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High End Luxury Cars

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  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    Mercedes Benz has sold over 620,000 ML's world wide since production began. it has been a resounding sales success. also, it was not re- badged and inserted in the MB line of vehicles to make the brand appear more broad and substantial.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I see you haven't let go of the "rebadging" theme. Let me ask you, is the Bentley Continental Flying Spur a "rebadged" Phaeton? Should we judge it as being a lesser vehicle because of its ancestry?

    And by the way the RX came before the Highlander, not the other way around.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    Merc1 - let me clarify that earlier post.

    Here was the entire quote from stroudman:

    "If Mercedes now copies something to get it right in the U.S. market, good for them. In the past they haven't copied much,and that was their undoing here in the U.S."

    Now a shortened part of it.

    "and that was their undoing here in the U.S."

    I wasn't referring to the copying - I was referring to the last part of the sentence.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    A WSJ article today (about a Chinese company about to enter the German market) mentions that average auto sector wages in China are $0.95/hr compared to $36/hr in western Germany and $26/hr in the U.S.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    FRANKFURT (Reuters) - U.S.-German carmaker DaimlerChrysler is recalling 1.3 million Mercedes cars as it tries to fix quality woes that are riddling its German luxury car division, it said Thursday.

    Mercedes will recall the cars in several model ranges worldwide to fix problems with alternators and batteries, which do not affect the cars' safety, according to the supplier, car-parts maker Robert Bosch.

    Mercedes chief Eckhard Cordes, who said earlier this year that his drive to resolve the quality problems would hit this year's earnings, said the cars Mercedes makes now are of high quality and that the recall addressed legacy problems.

    "We are now producing the best product quality ever and our aim is to ensure that those vehicles in the hands of customers which are the cause of complaints achieve a standard of quality that reflects our highest expectations," Cordes said in a statement.

    DaimlerChrysler declined to say how much the recall would cost.

    Shares in DaimlerChrysler dipped after news of the recall, paring earlier gains, to trade up 0.3 percent at 34.56 in afternoon activity, in line with the blue-chip DAX index.

    Mercedes said it would check, and if necessary, replace the voltage regulator in the alternator on vehicles with six- and eight-cylinder engines built between June 2001 and Nov. 2004 in the recall.

    The carmaker will install new battery-control software on E-class and CLS-class models made from Jan. 2002 to Jan. 2005. In addition, it will update the braking system on current E-class, SL-class and CLS-class models, made since June 2001.
  • Hmmmmmm they are producing their best car ever..but recalling over a million of them.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Len, I understand. Its kinda a catch-22: The unions need the jobs to take care of their families, and GM need to cut costs otherwise the jobs won't be there. Doesn't this scenario play out daily ? Thankfully, my line of work don't unionize otherwise I'd be real nervous about our prospects as well. Hopefully every side realize the high stakes and make the best decision for everyone. GM is an icon of the American economy, nay worldwide economy. Maybe they'd wise up quick and take care of their business....
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Innovation, styling, safety, 0-60 times, handling or anything else that Lexus doesn't come out on top of is dismissed instantly as being irrelevant on this board.

    I won't speak for others, but I don't "instantly dismiss" any of these. My personal take on the points you raise:

    1. Innovation. MB has certainly innovated in 120 years far more than Lexus has in 15. The more relevant question imho is how innovation compares over the past 5, 10, or 15 years, and given the importance of hybrid to the industry the answer is less clear.

    2. Styling. MB wins on styling, you won't get any argument from me there. And I'll admit that the current LS copies the previous generation S's exterior styling in a major way and that it is despicable that Lexus chose to do that.

    3. Safety. MB has more safety features but I have yet to see anyone convincingly demonstrate that this outweighs the safety impact of MB's reliability issues. For instance, how many people have died due to the SC's lack of rollbars, vs how many have died due to MB's brake reliability issues?

    4. 0-60 times. Everytime I post the following…

    LS430 290hp, 320 lb-ft, 0-60 5.9sec
    S430 275hp, 295 lb-ft, 0-60 6.9sec

    …the response is either:
    a. "Who cares about straight line acceleration? It’s handling that counts." To which I ask: why do you prefer MB over BMW?
    -or-
    b. "You ought to be comparing the 4.3 liter LS against a 5.0 liter S." To which I ask: how is this a more fair comparison?

