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Discussion Starter #1
I have been fretting because I wanted the AMG Sport package with the Alcantara seat inserts and aluminum trim, and it did not seem possible from what has been put out by MBUSA, including the "Build You Own" site. They stipulate either the Trim Package (MBTex/Maple Wood) or the Premium Package (Leather/Walnut). I want a sporty interior with the sporty exterior.

Well my salesperson talke to the distribution center, and it is possible to configure the vehicle this way--it's just very unclear in what's been published. So my final order goes in tomorrow (late May delivery).

 

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Congratulations! What exterior color did you select? Did you get the off-road package? Take some pictures when it comes.

[:D] [:)]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
BrentG500 - 4/4/2005 9:01 PM

Congratulations! What exterior color did you select? Did you get the off-road package? Take some pictures when it comes.

[:D] [:)]
I'm waffling between Alpine Rain and Iridium (order goes in this morning). Off-Road is not available yet, but given the uses for the truck I probably wouldn't get it anyhow.
 

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GregW / Oregon - 4/5/2005 12:16 PM

BrentG500 - 4/4/2005 9:01 PM

Congratulations! What exterior color did you select? Did you get the off-road package? Take some pictures when it comes.

[:D] [:)]
I'm waffling between Alpine Rain and Iridium (order goes in this morning). Off-Road is not available yet, but given the uses for the truck I probably wouldn't get it anyhow.
Iridium looks like a shampoo colour to me. Probably something that will age badly. I remember about 10 years ago it was a highly desured colour by young women in Australia ... and that was about the only demographic.
 

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Greg,

go for the Alpine Rain - I saw a sample of it this weekend, and it looks very nice, complementing the alpaca grey interior.

Cheers from Luxembourg,
Birger
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I take it all back

Well, went to place my final order, and after the dealer checked with Distribution again, Alcantara & Aluminum like in the Appearance Package is NOT available with the AMG package. It makes no sense.

I'm now in the process of appealing to the Market Manager. That probably won't work, so I'll need to decide between having a sporty exterior or interior, but not both.

Very frustrating.
 

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Greg, have you seen a pewter color ML, so far it looks great, I saw a CLK in pewter with the black/alcantra and aluminum trim...looked amazing, wonder if it would also work for the ML[:)]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
SweetTobyBoy - 4/5/2005 1:23 PM

Greg, have you seen a pewter color ML, so far it looks great, I saw a CLK in pewter with the black/alcantra and aluminum trim...looked amazing, wonder if it would also work for the ML[:)]
Funny you should ask that--I was waffling between Iridium Silver and Alpine Rain, decided I did not want the blue, then saw a Pewter E-Class in the showroom. I decided that may be the color. It's looked a little lighter than the color chip in the catalog reads.
 

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RE: I take it all back

GregW / Oregon - 4/5/2005 3:13 PM

It makes no sense.

Very frustrating.
I know this is a bit off topic, but did you find out if the "macadamia" interior comes with a brown, gray or black upper portion? How you feel about the whole sporty package inside/outside is how I feel about this issue.

If I can get a "macadamia" interior with a black upper portion, I'll get one with the black exterior/tan interior. If not, I'll settle for white outside with black inside (but I must be able to order the offroad package).

Thanks in advance.
 

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i wouldn't think I would like Iridium Silver until I saw it over the weekend. It looked very close to the old Brilliant Silver and not champagne.

The Pewter is my current favorite but I'm real interested in the new Alpine rain after seeing it in the catalog.

What's the most important thing in the appearance pkg you want? you could always add those individually later on if you wanted to.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
AutoSaurus - 4/5/2005 8:19 PM

i wouldn't think I would like Iridium Silver until I saw it over the weekend. It looked very close to the old Brilliant Silver and not champagne.

The Pewter is my current favorite but I'm real interested in the new Alpine rain after seeing it in the catalog.

What's the most important thing in the appearance pkg you want? you could always add those individually later on if you wanted to.
I'm currently favoring Pewter.

The most important thing is the Alcantara seat inserts--while techinically feasible to add later, it's not the ideal to take new seats apart.

Where I'm currently at is if I can't get both the AMG and Appearance Package, I will go for Appearance. The AMG is very expensive for just different wheels and bumper covers.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Typical helpful response from MBUSA...

I received an e-mail response to my inquiry about package and option restrictions. I don't mean to single out MBUSA, but why are big companies so detached from their customers? Can you imagine if they actually took the time to understand your issue and follow up on it!?

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of MailMaster%[email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 6:53 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: SN864660

Dear Mr. Williams,

Thank you for your recent internet query.

While we are not provided with specific information regarding the decisions made for option packages and required package combinations, it would appear likely that it is based on a marketing strategy designed to appeal to a wide range of customers.

If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to call us at 1-800-FOR-MERCedes (1-800-367-6372).

Sincerely,
Heidi Martin
Consumer Promotions
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
 

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I can't get a straight answer from the dealer or them about the interior color combination of the W164, so I don't know what to tell you.

