We want the origin story of the Flying Doctor
I started my career with Mercedes Benz UK back in 2006. Like most technicians, I did my four years advanced internship till 2010. After that, I took a little bit of time out to go to university. I studied mechanical engineering at the University of Burlington. Getting a degree, I rejoined Mercedes again, this time being a full time employee at the Central London dealership at Chelsea, as the lead diagnostic technician and technical executive.
In 2018 I was lucky enough to get transferred to Southeast Asia as a regional firm doctor for Service Clinic which is a marketing campaign run by Mercedes Benz in this region. Under this program, Mercedes flies me to 16 different markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Philippines for free checkup and discounts on services at Mercedes dealerships. There’s a team of two of us who cover this area and do the service clinic. We do remote service support and for our VIP customers, we sometimes fly out to the specific markets to work on their cars. Additionally, we host this car clinic every year.
Must be a very tight schedule
This year, I’ve got 30 weeks of traveling in total. We do 1 dealership per week and since in Bangladesh there’s a single dealership, I’ll stay a couple of days here but in larger markets I’ll stay longer. This is the third country I’ve been to this year. I’ve had Srilanka to start with, then I’ve just come from Vietnam and after that I’m going to Thailand for three weeks.
You’ve been to Bangladesh a few times
This is my third visit here in Bangladesh. Last year we couldn’t hold the servicing campaign due to the ongoing pandemic. The last time I was here was back in March of 2020 and my last two visits were at the old dealership. This is my first time working in the new one.
How do current Mercedes cars fare in Bangladesh compared to other countries?
We (Mercedes) build and sell the same product all throughout the world but of course there are different external factors which impact the durability and reliability of our vehicles. In a tropical country like Bangladesh, there’s environmental factors.
For example, Bangladesh has a high humidity environment and this can have an effect on rubber components such as engine mounts and transmission mounts which can lead to higher wear rate than what would be in a Mercedes in Northern European Climate. Besides, this is a high dust environment so filters must be cleaned much more regularly such as oil filters and air filters. And of course, there are the road conditions to deal with which can be quite unpredictable sometimes. So in Bangladesh, the cars are equipped with thicker tyre profiles which can reduce wear and also, obviously deal with the oddly sized speed breakers.
What changed for Mercedes in Bangladesh since your last visit two years ago?
Bangladesh is a rapidly growing market given that this is one of the quickest growing economies in the world. Of course I do notice a rise in the number of cars when compared to my previous visits. Two years ago, there were barely 7 or 8 cars around but now there’s more than 12 cars everyday at least. Besides, the service facilities have dramatically improved as well and even the type of vehicles have changed too. Now I can see many top end Mercedes vehicles like the GLS in Dhaka as well. In fact, last week I handed over a Mercedes GLS450 and even an AMG GT53. I think this reflects the development of the economy. People here have wealth now and I can see that popular models like the E Class have now been replaced with GLE and GLS.
In fact, I was surprised to find out that Mercedes has sold over 100 units of GLS in Bangladesh this year alone. Mercedes estimates that by the end of the year they’ll be able to sell at least 300 units of GLS.
Top tips for making sure a Mercedes continues to run like a Mercedes
As I’ve mentioned before, this is a high dust area so to stay on top, bring in your Mercedes for checkup every six months. Regularly clean the filters and replace them frequently. Also, in other countries we recommend an alignment check every 12 months but given the road conditions of Bangladesh, I would say this should be reduced to 6 months. This will ultimately prolong the life of the tyres. Also, read the user manual which comes with the cars and follow it!