    So it seems to me that it is the MB crowd that is dismissive of 0-60 times, not the Lexus crowd.

    5. Handling. Again I’ll admit that MB has an edge over Lexus. And again I’ll ask: if handling is paramount, why not BMW rather than MB?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I always find it curious that some elevate exterior styling to such high importance, and then turn around and denigrate anyone who dares mention the superiority of Lexus' stereo systems.

    Neither exterior styling nor stereos have any direct impact on the driving experience per se (i.e., "handling" or "fun") that I would have thought "enthusiasts" place paramount. We're basically talking about "eye candy" (styling) vs "ear candy" (stereos).

    Unless one sits in his garage staring at his car for hours on end, how much time does one actually spend viewing the outside of one's car? 2-3 minutes a day? 10-20 hours a year? Versus how much time listening to the car stereo? 200-500 hours a year?

    I'm not saying that stereos either are or should be more important than exterior styling. But I find it curious that the germancarfans seem so dismissive of them. Could it be that they are dismissed because Lexus does them better than the Germans?
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    Why not let the market speaks for itself? MB is losing customers while other Japanese carmakers are gaining customers. It is a fact. German carmakers had their days when there was no Japanese competitors, now they are SO scare. Why, they have to worry about the Japanese now and the Korean and Chinese in the future. MB fans, wake up to reality.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    "...or add more useless gears to their automatic transmissions."

    If I recall correctly, when Lexus did a face-lift of the LS about two years or so ago, I believe they added a 6-speed auto to the drivetrain, which was at or near the same time (maybe sooner) Benz introduced their 7-speed.

    syswei- I do think the conti spur is a rebadged phaeton. I think any time a car is sharing parts from another brand, it takes away from what makes a premium or super premium car special, whether it's the example given, or a volvo S40/mazda3/ford focus. I couldn't own the bently without thinking about the fact that a similar car (DNA-wise) flies a VW from the front of it. BMW (except for the RR/7) and Mercedes-benz still build their own car. I am well aware that the chrysler crossfire is a 170 SLK, and the 300/magnum are using some components from the 210 E-class, but that's only because mercedes isn't selling those cars anymore.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I guess I can see your point of view on rebadging...you seem to be saying that feeling you've bought something unique is important to you. I guess on this issue (like many other issues discussed) it is a personal preference. My own personal preference is more along the lines of what a car IS or OFFERS rather than how unique it is. To each his own.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Yep,

    MB added another gear, going to 7 in 2004, when Lexus added another going to 6.

    I heard someone say comically that Mercedes did it for redundancy reasons, so you'd have 6 when one wasn't working for some reason ;=).
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    "Mercedes chief Eckhard Cordes, who said earlier this year that his drive to resolve the quality problems would hit this year's earnings, said the cars Mercedes makes now are of high quality and that the recall addressed legacy problems."

    This is one of the worst PR insertions I have ever seen. I could have a field day with this one - it's that bad, but I'll keep it simple.

    In effect it says - "So let's see - you dropped $90K on one of our cars before my watch. Too bad - you bought one of our problem legacy cars. We make them a lot better today now that I am in charge. But rest assured I will repair your legacy car to the standards we now have in place - but only if they force me to recall them. But don't worry - when you buy a new Mercedes it will be built to the standards that your old car should have been. Trust me it will never happen again as we have completely fixed all the problems we had." Yeah, right!

    Man - if I dropped $50-100K on an MB in the past few years and read I had a legacy problem of theirs on my hands and in my garage I'd be one P'D off customer. I had hopes for this guy but he comes across just as arrogant and ignorant of his customers as the others. Who the heck is in charge of MB public relations? When will MB ever get it??
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Well this is only the opinion of 1 magazine, but the May issue of Automobile puts 8 sports sedans to the test...top 3 according to them were 1. A6 4.2, 2. GS430, 3. E500...ahead of the 545i and M45. About the GS they wrote that it "drives with captivating enthusiasm. The GS should finally get Lexus the respect that it deserves"....lets see if it gets any respect from the germancarfans.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Are you sure you weren't reading the article backwards-- or at least the chart upside down???? ;)
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    - since some of us like to split hairs 'round heah, let's pat Mark Levinson on the back for his stereos, not Toyota. They are fabulous sound systems, indeed, but...(I gotta say) the Harmon Kardon systems in the benz cars ain't chopped liver, either.