Either they're very rude, disorganized, busy or plain just do not have the appropriate information from the mother plant in Germany (because of miscommunication or the lack thereof).

Everytime I contact Mercedes-Benz of North America, I get used to them saying "thanks for writing us, but we don't know". It's frustrating. But I don't think it's all of DC. Take Jeep, for example. I was looking for some hard to find parts for my Jeep YJ and they were able to find a parts distributor within a few days who had everything and anything I was looking for.
 

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RE: Typical helpful response from MBUSA...

Greg,

I'm sorry to hear of your problems - both with ordering your W164 and getting some answers out of MBUSA.

Regarding the AMG kit: Are your really sure that you want to spend all that money on a couple of redesigned bumper covers??? Because AFAIK that's what you get - at least over here. It also seems incredible that this should cost in the vicinity of US$ 4,400. But even if we suppose that the 19" AMG wheels are part of the deal, it's a very steep price.

My advice to you would be to get the appearance package, which includes non-AMG 19" wheels. Over here, if you want to, you can add the AMG wheels for US$ 907 - but IMHO it's money out the window, as the "appearance package" wheels are really quite nice:


At a later moment, if you so decide, you may get either the AMG front and rear bumpers or another brand. Much easier than changing the upholstery! And it's not only the upholstery - you'll have to swap the wood inserts for aluminum, change the instrument cluster, and change the pedals, too!

As far as reactivity goes, I've just had an experience completely contrary to yours: After seeing the various reports on the R-Class and particularly the "official" presentation on DC-tv, I had a question regarding luggage capacity on the R. Yesterday at 12:38 I sent an e-mail to the Product Manager for the W251. By 16:30 I had his very kind answer in my inbox, referring me to the person responsible for the measurements or the W251. OK - I'm still waiting for his answer, but I see that he's read it before going home last night, so I still have hope.

Cheers, and good luck from Luxembourg
Birger
 

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Discussion Starter #15
RE: Typical helpful response from MBUSA...

Birger - 4/5/2005 2:47 AM

Greg,

I'm sorry to hear of your problems - both with ordering your W164 and getting some answers out of MBUSA.

Regarding the AMG kit: Are your really sure that you want to spend all that money on a couple of redesigned bumper covers??? Because AFAIK that's what you get - at least over here. It also seems incredible that this should cost in the vicinity of US$ 4,400. But even if we suppose that the 19" AMG wheels are part of the deal, it's a very steep price.

My advice to you would be to get the appearance package, which includes non-AMG 19" wheels. Over here, if you want to, you can add the AMG wheels for US$ 907 - but IMHO it's money out the window, as the "appearance package" wheels are really quite nice:

At a later moment, if you so decide, you may get either the AMG front and rear bumpers or another brand. Much easier than changing the upholstery! And it's not only the upholstery - you'll have to swap the wood inserts for aluminum, change the instrument cluster, and change the pedals, too!
Your logic is unimpeachable. I just like the AMG exterior (my wife likes it better, as well), and it will be somewhat exclusive at that price, but it's not worth the US$4,150 difference between AMG/Trim and Base/Appearance, especially since I will probably look for wider wheels than the AMG anyhow. The Appearance Package is really the "bargain" on the options list.

As far as reactivity goes, I've just had an experience completely contrary to yours: After seeing the various reports on the R-Class and particularly the "official" presentation on DC-tv, I had a question regarding luggage capacity on the R. Yesterday at 12:38 I sent an e-mail to the Product Manager for the W251. By 16:30 I had his very kind answer in my inbox, referring me to the person responsible for the measurements or the W251. OK - I'm still waiting for his answer, but I see that he's read it before going home last night, so I still have hope.
The whole problem is getting in touch with the right people. As in most big companies they are insulated by layers of "customer service" reps and the like who are seldom helpful at the level of information and detail enthusiast like us are dealing with.

ML350 with Appearance Package:
 

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Greg - I fully sympathize with your frustration with MB's consumer response. Below is a polite (but do nothing) reply to my question regarding the omission of Keyless Go on the ML 350.

Thank you for your recent internet inquiry.

We appreciate you taking the time to provide comments regarding suggested
improvements, as this can only help to strengthen our product. The input
we receive from customers is vital to our efforts, and your comments will be shared with the appropriate individuals within our company.

If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to e-mail us again or call us at 1-800-FOR-MERCedes (1-800-367-6372).

Sincerely,

Christine Campanella
Consumer Promotions
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC


Previously received the following response to a message I sent re: the elimination of the scheduled maintenance being included in the price of the car.

Thank you for your recent inquiry; we appreciate your patronage of our products.

We have carefully reviewed the maintenance services and customer care initiatives we provide to our customers. After we began offering Mercedes
Maintenance Commitment in model year 2000, to complement our Flexible Service System, we began receiving complaints from customers indicating that the program was creating confusion in terms of what was covered and when. The program covered basic maintenance items such as oil and filter changes, cabin dust filter and engine air filter elements and miscellaneous system checks. As you know, customers still had to pay for remaining maintenance costs, including more significant costs for wear items, which sometimes caused unanticipated customer confusion and consternation.

