A tiny, but critical, design flaw in certain models should have been corrected, or at least have been pointed out to owners. Instead Mercedes SA chose to stay mum, do nothing – and profit from the massive repairs that eventually were required when the flawed part failed.
Service Campaign Bulletin No 2009100001 issued to all Mercedes-Benz Centres worldwide in December 2009 revealed that the German manufacturer Daimler AG had found a small but serious design fault in the C230 Kompressor series.
In a seven-page explanation couched in impenetrable technical jargon, Daimler quietly informed its dealers (not their customers) about the problem and how it should be rectified – obviously hoping to avoid a fuss and an inevitable slew of law suits. It later transpired that nearly 200,000 cars were affected in the US ... and thousands more in South Africa. Daimler recommended that the flawed part be replaced with a redesigned part as each car came in for its next service. Daimler would cover the cost.
Mercedes SA ignored the circular, lied about it when confronted – and left their customers to carry the can ...