    -syswei - since you guys are so google-rific, I would LOVE to hear of one case of death inside a Mercedes-Benz automobile where SBC was the cause of an accident, and failed to protect it's occupants. Haven't heard of one.

    -If you're going to compare an LS sedan and an S-class sedan in a 0-60 drag race, the fair comparison would be lexus' biggest car, with it's biggest engine vs. benz' biggest car with it's biggest engine... flagship vs. flagship, right? Let's hedge it a bit and keep it to 8 normally aspirated cylinders though, to be "fair." Now, what was that S500 stat?

    -Hybrids, hybrids, hybrids, that's great if you like granola, but you can't just beat this one thing to death....what else you got??? A rear-view video camera.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Here is a post I made from 3 weeks ago:

    Mercedes' …"reliability problems" are nothing more than electrical quirks and other minor things anyway…items of importance have proven to be rock solid…All of the safety systems introduced by the Germans have worked flawlessly from day one.

    Care to back your sweeping claim up with some proof? When a claim is that broad it only takes an anecdote or two for me to prove you wrong.

    Like the MB manufacturing defect that caused brake failure and at least one death:
    http://english.people.com.cn/200205/24/eng20020524_96350.shtml

    Or the failure of a brand new S’s airbag to deploy, costing the driver his left arm:
    http://www.injuryboard.com/view.cfm/Article=1371

    Or the family that met its death after their MB broke down and they were rear-ended by a truck:
    http://www.wnbc.com/traffic/3709872/detail.html
    (though in fairness we aren’t told why the MB was disabled…possibly it was a flat or something unrelated to reliability)

    And as for your claim that MB’s brake reliability issues (reported in CR) were just due to excessive pad wear and had nothing to do with safety:
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls04/mercedes_recall.html
    …the article suggested that 1300 or so MBs required greater than normal distances and greater than normal force applied in order to stop. Doesn’t that mean safety to you?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I think I've shown that MB's reliability issues can indeed become safety issues.

    Can you respond with even ONE instance where the lack of rollbars on the SC, or the lack of rear door airbags on other Lexi, has resulted in a death or serious injury?
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    consumer reports finally responded to my question regarding sample size.
    in the email they sent me they said they use a minimum sample size
    of 100 responses.

    "I see you haven't let go of the "rebadging" theme. Let me ask you, is the Bentley Continental Flying Spur a "rebadged" Phaeton? Should we judge it as being a lesser vehicle because of its ancestry?"
    ....if i were a Bentley customer i would feel short changed. even if both the Phaeton and the Flying Spur were both judged as terrific vehicles. the price difference between the two would diminish the value and uniqueness of the Flying Spur. why pay more because it is a Bentley? when it is actually a VW. this is consistant to how i feel about many Lexus vehicles.

    the links posted above are garbage and completely worthless. referencing recalls on commercially used vehicles is ridiculous. as for the family who died when they were rear ended......how is the car or MB at fault? this idiotic notion that MB's are less safe or so prone to failure that they endanger their occupants is laughable.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    as for the family who died when they were rear ended......how is the car or MB at fault?

    The family died after their E broke down...it was motionless on a bridge. We don't know why it broke down...possibly it was a flat tire. Or possibly it was a reliability issue.

    this idiotic notion that MB's are less safe or so prone to failure that they endanger their occupants is laughable.

    Tell that to the guy whose arm was ripped off when his MB's airbag failed to deploy. Think he's laughing? That case was found in a federal court to be MB's fault.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    -If you're going to compare an LS sedan and an S-class sedan in a 0-60 drag race, the fair comparison would be lexus' biggest car, with it's biggest engine vs. benz' biggest car with it's biggest engine... flagship vs. flagship, right? Let's hedge it a bit and keep it to 8 normally aspirated cylinders though, to be "fair." Now, what was that S500 stat?

