Mercedes-Benz is investing US$400m in its US dealer network over the next three years.

According to Automobilwoche, the brand's 343 dealers are being set higher standards. Outlets will be required to be more like dealers in Germany, along the lines of the Mercedes 'Autohaus' concept.

Mercedes US sales director, Ernst Lieb, told Automobilwoche , that independent dealers will get US$400 cashback for each car sold to help fund the necessary investment, under a programme called 'Autohaus Acceleration Program'. He expects 80% of all sales and service outlets to be overhauled by 2010.

The number of dealers will not be expanded, according to Lieb. He said that money would also be spent on training, and that it is important that the whole customer experience is overhauled.

The German 'Autohaus' concept is completely new to the US. All cars have to be sold by independent dealers, which means that dealerships often sell more than one brand. Lieb thinks the investment will help them sell Mercedes cars.

"If we help the dealer to look good, he will give Mercedes the best sales people."