Saturday, 30 July 2011

Diamler Chrysler

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Daimler-Benz Corporation and the Mercedes A-Class

This case covers the introduction of the Mercedes A-Class Automobile. The purpose of the A-Class vehicle was to create a new product by Mercedes, and aim at a new target market; the young, urban professional of singles and couples in their thirties.

Mercedes received positive feedback and comments on the A-Class. However, since Mercedes were targeting a new market, they decided to draft a five-year strategy. Launching the A-Class marketing and advertising campaigns a year prior to the vehicle’s launch.

The Mercedes A-Class problem arises when the “Moose Avoidance Test” on the A-Class failed. This test was compared, to the test that Scandinavian countries usually use, to avoid wandering animals and unforeseen obstacles. The test covered a double lane-change at 7 mph, consisting of swerving to avoid unforeseen obstacles and then making the intuitive to swerve back into the original lane to avoid oncoming traffic. This test caused the A-Class tire sidewall to collapse until the wheel flange touched the ground, causing the vehicle to flip, and injury to three passengers.

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Mercedes may now be facing issues on their brand image and reputation, behind this issue. Therefore, a functional-level strategy should be utilized, so management can focus on improving the effectiveness of operations within the company. Mercedes should then imply an effective control system to establish standards and targets for an effective solution, create measuring and monitoring systems, compare the actual performance against desired targets, and then evaluate the result and take the necessary action.

The next step for Mercedes is to identify and analyze their audience. Acknowledge that a problem aroused with the A-Class, during testing. Provide information on the action steps that was taken by Mercedes to correct that issue, and address additional questions and concerns about the A-Class.

My suggestion to Mr. Mangold, who is the Director of Services Division at Daimler-Benz, is to set up a face-to-face meeting in Sweden with all parties involved in the “moose avoidance test” to address the Swedish concerns and update them with the action steps that Mercedes has taken to enhance the safety of the new A-Class. At this point Mr. Mangold should bring up how much Mercedes appreciate their concern for safety.

Since, this test was not a public announcement; I also suggested that Mr. Mangold address the news media, with an interview, after the action plan has taken its course. Then provide the media with the corrective action step that Mercedes took to improve the quality of safety in their vehicle.

1) Suppose you are the Director of Corporate Communication, What strategy would you suggest for dealing with the failed safety test?

Utilize the functional level strategy to focus on improving the effectiveness of operations within Mercedes; R&D, Manufacturing, and Material Management.

) What are the critical issues facing Mercedes?

The critical issue that Mercedes face is damage to their brand image and reputation, “a reputation for safety and knowing exactly what they do”, Lydia Aydon.

) How should they respond to the news of the safety test?

Mercedes should focus on creating a corrective action step; establish standards and targets, create a measuring and monitoring system, compare the actual performance against the establish targets, and then evaluate the result and take action.

4) Who are the important audiences for Mangold’s team to address?

The Swedish team is the most important audience for Mangold’s team to address, because they brought the issue to attention, of how the A-Class vehicle failed the “Moose Avoidance Test” and how that is an important part of quality for safety.

Are different strategies and communication efforts needed for different audiences?

Mangold’s should address the Swedish team with calling a face-to-face meeting, addressing the concern and what actions their taking to increase the quality of safety in the A-Class.

After the action has taken place, then Mercedes should address the media and customers with how they have increased the quality of their safety standards for the new A-Class. Not to probe so much on how the A-Class vehicle failed the moose test, but how this test helped to guide them to create an higher quality standard for safety.

5) What should be said at this point, and to whom?

At this point Mangold’s team, give thanks and sincere appreciation to the Swedish team for contacting the Mercedes division in regards to this issue, and giving them the opportunity to take a corrective action step.

Then Mangold needs to report the conclusion of information back to the Director of Corporate Communication.

6) What, if any, peremptory measures could Mangold use to counter any confusion surrounding the news of the failed safety test. What communication strategy could be put in place?

Address any and all concerns; try to set up an interview meeting with one of the hottest magazines or news stations to summarize how the “Moose Avoidance Test” has increased the quality of Mercedes A-Class safety.

That last thing that I would suggest, is that the Swedish team become apart of Mercedes Safety Quality Insurance Team.

Written By Erica Woods

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