Originally posted by Robert C. Eberhardt
...I believe the 2003 Honda Accord is going to this system since they are advertising a LED instrument panel. I always thought Mercedes was the leader in innovations but they now need to play catch-up.
Yes, the Germans have to be very careful of underestimating the Japanese. They did once before, and nearly got snuffed out by Lexus.
They (Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Audi) have a certain arrogance that comes on hard when they are "winning." Recent sales success for all of those companies has them feeling invincible.
Frankly, a Honda Accord is probably a better car than anything that comes from Germany. It'll have better paint, better panel fit, better quality control, better reliability, and it holds it value pretty durned good too.
Honda knows what they're doing. They sell hundreds of thousands Accords a year in the US alone.
What Mercedes is selling today has to be dealer experience and driving pleasure. Porsche used
to understand this. Toyota/Lexus got caught off guard when MB slashed prices and added content. They were off balance a little when MB started updating products with regularity. Does Mercedes think they're dead?
Remember MB exec's laughing at Lexus back in 1989 when the 1990 LS400 came out? They mocked it's MB copy-cat styling, and reasononed that the low ($36K US back then) price would backfire, not allowing enough "cache" to the car. HA! Lexus sales soared. The low prices meant people could take a chance, and they did in droves. Lexus created a new quality of car that hadn't really existed before.
Today, MB had better be on their toes. A "lowly" Accord can be had with ACC, heated leather seats, and a 240hp V-6. Why bother buying a C-Class, or even an E? The Accord is as big as the E, has more power, just as much luxury, and a much better reliability record. At a fraction of the price. Technology? Well, it's closer than the prices would dictate. The Honda has a five speed autobox, all wheel discs, ABS, Traction control, airbags, and BAS too.
And Honda has learned it's lesson about pricing too. When we bought our 1998 C230 back in September 1997, the Accord was NOT inexpensive. Nicely equipped versions were very close to the C230 in price. Today, the Accord has dropped in price, especially when equipment is considered, and the C-Class has gone up. The spread is much larger.
MB thinks it's bullet proof, but those pesky Japanese brands can build some serious artillery...