In this issue:
The 2019 G 550 And AMG® G 63Destination: Amangiri Resort,Canyon Point, UtahInterview: David Gonzalez, General Manager,Fletcher Jones MotorcarsFeatured Restaurant: Outpost Kitchen
A Message From Fletcher Jones
If you haven’t been to Fletcher Jones Motorcars recently, you must come see what we’ve done. The finishing touches on our year-long remodel have just been completed and I couldn’t be happier with the results. The new service department has been relocated upstairs (with twice as many service bays) and more new showrooms and client luxury amenities than ever before. There’s never been a better time to “experience the Fletcher Jones difference.” And with so many “shiny new toys” arriving daily, including the newly redesigned G-Wagen and the AMG® GT four door, your eyes will sparkle like a kid on Christmas morning. The Mercedes-Benz Winter Event is now in full swing, so seasonal specials are being offered just in time for the holidays. Fletcher Jones Motorcars is ready to make your Mercedes-Benz dreams come true.
The New 2019 G-Class. The Critics Are Very Quiet.
While it may look similar, the primary goals from the outset were to improve things you can’t readily see, primary among them being overall rigidity. Increased stiffness was accomplished by focusing on the construction of the body and the connections between the suspension, the drivetrain and the all-new ladder frame. During the process, additional care was taken to create tighter body panel gaps and provide more stylish integration of the wheel arches and bumpers. The body shell is constructed with various grades of steel while the doors, hood, and fenders are aluminum.
G-wagen faithfuls will notice two exterior similarities: The spare-tire cover and the door handles are the exact same parts found on the outgoing model. (The only other carryover part is the headlight washers.) Look closely though and you’ll see a—gasp!—curved-glass windshield. Rest assured, the remaining glass is as flat as a frozen lake.
The G-wagen is nominally larger too, measuring 2.1 inches longer and 2.5 inches wider than the outgoing model—but it’s also a reported 375 pounds leaner. Interior space has increased, with noticeable gains in front and rear legroom. Shoulder and elbow room are up slightly as well.
Interior aesthetics are evolutionary, blending the current Mercedes-Benz design ethos with traditional G-Class touchstones such as the passenger grab handle and silver switches for the three differential locks. Traditional round instruments and a 12.3-inch navigation display are standard, although an optional wide-screen gauge display can be specified that features digital round instruments. Heated front and rear seats, leather, three-zone automatic climate control, a glass-panel sunroof (a first for the G-Class), acoustic laminated side glass and a Burmester Audio System all make the standard-equipment list.
The real victory in terms of the interior redesign is the arrival of dual cup-holders front and rear, signaling the end of the line for the G-Class’s quirky Nerf-basketball-net-like mesh front drink holder.
With the switch to an independent front suspension comes an electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering system. Said to use less energy than the old recirculating-ball setup, it also ties in with driving-mode selection to tailor its response to the desired setting (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual, or the new off-road G-Mode). Critical for the parking impaired, it also permits systems such as parking assist.
The chief purpose of going with an independent front setup was, of course, to provide better ride and handling on-road. Ground clearance under the front axle gear is 10.6 inches, maximum clearance to the axles is improved by about a quarter of an inch to 9.5 inches and maximum fording depth is increased by 3.9 inches to 27.6. The 26-degree break-over angle and 31-degree angle of approach each are improved by 1 degree.
Carryover Engine, New Transmission
Arguably the most modern aspect of the outgoing G-Class was the G 550’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that arrived for the 2016 model year. It provides slightly improved performance given the 2019 model’s reduced mass. After all, it already was plenty quick in the previous G 550, and only seemed inadequate next to the 563-hp Mercedes-AMG® G 63 or the 621-hp V-12 powered G 65. Speaking of which, you can expect new versions of both coming soon.
Also new to the 2019 model is the fitment of Mercedes-Benz nine-speed automatic transmission. Although already in use in other models, the torque converter and the transmission software have been specially modified for the G-Class. Additionally, the wide ratio spread makes driving “quieter and more comfortable, especially at low engine speeds.”
Furthermore, the new gearbox is said to contribute to reduced fuel consumption. A new transfer case provides full-time all-wheel drive, splitting the torque output 40/60 front to rear. Low range now provides a 2.93:1 gear reduction, a significant increase over the previous model’s 2.10:1 ratio. It can be engaged at speeds up to 43 mph but can only be selected when the transmission is in neutral.
