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Mercedes-Benz: Future Models

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Comments

  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    The Wall St Journal reports today that Mercedes lost $1.23 billion in the first quarter.

    In my opinion you understand what Mercedes stands for and what its cars should be. Current Daimler management seems to be adrift in this regard.

    My favorite German and American car marques (Mercedes and GM) have lost over $2 billion between them in the last quarter - hard to believe.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks!!!

    Well I've done my part. I've written letters and even talked with Maybach and Mercedes reps at various autoshows (mainly Detroit where I really did have an important ear for a few minutes), but its up to them now.

    They seem to at the very least know that they have a problem. I've read the statement about earnings and 1 Billion (gulp!) of that was for Smart, which I say they should dump, but they aren't. So that mean Mercedes lost a mere 200 Million! Right. At the prices they charge they should make more money than just about anyone else, at least in the luxury car business.

    The demons have come back to haunt them and they've got to spend big time for at least all of 2005 and the first half of 2006 to get things under control. I think as new model roll out they'll make a profit this year, but it will be a small one thats for sure. They're spending millions and millions to make cars already on the road "right" as Cordes said, an admirable, but costly thing to do.

    Look for 2006 to be a much better year, but forget about 2005 because I don't think you've heard the worse yet.

    Now GM, imo is much worse shape because they have a lot of new models and they simply aren't selling up to expectations. Unlike Mercedes, GM has a design problem. From engines to styling they seem to be behind the curve and just plain lacking even on their brand new models. I personally think GM is just too big to properly fund all of their divisions with the quality of cars each one needs.

    M
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    I think you are right about the new introductions boosting sales. There are some very promising products in the very near future. One negative - Smart is a dead weight now.

    I think huge losses will get the attention of Mercedes manangement in a way customer complaints never did. It is human nature to be complacent until crunch time.

    As to GM - GM has a structural cost disadvantage of $2,500-3,000 per vehicle that won't go away until union contracts are reopened. Eventually management will have to face this unwelcome truth and be tough.

    Oh well - one can't be a fan without some losing seasons. Right now 2 of my 3 teams are down.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh well - one can't be a fan without some losing seasons. Right now 2 of my 3 teams are down.

    What is the third team?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What is the deal with the E55 Wagon?

    I'd read that it will be available for special order staring this Spring. True?

    M
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 95
    why not just ask a dealer? it is spring already...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I was just curious, or in other words not a buyer for such a car so I didn't want to tie up a dealer's time.

    M
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    I've been away for 2 days so just catching up.

    My third team is Rolls/Bentley. I know they are split up but I still think of them together in a similar sphere. I love the way they have been true to tradition while keeping up with technology.

    If I remember right, you were smitten as I was by the new Phantom convertible coming out late this year. There are pictures of the Phantom convertible at:

    http://car.kak.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1574
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I'm just now due to get only my 2ND E55 in the 211chasis, so I doubt we will EVER see one of those in our parts. What a dream machine that would be though...talk about a sleeper. I'm sure to ask my reps tomorow, so I'll let you know -
    -BTW, I'm really suprised that luxo wagons don't sell better on this side of the pond. You're not really compromising any of the driving dynamics of a sedan, and you're getting most of the utility of a midsize SUV, with good mpg to boot. I don't understand what's not to love, but whenever we get one in our inventory, it just sits around until we have to whore it out.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 95
    I just think it depends on where you live. What area of the country is your dealership?

    As for the AMG models, living in SoCal, all the dealers seem to have lots of them, since people out here can afford them (or believe they can).

    The dealership where I am ordering my C280, for example, had an E55, C55, SL65, CLS55, and S55 sitting in the showroom, as well as a few more AMGs outside. They also had a Maybach 57 inside and plenty of new MLs, including an ML500 inside. This dealer is only one of many, many in my area. About 10 in a 30 mile radius of my house, with more not much farther off.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I have to say that I like Bentley more than Rolls, but neither of them are high on my list right now for various reasons.

    Bentley is growing by leaps and bounds, but the only "true" Bentley to me is the Arnage and the upcoming convertible version. The Continental GT and Flying Spur have way too much VW in their DNA to be true, of course imo.

    Rolls-Royce on the other hand is much more true to tradition. The Phantom is a new from the ground up Roll-Royce, with German engineering. While impressive, I'm not crazy about the look. It does however command a presence on the road like nothing else I've ever seen. You're correct about the convertible version, splendid machine imo. Looks much better than the sedan because they've tilted the RR grille back and reduced its size.

    Now that both brands have the advantage of German owners they are for the first time in modern history "up" on technology. Before they were antiques.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well its the whole "station wagon" stigma I guess. I actually like the current E-Class wagon. The previous E wagon was pretty unnattractive.

    None of them approach the simple elegance of the W124 wagon however. Now that was real status symbol back in its day, before the SUV craze.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The dealership where I am ordering my C280, for example, had an E55, C55, SL65, CLS55, and S55 sitting in the showroom, as well as a few more AMGs outside.

