Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler - Page 3 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #21 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 05:33 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

Blame Chrysler?

Well, that's an interesting way to deconstruct the M-B quality problems.

Having owned and driven many of both company's products over the past 40 years, I have to say I doubt the merger has much to do with specific engineering and manufacturing issues. Chrysler builds good value for moderate to low amounts of money. M-B knows how to build excellent quality for lots of money.

Chrysler, along with every other Detroit-based manufacturer is value-engineering based. That means designing products and components that last only a few more miles or months beyond their MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure). If a part tests out as lasting substantially beyond that, it is redesigned to be lighter and cheaper until it fails at the targeted point. (Don't confuse this with infant mortality. All parts and assemblies are subject to a known rate of premature failure. Hence, the Lemon Laws.)

Until the early 1990s, M-B practiced a different form of engineering design: call it 'rational excellence.' That resulted in cars that were durable, but costly compared to others of similar size and performance. I think M-B still practices this method on their very high-end products, but has adopted a modified form of value engineering for their mid and lower-end models. This makes them more price-competitive, but with consequences we hear about every day.

My humble suggestion to M-B executives and board members is that they forget about value engineering and return to rational excellence. If that means more expensive and fewer M-B cars, so be it. Let Chrysler products carry the mass market on their value-engineered shoulders.

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