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Mercedes-Benz R-Class

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Comments

  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    yes, I had heard that rumor. As I have been there myself, I hate to see anyone "rightsized," but the R marketing scheme was completely bone-headed.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I bet the fallout has been something around the office! I wonder what they'll do for the next generation R, if there is one. It is amazing though because the R had a long lead from 2002 onwards as a concept and the interest seemed to be sky high during promotion, but then it hit the showroom floor with a thud. Here is a post I made over at MBWorld.org:

    This is hot topic right now, the lackluster sales of the R-Class. I'm seeing more and move them on the roads, but if you look at the sales figures they're way up one month and then down the next.

    I think the R missed the target for several reasons. First off they styling went got killed from concept to production. That concept "Vision GST" was stunning both inside and out. Of course the Lamborghini-style doors couldn't make production, but the body should have been kept as close to the concept as possible. Mercedes is more than capable of doing this, witness the Vision CLS and the production CLS, both gorgeous and the production model barely lost anything compared to the original concept. So styling is one issue, a big one from what I see people write about the R on other forums. First flaw: Styling - it strayed to far from the concept.

    Next up is the interior. Again the concept had a much better looking interior with a futuristic looking twin-post design with lots of real aluminum and what not. Ok some of that has to be toned down for production, but the design/layout should have been kept the same. Then there is a quality of materials issue that still plauges the Bama made cars. Yes they're all better than the original ML in both design and quality, but there are other products in the SUV/Crossover segment with better built interiors with greater material and assembly quality. A Mercedes is not supposed to be surpassed in this area. Period especially at an opening price of around 50K. If Mercedes is going to market the R (as they initially intended) as executive transport for 6 then the interior should be a knock out in both quality and design, something futuristic an unlike any other Mercedes would have done the trick along with material quality like that of the new S or the CLS. Second Flaw: interior design/styling and quality (for the price and mission of the vehicle they aren't up to snuff).

    There there is the issue of price vs standard equipment. Simply put there are too many options and not enough standard equipment. Since the the R doesn't appeal a executive express for 6 it is being cross-shopped with minivans and no matter how clueless a buyer may be about a Mercedes' other virtues they'll always compare the window sticker equipment to a common minvan and the R doesn't favor well, unless you spend another 10-12K in options which by then the price is way to high for this type of buyer. Third Flaw: Value equation is way out of whack even for a Mercedes.

    Overall the R isn't practical enough to be called or function as a minivan and it isn't styling or luxurious enough to live up to the initial promise of the concept being a new type of executive express for 6 people. A jack of a all trades and a master of none if you will. So the road is going to be long and hard for the R until it gets a re-design in 2012 if the typial 7 years apply. I can't imagine it going that long and still selling in good enough numbers for it to make sense to keep producing it.

    That said, the R320 CDI should be somewhat popular and I guess the result of all this surveying will be a re-package of the equipment and options. Now what I don't get is why Mercedes isn't putting the new V8s in the R (or ML) for 2007. Now that is just plain dumb. My little theory for this is that they're waiting for the V8s to be fitted with direct-injection for more power and less consumption for the U.S. market. Afterall what other reason could there be for not selling the new GL500 (our 550) in the U.S. when it is on sale already in Europe? If this happens it will be for the 2008 model year, next spring at the earliest....a long time for the now ancient SOHC V8 to soldier on.


    I think that pretty much sums it up.

    M
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    I agree with much that you write, but I don't necessarily agree that the R isn't practical. If you listen to or read what owners say, they love it, by and large. At least for me, it is the most versatile vehicle I have owned. I think there is a market for it, perhaps not in as great a number as MB expected, but MB blew it by targeting it, and equiping/pricing it, for the wrong demographic -- this should not have been targeted to the S-Class set looking for additional seats, but to families who wanted something other than a minivan or SUV, but needed the functionality of both, plus the luxury, engineering and driving characteristics of Mercedes. I don't believe that there is a dearth of prospective buyers out there. But it may be that MB doesn't know how to reach them. :sick:
  • chirpchirp Posts: 194
    I caved and bought an Odyssey Touring w/NAVI and Rear Entertainment System for my wife. $1500 under invoice and at $33,947 plus TTL, it's too good of a deal to pass up. Say what you want about that, but Mercedes blew it for me on the R. In 2012 I'll be out of the market for the R(and any minvan/SUV/people hauler for that matter). I honestly hope you all who have purchased an R-class don't get killed on resale/trade. Good motoring to you all and we'll see you on the highways! :)
  • templeton3templeton3 Posts: 69
    The Odyssey is a great bang for the bucks. Great van, high on reliability, safety and resale. The only great thing about the R class is that leasing it is very cheap. If I had to pay cash for the car, I would buy the Honda because it retains it value. The value of the R Class goes down rapidly and is not as reliable as the Honda. We were able to lease a $54,000 car, 27 months, 15,000 miles per year at $499 plus tax a month is not a bad deal. By the way drive off was $1400.00.
  • jabbahopjabbahop Posts: 3
    The R works for me. I've owned an ML with the 3rd row seats for 6 years and now my three boys are getting big enough that the back space is cramped. I have four requirements for the car...