After monitoring this over time, we decided to start over from scratch based on the input we received from owners. We decided, as of Model Year
2005, to reinstitute fixed service intervals so that our customers’ cars could be serviced at a more regular and predictable schedule. We will
provide what we call The Service Welcome, consisting of a First Visit between 1,000 and 3,000 miles for a vehicle diagnostic check, introduction
to service personnel, as well as a scheduled tire rotation at up to around 6,500 miles (a service not typically covered under “included maintenance�
programs, but one which our customers indicated would be helpful) are covered with the purchase of the vehicle. (For vehicles with staggered-width tires, the initial rotation is replaced by a tire inflation check and tire inspection.)

We think that this new initiative will better meet the needs of the majority of our owners in ways that are meaningful to them.


Surya Boonphadung
Customer Relations
Mercedes-Benz USA


The logic is somewhat difficult to understand. How is eliminating a benefit and in essence raising the price of the car "meeting the needs of the majority of our owners in ways that are meaningful to them"?

They just don't get it and don't seem to care.
 

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AMG with Alcantara - we CAN! do it - at a price......

Hi, Greg - and everyone else US

The German MB configurator was offline earlier, but now it works, and we can indeed get an Alpine Rain ML500 with the appearance package, AMG bumpers, and alcantara interior. And yes, the EUR 3,364/USD ± 4,373 buys you just the bumpers - the AMG wheels are another 907 USD away. And if you want the "standard" 19" wheels chromed, it's even more expensive [:(][:(]

All in all, a fully-optioned ML500 (including trailer hitch, Keyless-Go, Airmatic, navigation and memory seats) will cost you in the vicinity of 110,500 US$ plus delivery in Germany[:0][:0]

I have been down into the details in the US/German configurator, and tried to "build" two strictly identical ML350's, both heavily optioned with full leather, memory seats, Bi-Xenons, 18" wheels and so on. Lavish, but not at all unrealistic. I took out the German 16% sales tax, as IIRC the US MSRP does not include local sales taxes either.

US base price: US$ 40,470/EUR 31,131
DE base price: EUR 41,350/US$ 53,755

Total options, US: US$ 18,313/EUR 14,087
Total options, DE: EUR 16,965/US$ 22,055

Vehicle total, US: US$ 58,783/EUR 45,218
Vehicle total, DE: EUR 59,110/US$ 76,843

- it seems to me that DC has "forgotten" about the current EUR/USD exchange rate, or else the vehicles travel first-class on the QE2[;)]

So now please stop complaining on the forced-upon-you packages. While some US non-combinations (like Greg's) may seem strange, on the whole you gain quite a lot in respect to our "tailor-made" cars. And while looking at the US packs, I found myself liking the content of them almost a 100% - there aren't any blatant sillinesses.

Just for the record: In my native Denmark, this technical and luxurious wonder would cost its lucky owner the equivalent of US$ 285,236.25 - plus delivery. The yearly ownership tax is quite horrendous, as is insurance - and gas is US$ 6.60 a gallon[xx(][xx(] Ansan can confirm that things are also something like that in Norway.....

Cheers,
Birger

PS. I was too long in posting - thanks for your reply to my earlier post, Greg[;)][;)]
 

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AMG bumpers...

Greg,

Hi,

Just for the record, this one:

has the Appearance Package, but (see the wider stainless steel skid plates) also the Off-Road Technical Package.

Contrary to the W163 AMG, the W164 does not seem to have any fender flares added - so, if you're going to get wider wheels than the AMG ones anyhow, why don't you go ahead with the Appearance Package, and as soon as they're available as spare parts, exchange just the bumpers? Of course the price of those is an unknown factor now, but they can't cost anywhere in the vicinity of the US$ 4K the AMG kit costs, and you'll probably be able to get them already painted, so you could possibly do the swap yourself.

Good luck with the ordering!

Birger
 

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Discussion Starter #19
AMG ...gave up

I have given up on getting the AMG/Appearance combination. This is my final order:

2006 ML350
723 Pewter / Charcoal MB-Tex with Alcantara inserts / Aluminum trim

ML350 $39,750
(A) Metallic Paint $690
317 Comfort Package - $1,450
319 Lighting Package - $890
320 Entertainment Package - $1,080
322 Appearance Package - $2,550
323 Air Suspension Package - $1,775
324 Sunroof Package - $1,390

530 DVD Navigation - $1,240
536 Sirius Satellite radio - $500
550 Trailer Hitch - $490
873 Heated Front Seats - $690
890 Power Liftgate - $520
Destination

Total $53,735
 

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RE: AMG ...gave up

Hi,

It looks nice and classy - good luck with the waiting!

Birger

PS: The charcoal MBTex/Alcantara looks very "chic" with the contrasting white stitching - too bad it's probably very hot to sit on if your vehicle parks outdoor in the sun
 
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