Is MB taking the wrong approach in US? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Is MB taking the wrong approach in US?

I for the first time ever have found my self considering a MB. Though I'm finding that every bit of my research say's I'm crazy to even consider a MB product.

This got me thinking and asking around. Friends that can afford a MB all say they would love to have one - but don't own one. Those that own them all say never again or just got rid of it and will never own again.

I started looking at the demographics of these people. They all grew up with Toyota and Honda cars very reliable etc. They all bought or would love to own a MB for some key reasons.

Style
Interior
Driving experience
(and the MB star)

Those that all say never again - Every single one of them had the same reason.
Reliability. What if MB cut back on the fancy dohickies that seem to be the major pain points - focused on reliablity and keeping with their style, interior and driving experience?

For instance - the rain sensor thing - I learned that there is no intermittant wiper option and that if you get snow - frost - dirt etc on the windshield the wipers go bizerk. I'll settle for the tradditional intermittant wiper set up. Also friend has a Gwagon said that he has two rock chips in the windshield - $1200 to replace it! Hello another reason for getting back down to the basics. Offer the fancy stuff as an option not as the only choice.

Right now the one and only reason I will continue with my MB research and interest is the diesel engine. A friend just dumped his R320 06 (granted it was first year) he had it two years on lease they went through $10,000 worth of warrenty repair on a car that had less than 35,000 miles. They loved the car - hated the reliablity issues including the failed transmission. They couldn't get rid of the r320 fast enough. Guess what they own now?
They paid cash for a 2008 Toyota Sienna. They said never again will they think of buying a MB.

MB is missing out on a whole new generation of people who can afford their cars, like their style - but will not put up with non functional stuff or major equipment failure in a vehicle thats hardly broken in.

I'm starting to have visions of MB ending up like Cadallac -aging customer base and little to no new customers being developed. MB is missing out huge in the US!!! They MUST fix this issue. I would buy a R series in a heart beat without all the fancy crap give me a diesel - intermittant wiper with no sensor - 5spd auto or bomb proof 7spd.

I can't stand Toyota styling - nor Honda and have the money to own MB. Come on MB show us some love here!!!! PLEASE

Ok so I'm down to the 08 R320 CDI if that flunks my research MB is off my list.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 07:58 PM
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Well the 320 cdi can easly make 50 mpg in my showroom sedan with 145,000 miles on it.
How many Toyotas can do that?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 08:31 PM
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The first thing you should know about mercedes is that they are not for everybody. Don't take this the wrong way, it has nothing to do with social class or income as many people wrongfully assume. Mercedes are for people who can appreciate that it is more than just a typical automobile, but rather a car designed to totally unlike anything else on the road. You will notice that almost all other car companies follow mercedes lead. It takes a certain kind of person to be drawn to the mercedes style of engineering, driving, and innovation.

The second thing you should know about mercedes is that Chrysler noticeably effected the evolution of the company thus there is a difference between the pre Chrysler, during Chrysler, and post Chrysler benzes. Pre mid 90's mercedes are known for thier traditional mercedes style of solid, comfortable, simple, safe, reliable and rugged automobiles. Theses cars were all designed on a limitless budget and price and if you have ever spent time in and around these cars you can tell. After the merge with chrystler things when a different course. That is not to say that all of these cars are "bad" but they lost a good chunk of the solid, reliable, rugged german and became more fancy, production cost focused, complex, and sort of american." Now that Chrysler is out the door Mercedes has lost some of its reputation that it had with the benzes of the 70's and 80's. From what i have read, the first non Chrysler car, the new c class, is a big step in the right direction. Mercedes is now working hard to regain some of that classic benz reputation and there is no doubt in my mind that they will pull through.

When will the ridiculous lapses in quality finally be gone? hard to say. Is this an area that mercedes needs to improve on? definitely. But don't give up on mercedes quite yet. The R class is not one of mercedes high points no question. If you ask a benz owner on this fourm if they like their mercedes, 99.9% of the time the answer will be yes. ALL mercedes are fantastic cars to drive and have an uncanny ability constantly grow on people. Yes, some of them can expensive to own, but all the remarkable little aspects of the car that other manufactures have failed to recreate are what keep some people driving mercedes no matter the costs. After owning mercedes from both the Chrysler and pre Chrysler era i can say that i would be willing to buy another mercedes. For me the reliability issues don't out weigh the benefits of owning a mercedes.

sorry for the long post, kinda got on a roll there

Mercedes are like potato chips, you can't have just one.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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No doubt I like the CDI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajtek1 View Post
Well the 320 cdi can easly make 50 mpg in my showroom sedan with 145,000 miles on it.
How many Toyotas can do that?
My first car was diesel - ironically it was non American too. Not VW or MB.

The diesel CDI is the only reason I'm seriously looking at the MB.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 10:22 PM
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Now taking it ironically.
MB lost what? $16 billions on Chrysler deal?
That' s what I would call wrong approach
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-09-2008, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TW10 View Post
Reliability. What if MB cut back on the fancy dohickies that seem to be the major pain points - focused on reliablity and keeping with their style, interior and driving experience?
MB has, in fact, begun this approach. It is not only for cost cutting. They have removed items on newer models that have plagued them or that people simply don't use to reduce the complexity of the cars.

