Mercedes Can't Shift Into Cruise Control Yet

When Helmut Werner slipped into the driver's seat at Mercedes-Benz as chief executive in January, 1993, the company was in sore need of a major overhaul. Losses were piling up, its luxury autos were overpriced, and costs were 30% above such competing models as Toyota's Lexus. Werner unleashed a whirlwind of change at the century-old auto and truck maker--and looked forward to the payoff.

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