Well, of course, Mercedes-Benz trucks were/are also sold in the US... look at the Mercedes-Benz Unimog - in the US it's a Frightliner - I've searched the Freightliner-page:
"In response to today's interest in the Unimog, Freightliner LLC would like to clarify its strategy for selling and marketing the Unimog multi-purpose vocational truck in North America."
I know those aren't low-end cars - I put that in quotes because that's basically what MBUSA states. They mean that in the US consumers are not used to MB vehicles that are not luxury passenger cars. They also have never seen any MB vans or the A-class, and considering the huge reputation problems MBUSA is now facing (because of the ML and other newer models' quality problems), it would be dangerous for them to bring in such products to the US as of now.
There are a couple old MB unimogs on the road, but not many. All modern MB commercial vehicles sold here are sold as Freightliners.
My point is that the other MB vehicles, such as the commercial vehicles and the vans, etc. , are not super-luxury vehicles as standard and would not fit MBUSA's current market description as a luxury-passenger-car company that sells luxury sedans as well as luxury SUV's. Vans, minivans, and mini-minivans are not considered to be luxury vehicles here. They are considered by US consumers to be low-end products that the other end of DaimlerChrysler should be handling. Plus the fact that if there is any discrepency at all in quality control, as many of the new MBs have, it would be fatal to bring it here.
MBUSA as it is cannot even face the consumers who switch to Lexus because of vastly superior build quality and comfort in the new models, or to BMW for a driver-oriented car. I think the situation in other countries is not as adverse as it is here for MB, and there are now swarms of US consumers that would not dare to even look at an MB product because of all the problems they reportedly have.
For trucks like the Axor, that is the reason why Freightliner is here. That's what they do - middle to upper-end trucks. So if MB brought these trucks in, they would just compete with Freightliner.
That's true, Mercedes-Benz is faced with more and more problems with their new cars - but thats not only a problem of Mercedes-Benz... BMW, Audi or other cars like Ford (in Europe), Renault, Volkswagen or even Jaguar have similar problems especially with Hightech parts of the cars.
Yes, for MBUSA it's a real problem - Mercedes-Benz as the "most luxury cars" producer has failures...
But I think Mr. Jürgen Schrempp will bring Mercedes-Benz back to the place it was - on top
Yes, some of the new BMW's, etc. have some problems, but atleast here, the press has blown up the issue, and I personally know too many people that have owned a couple MB's in the past and hate it when anyone even says that name. Another factor is excessive cost-cutting on MB's behalf. Here, BMW faces a couple problems, but not as many as, and not as publicized as, MB's problems. And if cars like the new SL also have these problems, MB doesn't seem to be caring about it.
I was reading the article on MBSPY many months ago, and it said that D-C's warranty costs were skyrocketing because of the ML itself. They said an average ML requires up to $2500 in warranty costs - more than 5 times any other modern MB and more than 10 times that of older MB's.
Most surprising, though, is that they analyzed photos of the Maybach, and concluded by various photo evidence (mis-matching door jams and engine hood, etc.) that it too was of pathetic quality for an MB.
Another factor is that while BMW's reputation was for sporty luxury cars, MB's was of extremely good quality and reliability, so quality problems are more degrading for MB.
Out of about 10 people I know personally that are leaving MB's products, 7 are buying either Lexus ES's or LS's, 1 is buying a new 7-series, 1 is going to BMW for an X5, and the last one is getting an M5 - pretty disappointing for people that have each owned one, two, or more MB's.
The general consumer impression now, here in the US, is that if you want a reliable, smooth, good car - get a Lexus or Acura, if you want a fast luxury car, get a beemer, and if you only want the tri-star symbol, as well as a car that will fall apart the week after you buy it, get an MB.
That is very unfortunate for "MB - unlike any other."