    1) I need space between the kids - this means three rows of seats. The "Will you stop touching me" episodes will lead to airbag deployment!
    2) I need to have a full sized seats in the third row. My kids are growing daily and I don't want cramped quarters or I have more fights
    3) It needs to be easy to get in the back.
    4) It has to have 4 wheel drive.

    I've looked at full sized SUVs but they are too hogish and it still isn't easy to access the back seat in many of them.

    I've looked at minivans but only the Sienna has 4 wheel drive. At this point I can't bring myself to drive a minivan even though they are quite nice and incredibly functional.

    I've looked at the R - for me it seems like the right set of features for us.

    I am probably not typical but a Sports Family Hauler is a better term than Sport Tourer for us. Not sexy but I have to think that there are bunches of family that would love something more sexy than a van but with much of its practicality.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think there is a market for it, perhaps not in as great a number as MB expected, but MB blew it by targeting it, and equiping/pricing it, for the wrong demographic -- this should not have been targeted to the S-Class set looking for additional seats, but to families who wanted something other than a minivan or SUV, but needed the functionality of both, plus the luxury, engineering and driving characteristics of Mercedes. I don't believe that there is a dearth of prospective buyers out there. But it may be that MB doesn't know how to reach them.

    This might have been the way to go, but then wouldn't price be a problem??

    M
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    Bingo. The pricing -- or rather perceived value for $$ -- IS the problem for the R, given its demographic sweet spot. On the other hand, MB doesnt seem to have any problems moving very well equipped M-Classes, and likely will sell a bunch of GL's, which again suggests that marketing muffed this punt.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Sorry about the late post. Mercedes glass is labeled, but the same glass is made on the same line as PPG. It won't be labeled MB and it may raise questions on trade in. That said, there is an issue with independents replacing glass and trying to reuse the sensors. Don't let them do it! Since this is through insurance, why would you not let MB do it? This is a structural part of the cabin and is glued in precisely. The glass through MB will have a new sensor area. If you don't go MB you can still buy the white sticker through parts.
    I have seen very few issues like yours on the service drive. I have seen it though, if the impact was "near" the edge. In seven years I have witnessed only 2 stress fractures without impact. I have a loop just for this issue.
    My suggestion is go to the Dealer or you might get your drains glued shut and inoperable rain sensor, interior lamps, dash lights to bright, questions raised at trade in due to red flags.
  • rclassfanrclassfan Posts: 5
    Many thanks, benzster, for the informative post on windscreen replacement... we'll probably get it done at the 1000 mile check up then at MB.

    When you say you have a loop for this issue, I presume you mean when you service them in the shop, not something I should have?
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Loop: as in a jewelers loop. It is a magnifying glass. If a customer has a crack, I will inspect the crack for a rock chip or impact point.
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    Has anyone had a problem with the power liftgate not closing fully. This is not to be confused with the height limiter.
    The problem is intermittent. I just want to know before I take it in for service.
  • templeton3templeton3 Posts: 69
    Here are some service bulletins for the rear power liftgate.

    Title: Body - Tailgate Cannot Be Opened
    http://www.alldata.com/tsb/Mercedes-Benz/1131350400000_1136361600000_T-72-20-53/- index.html

    Title: Body - Power Tailgate Closer Intermittently Inoperative
    http://www.alldata.com/tsb/Mercedes-Benz/1140768000000_1141977600000_T-72-20-43B- /index.html

    Title: Body - Power Liftgate Reverses When Closing
    http://www.alldata.com/tsb/Mercedes-Benz/1144047600000_1144738800000_T-72-20-58/- index.html

    Title: Body - 'Tailgate Open' Message on Instrument Cluster
    http://www.alldata.com/tsb/Mercedes-Benz/1144047600000_1144738800000_T-72-20-59/- index.html
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    Thanks for the info. I guess it's not just me.
  • cyberbrocyberbro Posts: 8
    Do all of the new R350's start with 40 or more miles?

    I noticed when I got mine it had 60 miles on it from the dealer and I have spoke to a few people and they got theres with 40 and 50 mile on them.

