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post #21 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
Ain't nothing to do with Chrysler.

It's all about Lexus.

Lexus can make a car that looks to most people equal to a Mercedes and sell it for less.

Remember that the first Lexus had a V8 when all you could get in a W124 was a six. 400E came quickly as a result.

Just as everyone rushed to apply Deming management principles upon the rise of Toyota, Mercedes needed to "change its ways" a bit, too. The transition wasn't easy as is obvious in hindsight. Need to remember also that car assembly is all about suppliers and this was also the period of squeezing suppliers on price (remember the purchasing guru GM accused VW of stealing from them?) and quality from suppliers suffered as a result--thanks Bosch and Siemens.

BTW, BMW suffered all the same problems as Mercedes--it was really a German thing. Since they're not "top dog," they don't get all the potshots that Mercedes does, however. IMHO BMW is the least reliable car sold in the USA even today.

Mercedes appears "back" from the quality problems, thankfully.
Exactly, DB intentionally lowered quality in an attempt to compete with Japanese luxury models, particularly Lexus. Building on the (relative) cheap did not come naturally, and quality suffered more than anticipated for quite a few years.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #22 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 05:08 PM
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The answer involves quite a bit of discussion and conjecture. Most people feel that the Daimler acquisition of Chrysler is to blame for this (hopefully temporary) downturn. Benzworld has a search function that you could try and believe me when I tell you that you can read all day, and into the night, on this subject.
I don't think anyone was attacking me personally, but I felt the need to quote myself on this point. I have read the "Chrysler excuse" quite a few times but I have never counted the various opinions on the quality downturn. Therefore, I am retracting the "most" part of my post.

I think I can safely say that the decline in M-B quality will roughly correspond to the introduction of the LS400. I don't think the early ES250 or ES300 had much, if any, effect.

Although I have not said so until now, I also feel that Lexus put the heat under Daimler-Benz; they cheapened their cars, and started offering cupholders! to maintain (at least in the US) market share.

Like another poster stated, now it looks like the quality is back, thank God!

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Last edited by Musikmann; 11-19-2008 at 05:15 PM.
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post #23 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 05:52 PM
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IMHO, I don't give much of the blame for Mercedes poor quality to the Chysler fiasco. And I see significant improvement in recent Mercedes quality, most notably in the new 2008 C-class, but Mercedes still needs to establish a track record of consistent high quality across all model lines for a few years (14 months on 1 model is only a good start).

Fancy cupholders and rear-window shades are nice, but not enough alone.

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post #24 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 06:22 PM
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Once Mercedes starts making the S class by hand (again), puts quality electronics in (Japanese would be best at this point), designs the cars to last for 20+ years, builds each and every car with craftsmanship and prices them it at $135,405 (in line with what they cost in the 80's/90's), then they will almost instantaneously return to the king of the market. The S class will truly be an 'exclusive' machine of quality, reliability and prestige.
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post #25 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 08:54 PM
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Once Mercedes starts making the S class by hand...
Your idea is a nice one, but my money says that will never happen.

In the 60's and 70's Porsche 911s were hand assembled. If I remember correctly. it took a team 9 days to build one. That is awesome! AFAIK, the only human assembled M-Bs are the AMG engines and the SLR from start to finish.

Robots seem to be the laborer of choice these days. They don't need breaks, for either cigarettes or food/drink. I suppose all they need is an ocassional tweak to their joints or motors.

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post #26 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 09:19 PM
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The S class will truly be an 'exclusive' machine of quality, reliability and prestige.
Personally, I find the S-class to be a vehicle strictly for corporate use, limousine use, diplomatic use, etc. Perhaps for someone in entertainment needing to display a life of excess.

In addition it's a "flagship," meaning it features the latest and greatest of everything and meaning there's no expectation of perfection because the ideal owner has the means and time to have the car maintained and repaired whenever required.

The one thing that's certain is that the S-class is never designed to be a "used car," and designed to seldom be with the original owner for very long, save for the few-miles a year chauffer scenario. "Latest and greatest" is a moving target, and indeed those owners that demand that pretty continually trade up. It's certainly not designed to be owned and operated by someone with not necessarily the means to have the car maintained and repair at whatever it costs. It will be expensive simply because it's a limited production vehicle.

There's probably consequently nothing anywhere as obsolete as a previous generation S-class for the reasons stated above.

To think for a nanosecond of an S-class as a reliable family transportation appliance is to completely miss the point.

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post #27 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 08:06 AM
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Your idea is a nice one, but my money says that will never happen.
You don't think for $135k+, Mercedes could produce the S class by hand again?
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post #28 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 08:18 AM
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You don't think for $135k+, Mercedes could produce the S class by hand again?
But they won't and if they did pricing would be more like a Rolls, just not going to happen.

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post #29 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 02:05 PM
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But they won't and if they did pricing would be more like a Rolls, just not going to happen.
What Rolls cost only $135k new?
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post #30 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 03:00 PM
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What Rolls cost only $135k new?
Exactly the point, a handbuilt luxury car does not cost $135K these days. Not happening.

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