    The dealers around here seem to have a lot of AMG models too. I guess AMG made some type of huge shipment recently or something? I've never seen so many AMG models in a dealer's lot before until now. I mean even all three "65" models. The only one I haven't seen yet is the SLK55, either on the lot or on the road.

    What do you think of the Maybach?

    M
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    It appears Mercedes is moving AMG away from its former 'specialized niche' status. It is being repositioned as a standard model range and production is being ramped up.

    Keeping exclusivity exclusive is a challenge! Once a product becomes popular the trendsetters move on to the next unique/hot thing.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Maybach is an outstanding car: a truly super S-Class+. I wonder if it can accomplish what DC has in mind for it against Rolls-Royce.

    I read recently about an auto journalist who drove a Phantom across the country. The writer was used to arriving in Ferraris, SLs, Lamborghinis and the like but his experience with the Rolls-Royce was unique.

    He said that wherever he went (restaurants, hotels, casinos - even gas stops) he received a level of service and a deference that he had never experienced before simply because he was driving the Rolls.

    Maybach may be objectively a better vehicle but it doesn't have the presence of a Rolls-Royce.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I agree that a wagon is more regional than most other cars in popularity. I'm in the southeast, where trucks and truck based SUVs are almost obligatory. Perhaps it's the mild snob in me that would say it, but I think luxury wagons appeal to a more refined taste. I don't have anything against the south or southern culture, per se, but the average person in this neck of the woods has a more base set of tastes' and wants than other areas of the country. That may explain some of it.

    I do hope they don't start soaking the market with too much of the AMG product, tho. It needs to remain a rare commodity.

    Your C280 is probably going to be a pretty cool rig. I'm looking forward to selling them.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Maybach may be objectively a better vehicle but it doesn't have the presence of a Rolls-Royce."

    I agree, and the Rolls just looks and feels more "special" and custom made. The Maybach really is as you said, a super Mercedes. I personally would have just called it the "Maybach by Mercedes-Benz", which was the original plan until VW and BMW got their hands on the two most valued brands in the ultra-luxury car business.

    M
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    When Mr. Ferrari was the boss the 'Ferrari' designation was off limits for V-8 or V-6 models. "A Ferrari has 12 cylinders!" was his dictum.

    In business sales are the trump card, especially during a slump. I'm sure this is why the AMG option is so widely available at Benz lately.

    I sincerely believe the Mercedes sales/quality slump can be turned around within 24 months. Management should accomplish the task with hard work and dedication, not brand dilution.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    The Mercedes brand name is more pretigious than Maybach, IMO.

    Mercedes could move into the ultra-luxury range again. They were there for many years with the 600 series in the 1960s/1970s.

    Create a separate Mercedes model line (Maybach would be a great model designation) and use the tristar emblem. If you want the series name on the car put small 'Maybach' emblems/crests on the fenders, decklid or wheel covers.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I agree. I also think the rebound is already happening. The more recent cars - SLK, CLS, E350, ML, are running pretty much problem free so far. Time will tell, in the long term, of course. Some of the mistakes could be easily corrected, with immediate results, IMO. For example, the free service during the warranty. It isn't that much money that the buyer saves, (about $800 over 4 years, average), but it was a huge mistake to remove that perk, especially when BMW went the other way, and now pays for brakes and tires and even wiper blades, on top of all the other scheduled service. Offering that service program for 4 years, then taking it away was a huge mistake IMO.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "The Mercedes brand name is more pretigious than Maybach, IMO."

    Oh of course. Very people know that Maybach was a part of the Mercedes-Benz story from very beginning.

    Maybach, if they're going to keep it seperate brand, needs a seperate look from Mercedes imo. Something with stunning prescence like the Phantom, but much better looking unlike the Phantom. The problem is deciding what a "Maybach" should look like. I'd like to see former Mercedes styling chief Brunno Sacco take a shot at a new Maybach.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree, taking away fthe paid service program was a mistake, but I'm sure that is money that Mercedes no longer had to spend. Once they get warranty claims down, they should be able to offer such a program again.

    I think Mercedes has made some progress too, at least by the posts on Edmunds. There doesn't seem to be nearly as many complaints about newer models as their was a few years ago. It seems that way. The new ML worries me the most.

    Now you know as I do that once the press and other detractors get it in their mind that a Mercedes isn't reliable, it will take years to fix the damage. Some of the survey toting crowd has become so ridiculous about this to the point of where it isn't worth talking to them anymore because they can't understand that for one a car is not all surveys and that surveys aren't perfect. It has become an idiotic discussion.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I agree. I know we've probably said as much before, but the momentum is so against Daimler these days, I don't even think things would turn around quickly even if there were absolutely ZERO problems out of a single car. Some people just love to kick whoever is down. That lexus crowd is really something, aren't they? I may feel strongly indifferent towards toyota's high line brand, but I don't have the white-hot hate that those guys have for the cars from Stutgart. Some of them actually seem to wish that Mercedes-Benz would go out of business! Anyway, even the people I sell cars to every day try to badmouth my car just to get me to cough up my profit, all the while hardly able to wait to drive out in their new car, so I'm quite used to it. If they(DC) quit making poor decisions, and get their reliability on track, I think it won't take long till they'll be back in the sadle.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 95
    All I know is that the C-Class gets a 9.5 average rating among owners here on Edmunds, higher than just about any other car out there. So, even if the editors give it a 7, the people buying the cars love the car, despite the warts (mines had a few problems, but I'm getting another).

