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MB European Delivery Program – An Adventure on Wheels

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Old May 11, 17, 12:03 am
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MB European Delivery Program – An Adventure on Wheels

MB European Delivery Program – An Adventure on Wheels
Never knew the salesman; cut purchase order before prices were established. Is this the way to buy a car?



Part 1

This road trip takes us to some of the most spectacular landscapes in Europe, the German Alpenstrasse in Barvaria, the Tirol Valley of Austria and Berner Oberland of Switzerland. Along the way, we visited numerous fabulous historic sites and saw some unmatched sceneries!

We began by taking delivery of a new 2017 model Mercedes Benz GLC300 SUV at the MB European Delivery Center (aka Kunden Center) in Sindelfingen, Swabian, Germany. Sindelfingen is close to Stuttgart.

This report will share our experience of this unique adventure, including what happened at the MB Kunden Center, the complimentary factory tour, and subsequent road trips covering Bavarian Germany, Tirol of Austria and the best of Switzerland.

Come on board and buckle up your seat belt!

From our home port of SFO, we flew AA on a simple round trip (SFO-JFK-ZRH-JFK-SFO) ticket in J. We chose Zurich as our outbound destination simply because it also serves as our drop off point for the car at the end of our touring. We would fly back home from Zurich. Note that MB does have many other designated drop-off points throughout Europe.

The flight map



AA JFK Flagship Lounge



The aircraft was the B763, with retrofitted business class seat (lie-flat seat). Nothing much to rave about, but I found the seat to be comfortable. I did get 3.5 hours of sleep after dinner on the outbound. Service was average, and I meant not bad. So was the food. I was not disappointed because I did not set my bar too higher.

Inflight catering







Upon arrival at ZRH (Zurich International Airport) early morning, we immediately transferred to the train for Stuttgart, Germany. From the airport, we boarded the local S-bahn train to Zurich Hbf, which was only 1 stop away; from there we connected to Duetsche Bahn IC (Inter-City) train for Stuttgart. It was a 3-hour ride. The transfer was seamless and our first class train tickets were pre-purchased online from bahn.de.

Train from ZRH to Zurich Hbf to Stuttgart Hbf. Train journey, scene en-route.





As part of the standard MB European Delivery Program (MB-EDP), the first night hotel accommodation is provided free of charge, as are 2 taxi vouchers (supposedly used for transfer from airport to hotel, and from hotel to MB Delivery Center). We stayed at the Althoff Hotel am Schlossgarten, which is located right across the street from the Suttgart Hbf. Less than 5-minute walk from the train platform. Perfect!

Note the Stuttgart main station is undergoing multi-year renovation. The place is not real pretty now. Like all government projects, budget over-run and schedule delay are common problems, according to a local gentleman. Sounds a lot like California!

We found the Althoff Hotel am Schlossgarten clean and functional, with plenty of closet space and room for luggage. The shower worked great and the bed comfortable! You can’t beat the location.

We went out for a walk to the Schlossplatz, and later dined at Carl’s Brauhaus.


Hotel am Schlossgarten. You can see the train station (with MB ubiquitous logo on top of tower) from hotel








Dinner for 2 at Carl's Brauhaus: Steak & Schweinshaxe (aka fried pork knuckle with potato dumpling) - with sparkling water & beer. We loved the dinner!







After dinner, we did some more walking around the "downtown" area of Stuttgart, but did not venture too far away. The weather was perfect, and Schlossplatz was full of people. Carl's Brauhaus is located on the edge of Schlossplatz, only 3 minutes from the hotel.

Downtown pretty much shut down by 9:30PM. We hoped to get some good sleep tonight, and looked forward to tomorrow's big date at the Mercedes Kunden Center to pick up the car!

Next up: MB Kunden Center.

MB Kunden Center.

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Old May 11, 17, 9:43 am
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At the MB Kenden Center

Part 2

Forgot to mention other trip reports posted previously include:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...leage-run.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...-sakura-f.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...ga-pixels.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...dventures.html

Breakfast at the hotel was very good and service excellent. The breakfast room was not all that busy at that time.

