let's try to remember what older MB's cost too. In 1992, a well
equipped 4cyl 190E could cost upwards of $45K and a SL500
would run you over $100k. Here we are over 10 years later and
these cars are sporting the latest in technology for way less than
what MB's of yore cost. Heck, my 76' 240D cost 13 grand when it was new. I could have gotten 4 Ford's for that same money.
If MB's were built today, like they were 20-15 years ago,
no one could buy them because they would be massive money.
I will say in MB's quest for worldwide mass production, quality
of product may have dropped a bit, but in their defense MB is
trying to figure out how to sell record numbers of cars per year
with old school build quality.
I can tell you that the 2003/2004 models are beginning to show
some huge improvements in quality control and better materials.
Plus after driving a Jag X-type and Infinity G35, other companies seem to be cutting costs as well. Not just us.
Just my 3 cents worth.