    Maybe that's fair where you come from. On the planet where I'm from, in a Indy or F1 or any other sort of motorsport governed by rules, the cars are in a certain class and have to abide by very specific specs, such as engine displacement, to ensure a fair race. On the planet where I'm from, in olympic weightlifting there are rigid weight classes for the competitors, and 250 pound guys don't compete againt 200 pounders.

    Go ahead, you're free to look at the 0-60 time of an S600 or S500 vs an LS430 and think that the S-Class somehow accelerates better than the LS.

    If Lexus came out with a 7-liter V8, then according to you it would be perfectly fair to pit an LS700 against a S500, right?
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    like i said earlier....pure nonsense. from the information you provided
    there is no way anyone on this board can conclude that MB automobiles
    are unsafe. if there were repeated instances of system failures then you
    might have a an argument but with the idiotic links you provided all you
    have proven is your obivious bias against Mercedes Benz automobiles.

    i did some googling myself. here is a link that is interesting.

    http://groups.msn.com/ToyotaOwnersUniteforResolution/mytoyotalemon1.msnw

    i hardly feel it condemns Toyota and Lexus of rapant poor quality. it
    only goes to show that every automaker....even Lexus has
    there problems. not just with the product they sell but also
    in how they service and treat their customers. no automaker is perfect.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    I wouldn't defend MB too much on a day that 1.3mln cars are recalled for some apparently serious issues. Better to let it pass off for awhile as the news speaks a lot more volume than anything you can post. It's a bit ironic that this news happens at the same time that Kia and Hyundai announce recalls.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Never made an accusation against toyota, the sc, or lack of rear airbags. If you search far and wide enough, you will find failures in anything built by humans. I would be surprised if there weren't a single failure or mishap involving a Benz car through the ages. Buy an armored car if you want to get past that. Never made a case about excessive pad wear on the brakes...must've been someone else. The recall everyone is clamoring about involves cars with the sensotronic brake control system, a bosch product. Longer, more strenuous braking distances notwithstanding, is there a reliable story about SBC and its issues contributing to the death of the occupant of a mercedes-benz vehicle?

    Everything eventually breaks.

    I've never sold a Benz to anyone who needed one. Wanted. Yes...

    You're identifying a post YOU made three weeks ago, but then confronting me about a sweeping claim I made. If I made such a "sweeping claim" I must be losing it, because I don't remember making such a post as that. I'll be the first to admit how biased I am, but I'll reiterate that any mechanical or electrical item made by humans is prone to failure, albeit to different degrees, but I don't believe for one second that ANY car is genuinely bulletproof. (and any time a lawsuit is involved, with monetary awards, you've lost me already). The link says they settled before the case went to trial, and yet there was a monetary judgment against Daimler? That's confusing...

    -C'mon...how about that S500 stat?
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Not a good analogy. On the planet I'm from, motorsport racing is about the mental skill and experience of several drivers, using tempered, equally powered vehicles in order to determine a winner without an advantage in gear. This is a mostly subjective discussion about brands, and which brand is deemed superior. Again, if you wish to pit lexus against mercedes, biggest against biggest, then it would really be ls430, toyota's biggest car, with the biggest motor it can offer, against the same from the benz brand. In that case, it would be the 12 cylinder. Oh, that's right, toyota doesn't offer a specialized tuner division where one person builds the engine start to finish to appeal to a small group of folks who like that sort of thing. So the liberal side of me felt I should make it V8's.(no good deed goes unpunished). If toyota suddenly became really dumb and built a 7 liter V8, and it beat the S500 in a 0-60, then good for them. If that's the biggest motor they offer, Godspeed!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I wasn't referring to the copying - I was referring to the last part of the sentence"

    Got it. But haven't I admitted Mercedes' mistake before? I'm pretty sure I have, and I gave a detailed list of what I thought they were at the time no?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "MB has certainly innovated in 120 years far more than Lexus has in 15. The more relevant question imho is how innovation compares over the past 5, 10, or 15 years, and given the importance of hybrid to the industry the answer is less clear."

