Simply the Best: Congrats to Gunter Stephan for 70 Years of Service

Simply the Best: Congrats to Gunter Stephan for 70 Years of Service

A lot can change in 70 years, but some things just withstand the challenges of time. For the last 70 years, our dealer in Memphis, Gunter Stephan, has devoted his career to Mercedes-Benz. Starting out as an apprentice in Stuttgart, Gunter has worked his way up over the decades, becoming a legendary ambassador of the Shining Star.

It all started back in 1951, at the age of 14, when Gunter followed the footsteps of his late father and became a technician apprentice in Stuttgart. Three years later, he joined the ranks of the prestigious “Silver Arrows” racing division at 17 years old.

When Gunter saw an opportunity to immigrate to the “New World,” he left Germany to cross the pond in 1956 to pursue opportunities in Canada. With six dollars in his pocket and not of word of spoken English or French, Gunter finally found work at a local Mercedes-Benz dealer and embarked on his North American career with the Star that would span over six generations.

With a few years under his belt, Gunter returned to Germany to bring back his now wife of 60 years, Elfie, to Canada. The pair later migrated down to the States where Gunter joined Mercedes-Benz USA on February 1, 1967, working as a Mercedes-Benz representative in the Southern region for many years.

In 1981, after whispers of the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Memphis being up for sale emerged, Gunter joined forces with his former partner, Fred Millsaps, cashed out his 401(k), and the two of them bought the dealership.

For the last 40 years as the sole owner of Mercedes-Benz of Memphis, Gunter has exemplified humility, fearless leadership, and genuine passion for the Shining Star. No job is beneath Gunter—literally and metaphorically—as he is known to be high up on ladders changing light bulbs or in the parking lot picking up trash. He still makes his rounds every day to say hi or chat with the employees of his dealership, fostering incomparable relationships.

With genuine passion for not only the Mercedes-Benz brand, but also his numerous employees, Gunter has set the precedent of what it means to be an exemplary leader and friend.

We congratulate Gunter on this incredible achievement and cannot thank him enough for his lifetime of devotion to the brand and for the support he has provided to his employees and our customers in Memphis over the decades.

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