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haasman 09-11-2003 01:46 AM

Article: Mercedes Aiming To Regain Quality Lead
Mercedes Aiming To Regain Quality Lead

Speaking of Mercedes quality, its U.S. and German workers haven’t done as good a job as expected lately – at least not according to recent studies by J.D. Power and Associates.

No other brand saw such a sharp rise in problems after three years of service, revealed the latest Vehicle Dependability Study, putting Mercedes behind a number of less expensive brands.

Fixing that is the company’s “top priority and we are working like hell to fix it,” declared passenger car chief Juergen Hubbert. He insisted the Power studies have overplayed some of the problems, since many complaints touched on such things as the size of Mercedes’ cupholders. But Hubbert also acknowledged that “seven out of ten of my problems” are related to electronic systems, such as systems controls, infotainment and communications devices.

The automaker has even approached Microsoft searching for answers, and is rolling out various solutions, including software upgrades that can prevent unexpected – and often hard to diagnose – problems.

Meanwhile, Mercedes will “have to make some changes in our portfolio to reflect regional preferences,” said Hubbert. That would be a significant shift away from its one-size-fits-all-markets strategy. So in the future, American buyers might find it possible to comfortably stow their two-liter Big Gulps while driving.


dpetryk 09-11-2003 08:25 AM

I cant understand why they would talk to microsoft about software problems. Microsoft products are some of the most defective and bug ridden in the industry.

Mike Murrell 09-11-2003 08:42 AM

Amen Dave !

I can think of no mass produced OS more unreliable than the stuff developed by Microsoft.

blackmercedes 09-11-2003 10:47 AM

I see this as part of a "global" strategy. They buy Chrysler and learn how to make crappy automatic transmissions. They can't afford to buy Microsoft, but they need their help in installing bug-ridden crash-prone software that will cause your car to "general protection fault-error-sucker-that-bought-junk" all the time.

Instead of a Check-Engine light, you'll have a "Empty the bank account" light that will come on, access your bank info right through the 'net, and send the money to your dealer. Every time you get $5000 in your account, the EBA (empty bank account) light comes on,the car drives itself to the dealer, and they "reset" all the broken junk.

And of course, we'll require MB gasoline that sells for only twice the regular price...

Kestas 09-11-2003 11:08 AM

Probably more palaver than action.... kind of like Ford's "Quality is Job One" or Chrysler's "To Be the Best".

In what context was Jurgen stating this? Did he volunteer this admission or was he cornered by the press and forced to come up with something to say?

ctaylor738 09-11-2003 11:58 AM

You won't get a "Check Engine Light." It will say "Your engine has just destroyed itself," and you will be able to click (or touch) "OK".

Kestas 09-11-2003 12:06 PM

Nice Spin
Jurgen's answer was the same one Iacocca gave 21 years ago.... that the Powers study didn't reflect the severity of the problem. Jurgen said "cupholders", Iacocca said "crooked ashtrays".... nice spin.

One-size-fits-all? I guess we can expect more gadgets and gizmos, since this is what the average American car owner (moron) wants.

G-Benz 09-11-2003 01:58 PM

So new we can expect our techs to tell us that our late-model MB has a virus in the management system? :confused:

So instead of warranties, we have to go out and buy EFI 2.1 to fix the problems with EFI 1.0?

blackmercedes 09-11-2003 02:42 PM

We'll be driving along and be prompted to pull over immediately to download software updates, and then restart the car. Of course, starting the car alone will take five minutes, unless left in "standby" mode...

haasman 09-11-2003 02:45 PM

Unfortunately, with the number onboard “processors”, computers, local buses and now local networks in new cars, all this humor is very to the point.

Software development that consistently supports functionality and dependably is one effort, in order for humans to access the functions easily and intuitively is another.

The latest BMW 7 Series has been heavily criticize for having a complicated feature access- (read: hard to figure out and use quickly) In contrast, the latest software from Audi has been recognized as being highly well thought-out while performing almost the exact same functions as the BMW.

It is well documented that the CIA has investigated VIT (vehicle immobility tactics) certainly not limited to electronic bursts to “disorient” auto CPUs.

Now that almost all new cars have programmable ECUs (electronic control units), some of which can be profiled at the dealership for specific customer desires (second & third garage door openers, security changes-only unlock drive’s door, environmental settings etc) but also the burgeoning performance aftermarket. Re-chipping is being substituted with profiling ECUs for better performance.

All new cars have additional storage in their systems for the above changes (and to retain the original settings) but also for future updates to be implemented into the system. This additional storage is where the threat lies.

Through a compact set of instructions, one could program a vehicle to do most anything at anytime with any set of very specific parameters: Stop vehicle at specific physical location (via onboard GPS) lock the doors, disable phone and while the engine is running have the heater advanced to full….

OK, doubt it? Just recently Yahoo News reported the above scenario requiring firefighters to break the windows to get a man out of his BMW that went crazy.

Are automotive computer viruses far away? Yes, but not that far away…..

dtf 09-11-2003 02:51 PM

Maybe MB can send Microsoft 'Service pack' upgrades using the tel-aid (or whatever they call it now) system too.

Question: What impact does using a cell phone with its own antenna have as opposed to using a car mounted one like the manual says to do. Could that cause some of the computer/readout glitches? I'm trying to convince my wife (the Electrical Engineer) that it could play a part.

Thomaspin 09-11-2003 03:35 PM

The Beijing E320
As part of their continuing quest for quality, Mercedes also announced this week that certain E class cars will be manufactured in Communist China. (WSJ)

Those of us who have used tools made in mainland China will know what this implies.

Think I'll hang on to my W126s for a few more decades. After that, you can bury me with them.

afmcorp 09-11-2003 04:48 PM

ford quality
most of you are probably too young to remember ford's cry in 1979. they we proud of their new selling point. they boldly claimed that their quality was 33% better than the last year's models were. soo.. i read that as all their previous models were 33% more crap. doesn't say much for all their older cars did it.

at a mall show in Portland, OR all the car dealers had displays showing off the new model year. i remember fords being there but what i remember most was i believe a 1979 4 door 450. it had a price tag on it of 22,000 or so dollars. but the difference was obvious. start with the paint and proceed from there. our domestics couldn't hold a candle to MBZ back then. but i don't think that could be said today. too bad

zero4588 09-12-2003 02:29 AM

;) Hopefully, they'll do something this time. It just seems to me that issuing press releases are always easier for Mercedes to justify their shortcomings than actually taking action and implementing it.

albert champion 09-12-2003 02:29 AM

yes, it is not a funny future.

i think that if you buy a new car, it may be equipped with a chip that will monitor your driving - where you go, when, and at what speeds. there is a movement now in state legislatures to fit such chips that will be readable from satellites or police vehicles[from afar, in other words].

once the tyrannists become affectionate with this level of monitoring, i think that you will find that older vehicles[pre-chip] either become outlawed or become required to have such monitoring equipment fitted.

the way i view the future in this forthcoming ussr is that annually, when your car is safety inspected, that chip will be read. instances of speed over the maximum speed limits will be noted and you will be fined for all those unpoliced "crimes".

the state is going to criminalize us no matter what. that is what they want, subservience or tenants for their gulags.

so, sell your old benz speedsters now while the sheep are still ignorant of what is to be the future. check out the honda and toyota hybrids. that is the future. buy them while they are still subsidized and cheap.

or, move to another country that is less interested in statism. there are a few. but very few.

seig heil

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