on business.
"We will double our AMG sales over last year, " he said.
Four AMG models are positioned in the 2, 500-foot display, essentially creating a showroom-in-a-showroom experience.
Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Christian Bokich said the centers being installed this year will have "varying levels of displays and investments." A minimum of two vehicles must be displayed.
The new display coincides with the expansion of the AMG car line.
Today, there are 25 AMG models and the number of models and variants could reach about 35 by the end of this year. Mercedes' U.S. AMG sales are on a roll, increasing nearly 55 percent last year to 17, 456 vehicles.
AMG models are known for their high-performance qualities, particularly the hand-built engine embossed with a signature badge identifying the technician who assembled it.
The transmission and suspension are re-engineered, and the exterior and interior are restyled to separate those vehicles from the regular Mercedes line. The engines in these models are not hand-assembled.
Moers said the performance display "is much more emotional, and it is very successful because it attracts potential buyers. Even if they look from outside into the dealership, they will see the AMG badge."
says: Sounds like even non-performance enthusiasts will be drawn to the exciting displays showcased by the AMG Performance Centers.