Portrait of a Great Company: Mercedes-Benz USA

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On October 22, 2012

As part of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz USA shares one of the most iconic logos in the world. The “Three-Pointed Star” immediately conjures up images of luxury, quality, and innovative engineering. Consumers tend to believe the Mercedes promise, “to deliver the best or nothing.”

It’s a great slogan, but there is more to what makes Mercedes-Benz USA great than just clever marketing. They can be a little “snobbish” in the way they present themselves because they consistently back up their claims for quality and innovation. Indeed, many of the pioneering technical innovations we now find as standard features in most cars, first appeared in Mercedes-Benz cars, including: the crumple zone (introduced in 1959), Anti-lock Braking Systems (introduced in1978), and airbags (introduced in 1980).

Part of what makes Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) a great company is the way they grew. While MBUSA was founded in 1965, their roots in the US go back to 1952 when Max Hoffmann introduced the iconic 300SL “Gullwing” Mercedes to the American car-buying public. After that debut Mercedes-Benz entered into a distribution agreement with Studebaker-Packard Corporation in 1957.

Perhaps sensing that the future of Studebaker-Packard was not going to be particularly bright, the company went solo in 1965, forming Mercedes-Benz USA. The company continued to grow into a national presence and currently employs more than 1500 people and also has 356 associated dealerships that employ an additional 21,500 people.

We all know that one of the keys to business greatness is how a company treats its employees. Once again, Mercedes-Benz USA performs admirably, ranking number 12 on the 2012 FORTUNE 100 best Companies to Work For list. At least part of that ranking is surely due to the way MBUSA chooses to share its success with employees. In celebration of the 125th anniversary of Karl Benz’s invention of the automobile, the company gave tenure-based bonuses to its workers.  All U.S. workers with more than 14 years of service received a $1,400 bonus!

At the heart of Mercedes-Benz USA’s greatness is their unswerving commitment to “deliver the best or nothing.” Seems to be working pretty well for them! What’s your unswerving commitment that will make your company great?