in the 90's... mercedes kicked bmw's booty. but in this decade... i think i might choose a bmw over a mercedes even though i am a mercedes fan...
Not even that. BMW have their own set of problems as well. Personally, I'm on the look for a brand new small-ish rear-drive sedan, and I really don't want a new Mercedes C-class, much less a BMW 3-series, which really leaves me with one option: Lexus IS300. From what I've gathered, they seem as reliable now as Mercedes used to be a long, long time ago, and they're not nearly as flashy as BMWs.
But even if I do manage to get an IS300 (which is not even available in Saudi Arabia except through the gray market,) my good old faithful 124 is staying at my front door [:)]
Mind you, quality is not only about how well the car is put together. It extends to how well a dealer is willing to cater for your needs.
While I was researching the IS300, I took a look at Abdul-Latif Jamil, the Lexus (and Toyota) dealer in Saudi Arabia, www.lexus.com.sa
, then picked up the phone and called the service manager to ask whether they would be capable of fixing a gray-market IS300. "Absolutely," he said. "We'll take car of the car even if you hadn't bought it from us. I have to warn you, though, that it might take a long time for parts specific to the IS300 to arrive upon order, but we may be able to source them out locally."
And then he further said: "Even if you don't end up dealing with us, pay us a visit for a cup of coffee, we'll be glad to get to know you."
Now that's quality service!
That strikes me as very different from my experience with Juffali, the Mercedes dealer.
Before you're even allowed to drive in, your car gets searched! You just might happen to be a terrorist who whimsically decided to blow up their shop instead of a residential compound for a change! You get ignored the moment you walk into the reception area, and the receptionist is not really interested in hearing about your automotive problems. You need to get permission to talk to the service manager (who turned out to be a swell guy, after all,) and your car could stay in the shop for days to get a seemingly straightforward repair, and all the while, the service officer gives you BS reasons as to why your car isn't ready. Only when I flaunted my press card as the automotive editor of my newspaper did I get a loaner car!
And it gets worse when you walk into the showroom to look at new cars. The receptionist doesn't even bother to look up from his desk at you, and the salesman is downright rude. "Look," he said when I asked about installment options for a new C320, "we only take cash. If you don't want to pay cash, talk your bank into paying us cash, and then figure out the installments with them." He then turned his face into his computer screen.
I did get the brief opportunity to drive a C-class around a racing circuit, and decided I should really count my blessings in the 18-year-old 124.
Who ever said quality is all about building a good car?