Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

NOV-DEC 2018

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Page 9 of 135

An Open Letter to Indianapolis from Horst Winkler of World Wide Motors, Inc. Celebrating 50 years of Mercedes-Benz in Indianapolis ank you, Indianapolis, for giving us the privilege and opportunity to establish in this wonderful city and its environs a wholesome and sound automobile business. Mercedes-Benz was barely known when we came here in 1968, affording us the opportunity to pioneer a novel establishment fashioned around exacting factory Mercedes- Benz standards. ere were numerous innovations, and the most profound in its impact was our idea to take each one of our early-day employees and travel with them to Germany for a first-hand look at what German culture and German precision is all about. e astonishment was great when it was observed that brand new cars com- ing off the line were hand-waxed and detailed with toothbrushes and, moments later, covered with heavy wax for overseas shipping. It seemed absurd to spend that much time and care for a trivial thing as such. I explained it was done because it was the right thing to do and to do the right thing takes a big effort. We still operate like this here in Indianapolis 50 years later. Some 60 years ago, a handful of top Mercedes-Benz executives came to New York to initiate the Mercedes-Benz business in the USA. Each had junior staff, and I was one of them. Today I am the last man standing of this group. How did I come to Indianapolis? Soon after 1965, suc- cessful Mercedes-Benz dealerships were springing up all over the USA. One day my wife observed that with my knowledge we could do the same thing if we only had the courage. Reluctantly my boss gave me five cities to pick for my taking. He said I was making a very big mis- take as he felt I was uniquely qualified to do bigger things staying with him. He later became #2 at Daimler-Benz, after initiating the vast China market. Who knows what may have happened? But I would not trade my job for all the tea in China. e market study I made for Indianapolis showed unique opportu- nities. Indianapolis is situated in the center of a long, narrow state serving as a conduit for the industrial North to ship its goods in a straight line down to the Central Gulf Coast. Preliminary maps showed the near completion of major interstate highways to sur- round and converge in Indianapolis. This convergence of so many interstate highways serving the Midwest in all directions indicated very clearly a coming boom in the development

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