• Dec 15, 2009
The Mercedes-Benz Baltimore vehicle process center has secured a five-year contract to inspect, process, and repair pre-delivery BMW and Mini vehicles arriving in the United States. It's a deal that makes economic sense for both companies, say that automakers. BMW models currently arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, and are shipped to nearby Spartanburg (home of BMWs assembly plant) for inspection and pre-delivery work. That plant is "no longer appropriate" once the X3 starts production next year, says Jim O'Donnell, president of BMW North America. O'Donnell says BMW has been looking for an outside contractor, and it was the company's own purchasing department who proposed the deal.

Ernst Lieb, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, called the deal "a win-win situation." The company has both the manpower and space to service the additional BMW vehicles, and this arrangement may create additional opportunities for the two companies down the road. The Baltimore vehicle process center, on track to process 70,000 vehicles this year, currently handles Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles. The arrangement with BMW will not begin until March 1, 2010.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Image: Max Nash/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can see many people thinking "why would they do a good job for their direct competitors?" But the answer is only slightly less obvious: because BMW has already gathered metrics. They could test the process too with a few models with intentional defects. Same reasons then as if they'd chosen an entirely different third party inspector.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree - it would be terrible business practice for Mercedes to not meet BMW's performance goals.

        As an independent contractor myself, I do sometimes get hired for specific tasks by my direct competition. If I were to do a shoddy job for them in an attempt to "sabotage" their reputation, I would also be tarnishing my own.



      • 5 Years Ago
      It's pretty common for this to get done by outside contractors. My company has phone systems in most of the processing centers in the port of Baltimore, and Benz is the only one that isn't run by an outside contractor.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Recently there have been quite a few stories of M-B and BMW getting into a technology-sharing agreement, and possibly even a parts sharing partnership. While this particular news story seems like a simple inspection deal, it does look like these 2 companies are getting quite cozy with each other.

      If I didn't know better, I'd say there might be a merger of some sort in the works. However, I do not expect for them to ever "officially" merger simply because of how bad the Diamler-Chrysler acquisition turned out.

      That would be quite a shame if they did ever stop competing simply because their rivalry has helped the auto industry advance a tremendous amount over the decades.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You know, I was thinking along exactly those same lines. I'm curious as to whether or not they'd ever propose a 'merger of equals?' *snicker*
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder if any of the MINI or BMW models will get a "PASS", or will all be rejected as being defective and sent back from whence they came. Great strategy for MB to eliminate the competition. M'whoo-ha-ha-ha-ha. ;-)
        • 5 Years Ago
        MB Inspecter, "OMG look how damaged that 2009 550i is, it is not worth fixing, just send the customer a new E550."
        Other MB Inspecter, "Actually I believe that is how it is supposed to look."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, this one's got a busted headlight [smash]. This one's dented [whack]. Send 'em all back, this batch is defective.

        j/k
      • 5 Years Ago
      Last I checked, Spartanburg was over 200 miles from Charleston. Might be closer than Baltimore, but since when is that "nearby"?
        • 5 Years Ago
        My comment had nothing whatsoever to do with BMW or M-B for that matter. It was on Autoblog's calling Spartanburg "nearby" Charleston. It's an over three hour drive. That's not "nearby" by any definition of the word that I can think of.
        • 5 Years Ago
        U missed the point that BMW will probably change the POE to Baltimore.

        LOL...container goes missing....
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The company has both the manpower and space to service the additional BMW vehicles" -- HRM FAIL !
      • 5 Years Ago
      Needs must as the devil drives..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe "inspection" includes the smashing of all headlights?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Didn't BMW just announce an increase in their vehicles' Destination Fee for 2010? And wouldn't this arrangement with MB result in savings in the delivery process?
        • 5 Years Ago
        There's your bargaining point. Right there.
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