Dynamic Select is on hand to tailor engine, transmission, suspension, steering, and assistance systems to the task at hand. Eco, a concept surely alien to most G-Class buyers, softens powertrain responses for maximum fuel economy; Comfort makes every effort to coddle passengers; Sport alters shift points, throttle response, the electric power steering, and the exhaust tone; and Individual allows drivers to configure the settings to their personal taste. Dynamic Select works in conjunction with optional adaptive-damping system by allowing drivers to modify the damping settings in the Comfort and Sport modes. The new addition here is G-Mode, which sadly has nothing to do with ’80s rap music but rather commences as soon as one of the three differential locks is activated or low range is selected. When actuated, G-Mode alters the damping, steering response, throttle response, and shifting for predictable and composed off-road behavior.
With options that include an AMG® Line exterior styling package, a contoured seating package with ventilated and massaging seats, rear-seat entertainment, a heated or wood and leather steering wheel and additional 19- and 20-inch wheel package, the personal preferences are many.
Last year, Fletcher Jones Jr., the owner of the #1 Mercedes-Benz dealership in the U.S.*, brought one of his shining stars from Fletcher Jones Chicago to Newport Beach, to manage the jewel of the crown. Dave Gonzalez is a consummate professional but in our Q&A you’ll learn why he’s suited to take on such an important role. He’s smart, extremely knowledgeable about the car business, but most of all, he’s a really good guy.
*Number one in annual new car sales from calendar year 1999-2017, per MBUSA National New Vehicle Sales Reporting
FLETCHER JONES MOTORCARS INTRODUCES NEW GM! Dave Gonzalez, the new Mercedes-Benz "Ambassador" in town.
Last year, Fletcher Jones Jr., the owner of the #1 Mercedes-Benz dealership in the U.S., brought one of his shining stars from Fletcher Jones Chicago to Newport Beach, to manage the jewel of the crown. Dave Gonzalez is a consummate professional but in our Q&A you’ll learn why he’s suited to take on such an important role. He’s smart, and extremely knowledgeable about the car business, but most of all, he’s a really good guy.
How did you get started in the automotive industry? I was attending school to be a sports broadcaster and needed a job. I loved cars and saw an ad for a car salesperson that included a free demo. At 19 years old, all they needed to do was give me a free car and I would have worked for free! I loved the customer interaction and knew this was what I wanted to do when I graduated.
Were you a car enthusiast or did you come to it from the business side? I grew up with 4 older brothers who were restoring classic cars from the time I was in diapers. I grew up with a love of cars from an early age thanks to my brothers! It’s certainly in my DNA..
When did you begin working with Fletcher Jones Jr.? I started with the organization in 2006. I feel like I’m part of a family, not a business. Best decision I ever made in my life.
What positions have you held with the company? I started as a sales manager in Las Vegas and a year later became the GM for our Porsche and MB store in Fremont, CA. Four years later, I appointed as the General responsible for four franchises in our Chicago region, leading them to much success. This led to my transition to my “dream job” as General Manager of Fletcher Jones Motorcars, in Newport Beach.
What changes have occurred in the auto industry since you’ve been involved? More than anything the industry has realized the important role customer satisfaction plays in long term success. The dealers (Fletcher Jones) who embraced this first, have become the industry leaders.
Tell us about Fletcher Jones Motorcars and your experience as its new GM? The best part of being here is getting to know all of our wonderful employees and guests. What an experience to meet some of the most interesting and successful people in the world on a daily basis. It’s an honor to serve such wonderful clientele. It’s truly “ladies and gentleman” serving ladies and gentleman.
Fletcher Jones Motorcars opened 27 years ago. It’s been #1 in sales for the last 19 consecutive years. How do you think that was accomplished? Fletcher Jones Jr. understood the importance of offering an EXPERIENCE and not just a transaction. His vision was to build the finest luxury dealership in the world and fill it with the world’s largest, most exclusive inventory of luxury cars. And staff it with the finest, most caring people in the industry to serve our guests.
Tell us about the new remodel of the #1 Mercedes-Benz dealership in the U.S. and why it was necessary? As we continue to grow we need to make sure we can meet the needs of our growing clientele without them feeling the increased volume. Keeping with our mantra, “everyone needs to feel like a true VIP”.
What do we have to look forward to coming from Fletcher Jones and Mercedes-Benz in the near future? It’s never been a more exciting time to be a Mercedes Benz dealer! We have the redesigned CLS, G wagon and GLE being released in the coming months. Not to mention, two brand new additions to the lineup- the AMG GT sedan and the A class. We are so fortunate to represent the best automotive brand in the world.
What do you drive? I drive a Mercedes-Benz C63 coupe, please don’t tell the Newport Beach Police!…It’s hard not to have fun when you are driving machinery like that.
Since coming to Newport Beach, how has your life changed? New hobbies, etc.? I moved here from Chicago, so I’m not used to wearing sunscreen every day! My wife of 15 years and I, love late night strolls on the beach, dining at all of the fabulous restaurants in Newport and playing golf. We feel so blessed to live in the most beautiful part of the world!
