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Old 11-20-2006, 07:56 PM   #1
cyberpirate
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Default Mercedes vs. Consumer Reports

The luxury carmaker is not happy with recent rankings that appeared in the 2007 New Car Preview.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- There is an old saying in the newspaper business that you shouldn't pick a fight with somebody who buys ink by the gallon.

That hasn't stopped Mercedes-Benz from taking a few swipes at Consumer Reports over some very damaging reviews of Mercedes vehicles.

First some background: For the 2007 edition of its New Car Preview, Consumer Reports surveyed its six million subscribers about what serious problems they had with the cars they own. Some 1.3 million responded and the results weren't good for Mercedes-Benz.

Here's a brief blow-by-blow: In a listing of the least reliable luxury cars, based on 2006 models, three of the six cars are Mercedes: the old S-class (prior to the recent redesign), the CLS and the E-class Sedan.

Same thing in sport cars. Mercedes hogged three of the seven slots for least reliable: the SL, the CLK and the V6 SLK.

Among mid-sized SUVs, the M-class, a quality disaster when it first came out, still ranks as the least reliable in its grouping.

Other luxury manufacturers turn up on the least reliable list, with BMWs, Jaguars and Cadillacs sprinkled throughout.

But what is striking about Mercedes' performance is its consistency. Of the 11 models reviewed by Consumers, none are recommended. Seven are left off of the list because of poor reliability; the remaining four are considered too new to predict.

Mercedes has the worst record of any automaker with that many models. For a brand that claims to be "engineered like no other car in the world," that is fairly frightening.

"They understand the problems and they are fixing some of them, but they have a long way to come," says David Champion, director of automotive testing at Consumers.

For its part, a spokesman for Mercedes says that the data in the Consumer Reports rankings "is totally out of sync with what we're seeing in the mainstream research as well as our own customer satisfaction and warranty data." He points to the good marks Mercedes gets for ride, handling, comfort, safety and performance.

He may be whistling into a windstorm, though. "Car buyers pay a lot of attention to CR's ratings," says industry consultant George Peterson. "They perceive them as unbiased."

Research by Peterson's own firm, AutoPacific, substantiates CR's findings. Its 2006 Ideal Vehicle Awards show Mercedes not only ranking ninth out of ten among luxury brands but also lower than the top ten mainstream brands like Hyundai (Charts) and Subaru.

Quality problems have been a big issue at Mercedes for several years and the company keeps insisting It has a handle on them. But issues keep cropping up.

The JD Power Initial quality study for 2006 models, which measures defects identified by customers during the first 90 days of ownership, put Mercedes at 25th out of a field of 37 brands. That was well behind leaders like Porsche, Toyota's (Charts) Lexus, Jaguar, GM's (Charts) Cadillac and Infiniti, though still two notches ahead of BMW.

The Mercedes spokesman blames that low ranking on two major complaints: brake dust from the high performance brakes and problems with the new seven speed transmission, that he says have been repaired.

He adds: "As you're aware, the IQS included a new survey methodology by JD Power which goes well beyond the actual quality of the vehicles and into subjective measurement (an important distinction) of how customers feel about such things as the design, look and operation of features, controls and equipment."

Mercedes still makes superb automobiles - striking in design, sophisticated in engineering, exhilarating in performance. It attracts hugely loyal buyers and its cars retain value better than most.

But being a leader means being constantly under attack by those behind you. Along with BMW and Lexus, Mercedes ranks in the top tier of luxury brands.

But until it can tame the devilish complexity of its cars into more reliable transportation, its position will remain precarious. And it doesn't help to be in denial about the problems you face - or to attack the messenger who delivers the bad news.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:37 PM   #2
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HAHAHA. Thats what they get for making overpriced unreliable cars. my friends dad was a huge Benz fan. he got one of the first Ml320 (one of the ugliest suvs evAR) . He complains that its had rattles since day 1 that the dealership has since never found, several electronic issues and just overall unreliability. He now thinks benz has totally lost their prestige as a fine automaker.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:53 PM   #3
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This is why no one trusts american automotive journalism... They cant say what they really think or they get ****ing sued
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kostamojen View Post
This is why no one trusts american automotive journalism... They cant say what they really think or they get ****ing sued
Consumer Reports is perfectly accustomed to getting sued, and winning. But they have not been sued in this case.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:51 PM   #5
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Funny. If only MB kept their mouth shut, at least there wouldn't have been a Fortune article on how much they suck.
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Old 11-20-2006, 10:19 PM   #6
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my sis has an ML430. Fantastic engine, way more power and torque for the displacement than the crapy 5.7L "hemi" I've rented. But that is the only good thing about the car. Everthing else is crap: interior rattles and the door handle is busted. Shame.

