Mercedes COO: "Full-Blown Sales Crisis"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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mercedes coo full blown sales crisis

Reuters reports that Mercedes COO Rainer Schmueckle says his company is in a “full blown sales crisis.” In other words, he’s checking his pension plan and prepping his people for a big ass round of layoffs. “While it [Mercedes] has not yet discussed reduced working hours, it has already cut the number of temporary workers. As of the end of June, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars division that also includes its Smart badge of microcars employed a staff of 98,000 worldwide.” And as that’s about it for this one, how about a tidbit from the world of Mercedes onership, via Kenya’s The Standard? “Police have questioned High Court Judge GBM Kariuki over the stabbing of a motorist after a minor road accident in the city… Police said Justice Kariuki and Kamau were driving from opposite directions on Lower Kabete Road at about 8pm on Saturday when their vehicles were involved in a minor accident. The judge, who was driving his official Mercedes Benz car, was alone at the time of the incident, while Kamau had two passengers in his Toyota Corolla vehicle… The judge seemed disturbed when journalists arrived at the police stations to take his pictures. At one point, he shouted at them, saying they were free to ‘take even his buttocks.'” And do what with them, precisely?

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  • MagMax MagMax on Oct 21, 2008
    Classic car right there. Back then, a person really got a lot for their money. Those cars were built entirely different from a typical car(as in built like a tank in a good way). I acquired a new 250SE sedan in 1968 and traded it for a 250C in 1971. Those cars really were built like tanks and there was nothing on the road to come even close. They cost a fortune, mind you, and weren't cheap to run either; parts were horrendously expensive. But in the mid 70s the S class got bigger and more bloated so I switched to a BMW 3.0S Sedan in 1975. In many ways that was an even better car than the 71 Benz and again it had no real competition from anything else on the road at the time except Mercedes Benz. I remember having a look at a new Cadillac Seville in a showroom at the time and literally laughing out loud when I sat in the car. Now that I'm driving an E500 after a couple of decades of Japanese iron I can appreciate what a fine car that particular model of Mercedes still is, but I can also see that there are lots of other brands at little more than half the price that offer pretty well the same kind of driving experience without the associated expenses. So what is it that makes Mercedes special nowadays? It must be the star on the hood. We see lots of B series here in Canada and I'll be darned if I can see why anyone would buy one when there are plenty of similar vehicles available for less money and with better reliability records. And the more Mercedes moves downmarket to snaffle some new, younger owners the more it will degrade the mystique and prestige that its top of the line cars engender. (I had the chance to drive a new S Class for most of a day some months ago and it definitely is still in a class by itself; of course, at the price it should be.) Max
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 21, 2008

    I agree. MB has gone from the bank vault permanent car to a blingy Honda. Serious sport is only available from AMG. The standard MB is not aimed at the sports guy. Sports Packages tend to be lacking, or automatic only, which is odd as MB makes some nice manuals "over there". Rich people are not (save some entertainers) usually stupid. Buying one "permanent" MB and driving it for ten years before giving it to your teen is cheaper over that time than running out two or three lesser cars, and you get the benefit of quality and snob appeal. The manufacturer has to live with a product that the owner expects to run for 2-300K, not become tissue paper once the odo clicks "out of warranty". It is a different market, smaller, and with a customer that will have higher loyalty unless you screw them. MB owned this market when BMW was an annoying puppy snapping at the heels. MB has to some extent lost track, while BMW rose. The Japanese have come in to eat all the buyers who just want luxo-comfort. In this way, instead of retreating up market, they went after the high end Honda buyer, who if they could stretch, could get that subvented lease on the C or E. This tide has now receded, leaving a lot of MB cars with no "unique selling point". The C Class is not competition for a Sport Package 3 series, unless you step up to AMG, at which (price) point you are in a different world. Years ago, I recall a car show in NYC where the MB was the best built car. Perfect shutlines and high quality interiors, if germanically spartan. Today, all cars have decent shutlines (well, most) and the overall standard of construction is much closer from the crappiest to the classiest. MB has not pulled the bar higher. I will note that the E46 is better built inside than the E90, but at least BMW still has the "permanent car" feeling. If it had not been such a Cluster*F, the Damiler Chryco deal would have worked. Upgrade Chry with last gen MB. MB retreats upmarket with no overlap between stores. I knew that one was doomed when, in the year of the merger, I was in Germany, watching a Soccer Game. Mercedes-Benz TRUCKS was the "new sponsor" of the stadium.....because no way were the Germans changing the name in the home market.

  • JEM JEM on Oct 21, 2008

    Cool! I guess it's time to take the checkbook and talk to the local Benz shop about an E63 wagon.

  • Mister Snitch Mister Snitch on Oct 21, 2008
    "At one point, he shouted at them, saying they were free to ‘take even his buttocks.’” And do what with them, precisely?" You're either very brave, or very foolish, to pose this question on the Internet.