Remember that the C class they tested was a body style that is 13 years old. The crash standards including the Euro NCAP test protocol had not even been put into place when that car was designed. How well did any other car do on those tests that were designed to pass the crash standards in effect back in 1993? The W203 was designed taking into account the revised crash safety laws that would be in effect when it went on sale later but there is really no practical way to make a C class as safe as an S class unless it ends up as heavy and as large as an S class. A good lawyer would still be able to make an issue out of that at any rate if a worthy case came up.
Here's an example:
About 20 years ago in Southern Calif. a pilot was attempting a takeoff from a private airfield to film a commercial for a bank. The airplane was a 1947 Piper Cub which is a two seat aircraft with the seats in tandem. The plan was to shoot film of a glider circling a landmark.
To do this the pilot of the Piper Cub was towing a glider behind him and was flying from the back seat because the entire front seat area was occupied by a motion stabilized movie camera which also totally obscured his view out the front.
Now this pilot was behind on his rent to the owner of the airfield and had been warned not to try to fly away from the airfield without first paying his past due rent. When the owner of the airfield heard that the pilot was planning to take off early the next morning he parked a van across the runway blocking it.
When the pilot of the Piper began his takeoff roll he was unable to see the van blocking the runway because of the movie camera in front of him. When the glider lifted off first and saw the van on the runway he released his tow rope and managed to avoid becoming part of the crash that followed.
The pilot of the Piper Cub was injured when the seat belt (no shoulder harness) failed to keep him from pitching forward from the impact into the camera bolted down in front of him. Now who do you suppose took the legal hit for the injuries and damage?
Was it the Piper Cub pilot who attempted a take off with no forward vision and did so without first checking to see if the runway was clear?
Was it the airport owner who blocked the runway with his van effectivly closing the airport to all traffic without observing the Federal Air Regulations regarding prior notice being posted well in advance of any airport closure?
Or was it Piper, the company that had built the Cub fifty years earlier when simple seat belts were not even required and had sold the aircraft without any seat belts? The belts that were installed at the time of the accident were installed by one of the Cub's many previous owners although it was never clear when that had been done or if the belts met the same standards Piper required when they started building Cub's with belts from the factory.
Potato Chip, custom canuter valve, low-friction muffler bearings, synthetic turn signal fluid, Hi-Definition Progressive Scan Wiper Blades.
Law-makers are supposed to regulate in the interest of the public as opposed to regulating in the interest of the regulated party.
If it says Pratt and Whitney on the outside it better say Martin Baker on the inside.