Originally Posted by Germancar1
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.