Festo/ol still make some outstanding quality tools: the Deltex DX93E, the HL850E, BS75E/BS105 & the RS1/RS100 are particular examples of ongoing quality. Having said that, it's interesting to note these are all 20,30 or even 40 year old designs, made from quality materials in a manner to ensure a long & relatively reliable lifespan.
Interesting because all the "bought in" componentry, such as carbon brushes, bearings, copper, PVC & rubber cabling & windings and undoubtedly some hard & soft metal castings, extrusions and turnings will be from an ever-diminishing suite of "quality" suppliers, many of which have suffered a collateral demise to that of the overall German domestic machine tool industry. Take the rather poor 3rd party supply of inadequately lightweight 110-115 volt motor windings supplied for their SCMS as an example.
Their superior tools, by contrast have come from older Festo & other 3rd-party designs such as Reich, Mafell, Wap, Kraenzle & others. Once well admired titans of German industry, many now unfortunately gone the way of the Dodo: subsumed by competitors or folded. Quality products that have not required the frequent updates, aesthetic and performance "enhancements" & fiddling that have been deemed necessary for their "lesser" tools. Some have all but remained totally unchanged (except for their corporate livery) for decades.
Where Festo/ol seems to suffer, especially in comparison to its peers is in an apparent lack of R&D investment and in the glacially slow adoption of necessarily more expensive and albeit riskier new technologies. It could be very well argued that a technology aversion is more a virtue than a vice (look again at some of those lovely old designs), however innovation seems to be a watchword for many of the company's more "professional" competitors, some of whom are achieving inroads into the company's market share.
Lack of investment in research & development in any technologically-based industry however is harder to forgive. Some of their newer tools have been in my experience rather "compromised" in overall ergonomic, performance and longevity parameters. To be charitable, many could've (& darn well should've) been better designed. Whilst it may please the board of investors & the heirs to the families to reduce these pesky, unproductive overheads, excessive cost cutting in the name of profitability may well lead to the company's demise. I understand that Tooltechnic is no giant the likes of Robert Bosch, Makita, TTI or Hitachi Koki/Metabo, but this surely must necessitate a greater proportion of overall turnover be dedicated to R&D expenditure. Isn't that, after all, one of the "reasons" for the higher prices? A better mousetrap?
From a local Australian perspective, their Antipodean marketing efforts of late have been appalling. Resale price maintenance is in my opinion a cancer eating the heart out of free enterprise. I personally find it both arrogant & unethical. There's currently almost an adversarial air about the interrelationship between the importer, retail network & customer. Price rises come regularly & seemingly without regard to exchange rate fluctuations, and the price disparity between national marketplaces is inequitable & unseemly. Gutting the previous resale and repair networks hasn't helped either, & further served to sour - or even poison - relationships. Where's the trust gone these days?
I personally need a better "excuse" for paying up to 500%+ extra for my Festo/ol tooling than mere corporate greed!