The more you hear about what Eckhard Cordes is doing to fix Mercedes-Benz, the clearer it becomes that the brand had fallen into serious disrepair.
The latest step by Cordes is a E4 billion cost-cutting program.
It includes a reduction in the number of Mercedes vehicle architectures from 21 to 16 over the next 10 years and a simultaneous increase in the number of models derived from each architectures.
That also means working closer to develop synergies with the Chrysler side of the DaimlerChrysler family, where Dieter Zetsche and Wolfgang Bernhard accomplished much of what now must be done at Mercedes.
Earlier, Cordes delayed plans to send the B class to the US. He also suspended the Smart ForMore SUV, which was to have been the basis for that money-losing brand's entry into the US.
In January, Cordes told the world that as head of the Mercedes Car Group, he personally was assuming responsibility for improving Mercedes quality.
It was refreshing ... and long overdue.
It seemed as if the only people who didn't know how bad things had become at Mercedes-Benz were the folks at Mercedes-Benz.
Last Tuesday at the Geneva auto show, Cordes unveiled the B class, which goes on sales in Europe this summer, and a freshened CLK.
The quality needs to be bullet proof. But Mercedes is still playing catch-up to BMW.
Later this month at the New York auto show, the company will show its R class crossover, but it won't be until September, at the IAA in Frankfurt, that Cordes pulls the wraps off the new S class, which is at least two years overdue.
Quality is crucial if Cordes is to restore the luster to the three-pointed star.
At this point, three things are clear:
1. Mercedes-Benz is no longer in denial.
2. Cordes is moving in the right direction.
3. Wolfgang Bernhard, who almost had the job as head of the Mercedes Car Group, was denied the position at the last minute last April for political reasons, not because he overestimated what had to be done to fix Mercedes-Benz.
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