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Old 02-17-2002, 01:45 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: South Eastern, MA
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Mercedes Prejudice?

I'm sure this topic has been talked about before but I wanted to bring it up again.

I am currently looking for a 500E/E500, my dream car since I was 17. I have told several people in my industry (industrial sales) that I want to purchase this car. It seems to me that 80% of them gave me the same response.

Their first comment was "You should be careful buying a car like that" What they mean is that buying a car like that implies that you are extremely well off and that customers will be offended by it. They even state that customers will stop buying from you if they see a car like that.

Well this got my blood boiling. My argument was that the car is 10 years old and that I have always wanted to bring a classic to it original perfect condition and drive it (like musclecar owners) Not to mention the fact that the cost of the car is not that much. I could spend the same amount for a new high end Toyota/Nissan etc and no one would care. WHAT GIVES!! Why do people automatically assume your made of money because you drive a Mercedes. What bothers me even more is that 90% of sport utilities cost more than this and no one has a problem with a $40K sport ute.

Once I have finally bought the right car I have made this sad decision. I have resigned to letting my wife drive the car to work while I drive her vehicle (sport ute). The good news is that it will barely be driven and the miles will go on her car. But I really wish that I could drive this car and enjoy it without worrying about losing customers.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.


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Old 02-17-2002, 02:10 PM
Glen's Avatar enthusiast
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Carlsbad, CA USA
Posts: 1,187
I hear what you're saying and have learned over the years to NOT tell anyone at work what I drive. If they happen to ask, or see me driving one of my cars, I always tell them the whole story, that is, that they are older models and I do much of the repair/maintenance myself.

My wife and I work at the same university so we commute together most days in her E320 wagon. Her office is the same way, her coworkers can't believe she drives a Mercedes and often give her a hard time about it.

I've thought about buying a non-Mercedes car to commute in but the only cars I'm currently interested in is a Porsche 928S4 and a BMW 540i 6-speed...lot of good either of those will do!

Oh well.
Glen Tokuhara
Beauty & the Beast and the wagon that could!
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Old 02-17-2002, 02:18 PM
elau's Avatar
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Location: MD.
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Same for me here. I had a comment from my old boss once that I could have landed him a law suite (whom I have extreme dislike). Since then I bought an older model just for work to avoid future questioning from other people, and when people ask me about the car, I just told them they better have their heads examine if they consider a car with over 260K is luxurious. Bottom line is, do not let anyone talk you into believing anything. You are the one making the car payments and living with the car choice you made. What makes you happy is what counts.
95 R129
04 Infiniti G35.5 BS
10 X204
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Old 02-17-2002, 03:08 PM
Shaun McCarren
Posts: n/a
I say, drive the car you want. I have been faced w/ the same type of comments from people, and until I explain that I'm a Mercedes-Benz enthusiast they judge me. It's pathetic that people buy a $30k+ SUV that in a couple of years will be worth less than my 1988 Mercedes and they look at you like "why do you have such expensive cars." My brother-in-law is a stock broker and tells me he has to drive a Explorer for fear that his clients would be uneasy if he drove something expensive. And, I see his point...but to me, it shows wisdom if you drive a MB cause owning a MB long-term will be much cheaper than buying a lesser car 4 times over.

It's one of those things...when people talk about how great their Accord is, just bite your tongue and smile.

Placo, buy the car you want, if you notice your losing sales then buy a work car.
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Old 02-17-2002, 03:19 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
You are entitled to purchase whatever vehicle you want. It is only your business what car you drive, and if people judge you, just think about how they are probably spending more money on cars than some MB enthusiasts.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel
2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Merlin Extralight w/ Campy Record
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Old 02-17-2002, 03:43 PM
Lebenz's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862
None of my customers seem to care. My vehicles reflect competence, success, and long term stability. And more importantly, the quality of work I do and the way I do it reflects those same values.

Placo, at some point you will have to decide how many of your daily activities are for rewarding yourself and how many are for appealing to others. No one except perhaps a sniveling looser will think less of you if you drive a Benz. And then the only problem will be jealousy, which really will have little to do with you directly.


'00 ML320 "Casper"
'92 400E "Stella"
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Old 02-17-2002, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
I get the same response all the time. I've owned the car for only 7 months and have probably gotten the snide remark well over a hundred times by friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers. I basically ignore it, but it still bothers me a little bit.

As you can tell from the list of cars I've owned before, a few I've bought new, but most were purchased used, but nearly new.

My 93 300E is the cheapest car I have ever purchased (except the El Camino, which was a car from high school - doesn't count).

I paid $9,500 for it, which was about $2,000 below Kelley Blue Book Private Party Retail, and $1,200 below KBB wholesale trade-in value. I bought it from a guy who was desperate to sell it immediately, so I jumped on it. He had bought a newer SL from the MB dealer in Long Beach and needed to sell the car to have enough down payment to qualify for the loan.

But I digress. Back to the point - it seems that everyone who thinks I'm rich for driving the MB is driving a new or nearly new SUV, Camry or Accord, and paid 2 to 3 times or more than what I paid!