    It this everyone's maybe they track test them first?
  • qkslvrqkslvr Posts: 33
    Mine had 25 miles, but they had to get it from a nearby dealership. I think most of them have less than 50 miles, unless someone test drives it. As long as it doesn't have a few hundred miles, I think you are OK.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    If they are tested at the factory, there will be a sticker in the lower corner of the w/shield on the drivers side. It will state the miles. Most MB's will have 20 or so miles unless tested.
  • irishrogue1irishrogue1 Posts: 127
    merc 1 hits the nail on the head. there is no market for an executive hauler. this crossover is a stylish substitute for upper middle class soccer moms who want out of their boring middle class odyssey/sienna or their luxo-SUV that lacks useable space, handling and safety. why MB was afraid to concede that the R is probably best described as a luxury minivan makes one wonder. minivan is no longer a bad word (more on this later) even among families with $250k+ and higher annual incomes. Before the R, we pined for a $45-50k minivan - ACURA take the odyssey upscale? Lexus take the Sienna? Unless I am missing something, major metro markets in particular have alot of dual income (or substantial single income) professional families in their 30s/40s who are swallowing up $35k odysseys/sienna's without even blinking and/or $30-50k SUVs every 2 to 3 years. These folks are ripe for an R class that makes more sense than a typical minivan or a full size luxo SUV - and yes they are willing to pay a reasonable premium for it.

    Now, I have looked at and driven the MB on several occasions. and yes i will buy an R500 as soon as it makes "sense." First observation - not getting rear seat DVD in the R from day one was the biggest blunder I have seen from a major automaker in recent history. Drive down I95 on the east coast and one out of four vehicles has DVD for the kids -forget income demographics. If a 4 yr old chrysler town and country minivan can have it, dont tell me my $60k MB cant. Doors. Find me a family with a late model odyssey/siena that doesnt treat remote opening doors and tailgate as a given. MB compounds the problem with some of the biggest doors i have even seen. I agree that staying away from sliding was the right thing to do to avoid stlying miscues, but couldnt they figure a way to open and maybe even shut them remotely??? certainly they could open by remote....Next up: space/storage. they dropped the ball more than a bit by not coming up with as much space behind the 3rd row as an odyssey. the space is almost nonexistent. and folding the 3rd row really doesnt create alot of space since the whole "deck" is high with the seats folded. really crappy MB. biggest disappointment in my mind and one that cant be fixed. oh well, we'll add our thule to the top for long trips with the family...Finally, the whole perceived value issue. MB has some cool options. no doubt. but they are expensive. and so not everyone wants them. sure i love self leveling xenons, and dropped $1200 for them in my porsche but i dont know that i 'd spring for them in the R.... and besides if they truly marketed this as an executive hauler or what was that one marketing campaign i saw - oh yeah, something like showing a vineyard owner hauling around migrant labor by day and then heading out with their 4 rich friends for dinner in napa at night. who in god's name came up with that one! - then they should have loaded on the options and tacked on a higher price as people with $250k incomes would accept and expect. But they didnt....it must be because they secretly didnt want to scare away some "entry level" minivan type buyers looking at the 350....so now they please noone! they arent really luring the core minivan buyers b/c it lacks practicality. execs and vineyard owners dont want to own what amounts to a minivan. so who is left??? the people who are willing to give up all that is great about the odyssey/sienna for style, cache, performance, handling, safety so as to be outside the ever growing minivan set. I ll be honest, and you can call me a snob, but i dont like my wife driving the same minivan that typical middle class moms are driving. i want a better vehicle. and there are alot of people who feel the same way. it is the reason i have many friends in their 30s/40s who suffer the impractical nature of ALL luxo SUVs when it comes to small children and the way they drive so they can avoid driving a pedestrian minivan. brand it by lexus or acura and they would buy it....it is only a dirty word because it screams middle class....why is it that ford sold the crap out of the explorer and Jeep with cherokee and so everybody jumped on board and started marketing SUVs. seeing a growing market that kept getting more competitive the foreign automakers took them upscale and guess what? people kept buying them. sienna/odyssey sales are flat. they are dropping the ball by not reinventing themselves in the luxo segment. seriously what would it cost to rebadge/repower/makeover an ody for acura?? or a sienna for lexus? well they havent done it and MB is 90% and did it from scratch. now they just need to perfect it and market it to the right group. and just stop trying to define a new category.....crossover luxo-people mover is not a freakin' category!!
  • irishrogue1irishrogue1 Posts: 127
    ok, so i rant for several long paragraphs and i forget to circle back around and conclude that YES i will buy an R500 within 9-18mos. will it be as practical as our odyssey? no. but my kids will be old enough to open their own doors and will be walking 100% of the time and not carried. will it have enough space/storage to haul 2 adults, 2 toddlers and 2 golden retrievers to the shore or mountains every weekend? no, so we'll have to kill the lines and throw the thule on and live with wind noise. will we be happier with the styling, performance, handling? you bet. so yes we will compromise. and i will bash MB for making us compromise. if only automakers would be smart enough to ask ME what i want in a car.....certainly i know best. as a lawyer, i m nearly certain that i know everything....
  • templeton3templeton3 Posts: 69
    If I were buying a R class again, I would defintely get the R500 over the R350. The R350 is very underpowered. I have to admit that I'm a lead foot, but the R350 is not a fun car to drive. The other item that I feel is a must is the parktronics. Because the car is long and hard to see out of the back, I think its worth every penny.

    If Mercedes would advertise on TV as much as they advertise for the new GL, maybe they might sell more.
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