Mercedes to be tops in customer satisfaction in 2006

The goal is to be tops in satisfaction by 2006:
http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=motoringSummary&storyID `9305&section=news
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - DaimlerChrysler's flagship Mercedes Car Group will be the centre of attention when the world's fifth-biggest carmaker reports what should be solid third-quarter results on Thursday, analysts say.
Third-quarter group operating profit is expected to rise by around 11 percent to 1.38 billion euros (960 million pounds), according to the average of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Reuters.
Strong showings at the German-American company's U.S. arm Chrysler and financial services are expected to offset declines at Mercedes and commercial vehicles.
A warning in July that Mercedes would not match 2003 earnings this year as planned took the shine off otherwise robust second-quarter earnings and shifted the spotlight to the group's most lucrative division.
"The focus will be on Mercedes car division, where management has recently guided down expectations," Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients.
"We expect the third quarter to mark a low point in Mercedes' operating margin at 4.8 percent."
Merrill Lynch lowered its 2005 earnings estimates for the group by 15 percent on Monday, bearing in mind an expected decline in Mercedes profits next year.
Mercedes Car Group's operating profit fell 18 percent in the second quarter on sluggish car sales, adverse exchange rates, launch costs for new products and stepped-up spending to end quality problems that have tarnished its cars' elegant image.
Mercedes got a new boss this month when Eckhard Cordes moved over from commercial vehicles to succeed Juergen Hubbert, who is about to retire after running Mercedes for more than a decade.
Mercedes, which in July sealed an agreement with its workforce to save 500 million euros in labour costs in Germany, hopes new models will boost profit significantly by 2006, the year it aims to seize top spot in customer satisfaction polls.
"DaimlerChrysler overall could meet expectations for Q3 earnings, although the mix should continue to deteriorate away from Mercedes and further earnings risks could come from Chrysler and Financial Services," CSFB said in a research note.
Sanford C. Bernstein expected the third-quarter results to be a "mixed bag, with good performance at Chrysler offset by an earnings fall at Mercedes, and Commercial Vehicles earnings reduced to zero by the Mitsubishi Fuso provision".
The commercial vehicles division said this month that costs linked to recalls and quality problems at Fuso, its Japanese truck and bus unit, would hit third-quarter operating profit by about 400 million euros.
But good earnings at other businesses in the commercial vehicles division would more than offset this, it said, insisting that the division's 2004 operating profit was still set to rise despite the Fuso problems.
The release of provisions for a resolved legal dispute with Bombardier could also boost results by 130 million euros.
A turnaround at Chrysler helped the company's second-quarter operating profit more than triple to 2.1 billion euros. In July DaimlerChrysler upgraded its 2004 forecast to see a "significant improvement" in operating profit excluding one-off factors.
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On 2004-10-26 10:33:15 -0700, greek snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (greek_philosophizer) said:

Talk is cheap as they say...
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at least they serve pretty good coffee at the "Niederlassung". would have preferred they made a test-drive after refitting the gearbox...
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I have C180 (dec. 1999 model). The Automatic transmission totally broken. How can be Mercedes reach top place in customers satisfaction in near future?, by ignoring customer's claim with no answer and such sluggish quality??? It can be a joke. Never mind.
Hans

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Every company has such worthy goals, to be "best", "top", finest"...but getting there....
DAS
--
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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