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

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

Ladies and gentlemen.

The question of Mercedes Benz quality, and it's adequacy is often mentioned in this forum and elsewhere. The problem with this is that most people define quality differently. Quality should be a measureable fact, defined by the producer or by an industrial branch norm like DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm). It seems to me that the DC (Daimler Chrysler Corp.) defines QC (quality control) with a broader focus than DB (Daimler Benz AG) once did. That means perfection is not the main parameter anymore, it's now just a factor sided with economy, profit margins, logistical requirements, standardization, and so on.

DB was once two manufacturers. Real hard times forced the two companies to merge in 1926. Not only were they competitors, they were also archrivals. But they spoke the same language, and shared culture. And had great potential for building fantastic cars. And to make a lot of money.

They focused on great engineering and technichal perfection, while still offering lower end products for simpler needs. One thing was common in a plain 170 and a luxurious 770. It did exactly what it was designed to do. There was sufficient quality, and there was surplus quality. One could follow a logical string in all parts used in the cars, big or small. And it was virtually foul proof. Just look at the status and reputation they gained.

Since the amalgation in 26, times have been better and worse, but nobody ever questioned the lads in Stuttgart, and their ability to produce. They have always been innovative and conservative at the same time, giving great improvements, but without losing the spirit and the "MB touch". No tricks or shortcuts. The spirit even survived may 45 and the not too great label, "producer of Gestapo cars".

Then came Chrysler. I don't know exactly why, where and when, but to my great horror, they actually merged. I think that led to a lot of chop work. And a culture crash. Of course the whole meaning of a horizontal merger is rationalizing production and resources. So whenever they detected identical functions, they chopped one. While it gave great effects on the current P/E, it was the chime to todays quality problems. It seems to me that Crysler was to learn engineering and design by MB lads, and MB was to learn how to shop parts and cut deals by Chrysler guys. Because in my experience, Chryslers have become better, while MB's have become "normal digital cars". Where they once were miles above, they're now right in it alongside with Renault, VW, and English cars. If you buy a Mazda 6 today, it will statistically have fewer problems than a W211.

As a child of the sixties, I know how big difference it once was between a Benz and normal cars. When you compare a 1968 W115 with contemporary compeditors, there's no doubt at all. Innovative engineering and conservative design. Commitment to the bone. W108/109 is the real Benz in my mind. With a M100 engine, nothing comes close in my mind. Or a W113 Pagode. Mmm. But that's because I'm born in 61.

I consider that all cars today are hybrids between analog and digital cars. If one accepts that as a fact, one can also gather that all production is in transition as well. That means the products are vunerable for errata similar to the PC industry in the early days. It took some time before IBM, Intel, and Microsoft got their act together. Likewise, the specification guys in Stuttgart may lack the necessary data and experience to correctly specify lasting digital solutions. So they will need more time to get it together. Hopefully not on your expense.

The goal of every car producer is to have one universal part that covers all their models. Just like the PC world. Look at the Jaguar X-Type and Ford Mondeo. Same platform/boby. Imagine a hole in every hood, made for a Chinese produced hood star. Then you could upgrade a Hyundai or Kia to a E-class Benz. Later you could continue to S-class. How does that sound?

Only potential buyers of new cars can contribute to rectifying this situation. The DB management of the sixties and seventies would never ever release such models as W211. They would boldly declare that the digitalization technics has not come far enough to be useable in a Daimler Benz. I just know they would.

Remember, it's BEFORE you buy you have ATTENTION. After the delivery, you only have attention. I would certainly demand a written clause in the contract with a guaranteed subsitute car whenever the car was away for "diagnosis". If I couldn't get it, I would steer away. I don't think it's unreasonable to have a certain "attitude" against electronic and mechanichal flaws. And owners must be sick of hearing about wiring harnesses needing changing.

If it were only electronical plagues, I wouldn't worry to much. But mechanical flaws flourish too. A big Norwegian newspaper recently received a Viano with less than 20 000 kilometers on the odo for testing and reviewing. The first thing they did, was to take it to the dealer, and swap a front drive shaft. The knuckle was mashed. Hmm.

