Currently, M-B has 3 delivery centers in Germany with Rastatt being a newer one. These days, 20%(!) of all new German Mercedes are picked up by customers in these centers. Germans enjoy visiting those modern and family oriented facilities, tour the factories, buy a souvenir and drive their new cars home.
I had scheduled delivery for Thursday April 2, the day before Good Friday. In Germany and many other European countries this day is called Green Thursday. It is also the day my other family as well as John Geist, a friend and fellow Section member, were to arrive in Frankfurt.
The plan was for John to rent a car at airport and take everyone to Stuttgart meeting me along the way. Unfortunately, on this day – after many on-time arrivals – the plane from TO was almost 2 hours late. Typically not a big deal but this being the last day before Easter vacation the roads were unusually busy. Combined with heavy rain and wind and despite John’s gallant ride, we arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Delivery Centre a few minutes after the pick-up window closes at 2PM. Fortunately and in anticipation of Germany punctuality, I called ahead and announced our pending delay. Thanks to my German language skills and our really good story, the lady on the other end was very accommodating and promised that she will make sure I still receive my car.
When we arrived just after 2PM the M-B Delivery Center was still buzzing with smiling new Benz owners. After some paperwork, a few signatures and a great lunch plus good German coffee and cake we were called up. The delivery agent, fluent in English, showed us around the car and handed me the keys. With a full tank of gas, courtesy of M-B, off we went to our final destination of the day, Baden-Baden.
We did skip the normally earmarked guided Stuttgart factory tour but only because we were invited to tour the Mercedes-Benz factory in Rastatt for the following week. Not only A- and B-Class cars, also the GLA 45 AMG (my model) is actually build in Rastatt. Also, this quaint 40.000 people town at the foot of the Black Forest happened to be my home town until I moved to Canada 20 years ago.
We took the scenic route through the Black Forest to Baden-Baden. Besides, driving my brand new GLA 45 AMG on the Autobahn under strict break-in restraints could have been too challenging for me.