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It may be that the old standards brands are losing their cachet with a younger generation The Japanese and Koreans are creating an image that I am slow to recognize. Hyundai/Kia have ambitions far beyond the lower and mid market range - witness the luxury cars they plan to introduce over the next 5 years.
Surveys such as JD Power are the gold standard for many car buyers today. It seems many on these boards truly believe that a Hyundai or Kia is a higher quality vehicle than a Mercedes or Cadillac.
GMs problem may be that they have let the marketing drive the design rather than designing a great car and then letting it sell itself. and they aren't the only company guilty of that.
Quality isn't just reliability either, which is what those surveys primarily measure. Any Korean car might be less troublesome as far as reliability, but physically built better than a Mercedes? Nope. Engineered like a Mercedes or any other German and most Japanese cars? Heck no. Safer than a German car? Nope. Just less trouble and this partly due to them being about the most simple cars you can buy. Outdated and underachieving drivetrains and cheapo materials, but hey they are reliable so the uninformed thinks they're great.
BTW, merc, we got in our first S350 today. All black with a wood trim pkg. I gave it a spin, and must say it's everything I expected. Plenty of power, and plenty of car for $20k less than an S500. It accelerates about like an S430, IMO. So, they're out there, go see one if you haven't already. I'm glad they brought it over.
Forbes magazine readers are prime potential Mercedes buyers with an average income of $150,000+ IIRC. Forbes has an article titled 'Almost Great Cars'. Individual vehicles are discussed that are not bad cars but that miss the mark in some way.
Here is the shocker - they rate the WHOLE Mercedes model range 'almost great' - not one or two models but the whole line!
"We do, however, feel comfortable calling DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz cars "very good" as opposed to "great." This is because they have a major flaw, pretty much across the board: They are sleek, but unreliable."
Forbes is an influential magazine and this is a blow even though it is not accurate IMO.
Link is below.
Any quality/reliability issue usually takes a while being addressed and solved. This is not exclusive to Mercedes. The current problems at VW and the Cadillac situation of 10 years have similarities to the MB scenario.
An article like this one in Forbes creates a lot of negative ripples. Restoring an image is not the work of a few months.
I've always felt that Mercedes had the most to lose when their quality went down hill since they were at the top in image and quality in most people's minds. People love to see how the mighty have fallen. This will take years to fix.
I am following this thread as I am interested in the new R class Grand Sport Tourer. Your wood trim comment caught my attention. I got thrown off the RX400h thread for making disparaging remarks about the lack of off-road ability with the Lexus sport ute. One of the things that got to me is making out like aluminum trim is better than wood trim. Am I missing something? Anyway I am enjoying your dialog on the difference between cars. I am into handling more than doodads that are offered on many Asian cars. Too bad they can't handle or stop as fast as they can make them accelerate. I bought a 2005 Passat TDI until the R class with diesel hits our shores. It is a very nice car, though a bit smaller than my Suburban.
I wrote a nasty letter to Edmunds inside line about the same thing. In every, and I mean, every, article recently about a new mercedes model, one that hasn't even been released and has no history of problems, the bottom line is always "this one will likely be a lemon" or something like that. It's is total parroting bias that serves little purpose.
As i stated before and will repeat, MB cars get the same high customer satisfaction scores of other top models on Edmunds, and often higher, despite the low regard the editors have for MB. So who is right, the reviewer who drives the car for a day, laments you can't get a manual transmission, and then reads consumer reports, or the owner who has the car for years and loves it? If the cars like the C-Class were really lemons, how would they get 9.5 scores (compared to lower for the 3-series, A4 and X-type)? These averages include people who post about bad experiences, so it's not hype.
So I guess if MB doesn't get 10s across the board, they are failures?
I vote for the consumer that gives his opinion after owning the car, over Edmund's, CR or JD Powers. I also get a lot of flack about Passat TDI being unreliable. Yet if you follow the threads there is much more praise than unhappy owners. I have gotten to where I don't trust magazine writers at all. Most of the articles are just re-writes of other articles or worse the written statement given by Toyota, Lexus or Honda.
I think Mercedes gets slammed harder because they were the leader in the luxury car market so long and some people in the back of their minds like to see a great name fall from time to time.
2006: CLK facelift new CLK350, C-Class new 2.5L, 3.0L, and 3.5L V6 engines, R-Class, M-Class, SLK280. S350 added to the S-Class lineup in the U.S. More standard equipment on all S-Class models for the final run of the S-Class.
2007: New S-Class, new CL, E-Class facelift, SL-Class facelift, all three with new V8 engines. New G-Class, though there is some question as to whether or not this new large SUV will be called a "G". Some MB sites are saying it will be called the MLX or GLX. New V8s thoughout the entire MB range. New 6.3L V8 from AMG in various states of tune based on application. (should be the biggest year in the near future)
2008: New C-Class. New CLK. New small SUV below the M-Class. Several names are being thrown around: MLX, MLK, GLK, X-Class etc. All we know is that it is coming. Finally there is talk of another CLS style vehicle between the next C-Class and the E-Class, the CLE.
