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  #46  
Old 07-17-2002, 11:59 PM
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Well I can throw in some dealer experience that my parents had when the S350 started showing its problems. They were very hard to deal with and the upper management that represented the midwest region, was no better. Overall my parents are convinced that they will never buy a Mercedes ever again after all that they have gone through with the S350.
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  #47  
Old 07-18-2002, 02:16 AM
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I have owned 7 MB's since 1990, two of them were fairly old when I acquired them so I won't include them in my comments. Of the remaining 5, I purchased a '95E, '97E, and '98E new and a '97C36 and '00E4-matic at less than 3 years old (both currently owned). Obviously I love driving Benzes, but I must admit I'm getting tired of the litany of problems. During the last 10 years I've also had 3 new Hondas in the family, and I find it hard to believe but the total warranty items on all three put together was less than any one of the MB's. I have rationalized my way around this with everything from how nice it is to drive, to safety, to body integrity at 10+ years old but I'm getting tired of hiding the number of dealer visits from my friends that have switched to Toyota, Honda, Acura, Infinity and Lexus who enjoy the ribbing. Be that as it may, I use two dealers, one in my home city and one near my vacation home, they have both been terrific and the owners are now personal friends outside the showroom. MB Canada on the other hand tend to be unresponsive, have poor or non-existant customer skills, arrogant at times and generally have a "we can do no wrong and know it all attitude". They have looked after me well due to the dealers' effort. In conclusion, I love driving the cars but a major shakeup at MB is in order. The component failure is too high ( on a par with my 3 Dodge Caravans). The rattles, squeaks and bad radio reception in this day and age is unacceptable. I don't want to list the problems here, but I convinced myself that it was due to leading edge technology, in retrospect the problems have been in ordinary items like belt tensioners, head gaskets etc. that are common to other manufacturers. I hate to admit it but when I am due for a new family vehicle I will do some real soul searching before I write a cheque for another MB, not withstanding my personal relationships. I am getting rather disillusioned and no longer have the patience to continue to make excuses for MB's quality or reliability record. I certainly wouldn't own one past the extended warranty. The excuses just don't cut it anymore, MB needs to figure out how the Japanese manufacturers seem to avoid the large number problems. I know they are not perfect either but MB needs to take a hard look at their problems or they eventually will lose repeat customers and buyers for their used vehicles.
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  #48  
Old 07-18-2002, 03:54 AM
public enemy
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G-Man, if I had the money to spend I would toss those new MB and BMW and buy the AUDI S8. Get one of those man, they are killer cars in every possible way. Cheaper than the S600, too.
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  #49  
Old 07-18-2002, 09:42 AM
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I hope I did not leave the wrong impression about my dealer experiences. To clear the air, here is my personal experience. Fletcher-Jones in Newport Beach is where we bought the car. The salesman was quite knowledgeable and the day of the sale was a pleasant experience. Everything beyond that first day with them was a nightmare. I attribute this to the sheer size of the place. My needs were lost in the shuffle. I am sure the scenario is to free up the salesman to sell and let others handle after sales details. My salesman did not do a good job at fullfilling the remaining parts of their sales obligation. He was only following the system in place and it was certainly not a malicious act. Still it was very frustrating for six weeks after the sale. It could have been handled in a matter of days, oh well

My servicing dealers in Minnesota have been very good to work with. I live about 150 miles from the nearest dealer. They have been quite good at squeezing me in and meeting my needs on short notice. They manage to get me in when I am down for business. I am very appreciative of this and let them know. I do not go in with an attitude. I agree, this will NOT result in a good experience. So short of the pathetic service loaner situation I am pleased with the service and realize they are trying their best to fix my car.

What does not fly with me is a top of the line new Mercedes needing the following repairs before it reaches 6000 miles. The oil level sensor failure, a mass airflow sensor failure, mis-aligned trunk lid, and the current drivability problem that so far has required replacement of the plugs and coil pack on one bank and todays replacement of multiple fuel injectors. I doubt they have found the problem and anticipate the call saying it did not fix the problem. I do not blame the dealer or the techs. I always try to make my way out into the shop and demonstrate that, even though I am a young S600 owner, I am not a snob and I have a very good understanding of what they are doing. I like to know what is going on with my car, and forging a relationship with the tech helps me and them fix the car.

I also do not care for all of the new electronics, though I am guilty of buying a car full of them. We passed on the BMW 745 for this reason, it just seemed like way to much new junk to break down, which I understand is happening. That said, I also find the various features of my S600 make the car an absolute joy to operate, a bit of a catch 22:p
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  #50  
Old 07-18-2002, 01:54 PM
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Every car has problems.

