I agree with all that have posted here. We are creating complicated peices of equipment. That means more things to break and more money to fix them. I intended to buy the 99 E300 and drive it until I retired in 2014. 15 years times 15,000 = 225,000 miles. Not unreasonable for a Mercedes Diesel. I have 265,000 on the SDL. I had to logically look at the amount of shop time this car was experiencing. Will it be reliable? I was not sure. I was also getting frustrated with how Mercedes was handling all the problems. I have a 82 300TD and its very reliable. My 88 Acura Legend was in the shop once, yes just once in 5 years. It had normal service and a dozen or so things that they had to look at while it was in for its service. But the car was not in the shop like the E300. My SL has not been in the shop like the E300. So I have tried to figure is it the complexity of the E300 or the reduction of quality service and building by Mercedes.
The whole issue was brought to a head with American Airlines almost declaring bankruptsy and the 23% pay cut we had to agree to. The E300 car payment sure did look like my Daughters tuition payment at Texas A & M. So the car is gone. Due to how I was treated at Mercedes I am afraid that the next car will be a Honda or Toyota product. Friends have both and have absolutely no problems with them.
I do intend to keep the 82 300TD and actually since I've been rebuilding it I'm really liking the way it looks and will do more to the car than just making it a daily driver. I waxed it and it came out very nice. Besides the AC system being completely rebuilt, with a parallel flow condensor. I will replace the carpet, A lot of the trim pieces, rebuild the wood trim, new rubber all around, Sheep skin covers. New headlight doors. Bead blast the wheels and repaint them. Over the next couple of years I will go through everthing in the car and enjoy it.
The SL that I will keep forever. And when it needs rebuilding I will consider that.
Any financial advisor will tell you that the cheapest way to own a car, which is a terrible investment, is to buy a 1 year old car and drive it for 10 years. Ive owned the 300TD for 13 years now. Maybe I'll drive the 300TD until I retire in 2014. It should have 400,000 miles by that time.
Are we as American consumers foolish car buyers. Hell yes. A car is an expresion of our ego. Many of us want that star on the hood. I live in a section of the DFW area the is loaded with Mercedes, BMW's, Lexus, Acura's and any and all kinds of SUV's. Those vehicle are purchased for the ego not the logical side of the brain. And that is what Mercedes is moving towards. They have lost the goal of a quality, finely engineered car to one of
" the latest" style. And I think the quality reports reflect this.
What a shame.
The car I now drool over is a 71 280SE cabriolet. I know I can work on it and it was built during the days of quality.
Now don't get me wrong. I love new technology especially in the airline business. An old Braniff pilot, Len Morgan, who wrote for Flying Magazine once had an article talking about the "good old days of aviation". Would you like them back? His answer was "hell no". And I have to agree. The glory days of DC3 Flying. But back then the engines failed quite often. No radar for thunderstorm avoidance. They actually strapped them selves in tight and flew through them. Something we would never think of today. A lot of people died back then because of the old technology.
Well when you look at modern cars of today they really do a great job. People are surviving crashes today that you would not 20 year ago. This is a technology that Mercedes and Volvo pioneered. So why isn't Mercedes the number one car in the Insurance Institute for Highwy Safetys test results or in the DOT's crash test program. Maybe they have lost sight as to what made them one of the best car manufactures. The modern technology has made cars where engines last longer, we travel faster and in more comfort. Think of the S class of the 60's and 70's. A Kia has more luxury extras today then those cars did. Not as solid but all the bells and whistles. But with all of this I still expect reliability in a car. And this is where I personally feel Mercedes has lost it. Market forces will cause Mercedes to correct this or they will fail as a auto manufacture. Time will tell.
1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
1980 240D, owned 1990-1992
1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
2008 Hyundai Tiberon. Daughters new car