Mercedes Car Group CEO Eckard Cordes: Who needs to be No. 1?
Eckhard Cordes, CEO of the Mercedes Car Group, told the Automotive News Europe Congress that the study’s quality criteria may not be relevant to Mercedes’ international customer base.
“One has to carefully analyze whether as a global carmaker it is really advisable to be the J.D. Power No. 1,” Cordes said.
Cordes suggested that the study, which is realeased on May 18, reflects not just facts but also the tastes of US consumers.
“You get marked down if you have more than two buttons on the steering wheel,” he said.
A change in goals
Cordes’ position is a marked change from comments made by DaimlerChrysler board member Rüdiger Grube last year. Grube told the 2004 Automotive News Europe Congress in Montreux, Switzerland, that Mercedes-Benz would lead the survey by 2006.
In 2004, the brand ranked 10th out of 37 brands sold in the US. Lexus was first, Cadillac second, and Jaguar third.
Whatever the J.D. Power rating, Mercedes will not compromise on quality, Cordes promised.
“We can return to being the benchmark, and we are doing everything to make this happen,” he said.
Cordes said a 1.3-million vehicle recall that Mercedes-Benz is conducting makes sure that all cars in customers’ hands meet the standard of cars currently produced.
“We have had some issues,” he said. “But the cars that come off our lines today are perfectly OK.”