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Should Dealership Remove Alex Rodriguez From Their Name?

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On: Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 9:41AM | By: Teddy Field

Should Dealership Remove Alex Rodriguez From Their Name?

Back in 2004, Alex Rodriguez was the most recognized name in Major League Baseball. He had signed a record 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers 3 years earlier, but they wound up trading him to the New York Yankees in order to free up room on their payroll. In an effort to invest some of the money that he made signing with the Rangers, he decided to open a Mercedes-Benz dealership outside of Houston. Now embroiled in a steroid scandal, Rodriguez' name may not be as marketable as it once was. And many media outlets have started to attack his dealership in order to grab a headline.

Located in League City, Texas, Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz opened its doors in 2005. Partnering with veteran MB dealer Jerry Glauser, Rodriguez' dealership focused on providing its customers with attentive service. This was an area that most MB dealers struggled with at the time, so Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz became quite popular among Houston MB drivers.

Since most Mercedes owners appreciate subtlety, A-Rod's dealership doesn't flaunt the star-power of its owner. Rather, subtle references are used to remind people of its celebrity affiliation. The All-Star VIP Club, A-Rod Lease Specials, and the Payoff Pitch used car special are about the extent of the dealership's star-pandering. Everybody in the area already knows who owns the place, and they don't seem to mind that he now wears blue pinstripes to work.

Currently, Rodriguez is appealing a 211-game suspension for his involvement with an anti-aging clinic called Biogenesis. According to an investigation conducted by the MLB, Rodriguez was allegedly obtaining the performance-enhancing hormone known as HGH, through the Florida-based clinic. The report also states that one of his associates attempted to pay a disgruntled Biogenesis employee to remove the baseball star's medical records from the clinic. We're a car site, so we're not going to speculate on the merit of these allegations. But apparently, none of his actions were illegal. They were however, a mortal sin under the rules of baseball— hence the extra-long suspension.

The advertising industry magazineAd Age, asked Mercedes-Benz whether or not their embattled-celebrity dealer could/should remove “Alex Rodriguez” from the store name. MBUSA Spokeswoman Donna Boland replied"That's up to A-Rod and his partner. We never promoted the fact that A-Rod owned a dealership, so there's really nothing to 'distance' ourselves from. And since his activity is not illegal but rather prohibited by MLB, there's nothing actionable here."

Back in 2004, Bob Neis, the regional general manager for Mercedes-Benz USA's San Francisco region (which includes 10 western states including Texas) said, "When someone like Alex Rodriguez puts his own money into a dealership, it's the ultimate endorsement. Then there's the location: the Houston market has grown exponentially over the past few years and that's something we want to address both in terms of the needs of our existing customers and in terms of bringing new buyers to the brand. Having someone like Alex -- with his energy, his passion and his following -- will certainly benefit the Houston market as a whole."

As far as we can tell, Alex Rodriguez is pretty decent as a car dealer. A quick inquiry on Yelp showed 4 car/deal related complaints. But that's common for a large car dealership. One of the negative reviews read:

“It's hard to put into words, but I don't like this place. I guess I'm naturally suspicious when people kiss up to you so much. That's why it's even harder to write this. It's difficult to criticize when people are being so nice to you. However, I don't take my car in for service to be put on a pedestal by service people. I just want my car fixed at a reasonable price in a reasonable amount of time AND I want you to call me back when you say you will. It is because of this last statement that I am just not wild about this place.”

Most car dealers don't get complaints about being 'too nice'. So apparently, Alex Rodriguez has managed his career in the car business, a whole lot better than his baseball career...allegedly.


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