MONTVALE, N.J., Nov. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) announced today that National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) racing pro Steve Johnson is scheduled to speak with students about MBUSA's ELITE START technician education and training program at recruiting events, nationwide. With the goal of introducing students to ELITE START, Johnson will be attending career fairs and NHRA Youth & Education Services (Y.E.S.) program races where he will speak about what it takes to be an automotive technician for Mercedes-Benz - the company that invented the automobile. The aim is to attract and source the most talented entry-level technicians in the industry for the MBUSA dealer network, while giving students a jump start on their careers through the skills and knowledge gained in the ELITE START program.
"As Mercedes-Benz ambassadors, each and every person in the dealership has a role in delivering exceptional customer service to each Mercedes-Benz customer and technicians are no exception. We put the ELITE START program into place to help ensure that dealerships are hiring the most talented and passionate personnel to serve their customers to Mercedes-Benz standards – The Best or Nothing," said Harry Hynekamp, general manager of MBUSA's Learning & Performance department. "Through ELITE START, Mercedes-Benz aims to develop its greatest competitive advantage – its people – and to further raise the bar of customer service."
"Being a part of the Mercedes-Benz team is an honor for our whole race team," Johnson said from his race shop in Alabama. "I'm so proud of my relationship with technical education and relating the benefits to high school students," he added. "I love talking to the gearheads and knowing that I might be able to engage them to the next step and turn their automotive passion into a very cool career."
In addition to his racing on the NHRA circuit, Johnson was a full-time automotive technician before becoming a touring professional owner and racer 20 years ago. As a two-time winner of the U.S. Nationals - drag racing's most prestigious event, Johnson is also a regular participant in the NHRA Y.E.S. program. His on-site racing operation includes transporter and team uniforms that carry the Mercedes-Benz ELITE logo into competition at the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas, TX (September 22-25), the U.S. Auto Plus Nationals in Reading, PA (September 29-October 2) and the NHRA Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif. (November 10-13).
Through the ELITE START program, Mercedes-Benz reaffirms its commitment to developing its workforce and providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. The program began in 1998 with the introduction of the ELITE Technician Program, a Mercedes-specific 16-week intensive technical training series designed to produce qualified entry-level technicians. ELITE START now provides the fundamental Mercedes-Benz specific skills and knowledge, and plans are underway to develop an ELITE ADVANCED Program for delivery in early 2013.
ELITE START is offered through Universal Technical Institute (UTI), the industry's leading automotive school. It is offered as an elective in their core automotive program, where it is marketed simply as STARt and is offered at their Norwood, Mass. and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. campuses. UTI then works with MBUSA to assist with the placement of interested START graduates into the MBUSA dealer network.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.
MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans and smart in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com.
SOURCE Mercedes-Benz USA