STUTTGART -- Mercedes-Benz has increased pressure on suppliers to produce better parts.
The effort is part of the automaker's push to counter quality problems that have led to recalls and poor showings in customer satisfaction reports.
"Mercedes is playing hardball," says one supplier executive who attended a recent meeting with purchasing bosses.
Mercedes has written to several hundred parts makers in the powertrain sector, warning them they will face tougher quality guidelines and could lose contracts if they deliver faulty parts.
Major suppliers of electronic components also are in Mercedes' sights, and the quality initiative soon will be extended to all suppliers.
A letter obtained by Automobilwoche, the German sister publication of Automotive News, from Mercedes' purchasing quality management department warns powertrain suppliers that if random checks on their components reveal faults, Mercedes will demand:
A Mercedes spokesperson said: "We are not penalizing suppliers. It is a joint search for solutions and a concrete example of how our new quality offensive is being put into practice."
Mercedes initially is targeting parts makers that have triggered concern about quality during recent assessments, and suppliers that have been asked repeatedly about quality issues.