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M-B dealerships face ‘re-education’

DaimlerChrysler has begun a "re-education" programme for its Mercedes-Benz dealerships in an attempt to raise service standards in the face of recent criticism of reliability standards.

The German carmaker hopes that improving its service - recently rated the worst of any premium marque in a JD Power survey - will help retain drivers put off by poor quality over the past three years.

New changes to the dealer and service networks are designed to ensure future problems are recognised quickly and that customers do not defect to other brands.

"The message is that we are one joined-up company from factory to forecourt," Daimler said. "It is about getting staff throughout the organisation to think about how the customer feedback becomes part of the company's culture."

"We aim to be the best of the premium brands by customer servicing by the end of 2005."

Under the new programme, information on problems with cars will be fed back more effectively from the dealers to the factory, allowing engineers to identify manufacturing or design flaws.

According to the US vehicle dependability study from JD Power, Mercedes' reliability ranking has dropped from third six years ago to 28th out of 37 brands this year.

In JD Power's US survey of customer service, Mercedes came 10th out of 13 premium brands last year, and 10th out of 14 this year.

(Source: FT.com)



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