They do make great MECHANICAL devices, ze Germans. There is so much electronics and processors on the cars that the odds of something going wrong is huge.
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:59 PM   #7
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MB quality been downhill for past 10 years..
They need like 20 years to fix it back up...
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:09 AM   #8
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I think Consumer Reports is a bunch of crap to begin with.
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sir_Xenon View Post
They do make great MECHANICAL devices, ze Germans. There is so much electronics and processors on the cars that the odds of something going wrong is huge.
x1000 I recently had the new GTI with the DSG transmission. It was great for the first 4400 miles and then, out of no where, something with one of the 100 transmission sensors failed and the entire transmission had to be replaced.
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:48 AM   #10
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I think people complain more with Mercedes because they spent a lot of money and feel they should get a car that's not so problamatic. I'd buy a Lexus over a Mercedes anyday.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:35 AM   #11
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I've heard that their problems stem from their bailing out of Chrysler. Word had it that they had to cheapen the materials that were going into the Mercedes brand to save money that they could use on Chrysler.
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:46 AM   #12
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No problems on mine, runs like the wind.
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by FrankRizzo View Post
I've heard that their problems stem from their bailing out of Chrysler. Word had it that they had to cheapen the materials that were going into the Mercedes brand to save money that they could use on Chrysler.
I think it's more that they are trying to increase the use of common parts between the various Chrysler and Mercedes brands to generate cost savings which means the quality of parts used in Mercedes autos are going down.

Ed
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:15 AM   #14
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Too many models, too many components and not enough people to keep quality up. I think a while back the top brass as MB were grilled because their cars were too complicated.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:31 PM   #15
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Would this be connected to Chrysler's influence with MB?
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:43 AM   #16
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^They were already having problems before the merge...
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:43 AM   #17
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Yup, gone are the days of bombproof reliability; the taxis in Moroco are MBs from the 70s!! Their trucks and the G-class are still solid though.
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by FrankRizzo View Post
I've heard that their problems stem from their bailing out of Chrysler. Word had it that they had to cheapen the materials that were going into the Mercedes brand to save money that they could use on Chrysler.
MB's reliability went down the drain LONG BEFORE the merger. It's just that people have finally opened up to the idea that ze German Mercedez can suck too only recently.

Once you build up the reputation, it will take ten years of screwing up before the general public notices it. Take Hyundai for example. They've been builing decent reliable vehicles for a few years now, but most people still think Hyundais are POS. The problem with them is that it also takes the same amount of time (or more) going the other way.
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Old 11-24-2006, 07:30 PM   #19
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My 2000 e55 AMG was garbage with electronics. There where so many electronics issues we where scared to drive it. The car only had 40k miles when we bought it and we traded it with 48k miles a year later. It had spent 6 of 12 months in the shop getting fixed.

The engine was the best ever. The car (when it worked right) made you feel special (I'm better then you). It looked like a diplomats car. If only it would have been more reliable, I would still own it.

Our Acura has no soul like the Benz, but at least it never lets us down.
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Old 11-25-2006, 01:30 PM   #20
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No problems on mine, runs like the wind.
That's now just wait 'till the "wind" becomes a tornado... My uncle (dad's brother) got rid of his 2004 E55 (to many problems to be listed) and switch to a 2006 M5 which needless to say is not much better in the "problems" department... Automobiles with too much technology WILL become major problems one way or another... If is not the electronics it will be the quality of material or even the way it was assembled.

My Subaru mechanic (and buddy) is actually a certified BMW tech, with most of his clients being Audis, MBs, Jaguars and VWs. Every time I stop by the shop I see a new story (problem) with one of the mentioned brands.

He actually owns a 2004 STI , although his wife drives a 325ic ... he loves working with Subaru so much that when someone breaks a WRX transmission or blows an engine (beeing stupid with boost), he's the one most people go to...

Mercedes are exceptional machines with poor reliability... nothing else

.02 Cents
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Old 11-25-2006, 02:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by exekious View Post
My 2000 e55 AMG was garbage with electronics. There where so many electronics issues we where scared to drive it. The car only had 40k miles when we bought it and we traded it with 48k miles a year later. It had spent 6 of 12 months in the shop getting fixed.

The engine was the best ever. The car (when it worked right) made you feel special (I'm better then you). It looked like a diplomats car. If only it would have been more reliable, I would still own it.

Our Acura has no soul like the Benz, but at least it never lets us down.
My dad always used to call Jap cars "refridgerators"... I finally sold him on buying a Lexus a couple months ago, now he's looking at buying another. There's a lot to be said for something working well all the time. I mean, I'd like a BMW but I need a car I can drive every day, not 9 out of 10 days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariano View Post
That's now just wait 'till the "wind" becomes a tornado... My uncle (dad's brother) got rid of his 2004 E55 (to many problems to be listed) and switch to a 2006 M5 which needless to say is not much better in the "problems" department... Automobiles with too much technology WILL become major problems one way or another... If is not the electronics it will be the quality of material or even the way it was assembled.

My Subaru mechanic (and buddy) is actually a certified BMW tech, with most of his clients being Audis, MBs, Jaguars and VWs. Every time I stop by the shop I see a new story (problem) with one of the mentioned brands.

He actually owns a 2004 STI , although his wife drives a 325ic ... he loves working with Subaru so much that when someone breaks a WRX transmission or blows an engine (beeing stupid with boost), he's the one most people go to...

Mercedes are exceptional machines with poor reliability... nothing else

.02 Cents
I find it funny that everytime I go to the Audi / Dodge / Subaru service department near me, it's 2/3 Audi, 1/3 Dodge, and MAYBE a Subaru or two in for oil changes.
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