Breakfast at the hotel


We planned to be at the MB Kunden Center by 09:30. We used one of the 2 taxi vouchers for this trip that took about 30 minutes. I hear that folks picking BMWs get their ride to the BMW Welt in a 7-Series sedan! I guess Mercedes needs to step up its game a notch to compete, ha ha.
For more details of the MB European Delivery Program, use link below:

https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/europ...livery_program

Here we are, at the Kunden Center, you can't possibly miss the huge round MB logo everywhere around the massive factory campus in Sindelfingen.

At the Kunder Center - Main entrance




An aerial view of the MB factory campus (Credit Google Maps)




The taxi driver seemed to know what he was doing. He pulled up in front of the main entrance, where a porter was already waiting there to handle our luggage and backpacks.

We checked in at the front counter. Presented all needed documents, passports etc... All was in good order. We were asked to wait for a lady who would process our paper work. The paper work was finished in less than 25 minutes. There was some time to spare before our scheduled Factory Tour (English version is at 10:30). We were invited to please enjoy some cappuccino and cake! Cool. We also browsed around the floor and checked out some antique vehicles and some 2017 models.
Vehicles on the show room floor




Factory Tour - A short introductory video was shown in MB Theater. Then hopped on a bus and there we went (with goggles and headset in place)





The tour was very impressive & interesting, it lasted about 2 hours. First we saw the robots welding of the entire frame of some S-Class & E-Class vehicles. Next we saw the final assembly of the same vehicle model classes (S & E). Here we witnessed the "wedding" (the words used by the tour guide), whereby the entire dash-board was put into the finished frame by a robot (through the front driver door). Pretty cool!

When we returned to the Center, it was time for lunch. We used the "lunch voucher, a €75 certificate, and dined in the Daimler Restaurant. Service was first class. Food was excellent as well. Note the dessert plate with the MB logo made of sugar powder. A tradition, I was told! Even if you never eat dessert, you should order one just for photo-op!

We savored the delicious lunch and dessert at a leisurely pace. Finally, we asked for the bill. It was less than €75. We thought we just left it at that, and also left a gratuity in cash. But wait! They gave us a bunch of chocolate bars to make up for the balance. How nice!








Shortly after lunch, we were escorted to another area, outside the reception hall where the vehicles were waiting for their respective new owners.

We were met by a tech specialist and he introduced himself and took us to our car. Here came the big moment.

Big moment arrives




Inspecting the exterior of SUV




The tech carefully explained everything to us and helped program the GPS with all the destinations that I handed to him. Yes, I planned the road trip in great details before we arrived at Stuttgart.

When we are all set, the porter came out with our bags and loaded them into the car. DW slowly drove the car out of the center and did a “victory lap” outside before we disappeared from the MB campus.

Next 2 nights, we stayed at the Marriott Hotel in Sindelfingen, not far from the MB plant. We were treated well as Elite Platinum. This hotel however, needs an update badly. The service was fine though. Besides the location, I liked the fact that they have an underground garage for guest parking. The breakfast, though crowded (it appeared some company had a meeting/function), was quite acceptable.

Next up: A relaxing day to tour Stuttgart

Stuttgart

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Old May 11, 17, 3:10 pm
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Great report so far and good choice on the car...we love our GLC
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Old May 11, 17, 4:32 pm
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Very cool TR, and really really great photos . Enjoy the ride!
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Old May 11, 17, 4:32 pm
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Great report so far - looking forward to the rest! We enjoy our GLC too, except for the running boards since the car is too low for them to be practical.

Always wanted to do the MB EDP - maybe next time!
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Old May 11, 17, 4:44 pm
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Enjoy it! Thanks for the review of Schlossgarten-hotel, it´s very interesting for me.
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Old May 11, 17, 6:49 pm
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Part 3 Touring of Stuttgart

As capital of Baden –Wurttemberg, we found Stuttgart to be a worthy destination. Without venturing out too far, we found the Schlossplatz area quite attractive, with plenty of major landmarks and restaurants all within walking distance. From museums, churches and markets (both indoor and out), they are all here. Too bad that many tourists tend to bypass Stuttgart.

We enjoyed this gorgeous day. Unfortunately this wasn’t going to last.
While walking around in an outdoor market at Schillerplatz, this lovely couple insisted that I took several photos of them. After I took one, they told me to take some more! Crazy, but fun!

