GERMANY: Mercedes-Benz reviews technology leadership
Increasingly complex car electronics have been so hard to 'de-bug' that top executives say Mercedes-Benz is modifying its first-at-all-costs approach to technology, according to Automotive News Europe (ANE).
Quality glitches caused by Mercedes' Comand system proved maddeningly difficult to fix two years ago, forcing the car maker to boost product testing by 50%.
Problems with Comand, which integrates the on-board satellite navigation, entertainment system and phone, forced Mercedes to buy back 2,000 E-class saloons from US customers. The quality glitches also created tensions with Germany-based Robert Bosch, a key Mercedes supplier.
This is the first time Mercedes-Benz has acknowledged the widespread quality problems.
"We have a problem because we are the technology leader," said Juergen Hubbert, DaimlerChrysler board member responsible for Mercedes, Maybach and Smart. "We were not talking about [the improvement] because you have to see it. On the next survey you will see we are on our way."
Hubbert was referring to JD Power's most recent Initial Quality Survey, which measures a vehicle's quality three months after it is purchased.
The US survey, which was released last spring, ranked Mercedes No. 15 among brands, barely above the industry average.