A Resort Designed To Take Your Breath Away
The allure of Amangiri, an Aman resort, is in the way its design blends with the desert: cement buildings seamlessly mix with the colors of the surrounding rock formations and open up to sweeping views of the natural scenery, making it easy for guests at the 600-acre compound to feel at one with the environment. Nature and spirituality are connected in this unique and exclusive resort. For me, it’s the most beautiful hotel in the world—a well-thought harmony between ultra-minimalism, nature and luxury. Amangiri means “peaceful mountain,” the hotel is located in Canyon Point, in southern Utah, close to the borders of Arizona and Utah. It’s not easy to get there for one reason. You need to be isolated to know what rare luxury is about. The closest city and airport is Page, Arizona, (a 45-minute drive) but we decided to drive four and a half hours from Las Vegas to get there. Yes, you should experience it in a lifetime. Leave Las Vegas via Interstate 100, cross the Apple Valley, arrive in the Navajo city Kanab and plunge into a magical moonscape of immense rock formations, mesas and sand dunes for as far as you can see.
Developer Christoph Henkel made this project alive. His goal was to build something unique on this preserved holy land and it happened through a vote of Congress. Overlooking starkly beautiful desert scenery and the South-west’s iconic flat-topped mesa rock formations, Amangiri opened in 2009. Designed by Architects Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette and Rick Joy, the resort is an ode to the ancient Navajo culture. It’s an extraordinary contemporary interpretation of native Indian architecture. The resort spreads over 600 acres with 34 suites situated in two wings—desert and mesa—which sweep from each side of the resort’s main pavilion. The central building includes private and public dining rooms, a library, an art gallery and a cute little shop.
Aman hotel and resort properties are synonymous with quiet and exquisite luxury. They are located all over the world, 32 properties in 20 countries to be exact, with their latest venture, Amanyangyun, outside of Shanghai.
For those looking for adventures that can include the whole family, Amangiri has introduced their aerial adventure concept designed for younger guests, and a family-friendly addition to the six existing Via Ferrata climbs (prices start at $675 for 2 people). Comprised of exhilarating rock scrambles, challenging Via Ferrata traverses, and four distinctive suspension bridge passages, the natural desert environment makes up an integral part of this new project and allows guests to truly take in the treasures of the remarkable location. Families can also learn about the region’s ancient inhabitants through interactive activities that are designed to educate, engage, and inspire. There’s a lot to discover at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, including actual castings from dinosaur fossils and trackways. You can also expect a program for children’s cooking classes and watersports as well as family yoga!
Travel tip: The closest airport to Amangiri is Page, Arizona, which is about 20 minutes away from the resort. LAX has connecting flights to this airport. One can also fly direct from LAX to St. George airport, located two hours away from the resort.
Fletcher Jones Motorcars and Veterans Legal Institute Joined Together to Help Raise Money for the Homeless, at Risk, Disabled and Low Income Current and Former Service Members
Fletcher Jones transformed it’s showroom November 13th, the day after Veterans Day, into an elegant venue with food stations, wine bars, artists, mixologist’s, silent auction items and 350 excited guests, ready to support the important cause.
Founded in 2012, by Fletcher Jones own executive sales associate, John R. Baskin, the annual event allows the former Army Captain/helicopter pilot to honor his father’s memory. Colonel (Reverend) Ronal R.Baskin dedicated his life supporting the needs of veterans and John is carrying out his legacy. This year John also pays Honors to his brother, Former Army Major Ronald R. Baskin Jr. who passed away unexpectedly in 2013.
All proceeds go directly to provide pro bono legal assistance to help eradicate barriers to housing, healthcare, education, and employment to help foster self-sufficiency.
Patriot’s Promise 2018 provided an extraordinary experience beginning with an Military Style Reception Line; the Presentation of Colors; the National Anthem, live music and DJ’s spinning the latest and greatest tunes.
John reiterated to the crowd, Patriot’s Promise was founded on the military promise “Never Leave a Soldier Behind”. “It’s so important to let our homeless veterans know they are not forgotten”.
Fletcher Jones Motorcars, with the support of General Manager Dave Gonzalez and the dozens of volunteer employees, found an excellent opportunity to create awareness and help the fight to change the homeless Veteran epidemic.
OUTPOST KITCHEN. A NEW OUTLOOK ON LOCAL EATS!
Here’s a quote directly from the restaurant’s website, “Taking inspiration from the 1970s beach cafes of Australia and the craft-first coffee houses of Venice Beach, OUTPOST KITCHEN seeks to recreate the familiar feeling of a neighborhood meeting spot and the go-to place for a feed after an incredible session. It’s a place where you don’t have to worry about the quality of your food and you’ll always feel at home.” “OUTPOST KITCHEN works with local farms, butchers, bakers and coffee roasters to ensure what you’re putting in your mouth comes from a place of passion and good intention.
