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Message for Mercedes Benz - how to improve C350

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Message for Mercedes Benz - how to improve C350

 
Old 09-27-2007, 02:49 AM
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Message for Mercedes Benz - how to improve C350

Dear Mercedes-Benz

Not all of us choose a C class because we can't afford an E or an S. If you live in a big city, having a smaller and more nimble car makes for easier parking and getting around. The E Class looks dated, has the horrible Command system and doesn't have the aggressive great looks of the new C, S or CL. Please make sure the new E has a similar look to the new C -- you hit home run with the C's looks.

The C-class is very good...however a lot of us think you should do the following:

- improve the interior. It has way too much cheap looking plastic. The dash should maybe have a leather option, or at least have some separating wood or brushed aluminum trim to shake up the great expanse of black or beige.

- offer a few more interior color options. BMW did a great job on their 3 series with color options, and some of those should be available on Benz as well. Do a search on BMW forums and see how many people love their coral red or saddle brown interiors.

- More speed. Sadly we are brainwashed by nearly every journalist to think 0-60 times and race track handling are the be all and end all of a car's quality. We don't need to beat a BMW 335i, but we'd like to be closer in 0-60 than a full second slower. 2-3 tenths apart is fine...but please close the 1 second gap. If you can beat the 335i without having to go all the way to the AMG C63....then we'll love you forever.

- 4 matic on the full lineup including AMGs. Some of us would love to get an AMG C63 but a lot of us live in snow. Yes winter tires on a RWD car aren't horrible...but they aren't as good as winter tires on 4-Matic. Many of us would like the performance of the AMG but would also like to have the 4 season security of 4 Matic. You have huge populations in the northern US (New York, Chicago, Michigan), Canada and a lot of Europe (including your home country of Germany that get snow...so please make these things more snow capable. Doing so may even convert a few SUV owners.

- More options ! Again...I'd like to have all of the bells and whistles of an E or an S but not the size of those sedans. We would like things like climate comfort seats, back-up camera, heated rear seats and distronic plus offered as options.

- Coupe. Make the new C coupe (CLK) a smaller version of the CL and you will hit a home run. Don't make it look too hatch-backy (new verb). But if you're going to compete with the 335i coupe -- you'd better get closer, speed and handling-wise, or you'll have a tough time selling against it -- but keep the price close to theirs (i.e. and extra $10K for the 550 engine might be a little much -- but if that's all you got...we'll take it).

Overall you guys did a great job especially on the exterior styling. The interior needs to feel way more luxurious and quite frankly we'd like to be able to keep up with a 335i for around the same money as the 335i.

So as you come out with the new E class and look to update the C class -- bear of of this in mind.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:38 AM
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Throw in a 6-speed option like the 335i and the A4
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:00 PM
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And whats with the no seat/mirror memory BS. We overlooked this feature thinking the C350 is an "08' Luxury Sedan", memory for multiple seatings should be a given. We can live without the Keyless Go feature (which seems to be available, just not to US) but no memory seats and not even being an option is ridiculous. Our salesman didnt even mentioning these non-options, I think the salesmen purposely forget to point this out in fear of steering away customers. Sadly we had to find out through surfing the web while waiting for our December delivery. Now rather than purchasing the vehicle we're considering leasing for a few years in hopes MB wises up. We'll go for a purchase maybe in 2010, surely the C-Class should have standard memory seats by then right?
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:21 PM
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To the OP: are you really going to send this? Because I hope you do. As much as we like to read it, it's not going to affect change posted here on MB World.

Please send it to them in Montvale, and also mention specifically lack of Keyless Go, seat memory, and the interior colors that are available in Europe (Black/Sahara and Black/Cognac).
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:06 PM
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- More options ! Again...I'd like to have all of the bells and whistles of an E or an S but not the size of those sedans. We would like things like climate comfort seats, back-up camera, heated rear seats and distronic plus offered as options.
True, some of us would, but not at Merc pricing. This is a max profit car, and all those options at current pricing would push a C300 well into near $50k USD money. They already have to throw incentives to move E classes, I'm sure the fear is a C in that price range wouldn't move. I know I wouldn't buy it.

Coming from Audi/BMW the P1/P2 packages are oddly chosen to me. Well, actually I take that back, they got them fairly right for the C, but they're just bizzarro world on the E. Not that I'm unused to packages, just the other brands do a better job of packaging options people would really want grouped together. eq. BMW has the 'premium package' which consists of all the luxury items like garage opener, and rain sensor and leather grouped together for the same money as P2. But they also offer them up ala-carte.

