Originally posted by AMG CE 36
The 124 was one of the best built cars in the world and in crash tests performed better than the new 210.
The intial W210 chassis cars performed as well as the W124, and were tested using more stringent methods. The 2000- W210 cars are some of the safest cars ever to roll down a road. The W203 C-Class is easily one of the safest cars EVER built, regardless of manufacturer.
It is a misnomer that older somehow means safer. Technology has been the driver behind safety, not the "strength" of the structure. People believe falsely that cars that don't show signs of damage in collisions are safe, and ones that crumple up are not. Completely the opposite.
In it's day, the W123 was one of the safest cars built. The same was true for the W124, and now the W211. Time has marched on, and technology has brought us safer cars. Crumple technology, better materials, and airbag/seatbelt tech have all worked to make cars safer.
It's pointless to compare the W220 to the W126 or the W140 or the W116. Why? We're not going to start building those old cars again. Mercedes' contemporary models should be compared to cars like BMW, Lexus, Acura, Infinity, and so on. That is the key! How do they stack up in relation to the alternatives?
BMW? Well, except for the aging 5-series, their product quality has been dropping in relation to non-German models, and word is also out.
Audi? Great looking cars with incredible interiors, but like Mercedes, they are beginning to earn a reputation for being service-seeking garage queens.
Lexus? Boring in my book, but people buy them. They have built a reputation for building high quality cars that deliver years of flawless service. Sales have been flat, thanks to:
Infinity? Idiotic product line and homely cars meant years and years of slow Infinity sales. The Q45 was the fastest depreciating car in the world, and people knew it. Somehow, they've come back in a big way. FWD is being phased out, and performance and value are the Infinity traits everyone is talking about. Style and value, baby.
Acura? The funny "not quite there" luxury car player. The RL never offered a V-8 or the panache of an E-Class or LS Lexus, but was lots less dough, too. Un-interesting "low end" Civic based products that are out of line for a "top line" brand. However, they also reinvented themselves after having Lexus hand them their hat, and the new TL is a raging sales success. The Acura quality rep seems intact despite some initial problems with the TL.
Right now, Mercedes has a very broad product line and many models. Rightly or not, their reputation for quality is flagging, and no one knows why. Is it picky consumers that take every flaw as a major manufacturing error? Is it products rushed to market? Is it shorter product life-cycles? Maybe even Mercedes execs don't know.