DaimlerChrysler Boss Promises a Good Year

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1431401,00.html
DaimlerChrysler Boss Promises a Good Year          
Jrgen Schrempp wants to get down to business          In an interview published on Thursday, Jrgen Schrempp, the DaimlerChrysler chief, vowed to get things under control at the troubled company in 2005.
Jrgen Schrempp, the chief executive of DaimlerChrysler, has given himself one year to get the troubled company under control. In an interview published in the company's in-house magazine on Thursday, Schrempp promised to turn things around in 2005.
"I'm not promising too much when I tell you that we will get a grip on the challenges within a year," Schrempp said. "We will do everything that is necessary to become number one again, we have to act and we must improve."
In the past year, problems have plagued DaimlerChrysler, which includes the Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Maybach brands. Particularly at Mercedes, the poor reliability of some models helped contribute to an overall third quarter drop in profits 62 percent, down to 304 million ($403 million), at the Mercedes Car Group (MCG).
Schrempp also conceded in the interview that overall operating profits for the entire year might fall below expectations.
Many reasons for decline given
"We have analyzed the causes and problems, and we have prepared corrective measures and solutions," said Schrempp. "We will work under a great pressure to implement them."
Among the reasons for the profit decline, Schrempp sited decreased consumer confidence resulting from reliability problems, the introduction of new models, the rising cost of oil, the strong euro and the continuing poor performance of the Smart brand.
But DaimlerChrysler was on the case, he stressed, pointing to a recent "quality offensive" to address the reliability problems. He promised Daimler would invest heavily to improve the quality of new models at Mercedes, which have fallen from being one of the most reliable car brands in surveys to one of the worst, and re-educate dealerships to raise service standards.
Complex issues plague luxury giant
Like many German car makers, Mercedes has struggled in recent times. The company stands at a crossroads, as increased competition from Japanese competitors and the rising cost of "Made in Germany" produced luxury vehicles has forced management to carefully consider the future.
In July, labor unrest and strikes were prompted by the management's threat to move production of the new C-Class sedan to South Africa if personal costs at the Sindelfingen factory were not cut by 500 million.
Though not directly mentioned in Schrempp's interview, ways to keep the high cost of producing cars in Germany below the revenue threshold will likely be another issue in 2005. DW staff (ziw)          
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Nothing is the way it is because that's the way it has to be.

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Dori's simple remedy:-
- Drop Smart & Maybach. - Stop trying to have a car in every niche.
In the past week I did about 300 km in a rented C 180 Komp manual. Very impressive, even the 6-gear gearbox. Very nice interior, dashboard much smarter than my much more expensive (but older 2001) CLK Cab.
"All" they have to do is to have it reliable and supported by decent dealers. That should send the already high sales figures up even further.
It's that "all" that MB seems to be having trouble with. (Though I must add that the dealers I have dealt with in the London area over the years have been quite ok on the whole.)
DAS
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

My guess is that in the USA at least half the problem is due to the legal requirement that auto manufacturers cannot own dealerships and so Mercedes is at the mercy of wildly varying dealer quality.
I cannot understand how a manufacturer can be prevented from selling his own product!
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On 2004-12-18 07:23:33 -0800, greek_philosophizer

