Why they're called "STEALER-SHIPS" ... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2011, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Why they're called "STEALER-SHIPS" ...

Thought you'd enjoy this lesson learned ...

The access cover underneath my W211 came loose ... needed to replace two small bolts & their adjoining anchors (M-B calls them lock rings). Very common items, but I decided to go original and dropped in at the parts counter of my local M-B dealer.

After looking up the numbers (everything has a number these days - even the crush washers for oil drain plugs) the parts guy said, “$10 bucks - and change."

I shoved a ten at him and he shoved one bolt and one anchor at me ... I said I needed two of each ... he said, "$20 bucks - and change. I only quoted you for one."

I said, "How much for each of those items?" He said, "Bolts - $5.78, anchors - $5.01."

After I changed my pants (I had an extra pair in the car), I bought 2 anchors and drove immediately to ACE Hardware, where I procured the remaining 2 bolts for a total of $.31 - including tax. That's right ... the 2 bolts for 31 cents!

I should have bought the anchors @ ACE also and then taken the OEM parts back for a refund, but heck - M-B probably needs the money more than I do!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2011, 03:39 PM
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That sucks

I am a firm believer that most parts on my CLK need to be replaced with original MB parts. Some do not. Especially when it comes to hardware for beauty panels, belly pans, etc. You can buy nice SS hardware way cheaper than that price from Benz.

Maybe if they had the star on them, maybe. lol

A Benz is like a good wife: Not overly expensive to maintain, but neglected gets expensive awfully quick!
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 11:23 AM
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The dealer's parts came from Germany

Ace Hardware's came from China.

I see a Geely in your future.

Kent Christensen
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
The dealer's parts came from Germany

Ace Hardware's came from China.

I see a Geely in your future.
Sadly, even the dealer stuff nowadays is not necessarily from Germany.

Felicita e un bicchiere di vino con un panino.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps true, but the fastener could come from Mars for all I care.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 12:15 PM
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Why do you title the thread using the word "stealerships" and then at the end of your sentence say, "but heck - M-B probably needs the money more than I do!"

The dealership is an independent business. Is it MB that's inflating the price or the dealership? If it's MB, then the franchise isn't really the "stealer." The dealer has to pay for the part from MB.

Does anyone actually even know what this bolt and anchor costs to produce and deliver? Do you know what a Chinese bolt costs to produce and deliver? I'm guessing that Ace Hardware is probably just as much a "stealer" relative to their own margins. Anybody here ever buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks?

No doubt there is a profit margin here, but does anyone actually know what it is in reality? Just curious as I'm typically more interested in real facts than assumption. There's always a specific reason for high markup on certain items: low volume, low demand, logistical costs, high production costs, warehousing, delivery, inventory, etc.. On the other hand if the price of the bolt and anchor is associated with the dealer's service profit margin, then the OP should have asked his dealership for their cost instead of the markup price. My dealer gives me big discounts for take-out parts if asked.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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I've never interviewed the parts folks at M-B ... I'm not necessarily a fan of cheap imported stuff from the other side of the world ... and I don't mind paying a premium for an item (an important item) that is designed and manufactured for my Benz. But the example that I cited could be told over and over by owners who showed up at the dealership parts counter only to discover that the price they imagined paying wouldn't even qualify as a down-payment!

I would be willing to bet that the price charged is set by M-B, so perhaps we ought to call them the "Stealer-Ship." And by the way, I wonder what M-B would say if they discovered their local dealer was selling any part at less than retail?
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by wishihadahorse View Post
I've never interviewed the parts folks at M-B ... I'm not necessarily a fan of cheap imported stuff from the other side of the world ... and I don't mind paying a premium for an item (an important item) that is designed and manufactured for my Benz. But the example that I cited could be told over and over by owners who showed up at the dealership parts counter only to discover that the price they imagined paying wouldn't even qualify as a down-payment!

I would be willing to bet that the price charged is set by M-B, so perhaps we ought to call them the "Stealer-Ship." And by the way, I wonder what M-B would say if they discovered their local dealer was selling any part at less than retail?
Dealerships are independent franchises. They are not "M-B." They can sell parts for discount if they feel like it. They can sell cars at invoice or $10k over invoice or $10k below invoice. Don't you comparative shop the dealers for prices? There are several dealers on the internet with discount pricing on OEM parts.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 07:21 PM
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My understanding is all MB dealerships in Canada are MB owned. The only exception is Silver Star.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mis3 View Post
My understanding is all MB dealerships in Canada are MB owned. The only exception is Silver Star.
Not according to MB Canada. All the dealerships are authorized by them but not all are owned and operated by them. It's a nationwide network of 53 dealerships: "14 Mercedes-Benz owned retail operations and 39 authorized dealerships." Therefore only 14 are MB owned. [data as of Feb 2011; 2010 CADA DSI Awards Press release, Mercedes-Benz Canada]

Interestingly, MB Canada have an entire page on their website that argues why a consumer should buy their Mercedes in Canada from an authorized dealer and not buy one in the USA, and to not compare MSRP pricing, etc.. And a lot of the dealerships have web pages called, "why buy Canadian." I guess there must be a lot of Canadians trying to buy in the USA because of better pricing.

fwiw, the only one in the USA that is owned and operated by MBUSA is Mercedes Benz of Manhattan in NYC.

btw, my Indy gets OEM parts delivered every day from the Mercedes dealerships. And just like all the other independent mechanics operating in the area he gets full discounted pricing. And obviously the independents are not part of any MB franchise network. But they are definitely a good source of revenue for dealerships.
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