Inferior Mercedes "German Engineering" - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #11 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by amit1
asianml, what are you basing your statement on when you say mercedes has "wayyyyy" superior engineering? How can this be true when toyota/lexus cars are much more reliable mechancially and electronically than their merdeces counterparts. I don't think there is any way you can back this statement up. On the safety note I do agree that mercedes makes a vehicle that can do well in accidents, but so do several other manufacturers.

NZ Benz, what you said about other companies copying and improving on mercedes derived technology is interesting. I suppose this could explain it but can you point to something specifically that was copied by japanese auto makers from mercedes (other than safety related tech like airbags etc.)? What I doubt in your argument is the extent of copying. I seriously doubt that if you took apart an LS and an S-class that you would find copies of driveline components for example.
I forgot to add this to my previous post. The reliability isn't due to the engineering (or lack thereof that you're implying). It's because the bozo Schrempp, decided to cut back on quality to raise profits. THAT'S A FACT. Thanks to new management under Zetsche, Mercedes is climbing it's way back up. You can tell by the fit and finish of the interior, etc. Now let's just hope he keeps going this way. They've cut down profits by around $2 billion or so (can't remember off the top of my head) for quality control.

The Japanese haven't had to face that YET. If you've noticed, there have been some major recalls by Toyota and Lexus lately.

Food for thought, when you're at the top, there's no where else to go but down.

And in response to your last sentence about the driveline components and etc. Of course, the LS is built in Japan, whereas the S-Class is built in Germany. I highly doubt they'll be using the same component manufacturers.

And don't you think that Mercedes being over 90 years older than Lexus, that they'd have to copy something?

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post #12 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 06:43 PM
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I do not think the engineering is the issue, the build quality is the issue. I have both the old W124 and the newer W163, the worst Mercedes ever built. I can't talk for any Japanesse manufactures, but I can put my personal experiences in. The W163 has been a good vehicle, must better and more reliable then the Jeep Grand Cherokee it replaced. Also I have seen mid-90s Lexus/Toyota with the interior dashboard cracked wide open and the leather looked gringy, compared to my W124 which still looks new inside.

One thing that I think happens is that people expect Mercedes to be godly and are much more forgiving on other cars if they have problems.

I do believe the build quality of Mercedes is coming back and am very happy about that. However, in the end each person spends their money on what they want to spend it on and why that is anyone else's buisness is beyond me. I do have brand loyalty for Mercedes because the W124 has been one of the greatest vehcile ever for us and the W163 has been a very nice and fun vehicle. Mercedes hasn't failed me so I have no reason to switch.

I am a third generation Mercedes fan, starting with my grandmother and her 1979 280CE that she unfortunately sold, would have been a nice car to have, but it was sold.
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post #13 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 06:53 PM
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Amit1 may think he hasn't come here to slag off Mercedes but he's doing a pretty good job. He says he only wants facts but then ignores any he doesn't like. I cannot remeber them all they are so many in number but certainly Mercedes invented crumple zones front and rear, seat belts, airbags and most recently (with Bosch) the ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) which many experts believe reduces by 42% accidents that cause injury or death.

Amit1 likes to go on talking about a huge reliability gap when there is none as I showed with breakdown figures from UK and Germany. But if you don't like the facts just ignore them eh?
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post #14 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by amit1
I am trying to base my opinion on facts, not emotional out bursts. I think it is a fact that toyota/honda have better engineered designs than mercedes. The proof is in the owner satisfaction and overall superb reliability of these cars (especially lexus) when compared to mercedes/bmw/vw. Also if you go to you can see many complaints on the high failure rates I'm talking about compounded by poor customer service. Also according to several quality surveys, mercedes is ranked amongst the worst in reliability. Yes I do believe that older mercedes designs were good such as the w126 which I drive on occasion but currently the situation has become bad.

Once again, the basic question is what seperates the Lexus LS430 from the Mercedes S430? Its the huge gap in reliabilty between the two vehicles that I'm talking about. And this applies to all the German manufacturers, MB,BMW,and VW. "German Engineering" is suffering it seems and I wonder why.
Hold on a second, you're claiming that "owner satisfaction" is the "determining factor" in whether one vehicle is "engineered" better than another? And this is coming from an "engineering" student? OK, lets use both of your “talents”. There are scores of Lexus owners who have filed lawsuits against Lexus for engine failures. Are they all suffering from mass hallucinations? If not, and Lexus engines have shown a propensity for failure, is that due to an engineering flaw?
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post #15 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 08:06 PM
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Well.. I don't see 20+ years old Toyotas selling for $10,000 , or $4,000 on the average. Actually I don't see 20-years old Toyotas at all.
It might be that some MB production falls in quality. Especially the one that could be called "American engineering" but take a look how GM is doing.
I used to own VW Jetta. I loved its handling and economy of tdi, but regardless the fact that it was "German engineering" as well the comfort had lot to desire.
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post #16 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 11:22 PM
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Don't forget, the Japanese have always been making fantastic automobiles ever since their introduction in the US and the rest of the world in the 1970s. They do make plenty of credible automobiles and still have pretty darn good bargains and are the most reliable vehicles in the world.

