Problems at Mercedes-Benz

Quality slips can be hard to come back from.

Spend $25,000 on a car that doesn't run the way you expect it to, and you get pretty angry. Spend $50,000 or $100,000, and you get really angry. Just listen to the anguished howls of Mercedes-Benz owners on websites like,, and, as they vent about the latest mishap to afflict their Benzes. Depending on the model, the complaints range from faulty key fobs and leaky sunroofs to balky electronics that leave drivers and their passengers stranded. Regardless of the severity, a single sentiment runs through the gripes: This shouldn't be happening to a Mercedes.

I think quality was a competitive advantage for Mercedes. The automobile industry is cut-throat. If Mercedes loses customers, they may never recover. This is why sticking with your core competencies and improving your competitive advantage is so important – it defines your business.