Like I say everytime this issue comes up, I don't trust these Reports, because I see no breakdown of what issues were reported for each manufacturer.

I say do it based on specifics, I.E. Categories for each problem type.

I would like to see results for:
fit and finish
Engine
Transmission
Brakes
Suspension

ETC ETC ETC.

How many problems per category were reported for any manufacturer?

I'm not defending mercedes here, but I am trying to point out that I want to see specifics of what problems were reported and how many per manufacturer.

Alon
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  #51  
Old 07-18-2002, 02:08 PM
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"Every car has problems" Not to flame that statement too much but, what exactly is that based on? Sounds like an opinion to me. I agree that the type of problem is important. Notice I have made four dealer visits for engine mechanicals and one for poor body fit. Is there any excuse for sending a $130k new car to market with ill fitting body parts? What about the mechanical ailments on a brand new top of the line Mercedes? You seem to classify this as "to be expected". That IMO is absolutely WRONG. Not holding MB to a higher standard is likely what caused this mess to begin with, they got lazy. The JDP surveys are certainly flawed but, when a marque like MB falls as it has in these ratings I think it definately demonstrates that there are major problems. If MB fell from second or third to even sixth or seventh I would blow it off. Fact is they now reside on the bottom. There IS a reason. It is not flawed surveys, it is a quality control problem at MB.

Both of my G-Wagens were/are impressively tough and reliable. They were hand built in a dedicated plant with pride and it shows. I have to wonder where the pride has gone from this once proud marque. Maybe my 600 was built the Monday after Oktoberfest. Somebody HAD to be wasted when they built this one.
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  #52  
Old 07-18-2002, 02:56 PM
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One of my colleagues has two camry's, both 1987, both with over 250K miles, no problems whatsoever. His repair bills (combined for the two cars) is much less than that for my 190E (85, 133K). And this is not an isolated experience. There are TONS of such examples.

the reality is, the German manufacturers use "product control" for quality, while the Japanese believe in "process control". The Germans make the cars, and then test each one for problems, then correct the ones that have problems. The Japs identify WHY that problem occured in the first place, and correct the manufacturing process so that it never happens again. This way, over the years, they produce nearly flawless cars. Of course, my explanation is very simplistic, but I think you get the idea. There is a basic difference in philosophy here.

Mercedes has made excellent cars for over 100 years. They have a rock solid (well, not anymore!) brand name. Lexus and Acura have existed for about 15 years only. It takes decades to build up a luxury brand name, at least 30 years. Give them another decade, and then see. Already, Lexus is pretty close to BMW and Mercedes in brand appeal. Acura is close behind. Some people on this forum may not agree, but ask those who own these cars, MOST of them are totally satisfied.

The reality is, unless manufacturers bring in the Japanese efficiencies, there's no way they can sell a luxury car for 30K. If they do, they have to be cutting corners. The Japs are far more efficient. I don't think Mercedes has the ability to manufacture quality products for less than 50K - hence the junk C and M class vehicles. That they are having problems even in the E and S class, is a little harder to explain, and totally shocking. Their CEo (Jurgen whatever), has been the CEO since 1995, and its no coincidence, that's when their slide really began. And the acquisition of Chrysler has not helped matters. Their basic philosophy has changed - Mercedes is no more an exclusive luxury car manufacturers, its a mass marketer, and they really cannot compete in that department with the Japs.
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  #53  
Old 07-18-2002, 03:16 PM
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Maybe it's a lifecycle thing. MB has reached the point that succeding models are not or are only marginally more satisfying that the previous models. If you follow the S-class from the W111/2, you can see that there were measurable improvements from model to model (at least in terms of what's important to me). The curve flattened from the W126 to the W140 in terms of reliability and either flattened altogether or pointed down from the W140 to the W220.

As for Lexus, I think part of their success was handed to them by MB.

I wouldn't call the C-class junk, but it's not the value the 240D continues to represent. The 240D is not a scaled down 450SEL, rather it goes off on a tangent of providing value in simplicity and bulletproof reliability. How does MB figure that those are not qualities American buyers would pay a premium for today? Everywhere else in the world MB offers value models. Why not here? The thousands of 240D owners won't find anything of interest in an MB showroom today.

Should this thread be moved to the open forum?