    And worldwide, the "troublesome" C-Class that "isn't up to Mercedes standards" and "isn't sporty enough" has passed the 3-series for sales. Well, who knows about the last month with the new 3-series, but over the last year it had passed the BMW.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah its really my fault though I thought that crowd really included some enthusiasts. For some reason I've always enjoyed talking and/or debating things with them, but lately it seems that the small percentage that were able to talk about things other than surveys are gone. Lexus fanatics are the only ones on all of Edmunds that seem to think that a buyer cares about what a company makes in profits or what the company CEO says. I'm like what the hell? Its either financial results or surveys, nothing about cars other than what is able to be googled, nevermind anything else. Most of them, no scratch that all of them know nothing about a Mercedes or any other car for that matter, other than what can be googled, yet they think they're so knowledgeable about Mercedes products. Hopeless. Others had called the LS (the preferred car there) an old man's car, but I was shocked to read just how young some of the owners are. After that I was like whoa, wrong crowd time to move on.

    M
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 95
    I don't begrudge people who say they love the BMW and would only buy that car. Granted, that goes with a personality that is clearly demonstrated out here in LA (tailgating, cut you off and run stopsigns and speedbumps), but if that car suits you, that's fine with me. I owed two Z3s, and they were the most dynamic cars I ever owned. Even the S4 wasn't as pure sports car. But, after owning my first mercedes, I am reluctant to own anything else because I prefer it over the audis, bmws, vws and nissans i've owned. BMW seems cheap by comparison from the inside in anything but the 7 series. I've driven lexus cars and find them uninspiring and safe, and copycat in styling (blend of mercedes and toyota). Audi is too cramped in the leg area, and not a fan of the direction their styling has gone.

    It just annoys me when people say: your car sucks and mine is great" just because of some bias, not experience.

    I can't wait for my C280, even if resale isn't quite as good as a lexus or dynamics are more reserved than a BMW. As an overall daily car that can be fun when you want it to but maintains a level of luxury and eschews overly bling-bling design, I personally think the C is the king. Who knows what the next C will bring (hopefully not the non-mercedes styling inside and out of the SLK), but for this model run, the C is a great car, getting better with each refinement. And in that respect, neither sales figures nor user ratings are lying...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree that the C-Class has become a really good product. The 2005 facelift was the first major piece and now the engines. The car really is complete at this time imo. Only thing is though it took a little too long for it to happen. The 2001-2004 models had a truly un-Mercedes interior to me. I've always like the exterior design, but didn't like the interior until now.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    The interiors were a little lack-luster, the switchgear seemed incomplete, and the orange instrument lighting was a boring color. The updated instruments and off-white lighting look eons better.
    With regards to the Lexus Army, I think they are the most hardened of the glitch intolerant drivers out there. I don't think they would ever admit it, but if they could be assured that an S500, for example, that they saw at a dealership were guaranteed to be problem free, they would buy it and love it. They put reliability above everything else, which is fine if it's what they buy a car for, but we all know that Lexus delivers a very anodine driving experience. I guess they get their thrill from knowing there is very little chance of anything malfunctioning. When I leased my C-class, I went into it KNOWING there was a more than average likelihood that it would have problems, but I gladly signed up anyway, and my car has been much more reliable than any other car I've ever had. I think a "value-oriented luxury car" is not really a luxury car. All their arguments seem to center on the problems one car has over another, or how much more one costs than another. Anyway, they've taken enough of my energy, I won't indulge them much, anymore. They're not enthusiasts so much as they are toadies, they just keep clubbing you over the head with the same garbage.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 95
    I think the guages were a mistake in the 2001-4 C (the one I own now). to a certain degree I get putting the speedo smack in the middle, since in an auto (most MBs are autotrans, after all), it's all you really focus on. But that needle without a hub idea made it seem strange. the orange was mabye trying to copy BMW? but I would have prefered the VW blue to the BMW amber (never liked the Amber on my Z3, though it supposed to be the best light for night driving). also, the dash controls were too rounded. the new look has some straight edges. other than that, the interior is much the same, so it is amazing what some minor changes can do to an image. if only they would wrap the amr pulls in leather instead of plastic. the honda pilot has leather hand pulls on the leather package, and it makes the whole car look more luxurious.

    either way, I like my 2002 C class, and I'm just going to like the 2006 C280 even more. and I'm getting the blue leather, which is a pretty rare color in any brand.
This discussion has been closed.