Originally Posted by AustinGuy
Not to beat this horse to death, but rather try to understand how much the public perception about MB's quality & reliability problems are based on fact
As some of you might know, I have never owned an MB - been a BMW guy the whole time. Finally, I decided to buy a Benz and ordered an 08 S550/AMG (which will be delivered in April). From talking to business acquaintances and friends (most of whom have owned or still own MB's), the overwhelming responses are that MB's are VERY problematic. Some have even gone as far as telling me that they are the WORST car to buy as far as reliability is concerned. One person who owned a 2004 ML for 3 years told me that she had immense issues with oil leaks, burning oil and electrical problems. Another guy tells me that he owned a 2005 C-class and it was in the shop more than in his garage... another colleague tells me that his 2005 S500 was a nightmare - many electronic/electrical issues, etc. Then, my wife's good friend told her last night that they were considering an S500 in 2006 but there were so many issues and bad reports about it (W220) that they settled for a Lexus....
While I understand that even the media's favorite bellwethers - Accord/Camry/LS400, etc. have issues, there seems to be this overwhelming outcry about Mercedes' quality!
Hello, isn't that exactly what MB was known for? If not for quality (and to a lesser extent looks), why would the car even be worth $110k+? What is MB thinking? Why can't they get on it and fix this damn image problem with their cars?
Could it be this stubborn/arrogant attitude that exemplifies MB or simply a lack of customer relations and evaluation of public feedback? This problem has been going on for too long now...... and you would think that a company that spends so much on technology would try to get the basic things working without faults.... How can Lexus get the electronic/electrical and mechanical nuances right, while MB and BMW keep stumbling and bumbling around? With that being said, the W221 seems to have it right for the most part, but then you still see all these issues people are having now with the parktronic, distronic+, etc. Now, consumer reports
has the Lexus LS460L rated as it's best luxury sedan and while most here might dismiss it as "just consumer reports gibberish", it still speaks volumes about how far MB needs to go before it can rightfully reclaim that spot as the worlds best luxury/performance auto maker.
For those of you out there who have been in tune with MB, HOW MUCH truth is there to this? More importantly, is the W221 in the same mould?
Well first off, all of the vehicles you've listed are previous generation vehicles. There is nothing Mercedes can do to "fix" their reputation with those vehicles. All they can do is repair them as they break. The darkest period for Mercedes is from 1998-2005/06 depending on the model series in question.
The new S-Class and CL have proven (so far) be a complete turn around for Mercedes compared to the previous S-Class and CL models.
Secondly you simply can't use a lame review from CNNMoney to give you the entire picture on a Mercedes, or any car for that matter. For one they aren't car experts, only automotive "writers". Ditto for Consumer Reports. Their reliability data is what it is, but all they can do is "project" what the reliability will be for the new S-Class based on the old model. Pretty dumb IMO. Everyone in the known world already knows that the new S is way different from the old S, but at Consumer Reports they don't acknowledge this in their reliability stats, only to say that it is "projected". I am dying to see what Consumer Reports says in their data this spring which will include actual hard data on the 2007 S and CL models, not some projection crap. The upcoming data will give the stats on the first year of ownership, not the first 90 days like J.D. Powers does.
The new S/CL does just what you ask, gets a handle on the problem and their image and it has done so (so far) with smashing results. You also have to realize that people with older troubled Benzes are going to harp about it forever and forever until they either get a newer and have a better experience. After a while it just becomes meaningless drivel because their cars are no longer relevant or related to the current crop in quality, design, reliability.
I have a W208 CLK430 Cabriolet, one of the troubled cars from the darker years of Mercedes' quality woes so I know first hand about this to a certain degree, but I also have the sense to know a W221 is a different car. There comes a time where you have to make up your own mind and use more than one (bitter) source.
There is no denying that Mercedes-Benz suffered (or suffers depending on how you look at it) a severe drop in quality. Generally the worst offenders were/are:
1998-2005 ML (W163) - Worst vehicle Mercedes-Benz has made in the last 25 years!
1998-2003 CLK (W208)
2001-2007 C-Class (W203)
2000-2006 S-Class (W220)
1996-2002 E-Class (W210)
Then you have some cars that were iffy at the start, but seemed to have improved greatly:
2003-2008 E-Class (W211) - The 2003-2005 models were worst, but from 2006 onward things seem to have gotten better, but the real improvement came with the 2007 facelift. The initial data (JDP) suggest a complete turn around, but I'm still waiting to see is Consumer Reports mirrors it.
2003-2008 SL (R230) - Like the current E-Class, the 2003-2005 models were problematic, but the 2007 facelift seems to have turned things around.
Then you have some that still seem to be problematic:
2003-2008 CLK (W209) - Still seems to be more problematic than any of the above cars. Not sure why at this point. Still better than the W208 cars, but not yet straightened out it seems.
2006-2008 GL, ML, R-Classes. All share the same chassis and most parts, still seem to be problematic going by the boards here. These being built here seems to have a lot to do with it, but that is a whole different story.
Overall I'd say MB's quality is on the mend, but they still have a long ways to go. Ideally everything they make would be as trouble free as the W221 is proving to be. We'll see if the new C-Class can repeat this in the hands of far more consumers in much greater number than the S-Class.