Some areas are still pretty good. Safety is one. It is definitely safer to crash in a W211 than a W210. The W210 is safer than the W124, and so on. The S class is a real tank. And they do look nice, some of the new ones.

Watch out for "Chinafication" of production parts. I don't know where the current ECU's and other stuff are produced, but I suspect more and more are produced in Taiwan, China, and Korea. The actual quality might be good, and pay off logistically. But the production prosess will be harder to monitor. And the end result will be harder to guarantee.

So I blame Chrysler. I may be wrong, but it makes me feel better. I think. Just love watching Stratus owners trying to locate their battery the first time. And watch people lending a manual Voyager, and trying to start without depressing the clutch pedal.



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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 01:17 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

The switch from Asian suppliers to sources in the former soviet block countries may have caused more of the problems. Germany has had major problems intergrating former East German workers and their factories into their work ethic and quality demands. A growing number of (west) German citizens would like to see the Wall go back up because of this.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 01:42 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

If they went to Asian suppliers for components, the quality would triple overnight. where is it you picked up the notion that German made cannotes quality? Advertising and bias, I suspect. Engineering? That's another story. That's subjective and could be argued forever. Virtually everyone agrees that Lexus, Acura, infiniti et al are high quality machines. The debate then turns to the "passion" of the car or some such thing. That's fine. But I'll put up the quality of a Camry Or Hyundai or even a Kia against the best Mercedes has to offer. With the HUGE price difference, you can build it to perform in any manner you wish and even pick up the parts yourself in Japan or Korea.

BTW, the quality issues at Mercedes have been ongoing for over a decade. The merger took place in 1998.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 02:10 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

I have thought a lot about this topic lately, and really do appreciate the global view of MB issues. A couple of thoughts.

1. The merger has certainly been significant, but MB needed it as much as Chrysler did.
2. There have been significant changes in Germany over the years, though I do not pretend to have great insight. Certainly, the importation of foreign factory workers in the 70's and German reunification have been significant.
3. What is really shocking is when you compare MB's to some other vehicles. I compared an Acura TL to a C320 and a Mazda 6. Comparably equipped, the Acura is over $10k US less expensive than C, and the Mazda is even less. That will cover for a lot of missing "soul" in the Acura, and the Mazda is US built.
5. The Acura RL tops out at about $50k. That makes the E look quite expensive, as well.

Some differences are difficult to ignore, and harder yet, to rationalize.

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1984 300TDT (why did I get rid of the best one?)
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 10:26 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

How true. I agree with you, absolutely.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 02:17 AM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

They don't build em like they used to,... compare a W126 to a W220 or W123 to W211 if you need proof.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

Hi guys.

The Norwegian MB importer announced today a recall program, which I think will be a very good thing. The voltage regulators in six and eight cylinder Benz's produced between june 01 and november 04 will be checked and replaced. Additional damage will be assessed. E's and CLK's from january 02 to january 05 will get a battery control software update, much needed. E's, CLS, and SL's from june 01 to march 05 will get some sort of brake system update.

Some owners get more mad than others. A Vaneo owner in Bergen Norway has set up a van by the side of a main road with slogan signs against the importer and dealer. He has four, and is threatening to place all four around Bergen. I have no idea why this car deal has souered so much, but the perception of the term quality, is certainly not identical.


To E300pos.

As I said, I don't know exactly where MB produces their parts today. But if they were to be produced in Germany today, and then switched to Asia, the quality certainly wouldn't be trippled. There is simply not room for that. It would be Germans teaching them how to, just like the mostly American computer industry taught them how to successfully produce high tech computer components.

You want to know why I have high thoughts about German industry? Well, that's a pretty big question, and I don't know where to begin. I think a good place to start is tradition. German industry has never failed it's country. Even in their maddest hour, say in january 45, the industry performed great, spewing out cutting edge planes, u-boats, V- missiles, and other very advanced weapons. The problem was no gas and pilots. And the political leadership. The Reich had no future, but it's industry had. Hounded as they were by the RAF and USAF, they never really touched their production capacity.