A happy couple


A super day to be out shopping


The great out door of Stuttgart


The colorful indoor market: Markthalle Stuttgart. Look at the champagnes.


Not sure exactly what is the name of this building, but I love the architectural style.


The weather forecast for rain in this evening as well as tomorrow. After an early dinner, we flagged down a cab and returned to Marriott Sindelfingen. We missed out on a visit to the MB Museum and Ludwigsburg. Oh well, perhaps next time.

Next up: The autobahn and the world’s tallest church, the Ulmer Munster

Ulmer Munster.
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Old May 11, 17, 7:03 pm
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Originally Posted by work2fly View Post
Great report so far and good choice on the car...we love our GLC
Thanks for reading. We love the GLC's sensible size. The ML is to bulky.

Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Very cool TR, and really really great photos . Enjoy the ride!
Thanks for reading. I enjoyed your reports too!

Originally Posted by hydrogen View Post
Great report so far - looking forward to the rest! We enjoy our GLC too, except for the running boards since the car is too low for them to be practical.

Always wanted to do the MB EDP - maybe next time!
Thank you.
The running board is good for the shorter people in the family
Glad to hear you too enjoy the GLC.
They run the MB EDP really smoothly. I prefer it to the traditional way of purchasing a car, really, besides having a car to drive while in Europe.

Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Enjoy it! Thanks for the review of Schlossgarten-hotel, it´s very interesting for me.
Thank you.
The Schlossgarten is a fine hotel. You can't beat the location. I like the fact it is so close to public transportation. Good size room with plenty of closet space.
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Old May 11, 17, 8:58 pm
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Ughh. Getting a vehicle via European Delivery is on my bucket list. Love the report so far.
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Old May 12, 17, 2:42 am
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Thumbs up

Awesome TR. I'm also an huge MB guy and would love to do European Delivery some day. I have a couple AMG's and a Bluetec ML in the garage. Last October we made it over to Germany for Octoberfest and took a tour of the AMG factory in Afalterbach and the MB museum in Stuttgart. Both were awesome! Very excited for the rest of your report.
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Old May 12, 17, 3:35 am
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Originally Posted by allset2travel View Post
This road trip takes us to some of the most spectacular landscapes in Europe, the German Alpenstrasse in Barvaria, the Tirol Valley of Austria and Berner Oberland of Switzerland.
Awesome itinerary, allset2travel! I know all three regions quite well but I've never done them in one trip. Loving your TR so far and looking forward to the rest...
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Old May 12, 17, 5:27 am
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In 2015 I posted our BMW pick up in Munich, and yes, we were picked up at the airport in a 750Ld, what a car. We enjoyed everything that came with, and enjoyed having our car in Europe for 2 weeks. I've been thinking about a GLE and do a ED, so love your writing how MB treats you!
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Old May 12, 17, 9:39 am
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Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
Ughh. Getting a vehicle via European Delivery is on my bucket list. Love the report so far.
Go for it krazykanuck. There are many brands to choose from as well.
Thanks for reading. More coming.
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Old May 12, 17, 9:45 am
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Originally Posted by mustang281man View Post
Awesome TR. I'm also an huge MB guy and would love to do European Delivery some day. I have a couple AMG's and a Bluetec ML in the garage. Last October we made it over to Germany for Octoberfest and took a tour of the AMG factory in Afalterbach and the MB museum in Stuttgart. Both were awesome! Very excited for the rest of your report.
Nice to meet (in the cloud) another MB fan.
Again, ED is an experience in a very personal way. So, I highly encourage you to do one.
In addition, for me, I love the hassle-free way of getting a car purchased (i.e. No need for face to face negotiation, etc....).
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Old May 12, 17, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by JohnRain View Post
Awesome itinerary, allset2travel! I know all three regions quite well but I've never done them in one trip. Loving your TR so far and looking forward to the rest...
John, thank you so much for following this TR. I enjoyed reading many of your grand adventures as well!

Yes, these three regions are quite do-able in 2 weeks without feeling being rushed. I have been to all of these places before, except Berner Oberland. So it was really wonderful to re-visit and fill the gap that didn't get filled before.
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