I always assumed that Mercedes' quality numbers were brought down because of Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth cars, but the reverse is true.
The long-term numbers are after three years of ownership, which is really not long term in any of our books, but it is surprising that Dodge, Chrylser, and Plymouth all rank higher than Mercedes after 3 years. The article says that the problems are concentrated in the M-class and E-class, which comprise roughly half of its sales.
These 3-year old vehicles were based on numbers collected in 2002, so these are all vehicles purchased in 1999.
The 1999 W210 was in its 4th year of production, so you think MB would've figure things out by then. The engines (V6 and V8) were only in their 2nd year of production, though. The rate of deterioration on the E-Class is greater than on any other vehicle in the industry.
Mercedes also had the largest gap between initial quality (the number of problems found when a vehicle is brand-new) and long-term quality.
Daimler Chrysler shouldn't be surprised at these bad numbers. Every quality study in the last several years is looking worse and worse.
I'd like to think this would be a "wake-up call" to the engineers at Stuttgart, but to tell you the truth, I'm not very optimistic.
I think my next used car (whenever the hell that is) might either be a Lexus or a Honda Accord V6.
2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".