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  #54  
Old 07-18-2002, 05:09 PM
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The Chairman of Mercedes - Benz (World) admitted publicly during a Press Conference in Germany some weeks ago that currently the build quality of their cars has dropped.He promised to address it & ensure that all models in future would regain the stature of former production cars.

Tigerfox
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  #55  
Old 07-18-2002, 05:44 PM
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Build quality is only part of the problem, they need to get with their suppliers and significantly improve the reliability of their components as well as "listen" to their long term customers before they lose them. I read recently that MB's warranty claims were too high, I hope they choose the right place to solve the problem and it's not by squeezing the buyer, it's by improving the product and the components before it gets to the consumer. I for one am getting close to refusing to give them my hard earned dollars for a product that I'm losing faith in when it gets past the warranty. Quite frankly, when I have to go on a long trip I hesitate to take my MB with over 100K Kms. and tend to take the Honda with similar mileage. I am very sad to reach that state. Just to give an example, in the last 4 weeks the belt tensioner went on my C36 just before I was taking it on a 1000Km. trip. I left the car behind and took the wife's Honda. It took a week to get the part and fix it. Before I headed back my son called as he had borrowed the car for the evening, the check engine light came on and now the Mass airflow sensor is gone. It was fixed within a day but what a pain! Thank goodness for the wife's Honda. The Honda has 105K Kms. and the C36 62K Kms. The Honda is not anything like the MB on the highway but MB could learn something from the Honda. JT
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  #56  
Old 07-18-2002, 06:12 PM
agupta
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---------------------------------------------------
I for one am getting close to refusing to give them my hard earned dollars for a product that I'm losing faith in when it gets past the warranty........ I am very sad to reach that state.
---------------------------------------------------

EXACTLY my state/feeling/emotion/point.
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  #57  
Old 07-18-2002, 06:36 PM
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I agree, it is hard to spend my money with MB or BMW anymore. My problem is that we have grown accustomed to the big highway bruisers. Audi just doesn't have the feel or style of either of the others, they are close but not close enough to earn my dollars. Lexus is not even close in feel and they actually come up short on features, as well as not offering a V12. Domestics, yeah right. The E class appeals to me but my wife is spoiled by the LWB cars. For now I will tough it out with the S600. I am glad my wife wanted to keep the BMW or I would likely be giving up my G and we can't have that.

I hope the chairman is sincere about fixing this problem. The cars still offer engineering no one else can touch, along with the best driving experience on the planet. I do hope that the quality comes up to the legends of the past. Sure would be nice if they all held out like a 240D
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  #58  
Old 07-18-2002, 06:46 PM
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I'm glad I'm not alone in my frustration and sadness. I don't expect perfection,I just expect value coupled with modest inconvenience. JT
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  #59  
Old 07-18-2002, 07:05 PM
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What I mean by every car has problems, is just that, nothing is perfect. In my opinion, no car can be 100% problem free. Now that doesn't mean that its acceptable, but in my opinion, you can't expect that just because something is more expensive that it has to be better.

A Ferrari is expensive, but are they considered reliable? how about many other cars? Take a Rolls Royce, considered top of the line in luxury, but in no means are they the most reliable cars. a Honda has less problems thana rolls royce, but people still buy it because it is what it is, a Rolls Royce, the standard of what luxury is all about.

I do understand those of you who have newer mercedes and have had problems galore, hell I am witness firsthand to problems with a benz, as a friends dad had an s600 that he had to invoke lemon law on. He then switched to BMW, and is now back on mercedes.

Even the new BMW 7 series are having many problems, from throttle body problems to other issues. Again unacceptable for a car that costs a lot.

I also tend to find that mercedes owners above any others, are more nit picky about little things vs most typical owners of other brands.

This nit pickyness is a good thing, because it is about owners making sure that everything is working as it should be. That shows a serious amount of responsibility and not a serious amount of neglect that most car owners have with their cars.

I commend MB owners for being so thorough.

Now if only these reports could be as nit picky and as organized as most of us mercedes owners, we may get much more real results rather than generalized ones.

Alon
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  #60  
Old 07-18-2002, 07:29 PM
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Ashman, I don't disagree with what you're saying, but when an expensive product cosistantly shows a consumer that it has problems (remember I'm basing this on my 5 recent purchases) the consumer has to give his head a shake and re-evaluate priorities. The cost of ownership is not cheap, and the inconvenience of not having the car available or not being able to rely on it eventually becomes an issue and choices must be made. I'm not convinced that MB will seriously address the issue until it gets acute. I would be most interested to find out if Europe is a different marketplace and if they are more accepting of the inconvenience.
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