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Discussion Starter #1
One of my local Mercedes dealers has several unclaimed 2006 ML's sitting on the lot. Not what I expected to see. No waiting list at all unless one wants a specific configuration, and even then a custom factory order is only a three month wait. I recall that there was a six month waiting list to purchase the original M-class, or longer to get a custom build.

My guess is that the new unibody M-class is heavier and uses more fuel than many of us expected. I was expecting something closer to the AWD Lexus RX-330 which is 600 pounds lighter. Of course, the reliability record of the original M-class has taken its toll. We'll see if Mercedes can turn this one around.

DelJ
 

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My dealer sold 10 in 5 days and they also have some still in their lot, but those are whitout any equipment (not even leather) and they don't look very attractiv, so no wonder.
In germany 2005 production is sold out and that 4 months before introdution.
The new ML is bigger and much better built with alot more sound dampening which is why it is it has the same weigt as the old ML.

I drove 380 miles on my first tank of gas so I think that is OK for a new SUV.
 

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I think it should be noted that there are 5 significant differences between the W163 intro and the W164 intro.
1 - MB has built a large (I don't know what the number is) inventory of W164's before the introduction. There was not any inventory at all on the 163's. In the Boston market in 1998 they were sold out for 12 months before the car was delivered.
2 - there is significantly more competition in the luxury SUV market than there was in 1998.
3 - You have a large number of prospective MB SUV buyers who already own a W163 and for a variety of reasons (both positive and negative)are not going to trade in just because of the new model but may be purchasers in the next year or two.
4 - MB had a brand new factory producing W163's which is always going to have some sort of ramp up or learning curve in order to reach full production.
5 - There are signicantly more options & combinations available for 06 so that the chances a prebuilt unit meets the desires of a buyer are much less than if it was limited to the few options that were available in 1998.

The lead time on our special order '06 ML350 which was ordered last week is approximately 6 to 7 weeks (including shipping). Only time will tell how the W164 will be accepted compared to the W163.
 

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1) Typical American Labor.. beware a Monday, Friday or a Shiftchange manufactured vehicle.

2) Service-technician Problems.. I have 4 MB dealerships within a 25 mile radius and they are NOT all committed to excellence.

...NOT a Design problem as you claim.

-Brett
Actually, the MBUSI factory is a non-union shop, so it is NOT typical American labor such as found in most factories. Also, the shifts are staggered and the workweek is not necessarily based on a Monday-through-Friday schedule. Finally, most of the problems with the W163 were design flaws in outsourced components and had nothing to do with the MBUSI factory.

As for dealer service problems, it’s hit or miss. There’s only one dealer reasonably close to me and their service is a mixed bag. First of all, there are one or two SA’s there that are decent and the rest are idiots, or worse. They also have two or three good technicians, and the rest are either inexperienced or worse. The service manager is worthless. I finally found the best SA and the best technician to work with there and other than me, they are the only ones that touch my ML.

- RODNEY
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Extra range with the bigger 25 gallon tank is not the same as better fuel economy. Let's not fall for the old General Motors advertising trick from the 1970's where they emphasized range over mileage.

DelJ




ansan - 4/20/2005 8:05 AM

I drove 380 miles on my first tank of gas so I think that is OK for a new SUV.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Actually, they were design problems for the most part. Power window switches, power steering hoses, and the squealing brakes are examples of design problems.

Problems caused by poor manufacturing practices would be things like rattles and misalignments.

DelJ




Gocargo - 4/20/2005 10:38 AM

[Problems with the previous M-class were]...NOT a Design problem as you claim.

-Brett
 

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sheepdog - 4/20/2005 11:09 AM

I think it should be noted that there are 5 significant differences between the W163 intro and the W164 intro.

. . .

5 - There are signicantly more options & combinations available for 06 so that the chances a prebuilt unit meets the desires of a buyer are much less than if it was limited to the few options that were available in 1998.

. . .
Yep, that's because for the ML 500 at least, many of the options on the W 164 were standard equipment on the W 163.
 