”Founded in 2015 by Jay and Elizabeth Lewis, OUTPOST is located near an industrial complex in Costa Mesa, but offers a completely new bent on local dining. It’s been growing in popularity over the last few years, and although the secret has been out for a while, new customers are driving from farther and farther away.
The seasonally rotating menu of vegan, raw, paleo and allergy-free dishes, runs the gamut from a not-so-simple avocado toast to a limey-coconut Southeast Asian-style charred-salmon salad —putting a creative spin on both Australian cuisine and health food.
The restaurant is filled with high-top communal tables where you eat meals on tin plates. The black-and-white photos of vintage surf life and the actual record player that spins funk, jazz, soul and rock vinyl records, adds an entirely new twist to a typical local restaurant.
Outpost Kitchen continues to expand its menus and brunch seems to be the most popular meal of the week. They are not serving dinner yet but we hear there are rumors of a possible dinner opening and other locations in the wind. The restaurant manages to do a lot in-house with its surprisingly tiny space. Mason jars full of the chefs’ herbs and spices and pickled things line the long glass casing that separates the small open kitchen from the equally small dining area, and if you walk in at the right time, you’ll smell the daily dose of salmon being smoked.
Add all that to a list of fresh-squeezed juice combos and blended smoothies that seems to change every week and Outpost is one place that takes care of its ingredients and presents them in exquisitely creative combinations.
That means that regardless of whether you order the Intergalactic Pancakes (a gluten free option), the Date Mate Salad, the Hawaiian Bowl (a bed of brown rice topped with spinach, cilantro, chorizo, pineapple, a sunny side egg and avocado) or the Purple Rain juice (coconut water and blueberry with a tang of lime), you can guarantee that what will arrive will be entirely original and good for you.
1792 Monrovia Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627Hours: M-F 7am to 3pmSunday 8am to 1pm(949) 873-5123
Lorna Farthing is such a gem! She made my European Delivery (design and purchase a car where you pick it up from the factory in Germany/tour Europe and ship it back to Newport) seamless/flawless. I selected Lorna to work with due to praise that I had read on a Mercedes message board. I live in SF and traveled to the OC for Lorna and her expertise. I highly recommend Lorna for any type of car purchase as she is informative/responsive and an all around joy to work with.my full trust! He’s a true professional! Thank you thank you thank you!
I am currently leasing two Mercedes from Fletcher Jones and have to admit the experience from ALL the staff is amazing. Even the sales people who you are not working with go out of their way to say hi and acknowledge you. My salesman is Josh Evens. He is always fun to deal with and can take a joke. The guys behind the coffee bar are pretty cool too. Always polite and smiling.I bought my first Mercedes from this dealer in 1996 when I met Thomas Carnavale. I have been buying cars from him and his team since. We are a two-Mercedes family. There is a reason I keep going back. The buying experience has consistently been exceptional and fair.
We leased a brand new C300–black exterior and red interior. We had an excellent experience at Flectcher Jones. We had the great opportunity to work with the James Sullivan team. Christian Duarte specifically was AWESOME! We spent well over 4 hours there. We started with a convertibles to an E class then to C class and back to a convertible and then back to a C class (you get the point right). During that time, Christian was extremely patient with us. He simply educated us on each car (pros and cons) and let us take our time looking and driving each car to ensure we truly got what we were looking for. I was extremely impressed with how knowledgeable Christian was but what I liked most about the experience was that….Christian DID NOT pressure us into anything-again, he simply educated us on the cars and let us determine what was best for us. After selecting the car, we met with James Sullivan to complete the leasing documents. James was good at listening to us, hearing what price range, what mileage and what options worked best for us. By the time we left, it was 10:45 pm but still everyone was patient with us. We are enjoying the car and we are now looking forward to maybe a 2nd lease 😉
Thank you TEAM JAMES SULLIAN and specifically THANK YOU CHRISTIAN DUARTE.
CWe recently leased a new, 2017 E300 Mercedes Benz at Fletcher Jones in Newport Beach and I can say that it was the best and easiest car purchase I have ever had. What made it that nice was our Sales Associate, Bill Hardy. I have never worked with a car Sales Associate that was as knowledgeable, helpful and easy to work with as Bill. Never did I feel pressured or rushed. Bill spent hours with us and was totally transparent and interested in what was best for us. He took his time to make sure that we received all of the information we needed both during and after the sale. I would recommend Bill to anyone who is looking for a Mercedes Benz. The Fletcher Jones experience was fantastic. Thank you Bill.
– Mike A.
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