This is ridiculous. First of all I don't think they are prevented from owning there own dealerships, as long as they also allow others to be dealers. They are not allowed to own the whole supply chain though as this would make for a vertical monopoly and the ability to dictate pricing.
This is against the "idea" of a fair market, which is largely crap anyhow due to the megacorporations that own everything these days.
Training and culling your dealers so that you only have good ones is really the same process, whether you own them or not.
Clearly there are several Benz dealers that should have there licenses to sell pulled.
Marty
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In Germany the dealerships can be owned by manufacturer, but I don't know what the percentage for Merc is. 'My' dealer in Wiesbaden (near Frankfurt) from whom I bought my CLK was/is corporation owned.
In the UK there are developments in both directions with Merc dealerships. In the major cities Merc has taken control of all the previously-independent dealerships, giving, e.g. Mercedes-Benz London. The car records are centrally available, so that one can go to any dealer in London and have the service records available.
On the other hand the European Union is forcing the car manufacturers to give up their stranglehold on car supply. Indeed, there had been what is known as a "block exemption" for the certain competition and trading rules for the car industry. One example is that the warranty may not be invalidated if a service is properly carried out at an independent. Car 'supermarkets 'have started in the UK, which supply 'legitimate' new cars, usually at prices below that of the car company garages.
DAS
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I wonder. Although my own experience of London and nearby regional dealers (incl an independent) has been good (incl some outstandingly dedicated service advisers), I have friends who had an ML and switched to Toyota because they were fed up with quality issues and, in particular, with dealers' attitudes to dealing with them. I did check with them, they were dealers I had not used.
I think they were MB-owned.
Our very own motoring journalist, Jeremy Clarkson, regularly lambastes Merc dealership quality, something he did not do years ago.
I hope that Schrempp's words are followed by real action, which brings me nicely back to my previous post about the remedies... :-)
DAS
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It would be nice if they allowed us to buy this model in the US also...
For some reason they only import the larger/more expensive models/engines.
Marty
PS Was it a manual 6 speed (ZF?) or an auto?
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Manual. I used the word in the description " C 180 Komp manual".
Took some getting used to, as all I had driven hitherto is 5-speed shifts.
If I bought such a car I would still prefer auto.
(I drove in the greater Frankfurt area; full of speed restrictions and traffic, so difficult to test high-speed performance.)
DAS
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If you ignore ole Jerkin Shrimp, Mercedes Benz has only two problems. The first is their krap karz. The second is their even worse stealerships. Get rid of the stealerships and the karz and there will be no more problems except for Ole Jerkin Shrimp!
mcbrue under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
96 S420
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On 2004-12-19 18:37:39 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (MCBRUE) said:

Funny, but I just figured out the ol' jerkin shrimp thing right now!
You're too much Macbrue... You should get you bad self to the pontiac dealer.
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I think I feel a kudzu attack coming on. The amerikan cars are what drove me to the wonderfull world of Ole Jerkin Shrimp in the first place! What I realize now is that you can buy two or three krap amerikan karz for one Mercedes. And you do need 3 amerikan karz vs only two mercedes. Gotta figure one MB to drive while the other is in the shop, but two amerikan in the shop with the one out to drive.
mcbrue sadly under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
96 S420
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On 2004-12-20 18:19:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (MCBRUE) said:

I dunno, I was driven that there 1968 Buick for about 15 years... As long as you don't mind the 10MPG thing, and don't want any fancy extras like a temperature gauge, or defoggers... That bad boy is still running hard.
Parts are cheaper then snot too.
You fancy Mercedes boys should see all them $25 starters and 35$ water pumps I put in that thing over the years.
Airbag shmairbag. It's a tank and a spacious one too.
For the price of midrange new MB, you could consider doing a full upgrade on a nice older car.
I happen to have a spare GS400, I'll take 2500 bucks for :~)
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It might not be so bad.
DC claims to be vigorously addressing quality concerns.
The new S might not be a bad car. I think they are going to replace the 5 liter with a 6 liter 500 horse power engine.
DC is claiming that their current products have addressed quality concerns.
Allegedly all manufacturers have improved significantly and are no longer that different.
.
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If the views in this NG were truly representative of the wider experience Merc's sales should be plummetting, which they are not, even there are cyclical difficulties.
As I have said before, my own experience with Mercs and dealers have been quite fine over the years. Today I met somebody (in UK) who recently acquired a new CLK 500 and loves it, and thinks it is every inch a quality car. Previously he had an E-Class abroad and loved that, too. Runs a Volvo as his SUV and confirmed that in his eyes the M-Class is a "dog". Unfortumately I forgot to ask him if he considered Audi or BMW before deciding on the CLK.
Clearly the MB division has some issues, but they are not impossible to deal with in a reasonable time span.
DAS
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