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Originally Posted by TW10 View Post
For instance - the rain sensor thing - I learned that there is no intermittant wiper option and that if you get snow - frost - dirt etc on the windshield the wipers go bizerk. I'll settle for the tradditional intermittant wiper set up. Also friend has a Gwagon said that he has two rock chips in the windshield - $1200 to replace it!
I can't speak for other models, but the new C Class does have a speed sensitive intermittent wiper setting.

Most folks don't get their auto glass replaced by the dealer due to high cost. They use an auto glass shop for that purpose. One can buy the sticker that is located in the lower right corner from the dealer for about a buck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TW10 View Post
Right now the one and only reason I will continue with my MB research and interest is the diesel engine. A friend just dumped his R320 06 (granted it was first year) he had it two years on lease they went through $10,000 worth of warrenty repair on a car that had less than 35,000 miles. They loved the car - hated the reliablity issues including the failed transmission. They couldn't get rid of the r320 fast enough. Guess what they own now? They paid cash for a 2008 Toyota Sienna. They said never again will they think of buying a MB.
EVERY car company, including Toyota, makes lemons. My 2002 MB C230 Coupe, a car known for "iffy" electrics, was the most reliable car I ever owned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TW10 View Post
MB is missing out on a whole new generation of people who can afford their cars, like their style - but will not put up with non functional stuff or major equipment failure in a vehicle thats hardly broken in.
MB is making strides in this department. I believe Consumer Reports, for the first time in years, has the C Class as a recommended model. Other newer MB models are also improving in quality. How badly MB was hurt by the glitches and quality woes of the late 90's and early 2000's remains to be seen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TW10 View Post
I'm starting to have visions of MB ending up like Cadallac -aging customer base and little to no new customers being developed. MB is missing out huge in the US!!!
With its newer products over the last 5 years or so, Cadillac is now one of the few bright spots for GM. They are attracting a younger base and the cars receive very good reviews. Many times, in cars like Caddy & MB, you see older drivers behind the wheel simply because they are the ones who can afford them. For instance, the average age of a Corvette buyer is around 45. Most twenty somethings can't afford a $50,000 car. Most (but not all) kids behind the wheel of a new Vette are, more than likely, driving the parents' car.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-09-2008, 02:32 PM
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In the US, MBUSA has focused in on their key market demographic, married males, mid 40's with a family income of over $100K/yr. Clearly, their bread and butter is in the "premium luxury" market rather than trying to appeal to a wider (aka "younger") audience.

In the past, when they tried to expand their target demographic, the results were not particularly productive, including the C-Coupe. It also explains why the new C coupe isn't being offered in the US and there was considerable hesitation in bringing the FWD A & B to the US.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-09-2008, 02:49 PM
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IMHO, recent history at Benz has been very bad from a quality and reliability standpoint. Excuses are weak at best.

I don't blame the various luxury car accessories for the poor quality/reliability, although I know these were added as a response to Lexus, etc. Many of the problems had nothing to do with these fluff options. For example, brake light assemblies, suspension problems, auto tranny problems, airmatic suspension problems, audio problems, SBC brake problems are all related to basic systems standard in many basic cars.

But I think Mercedes is now truly focused on addressing those issues. So far only the new C-class is truly substantial proof of the results. Let's see if more models exhibit the new level of engineering and improved results. It can be done.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-09-2008, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Age vs MB ha ha

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark08859 View Post
MB has, in fact, begun this approach. It is not only for cost cutting. They have removed items on newer models that have plagued them or that people simply don't use to reduce the complexity of the cars.



I can't speak for other models, but the new C Class does have a speed sensitive intermittent wiper setting.

Most folks don't get their auto glass replaced by the dealer due to high cost. They use an auto glass shop for that purpose. One can buy the sticker that is located in the lower right corner from the dealer for about a buck.



EVERY car company, including Toyota, makes lemons. My 2002 MB C230 Coupe, a car known for "iffy" electrics, was the most reliable car I ever owned.



MB is making strides in this department. I believe Consumer Reports, for the first time in years, has the C Class as a recommended model. Other newer MB models are also improving in quality. How badly MB was hurt by the glitches and quality woes of the late 90's and early 2000's remains to be seen.



With its newer products over the last 5 years or so, Cadillac is now one of the few bright spots for GM. They are attracting a younger base and the cars receive very good reviews. Many times, in cars like Caddy & MB, you see older drivers behind the wheel simply because they are the ones who can afford them. For instance, the average age of a Corvette buyer is around 45. Most twenty somethings can't afford a $50,000 car. Most (but not all) kids behind the wheel of a new Vette are, more than likely, driving the parents' car.

Sorry I guess I consider my self young and I fall in MB target market vs my 80yr old grandmother etc. The C-class is small and has lots of competitors so I can see why it would be a tough sell - small lexus 4dr or MB. Lexus would be my choice. R-class clearly MB is the only one in that market. Landcruiser vs ML -- ML has some advantages ie Diesel so again MB is the only choice.

I really hope they have cracked down on the reliability stuff I'll be researching the 08 Rclass see if all the same stuff that is very common with the 06-07's is surfacing in the 08's - meaning MB had three years to get it right.

There is no excuse for the reliability issues given the premium price MB asks its customers to pay.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-09-2008, 04:58 PM
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There is no excuse for the reliability issues given the premium price MB asks its customers to pay.
Pretty premium price on cars like Ferrari, Lambo, Maserati, etc., too.

A Mercedes is closer to one of these than it is to a Toyota.

Discussions about reliablity and Toyota are not relevant to Mercedes.

Kent Christensen
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