I got over the seat memory thing. If you poke around the car long enough with a critical eye, and then go do the same on a 3 series, you can see areas where both skimped to get the price point/profit margins. In my eye, MB skimped more than BMW on stuff that the consumer can physically see. But BMW has the advantage in volume, so they can afford to make less on each car.
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by maytag View Post
And whats with the no seat/mirror memory BS. We overlooked this feature thinking the C350 is an "08' Luxury Sedan", memory for multiple seatings should be a given. We can live without the Keyless Go feature (which seems to be available, just not to US) but no memory seats and not even being an option is ridiculous. Our salesman didnt even mentioning these non-options, I think the salesmen purposely forget to point this out in fear of steering away customers. Sadly we had to find out through surfing the web while waiting for our December delivery. Now rather than purchasing the vehicle we're considering leasing for a few years in hopes MB wises up. We'll go for a purchase maybe in 2010, surely the C-Class should have standard memory seats by then right?
Actually we have seat memory here in Canada....so they have it but choose not to give it to the US market. I'm sure they have a reason but I have no idea what it would be.
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by oblu View Post
True, some of us would, but not at Merc pricing. This is a max profit car, and all those options at current pricing would push a C300 well into near $50k USD money. They already have to throw incentives to move E classes, I'm sure the fear is a C in that price range wouldn't move. I know I wouldn't buy it.

Coming from Audi/BMW the P1/P2 packages are oddly chosen to me. Well, actually I take that back, they got them fairly right for the C, but they're just bizzarro world on the E. Not that I'm unused to packages, just the other brands do a better job of packaging options people would really want grouped together. eq. BMW has the 'premium package' which consists of all the luxury items like garage opener, and rain sensor and leather grouped together for the same money as P2. But they also offer them up ala-carte.

I got over the seat memory thing. If you poke around the car long enough with a critical eye, and then go do the same on a 3 series, you can see areas where both skimped to get the price point/profit margins. In my eye, MB skimped more than BMW on stuff that the consumer can physically see. But BMW has the advantage in volume, so they can afford to make less on each car.
I don't think the cost needs to be any different from the E for example if they are options. If you don't want to spend the money, then you don't have to get the options. Once they see who orders what over the next year, they will probably adjust options packages. In Canada, you get more standard features, one premium package and few other options. The US tends to be more a la carte.
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pmb600 View Post
To the OP: are you really going to send this? Because I hope you do. As much as we like to read it, it's not going to affect change posted here on MB World.

Please send it to them in Montvale, and also mention specifically lack of Keyless Go, seat memory, and the interior colors that are available in Europe (Black/Sahara and Black/Cognac).
I might...but you have to realize that the auto manufactueres do read these forums.

Keyless Go and seat memory are available here in Canada.
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:50 PM
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2008 C350 Arctic White, 2013 Infiniti JX35
I think this is all part of MBUSA business strategy. They come out with the most basic C class in its first year of introduction, then

on 2nd year they may add memory seat + keyless go + widely available 4-matic option

on 3rd year they are going to beautify the interior, maybe do a little exterior upgrades

on 4th year more exterior upgrades.. maybe better wheel + body kits + new MM features

on and on and on...

This is a business and they want their customers to be excited all the time when the new C class is released the next year.

Think of it as not spoiling your wife / gf on the first b-day/anniversary celebration. If you are giving her a C350 on the first anniversary, what is she to expect on your second anniversary? 4ct dimond ring?
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by RBP View Post
I might...but you have to realize that the auto manufactueres do read these forums.

Keyless Go and seat memory are available here in Canada.
I didn't realize you were in Canada, it doesn't say location in your profile.

I know that some of the manufactuers browse these forums, but a letter to their coporate offices would take more weight I think.
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by err View Post
Think of it as not spoiling your wife / gf on the first b-day/anniversary celebration. If you are giving her a C350 on the first anniversary, what is she to expect on your second anniversary? 4ct dimond ring?
I agree with your post, and even have heard something similar from MBUSA product managers. However, unlike an anniversary gift, people will not be buying a new car every year (only a few maybe). Most C-Class buyers will have one maybe a max of two W204s if you assume they buy a new car every 3 1/2 years or so. So what customers are supposed to live without things they want for years, just so MB can keep the product fresh.

It's not like we will buy a C350 this year, and say oh look they added seat memory, lets buy it in 2009.
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by pmb600 View Post
I agree with your post, and even have heard something similar from MBUSA product managers. However, unlike an anniversary gift, people will not be buying a new car every year (only a few maybe). Most C-Class buyers will have one maybe a max of two W204s if you assume they buy a new car every 3 1/2 years or so. So what customers are supposed to live without things they want for years, just so MB can keep the product fresh.

