Written by The Business Journal Staff
Scot Biehl, Owner/Dealer Operator
Mercedes-Benz of Fresno
What we do: Sales, service and parts of Mercedes-Benz and Sprinter vehicles
Education: Graduate of McLane High School, 1983
28 years of auto business experience
Family: Married to Wife Katie for 22 years
Son Matthew, 18
Daughter Diana, 16
How did you come to your position as owner of Mercedes-Benz of Fresno, Scot?
I was recruited to be the general sales manager by Asbury Automotive Group (a publicly traded company) in August of 2003 and promoted to general manager in February of 2004. Asbury then divested all of their dealerships west of Texas starting in 2009. I was able to help put a partnership group together and we purchased our dealership in May of 2011.
How have you seen the local market change over the years, Scot?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work at only two dealerships in 24 years. I started my career selling Mitsubishis in 1987 at Michael Automotive, joined Honda North as finance manager in 1991 and was later promoted to sales manager, arriving at Mercedes-Benz of Fresno in 2003. I would say the biggest change has been how people shop, viewing thousands of vehicles anywhere, anytime from their smartphones, versus physically going lot to lot, car to car.
How has the experience of owning a dealership differed from your time as general manager, Scot?
A lot less sleep! Seriously, I really love what I do. Having a Mercedes-Benz dealership in the town I was born and raised in and being able to connect and give back our community is truly a blessing!
What have been some of your proudest accomplishments with Mercedes-Benz of Fresno, Scot?
Winning the “Best of the Best Dealer Recognition Award” from Mercedes-Benz USA rates very high on my list. It’s not a popularity contest — the standards of winning are very high and very few ever accomplish that feat. It says a lot about how our great team of employees strives to take care of our customers each and every day!
What goals do you still have for the dealership, Scot?
Besides always striving to be the best? Being named by Automotive News as one of the top 100 Dealerships to work for in the United States would be very meaningful to my wife Katie and me.
Are there any new programs or services you’re planning to introduce in the near future, Scot?
I encourage everyone on our team to contribute their ideas to how we can be more customer-driven. One of those ideas is a new concierge program, sort of like at a hotel or resort, where we help guide customers through whatever they need that makes owning a Mercedes-Benz what they thought it would be and more — even when they are not driving! Stay tuned, because it’s going to change the landscape how luxury vehicles are sold and serviced in the valley.
You were recently named president of the Fresno-Clovis New Car Dealers Association. What are some of your responsibilities in that role, Scot?
I just lead what’s already a strong group of dealers who want to give back and always have. We strive to be our best to get consumers to buy locally from us so we can continue to give back and help our community that supports us.
How was last year for your business, Scot?
We actually had a great year in 2014, up over 33%. Our product line-up from Mercedes-Benz has never been better — including being more affordable and appealing to first-time luxury buyers. That, and putting more energy into customer service at every step, has kept us strong.
Who has been a mentor for you and what did you learn from him/her?
Danny Herwaldt, for sure. Danny and his father Lou owned Herwaldt Automotive Group/Mercedes-Benz of Fresno and sold to Asbury Automotive in 2003. Danny’s leadership style has influenced me the most with his ability to keep God and family first and still be an effective business person. He really taught me the importance of taking care of not only customers but our employees and community as well.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
At the age of 16, I was a short order cook at the Fresno State cafeteria. It taught me to work hard, be on time and juggle many different things at once.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Scot?
Being outdoors is a must. I am an avid golfer and also enjoy tennis, road biking, swimming and cooking up some great food on the BBQ with friends and family at the end of a great day!