With 5-6 'future Mercedes' topics now open, often about single models, it can be hard to keep track.
Would it be better if all 'future vehicle' Mercedes topics were consolidated in this one thread?
We should be talking about specific, announced future models in the model-specific discussions. This one exists more for speculation, and for talking about models that are likely to be updated. If you want to keep track of all of them, subscribe to them and check your message center.
Some members are only interested in 1 or 2 upcoming models, and wouldn't want to dig through this discussion for information on the one they're interested in.
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No problem. Its always fun to try and look into the future. Mercedes' way of doing things though are pretty much predictable imo. Mercedes usually sticks to a clear pattern of introducing a new model. This new S-Class will be shown in Sept and will land here in the March-April timeframe, 7 years to the month when the current model went on sale here.
"As in last year's survey, General Motors Corp. (GM) had two of its brands -- Buick and Cadillac -- in the top five. Buick was No. 4 with 101 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by Cadillac in fifth place, tied with DaimlerChrysler AG's ( DCX) Mercedes-Benz."
Top five brands in order: Lexus, Jaguar, BMW, Buick and Cadillac/Mercedes tied for 5th.
Let's hope Mercedes keeps the good quality rolling along.
Still though some improvement is better than none I guess. Hopefully there will be a corresponding improvement in the long term stats also. Thing is we have to wait until 2008 to truly find out how good the 2005 models are. Then again maybe not, CR does a one year survey. It will be out next April for the 2005 models.
And people talk of how Hyundai has improved initial quality. but look at it this way. For many people, the Hyundai will be the first new car they've ever owned. Either a first car, or the first new car after a life of used. Do you think these owners, when asked, will offer up a squeak or a rattle as a defect? Or point out other flaws? Or will they be so excited about the car, they will say how great it is unless it has a real problem?
I was given a brand new Mazda6 as a loaner yesterday (check engine light went on the C Coupe, likely an O2 sensor, very common problem in all makes). Anyway, I am the first driver of this car (24 miles) and while solid, there is a rear window squeak. As a perfectionist MB owner, I would report that in an initial quality survey, and that would be listed as a defect. But would a new owner of a cloth, base 4 cylinder Mazda6 report that same noise?
Read all three "what this means" endings and you'll see what I'm talking about. Just petty comments that don't say anything about the article, or maybe the writer's attempt at being witty? It might even seem as if they are being "encouraging" but then again, implying that MB recalls are somehow the norm for them but not for others is sort of lame. I mean, what does an endurance record have to do with recall notices. Every maker has recalls, even Lexus:
Of course, in the news item a few days earlier, when MB was talking about trying to get rid of defects, edmunds says: "Mercedes is finally getting back to basics, but the damage is done. Restoring the reputation of the three-pointed star will be a long haul."
Well, it will be impossible if Edmunds actively tries to thwart it.
This is unfortunately the burden Mercedes has to bear because they were seen as the best for so long and I think there is a large group of people that love to see an icon go down in flames. Considering as many times as Mercedes' cars have put cars from other companies to shame there are lot of people that are just chomping at the bit to see Mercedes finished. Ain't gonna happen folks.
There will be two as there is now. The S65's V12 is rumored to carry over, but with more hp, 630hp to be exact. The S55 will be replaced by the S63, running a new DOHC, 32V, Direct-Injection 6.3L V8 with anywhere from 500-600hp depending on who you believe. These probably won't be shown for at least a another year after the base S-Class models are shown this fall.
The "regular" S should come in three flavors, S350 (268hp), S450 (325-350hp) and the S550 (380-414hp). We should know sometime in August what it will look like when Mercedes issues that all important first official photo and then of course it will debut at the IAA in Sept.
I was given a Hyundai as a loaner while they serviced my Passat TDI (poorman's MB) I was so happy to get back into the Passat. Fit and finish to performance were all well below the VW. Going to Qualcom stadium to test the new MB M Class cars. Let you know what I think. I am waiting for the R class with CDI to make it here then back to owning a MB. I agree on the way they do these worthless surveys. CR rates the Prius "Most Reliable". at least 13 people and probably many more have been stranded by faulty software glitch. Hard to accept that kind of survey as objective.
2) Ponder and pout.
It is human nature to cheer the outsider taking over a market.
It is human nature to observe success and resent it.
It is human nature to pounce and overthrow a successful entity when they weaken.
Cadillac was cheered as they displaced Packard in the 40s and 50s. In the late 1970s and 1980s Mercedes displaced a floundering Cadillac and many of us cheered (I know I did).
Packard didn't survive stage 3.
