Exhaustive tests deal death blow to Merc's bad old days
26 January 2007

Mercedes has completely left behind its well-documented quality problems according to Dr Thomas Weber, the head of development for the Mercedes Car Group.

"We have definitely fixed our problems, thanks to a new development strategy and a completely new mindset. We have never had such an intensive development programme. I am confident that from 'job one', we will be able to deliver premium quality’.

Speaking at the Stuttgart unveiling of the new Mercedes C-class, Weber revealed that the car's test programme had covered some 24-million kilometers in around 200 prototypes. By contrast, the development of the S-class saw just eight million kilometers being covered.

The C-class Is the company’s first model to be designed and engineered under a new strategy that sees a complete digital ‘prototype’ of the car generated ahead of the construction of real vehicles. Weber said this allowed new features to be tested much earlier in the engineering timetable. Mercedes also instigated an intensive bench test programme of the C-class’ components and sub-components with component suppliers, in order to eliminate potential compatibility problems at an early stage.

For the last few months Mercedes has even given pre-production cars to employees to further de-bug them before full-scale production begins.

The current E-class was riddled with electrical glitches from launch, including problems with the brake-by-wire system serious enough that the Sensotronic Bosch brakes were removed when it was recently facelifted. Mercedes also suffered significant problems with its Command combined audio, sat-nav and telephone system.

Hilton Holloway

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