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FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — Months after rolling out a payment channel that allows consumers to make lease and loan payments through their mobile phones, Mercedes-Benz Financial has expanded its mobile strategy even further.

The company is now providing Apple iPads to Mercedes-Benz dealers, who can use the product to access the MB Advantage point-of-sale dealer system.

By utilizing MB Advantage through their iPads, sales personnel can immediately access marketing programs for specific vehicles, improve the turn time on credit application process, and quicken the lease return process while also making it more efficient, according to officials.

"We see the iPad providing wireless mobility, information and flexibility on the showroom floor," said Andreas Hinrichs, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial.

"The iPad will provide a competitive advantage to our dealers by increasing their service levels through a more flexible financing process," Hinrichs added.

Initially, 40 dealers across the country will receive iPads as part of a testing process to see how this product works as a business tool. This summer, Mercedes-Benz Financial plans to monitor the use of the device, while dealers and field sales staff offer their feedback on the product.

This feedback will serve as basis for any improvements the company makes to MB Advantage on the iPad. Any upgrades will be made prior to "potentially" releasing the iPad to all Mercedes-Benz stores later on in 2010.

"With the exciting, new products coming out from Mercedes-Benz, the iPad with MB Advantage gives us tremendous credibility with our clients," stated Bernie Moreno, president of Mercedes-Benz of North Olmsted, Ohio, which is near Cleveland.

As some may remember, Mercedes-Benz Financial's iPhone application made its debut in October. There have been more than 13,000 downloads of the app, which allows customers to make lease or loan payments on their iPhones. Roughly 5,000 payments have been made so far, representing $3.6 million.

In March, Mercedes-Benz Financial customers were offered the ability to manage their accounts through smartphones, as well.

According to officials, more than 15,000 visitors have utilized this capability, with more than 2,000 payments made and $1.5 million in payments generated.