And when some people mention: "Oh just because the closing of a Mercedes door feels so much more solid and better than a Lexus, that means it's a better car," that's not the right mindset when comparing cars.

Lexus makes solid cars. Just because they have recalls, that doesn't mean that they are bad cars. Everyone has recalls, even Mercedes.

And Lexus has and always will be a credible competitor to the Germans, particularly Mercedes and BMW. The Lexus LS is aimed at the BMW 7 and Mercedes S.

And don't bash the Japanese just because they copy other companies, it's for competition reasons. Lexus isn't a cheap knockoff. In fact, their LS is still deemed the quietest car in the world, and the new LS holds the title of the worlds most technolgically advanced car in the world.

If you wanted to feel satisfied by pointing fingers and who's copying who, point your fingers at Mercedes-Benz for copying the hydropneumatic suspension system from the French company Citroen.

And what makes the Japanese good is tthey make cars that are sometimes critically better or just as good as their expensive European counterparts.

For example, the Acura TL is still demeed the biggest bargain on the market as a car. You get everything from Sat Nav, to Bluetooth technology, voice activation, Bose sound...basically everything you can think of standard.

The car is made just as well, it's hella reliable, and it costs nearly $20k cheaper than a European car would cost with the same amount of equipment and performance figures.

Or how about a Nissan 350Z, it costs nearly half the price of a Porsche 911 but performs nearly just as well.

Those are just a few examples.
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post #17 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 11:36 PM
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Well again. I see lot of old Porsches on CA roads. Even those from 60's when all those Nissan Z's so popular here in 80's are gone.
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post #18 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 11:40 PM
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Thumbs down Japanese copycats

Originally Posted by NZ Benz
All I'm gonna say is that it's very easy to build a reliable and cheap car when you can just pull apart the cars of another producer, then copy and simplify the internal workings rather than design from sctrach new innovative automotive technology.
Ditto NZ Benz,

And Mercedes is NOT the only example of this phenomena. They have been copying western technology and inventions for years.

The Japanese luxury models also sell for less because it is less expensive to take a fine automobile (like Mercedes) apart to copy it, than to hire qualified engineers for research and development.

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post #19 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Chinny you make some good points.

Marcus, by owner satisfaction I meant people are satisfied by driving a reliable car.

hawk, I don't dispute the fact that critical safety research has been pioneered by mercedes. The reliability statistics point to this discrepancy in the USA by several sources including Consumer Reports, at this point I think its fairly common knowledge.

dahappybanana, I don't think the poor reliability of mercedes cars is due to "build quailty" per se. I'm sure the assembly line workers are competent enough. Instead I'm trying to focus on the acutal mechanical and electrical design work of mercedes engineers. The question lingers, why did the W163, and now perhaps the W164, have so many problems in terms of onboard systems and driveline components? Why did the W220 have so many electrical problems with the onboard computer and sensors? Also the current generation E Class is prone to several problems. There is a common thread here and I believe it is caused by poor design, perhaps due to the lack of talent and/or the lack of funds given to R&D and testing departments. I use the japanese example, specifically Toyota/Lexus to show the opposite end of the spectrum. Where an onboard computer or related sensors will last an average of x in a mercedes, it will last an average of 10x in a toyota/lexus for example.
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post #20 of 93 (permalink) Old 08-02-2006, 12:06 AM
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The poor reliability's culprit was poor corporate decisions and management. I typed this up in another Mercedes-related topic.

Something I picked up in

Recent Quality Issues

Mercedes-Benz vehicles have historically had a focus on high quality and state of the art engineering. The products of Mercedes-Benz have been known for the introduction of advanced technologies to automobilesnotably fuel injection and anti-lock braking systems, amongst many others.

As a result they have often been expensive and are made in lower volumes compared to less expensive automobiles. The company has carefully cultivated an image of superior engineering, quality, and service. The automobiles are often the vehicle of choice for the rich and famous.

The 1997 A-Class supermini introduced Mercedes' new cost saving approach to quality and construction. The A-Class was criticised for this, but got away with it due to its class positioning. The 1998, W220 Mercedes-Benz S-Class employed this same construction approach. From the day it was launched, the W220 was severely criticised for its average quality and build - a trait unheard of in previous S-Class'.