The good thing isn't that every German is so brilliant. It's in the culture, ways, and doings. And what they do to ensure that the correct specifications are met, well that's what they used to do anyway. I have been to most DB werks, and many other German factories. And I can assure you that building a Benz is no laughing matter. They view it like this; if you laugh and joke at work, you are using surplus energy that Could/should be used in the production. so they don't. Literally.

If they need to lift 12 tons, they will want a 15 ton crane. Where the Americans will have a 100 ton crane for universal jobs, the Germans would like to have a suite of cranes, big and small. They hate wasting and over calibration. Genau muss sein. That is reflected in all German cars.

Then there is the question of quality again. There are different schools, you know, so it's only natural when ordinary people use the phrase quality differently. There are also different approaches to controlling quality, which contributes to the confusion. When you compare a Kia with the best of Benz, you are comparing a planet with a star. The qualities are of course going to be different. But that doesn't mean that the Kia is the wrong car for anyone. If you're interested, you can google on ISO 9000, SixSigma, and TQM (total quality control).

I agree that Toyota, Mazda, Lexus, and likewise are nice and dependable cars. Asian manufacturers have a different philosophy than the Americans and Europeen producers. I am responsible for the maintenance of my mother and sisters cars. So I equip them with Toyotas. It's just the right car for them.

I think the trouble started when W210 moved in to Sindelfingen.

To 5thMB.

Whether DB needed a merger or not is way over my head. Who knows what goes on in inner circles. But I really think that they should have found another than Chrysler. But maybe I'm just nostalgic. Have to admit that the 300S is very nice to drive. I'm certainly coloured by a lot of negative Chrysler experiences at the road side as a wrecker. In Norway, the name is connected with Simca / Talbot by us not too young.


Again, comparing those cars you mention is fine, but a poor substitute IF you want a Benz. Price is not scientifically connected to quality. The price is a reflection of how desireable a car is. And the cost to produce. That's why the producers want a module based digital product. Fewer parts give higher profits. Because they know desire evolves, and they have to be able to change production fast and often to keep up. Whenever a successfull consept is born, it's only a question of time before every producer has a matching model. Even good old DB was forced to that.

That's why digitalization isn't there for your pleasure and gain. It's for making your car cheaper, faster, and flexible to produce. At the end of the day, when all is stretched out, it will be to your gain too.

No matter what, something fishy is going on in Benz land these days. The evidence is absolutely there.



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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 08:17 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

Personaly I believe Chrysler has benefited & it seems to me DB has suffered mainly in reputation. I work on cars for a living & believe the automobiles of today are overpriced,overengineered pieces of technojunk. i.e. you have to remove the front clip of a new beetle to change the battery. Thats real cute. Give me the "old" stuff any day when the average person could do most repairs themselves & you didn't have to have a $1500+scanner to "talk" to them.Hey they can keep on making that @#%& & I'll be glad to work on it if you got the money honey for $100+/hr. When cars were first being introduced to this world thay were richmen's toys. I'm afraid it's coming around full circle. The Koreans & Chinese car producers will be the Henry Fords of the new mellinium.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 09:45 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

Mercedes-Benz = stone on wheels..passenger safety along with vehicle safety too..

Daimler-benz manufacturing is more like japanese cars, more plastic and delicacy ..when u crash the vechile is totalled by default..
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 06:03 PM
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RE: Quality of Mercedes Benz versus Daimler Chrysler

The Rules:

1. Mercedes Benz is the BEST. Period.

2. Chrysler is CRAP!!

3. Asian Produced parts and systems are CRAP!

4. East Bloc produced parts and systems are CRAP!

5. Computerized "Digital" cars are CRAP!

6. Mechanical Masterpieces RULE!!!

7. Anyone who says otherwise is an IDIOT!!

need i go on.............
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