Cadillac fought back strongly after an initial stage 3 retreat and has increased sales by over 50% in a short time.
Mercedes will solve their problems in 2-3 years - BUT - it may take 5-7 years to change public perception and stop the press sniping.
Lots of info about the facelifted CLK, C-Class engines, and new diesels Here.
At the IAA this year in Frankfurt it is also rumored that Mercedes will show a lightweight version of the SL. Think about a SL55 AMG that is about 500-1000lbs lighter. Remember this is car that can get to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds in its current (very heavy) guise. Of course the new S-Class will make its debut. There might even be an updated E-Class there too.
even the "sport light compact" SLK is a bit heavier than it might be.
SL = Sport Light
SLK = Sport Light Short
CLK = Coupe Light Short
CL = Coupe Light
SLR = Sport Light Racing
BTW - What did the S in the original "S" class stand for. i know what the E and the L and the D meant, but not the S.
S means a lot of things. S for Sport, S for Super. There must be a meaning for the large cars though.
T stands for station wagon, a designation that is now gone (300TD, 300TE)
And L did mean light in the sports cars. (licht?) The original 300SL was absolutely light.
But in the SE sedans, it was for the long wheelbase (not sure the german for that, lang?).
The naming problems came with the compact 190 class, since the engines started getting larger and the public got confused by overlapping and such. They called the middle range the E class, when it was really just the middle sized sedan (how can the 300TD wagon be an E class?) So MB moved the letters to the front, kept the E for E class, S for large sedan, and used C for compact (not K), which screwed up all the coupes, which might explain the L in CL. Then the short coupe had to be CLK. Then the C-Coupe got confusing, since the CLK was already the small coupe, and the C stood for C-Class, not Coupe.
Oh well, back to FUTURE models.
The CLS it seems continues to eat into the E-Class' sales. The SLK and M-Class were up 119.4% and 66.2% respectively compared to May 2004. The CLS sold 1550 units while the E-Class sold 3569 units (down 29.1% vs May 2004). If you add the CLS 1550 to the E-Class' 3569 you get 5119 which would have been a slight increase over last year. Very interesting. I'd say the E-Class is going to have a very, very tough road until that facelift and new V8 arrives for 2007. Inexplicably the G-Class also increased 32.3% compared to May 2004. M-Class buyer rub-off maybe? Though still we're only talking about 127 units. The CLK is about even with last year and I look for it to get a boost from the new "350" model and facelift. I look for the C-Class to pick up somewhat once the new V6s are out. The dealer closest to me still has a lot of 2005 C's left though so that might be another month. Of course the S-Class is on the down stroke, though I think it will spike before the year is out.
The lesson here is that the SLK, CLS and M can't pull the brand alone. MB needs some gains in one of their sedan lines, unlikely to happen until the next S or facelifted E, both of which aren't due for a quite a while. The C-Class' new engines might do something, but minus the hatchback models the C-Class too will be challenged to attain the sales heights of last year. Now the R-Class is the wildcard. Other boards are saying that it will be out in Sept. We'll see. Since 2006 is the last year of the current S-Class I'm surprised that there hasn't been some type of "special edition" model yet.
Sedans are indeed the key to volume. I am unsure about the next S-class: the 'spyshots' I am seeing show a lot of Maybach styling cues. I don't see how this will boost S-class sales. It will also reinforce the perception that Maybach is a 'big Benz' and not the exclusive marque it should be.
I think the E-class could do well in 2007. The E-class needs clear differentiation from the C-class in the next generation.
Things can change - my US team is doing well this month. Cadillac's May car sales are up 50.9% over May 04 and 17.8% year to date. XLR sales were >50% of SL sales for the first time in April and repeated this in May (420 XLRs and 821 SLs). I don't know if XLR sales will continue growing but there will big smiles at Cadillac HQ today.
I agree about Maybach. I think they need to come up with a look and design that is totally different, yet distinctively German.
I really like like the appearance (if the spyshots are close) of the upcoming S sedans. I see it as a real improvement and believe it will boost sales. Are the rest of you of the same mind?
I feel quite positive about Mercedes products and the company's prospects. It will take time to end the carping of the press but I think Benz is now wide awake and working hard.
At Cadillac: the CTS, STS and XLR lead the sales increases. Deville is up for May but down for the year. I had a few more comments on the 'Cadillac is cool' discussion in News and Views if you are interested - I don't want to hijack this board.
The M-class could may a lot to Mercedes sales on its own over the last half of the year. It is not enough on its own but it may be a good sign of how the upcoming new models will do.
Quite a positive article: 'a real improvement on the original version'. Excellent handling/cornering. MPG averaged 16.5 which was thought to be a bit low.
The author avoids the snide "Mercedes quality is terrible nowadays" remarks some reviewers now put in every Mercedes evaluation.
Starts at $43,675. Nicely done for about 50K.