Chinese-Built Mercedes As Good As German-Built Mercedes

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Automotive News China [sub] reports that Mercedes believes its Chinese-built cars are every bit as good as its German-built models. Ulrich Walker, Chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia says:

Yes, our cars here are exportable. There is no difference in quality with those made outside China.

But, as Bertel Schmitt reports, demand for luxury cars is strong enough in China that we won’t be seeing “Beijing, China” as the point of assembly on US-market Mercs.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • Panzerfaust Panzerfaust on Dec 16, 2009

    Well, if the Vance Alabama made M, R, and GL-Classes are good enough there's no reason to think the Chinese Benzes aren't.

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Dec 16, 2009

    If Mercedes say it is so, then of course! (slaps forehead), it must be true.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Dec 16, 2009

    If a joint venture plant is set up and run according to hometown standards, the output is usually the same.

    You guys have to read between the lines.

    "Is exportable" may be prelude to "will be exported." Export of made-in-China joint venture vehicles could be the big breakthrough for made-in-China cars:

    - same quality

    - already certified

    - established brand

    But it comes at the expense of jobs at home and profits which must be shared with the JV partner. According to my info, several JVs are quietly running small scale tests.

    • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Dec 16, 2009
      But it comes at the expense of jobs at home and profits which must be shared with the JV partner. ...and at the expense of customers. I'm sure they're running the research on whether people will buy Mercedes vehicles made in China too. So the outcome will be a balance of how many sales are lost to BMW (for example) in home markets compared to how much extra profits they can make for owners. The problem will be, that manufacturers appear to be operating as an informal cartel - once one manufacturer "jumps" to a low wage, high-externality economy, the logic is the others "have to" follow. I'm all for an equalisation of living standards, but sometime shortly the HIGH MARGIN economies will have no workers to buy goods. The flaw in globalisation is that developed economies aren't finding ways to replace traditional manufacturing with innovation and macro-economic-restructuring. The "service" economy idea doesn't work because basic economics tells you that someone has to value add in primary industry. (Create wealth).
  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Dec 16, 2009

    Bertel, I believe what is being bemoaned in not the potential for 'Chinese quality', but the fact that even MB product from the fatherland is about on par with Chery (at least compared to what it used to be). MB hasn't been MB since the end of the W140. Beyond that, I'd bet money that when the Germans aren't looking, their JV 'partner' will replace the real MB parts with the fakes that are so plentiful. Then sell the real ones back to EU customers. Yes, the Chinese are capable of building most anything. But they have proven much better at stealing, and the West has proven incapable of resisting cheap labor. What a tangled web we weave... @PeteMoran, Exactly. I'm always amazed that some folks don't get the basic concept that you can't have a negative trade balance forever. Even Warren Buffett was smackin' people upside the head with this 10 years ago.

    • Wsn Wsn on Dec 18, 2009

      porschespeed, yes, you can have a negative trade balance forever. As long as your paper money is still accepted by the goods and service exporter. Which, is still true for the USD. I mean, get real please. What do the Americans gain in this trade? Cheap products. What do the Americans pay? Nicely printed greenbacks and China/Japan are not spending them anyway. When they do spend them, they would have been worthless way before that. This is a sure win for the Americans.