I have heard these statements about the new ones being junk since the introduction of the 123. There always seems to be an undercurrent of naysayers that proclaim the new cars to be junk.
So far, IMHO, these claims have turned out to be false. I heard this about the 123 and I bought one anyway in '77. It turned out to be an incredible car, I replaced it with a late 123 and it was even better.
Then when the 124 came out many people again gave it the old: "they just don't make them like they used to." The 124 is now legendary.
When I bought my 210 car, several said they were just another car, the MB quality was gone. These cars have proven out to be solid.
I was one of the first in line in October 2000 for a 203 C Class. In spite of the same old claims of "the new ones are junk," it is a superb car. It is a little different with electric locks and thin doors to get weight down, it still is proving itself with me.
I am totally perplexed about why these claims are always heard. I don't know if they come chiefly from those who like their old cars and want to support their decision to keep them, or maybe from those who secretly want to see the newest cars fail. It's a total mystery to me.
When I see a model that indeed does turn out to be "junk" I will start taking these claims a little more seriously, until then I consider them automotive myth.