I was going to hijack howardmil's thread "WHATS HAPPENING TO MERCEDES
" to explore my ideas on this related topic, but (especially as the OP ranted & never returned) believe that thread has been played out. I hope that this can stir up some penetrating insights from folks who have more wisdom than I, and maybe even some lively debate. I'll break it up into digestible chunks...
Throughout my life, and even before, Mercedes products have been almost ever-present. My mother, who had been racing Austin-Healeys' at the time she met my dad, dumped her then current sweetheart (driving a Jaguar XK-120) for my dad (a Navy flyboy with a 190SL). Presumably, everything worked out well, as this relationship resulted in my sister & myself.
As a military family traveling around the world, the global nature of the marque was obvious... watch news footage from, well, anywhere
and soon enough a W123, W124 or W201 will trundle by in the background. Dictators rolling in their black S-Classes are so common as to be a cliche. They truly become a part of the fabric of many societies, from the highest places to the lowliest, and are as much a presence as the weather, it would seem.
When my family returned stateside, my dad bought my mother a 450 SLC, once she passed on & he remarried, his new wife a E430 Sport, and I believe she is now considering a GLK. I have had several Mercedes myself, and see that continuing.
As a result of well over 200,000 mi. behind the wheel of Mercedes products, (with probably another 50,000 mi riding in them) I have an affinity for the brand, and sometimes I think it has as much to do with their role in my life as with the actual products.
Often it is thrown out there... "Mercedes quality is just not the way it used to be". I wholeheartedly agree. It would be dim-headed to suggest that the door closure of an R230 can hold a candle to the robustness of an R107, that a W212 will show the durability of a W123, or that a W221 will be remembered for it's longevity like the W126.
It is also said, "but cars are soooo
much more complicated these days"! This argument, although appearing to have merit simply does not bear up to close scrutiny... the cars which preceded today's models were technological master strokes in their day.
Next: What Changed?!?