I think ever since Mercedes reached the "magic" 100,000 cars sold in the US, mark, they have been trying to sell even more. It is sort of like rock groups. They start out hard edged, but as they gain popularity, money and all the trappings, they want more. It becomes addictive. Before they know it, they've become a just another "sugar coated pop" band and lost their identity. Someone here onced mentioned that Mercedes marketing is itching to have a Mercedes in every driveway. I agree that ever since Lexus and the alike came out, Mercedes had to play catch up. Mercedes even admitted that in hindsight, that in the mid to late 80's they nearly priced themselves out of the market. So now they have to make their cars more modular to keep the cost down. I look at the interior of my car and just think of how labor intensive, therefore expensive, it was to put together. Just about everything is screwed together, not clipped in. I know everyone says "they don't build them like they used to..." I think, as most of us here do, this time it's true. Cars today are all about gadgets, black box engineering as I call it. ESP, ABS, EDL, etc. Any and I mean any of these things can be installed in any car. Today society is too easily impressed with bells and whistles. A "luxury" car today is defined by how many "black boxes" it has. So people focus in on these things and the manufactures know it.
[Edited by rickjordan on 03-19-2001 at 08:14 PM]
1994 MB E320 Coupe (199,500 mi)
1992 MB 190E 2.6 (173,000 mi)
1983 Porsche 911SC (148,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (198,000 mi)
President of CT/Westchester Section