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To make a long story short, I went to the MB plant in Vance several times, I listened to the explanations in the tour, I befriended a few people who works there and had long bolts and nuts conversations.
Basically the plant is nothing more than an assembly line and nothing is made there, not even the body panels, the engines came from Germany and the rest is subcontracted all over the country, some suppliers set shop near by and others are far away, although the whole truck was designed by MBZ in Germany, suppliers were given leeway in designing or modifying or adapting designs to their own production methods in order to have a more smooth or lax or convenient production which in turn it would supply components faster and cheaper and at a more steady rate or in other words a warm and friendly cooperation with the suppliers with easy production terms for mutual benefits.

Now that the W163 production is over we can see the results of this cooperation, MBZ came out of it with a big black eye.

About 20 years ago I read an article about Toyota and their relationship with their suppliers, at that time they were not near as big as today, I was surprised to learn at that time that they would subcontract components to small Mom and Pop shops too in Japan, but the conditions were horrific, the smallest imperfection would result in rejection of the part and continuous rejections would result in contract cancellation.

Mercedes when setting shop in Ala adopted the novel system of parts in demand, it means that the parts are not stocked, they are received daily for the immediate production, there are no provisions to warehouse them, the quality control and rejections were the responsibility of the supplier, the line is operating on the assumption that all parts are perfect, stopping the line means everything stops from then back, even the paint shop since there is no place to store the bodies, this is a very modern and efficient system but depends on absolute quality fed into the system at each station, if a part is defective it gets fed into the system just the same to later manifest itself.
 

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I think that its not popular because of competition and its a little expensive with the optins you want. Plus, MB is trying to get you to but the bigger new G so they purposely made the ML small and not as luxurious as the would have if it were their flagship SUV. Its all a marketing thing.
 

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DelJ - 4/20/2005 10:44 AM

One of my local Mercedes dealers has several unclaimed 2006 ML's sitting on the lot. Not what I expected to see. No waiting list at all unless one wants a specific configuration, and even then a custom factory order is only a three month wait. I recall that there was a six month waiting list to purchase the original M-class, or longer to get a custom build.

My guess is that the new unibody M-class is heavier and uses more fuel than many of us expected. I was expecting something closer to the AWD Lexus RX-330 which is 600 pounds lighter. Of course, the reliability record of the original M-class has taken its toll. We'll see if Mercedes can turn this one around.

DelJ
I'm guessing that everyone is getting their letter from MBUSA that says, P-L-E-A-S-E(!) buy a 2006 ML and we'll give you $500 in Exxon gas. I think a rebate like this so soon after the W 164's debut says it all.
 

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I think that its not popular because of competition and its a little expensive with the optins you want. Plus, MB is trying to get you to but the bigger new G so they purposely made the ML small and not as luxurious as the would have if it were their flagship SUV. Its all a marketing thing.
It’s always about marketing. Regardless, the W164 is larger in every dimension than the W163 and is actually larger than most other luxury SUV’s that it competes against.

- RODNEY
 

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OK DelJ.

The milage was 16.1, which I found pretty god since it was indeed very mixed driving and a lot of "testing" with intercetion racing and speedtest up to 100 mph.
 

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I have yet to see anyone drive one in or around Los Angeles area and my commute in traffic is about one hour each way and I go through several freeways. As I said before, I live within 25 miles of 4 dealerships. 2 of them are less than 10 miles from me.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am getting a consistent 17 mpg with my ML430 around a large city, but without much racing. It is probably fair to say that that the mileage will be about the same between the new and old M-class.

DelJ




ansan - 4/22/2005 9:15 AM

OK DelJ.

The milage was 16.1, which I found pretty god since it was indeed very mixed driving and a lot of "testing" with intercetion racing and speedtest up to 100 mph.
 

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I don't think it can compare to W163's sales figure firstly launched. MB was one of the first to introduce SUV among all car manufacturer. Now, you have more variety to choose with identical budget. Also, the reason I bought ML is be/cos of its 7 seaters which W164 don't carry but in replacing with R class with 6 Seaters and cost more.
 
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