The influential United States magazine Consumer Reports now lists Mercedes-Benz vehicles as having reliability much worse than average and by 2006 recommended its readers avoid them not only as new cars, but as used cars as well. Recently, an active brake system installed in over 600, 000 cars has been recalled to fix potential problems. In recent years the brand's former record and reputationfor sterling reliabilityhas been called into question when it was recently ranked rather low in consumer surveys. In one J. D. Powers and associates reliability survey, it was ranked below Jaguar Cars, a company historically associated with notorious unreliability, but which has, recently under Ford's guidance, become one of the most reliable companies in the world, with its XJ model coming in first place in the 2003 British car customer satisfaction survey (Top Gear). In stark contrast, the Mercedes-Benz ML had an abysmal showing, in 2004 coming last, as the worst car on sale (in the same survey).

To address the problem, Daimler-Chrysler has invested heavily in recent years to stem the problem. Until recently many still felt that the company had a long way to go to return to its former glory. In reaction the Mercedes-Benz W221 S-Class of 2006 finally showed that Mercedes-Benz is still the final name in the executive super saloon market. The new flagship car shows a return to the old days of uncompromised and unsurpassable build quality combined with state of the art technology. After only a few months on the market, the car had won numerous prestigious awards[1] naming it the best car in its class, and being that this is the 'top class' available, some have even gone so far as to call it 'the best car in the world, unofficially of course' (WhatCar). A review by Fifth Gear said, "Possibly the most complete luxury saloon in the worldmakes even its accomplished rivals appear crude by comparison."[2] The worries of reliability problems with this model have also been quashed as the W221 S-Class has now been shown to be as reliable as a wood burning stove (comparable with Mercedes-Benz cars of old)[3]. The AMG models (S63 & S65) are also blisteringly fast with 0-62mph (0-100k/h)(acceleration) times that would embarrass most purpose built super cars. Many now hope that the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range will inherit this fastidious attention to detail and rock solid reliabilitythat gave Mercedes-Benz its prestigious name in the first place. ( review)

In summarized version, in the mid to late 1990s, Mercedes decided to change it's position of making unique, exclusive automobiles of excellence and start marketing toward the cheaper crowds, something that Mercedes-Benz was never known for (they should have left this to the Japanese, who make good cheap cars)--what the article mentioned with the introduction of the A-class--and thus this caused them to start cutting costs and see if they could get away with cutting corners (for example, but not sure if it was used, a company uses plastic that was painted to look like real wood instead of using real wood) and using cheaper methods and products. Then came the ML which is known to be an absolute nightmare. That was a nightmare because Mercedes decided to outsource and build them in Alabama, where wages were considerably lower than the ones in Germany (that's what I assume), thus at the expense of the true Mercedes quality. Just like Volkswagen years back decided to outsource the Beetle, the Bora/Jetta and the Golf in Puebla, Mexico for cheaper labor. The C-Class wasn't too good either as it was also considered a culprit for Mercedes' aim towards the cheaper crowds.

That's basically why. Unfortunately, this is also happening to some other companies, which are doing things they were never known for doing. Some have prospered from it, and some, like Mercedes-Benz, have suffered.

The suspected cause of the decline in quality was thought to began with the introduction of the A-Class, which is a car aimed at lower markets.

Mercedes was never known for aiming towards the lower markets. They were known for making exclusive, elegant and well-engineered automobiles, just like a company similar to Ferrari, exclusive and low in production numbers.

Since Mercedes broadened their production to cheaper markets, they decided to cut costs down by using cheaper materials and manufacturing methods and cheaper methods of running the country, such as outsourcing (the example I used with the ML, but I could be wrong on that one.) just so they could have a higher profit margin. And this isn't unfortunately happening to just Mercedes. It was their decision in general to start broadening their market to cheaper markets and increasing income and profit margins that was the suspected reason for the decline in quality.

That's why cars like the A-class and the C-Class were cars never supposed to be made by Mercedes, just because they were known for making expensive, exclusive, top of the line automobiles.

Companies like Mercedes/Daimler-Chrysler reduce costs like they did with manufacturing their cars. They know that majority of the public won't notice the difference if they use fake wood trim instead of real wood trim which is more expensive, or artificial leather instead of real hide from cows. For example, I know so many moms who are happy with their Mercedes ML, but in reality, I know and alot of other petrolheads know that that car is a nightmare and very problematic.

No matter how cheap they go, people will always buy a Mercedes Benz because there are car owners who will forever be loyal to Mercedes, and there's alot of them. And there are other people who will buy Mercedes for the fact that, it's a Mercedes (yea, so egotistical). So naive people buy cheapened Mercedes, and the corporate workers get mad rich as they try to find every way to cheat and cut every costs possible and increase profit margins without making a huge difference. Unfortunately, it made a HUGE difference at the sacrifice of true Mercedes Quality and everyone's seeing it now.

So from some of the good news coming from Stuttgart with the new GL, S and CL and CLS, I hope that changes forever.

Last edited by chinny4290; 08-02-2006 at 12:09 AM.
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