It's not like we will buy a C350 this year, and say oh look they added seat memory, lets buy it in 2009.
More importantly....in any given year they are competing with BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and others more so than competing with the previous year C. If they aren't as good as those guys, then they won't sell many cars and it will be way harder to convert a BMW buyer who likes his 335i if all they do is finally catch up over the course of a couple of years.
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by RBP View Post
More importantly....in any given year they are competing with BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and others more so than competing with the previous year C. If they aren't as good as those guys, then they won't sell many cars and it will be way harder to convert a BMW buyer who likes his 335i if all they do is finally catch up over the course of a couple of years.
Exactly!
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:36 PM
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2008 C350
No Keyless Go is going to be a big black eye on this year's W204 in the US.

Even a Nissan Altima has keyless go now...
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:33 AM
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2008 C300 Sport 4matic
-LED rear brake lights (not just the turn signals).
-LED interior ambient lighting, as in the Audis, BMW and Acuras.
-Redesign the old school door lock pins -- the shape reminds me of the ones on my first car: a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
-Air conditioned glovebox, this comes in handy where you can temporarily store parishables while running errands.
-Aspherical side mirrors (the curve in the glass covers your blindspots and the blue tint glass cuts down on the glare), a must for all cars.
-Umbrealla holder (VW Passat and Rolls Royce Phantom has it built into the side of the door).
-Richer interiors with more wood options and leather colors, even two tone Alcantara/leather seats.
-Bluetec option
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:21 AM
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Why do you need LED brake lights? I never seen how my brake lights look. Other requirements look like you are going live in the car.
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Dema View Post
Why do you need LED brake lights? I never seen how my brake lights look. Other requirements look like you are going live in the car.
LED brake lights add a more modern look to a car. They are becoming increasingly common on even cheaper cars so it would seem that Mercedes should include them on their models. Also they are considered an added saftey feature because they illuminate more quickly so potentially the driver following you will have a split second longer to react.
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:33 AM
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I think most of the concerns voiced here will addressed for 2009. New engines, memory seats, more interior colors.

Thing is though you have to remember that this a huge volume car for Mercedes so everything from the E and S just can't incorporated overnight, i.e. it would drive the price of the C way you. MBUSA I think has done a pretty good job of balancing standard equipment for the price considering how much it costs to produce a car in Germany today.

4Matic and AMG won't ever be so you and pretty much forget that one.

I agree, the C could use more interior color options, especially the sport models, but again I think cost might be the issue here. Producing so many variations. Again I think this will be loosened up some once production catches up with demand and all of the little niggles are addressed for the 2009 model year.

The only thing I can't figure out is why MBUSA decided against memory seats and door mounted seat controls. Putting them on the seat is likely a matter of cost this time around, but not having memory is just unnaccetable IMO. Every Mercedes has had this for the last 25 years!

I think for 2009 we'll get more powerful engines. If they go with direct-injection, but not turbocharging you can expect about 258hp for the C300 and about 298hp for the C350. If they use turbos then who knows since a turbo engine is endlessly tuneable. I'm sure Mercedes has noticed that the new standard in this class is 300hp and seeing how they outpower most of their competitors in other classes I look for them to come to the table with a class leading output. Also, we'll be getting the sportiest suspension option next year which is driver selectable.

Memory seats, back up camera, new engines, more interior colors especially on the sport models etc...hopefully all for 2009.

The next CLK will look more or less like the current one judging from the spy pics. Same blobish shape, nothing like a mini-CL.

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Old 09-28-2007, 03:36 AM
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One more thing that applies not only to the C, but several other classes, offer a diesel engine. The C class diesels I drove were great, and the C220 will best any hybrid joke of a car in the US in fuel economy, and the 320 will come very close but also be able to light up the rear tires.
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:51 AM
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Oh I forgot about that, I can definitely see a C320 Bluetec coming if MBUSA feels the other Bluetec models are a hit once on sale in all 50 states.

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Old 09-28-2007, 10:07 AM
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2008 C350
Bluetech C is on its way to the US maybe as early as next year according to my dealer...they are looking at improved performance and gas mileage in the low 30's....

Would be nice, but I can't wait for it.
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:38 PM
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They should really bring the C 320 Bluetech, not the C 220.
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pmb600 View Post
They should really bring the C 320 Bluetech, not the C 220.
Given MBUSA's renumbering in the W204 I wouldn't be surprised if it matched the engine displacement as the 300 and 350 does.

Personally, I'd love to see a C350 Bluetech with 300 hp and 35 mpg...I'd probably trade mine in for it if it came out next year.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:33 PM
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Regardless of technology improvements...the interior on the new C is still horrible for a lot of people and is turning them away from the C. Mercedes has been known for being luxurious and this one isn't. If they did nothing but spruce up the interior, they would do much better. Next step has to be engine improvements and then some gadgets.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:33 PM
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And a very important addendum, very much in line with the original post: Make the diesel available in Avantgarde/Sport, not only Elegance/Luxury for the US. Don't restrict the options even further on the diesel model like on the E320 Bluetec (no sport or AMG packages available, no Airmatic, distronic, etc, etc)
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