And the funniest thing is in 4-5 years, their cars will be worth less than mine!
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 02-17-2002, 05:35 PM
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Location: South Eastern, MA
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If I weren't in sales then honestly I really wouldn't care what people thought. I'm not buying the car to impress others and really it wouldn't affect me. The car is there to put a smile on my face!

As far as sales I really think it depends on the type of sales your involved in. If I were a real estate agent then by all means let them think that I am successful at what I do. But I deal with all types of people at every level from maintenance to CEO and I know people do have oppinnions. I have heard stories and I know that I shouldn't share my personal life until I really get to know someone. The other problem is that you don't have time to explain to everyone what the car really is. In the end I just can't sacrifice my livelihood.

It's just sad that some assume so much without knowing the facts.


02 C32 AMG

92 500E
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Old 02-17-2002, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
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Placo, Amen!
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 02-17-2002, 06:49 PM
Posts: n/a
Our service vehicle is the TE and we get mostly favorable responses from customers.

Like they must be good they have a Mercedes service car.

The unfavorable is.. oh a Mercedes I bet this is going to cost us.

Our response.. We respect quality engineering. They usually nod in agreement.

Nobody should ever have to justify what they prefer to drive to anyone EVER.

If people ask why you drive what you drive just say "because I can" and walk away.

I have had many people criticize me because of my cars present and past and they all had one thing in common....They could not have one....

If I could get the Ferrari 456 Wagon it would be going from job to job.

Last edited by MedMech; 02-17-2002 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 02-17-2002, 08:15 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 326
Owning an MB= Perception. Usually one of being well-to-do, snobbish, aloof, or better than other people. Shamefully the newer the MB the harsher the remarks can be.

And the ironic part is that it doesn't matter that your Benz may be older or cost less than the envious one's over priced stupid useless vehicle (SUV), or that you do a lot of your own maintenence.

Buy what you want. Its you d**n money and you can spend it anyway you want!

BTW, the 500E/E500 is my dream car to!
Scott Diener
89 300E
93 300E
92 Volvo 740 Wagon aka "Mutt mover"
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Old 02-17-2002, 08:44 PM
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Drive what you want. I've wasted a lot of money driving cars that have not been practical - cool used cars that end up costing a lot to keep, but I've regreted more buying practical cars that were boring and that I hated being in. People may comment on what you drive, but I don't think they will really care. And they won't have to live with the car, you will.
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Old 02-17-2002, 09:00 PM
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Heck, what is practical? If guy's were practical there wouldn't be any population growth.
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Old 02-17-2002, 09:08 PM
Posts: n/a
You cannot win the battle. I tried for a long time. I am in sales, and when I got the Benz, it was all I heard about for the entire time I was at the job. Daily. I was scolded that customers would form certain opinions. It was a huge hassle. I would purposely park out of site of the front doors or windows of my customers. Unless I was asked, or even pressed, I would not mention the car Even so, the car became a topic of discussion.
This was not the case with any of my other cars / trucks, all of which were also new and almost as expensive as the Benz.
It seems most people are not car people, and therefore do not understand what it means to own and actually take pride in a vehicle.
I am now at a dfferent company, but still in sales. I have since added a BMW 540i to my stable. I alternate depending on need / mood / weather. I do not hear much about the cars now, maybe because that is how I came to the job. This is the only way these people know me. Or because they do not know me well enough to say what they really think.
I will say that the BMW does not get nearly the reaction that the Mercedes does. Even though the BMW has huge, wide custom wheels and tires, it lacks the star on the hood.
I don't care much though. I love to drive what I drive and the opinions of others will not sway me. Hell, if I could afford it, I would tool around in a Mclaren F1, and maybe a few SL600's, one color for each day of the week.

One final thought, and I find this troubling.

One of my former customers owns a newer Lamborghini Diablo, a Ferrari 348 (late 90's), as well as a Jaguar and a Mercedes. He is a very nice man, and makes no secret about his cars. He also does not brag. Interesting thing is NO ONE ever says anything about him having all these cars. It is OK for him to have all this because he owns a certain company, but if I have one MB (not even top of the line) then that is wrong.
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Old 02-18-2002, 06:06 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 854
There is one good thing that may come from "newly rich" folks who buy German cars because of snobbery, or status...

They are exposed to really good cars and usually it improves their driving!

1981 300CD (Benzina)
1968 250 S (Gina) 266,000 miles!
1983 Alfa Romeo GTV6 (Guido)
1976 Jaguar XJS-saved a V-12 from the chevy curse, what a great engine!
1988 Cadillac Eldorado (better car than you might think!)
1988 Yamaha Venture (better than a Wing!)
1977 Suzuki GS750B
1976 Yamaha XS 650 (sold)
1991 Suzuki GSX1100G (Shafty Gixser)
1981 Yamaha VX920RH (Euro "Virago")
Solex Moped
1975 Dodge P/U camper

"Time spent in the company of a cat, a beer, and this forum, is not time wasted!"
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