    This is where you and I will have to agree to disagree because you keep mentioning one thing - hybrids. While being a major innovation, it is but one innovation.

    "MB has more safety features but I have yet to see anyone convincingly demonstrate that this outweighs the safety impact of MB's reliability issues. For instance, how many people have died due to the SC's lack of rollbars, vs how many have died due to MB's brake reliability issues?"

    I'm sorry this to be ridiculous because there is no widespread case of either MB's safety equipment not working or anyone getting killed by a Lexus not having a roll bar. The point is what at least Mercedes does have the safety equipment in place. Yes it works. You can find isolated incidents about any make or model under the sun, just like I did about the RX330 in a previous post. It is being investigated for brake failures. The fact remains airbags, roll over protections, ABS and others work as advertised almost all of the time, no car is perfect though. These things have been adopted by the entire industry, yet Mercedes is implied to be the only one that has a problem with them. There are other brands that score even worse in the precious surveys, yet I see no one here saying that their most basic safety equipment doesn't work. This is a bogus claim.

    I meant 0-60 times in general, not the same old LS430 vs S430. I mean when one mentions cars like the E55 or SL55 and then we get the pointless gripes from the Lexus camp, yet when Lexus build a hi-po car it all becomes relevant because it will save some fuel. Very hypocritical imo.

    Handling- yes it is better in a Benz, but I never said it was the ultimate thing, otherwise I'd want a BMW.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "the article suggested that 1300 or so MBs required greater than normal distances and greater than normal force applied in order to stop. Doesn’t that mean safety to you?"

    Then likewise this is a safety problem also:

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?article_id=1966&section_id=14&page_number=1

    Looks like to me the oh-so perfect RX330 has the same problem.

    About that broken down E-Class you wrote:

    "The family died after their E broke down...it was motionless on a bridge. We don't know why it broke down...possibly it was a flat tire. Or possibly it was a reliability issue."

    Then why are you hyping it up when you don't even know the full story? This is not usually your style of post. I can't believe you'd actually try to pass this off as some type of reliability issue without all the facts!

    You and ljflx and others act as though Lexus is incapable of having a problem of any type. Yet Toyota recalled some vehicles in the same day.

    "Can you respond with even ONE instance where the lack of rollbars on the SC, or the lack of rear door airbags on other Lexi, has resulted in a death or serious injury?"

    Totally ridiculous. For one how is anyone to know that? You'd have to examine a far more serious accident to get the evidence on that - roll over protection. Secondly, no one (well at least I didn't) even suggested that a death would result from a Lexus not having a roll bar or side airbags, but I know which convertible I'd feel safer in. Survivial in roll over crash is already nill in a convertible so having some type, hell any type of roll over protection is better than none at all.

    The point that tag_m5, I and others were trying to make is that having these things surely wouldn't hurt. You guys blast Mercedes and other German brands about their stereos/navs systems (trivial bs imo) because Lexus does these things better and because a Benz should be better at these things because of their prices right? Yet a 63K SC430 doesn't have a simple safety feature that 25K VW Beetle Convertible and every other German brand convertible on the market has - rollover protection. Amazing. If Mercedes didn't have a Nav system it would be seen as a major oversight right?

    Classic case of a dismissal because Lexus doesn't offer the item in question.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    My point isn't that thousands of people have died because of MB reliability issues. Surely the number is very small. The point is that the safety items that Lexus lacks are essentially at the periphery (i.e., that 9th airbag isn't as important as the 1st or 2nd airbag), and the number of people that have died as a result of the lack of such items is also likely very small (and could even be zero). I mean, how many SCs even get into rollover accidents?

    So on balance you are talking about small numbers versus small numbers, and as a result I personally would not feel safer in an MB vs a Lexus....it is a question of the safety impact from reliability issues vs the safety impact from lack of incremental safety features. If someone could prove that MB's reliability issues occur only when the car is parked, and not moving, maybe I'd change my mind!
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