Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
Feb 08, 2005 (5:47 am)
Yeah 80's and some 90's Mercedes were the last models to have that "look", stately, upright, squarish, big-square-headlights...that Mercedes had for so many years. Of course my favorite Mercedes of those years was the 1981-1991 S-Class, 1990-2002 SL and my all-time favorite E-Class..the 1986-1995 model. Of course I like the new swoopy models too, but I will admit while they are "prettier" they aren't as "distinctive". I take it you're talking about the 1971-1989 model SL, the old 380, 500 and later 560SL models? Those were a little before my time, but I do remember them. I think designman is a big fan of that model SL too.
Feb 08, 2005 (6:28 am)
ďThe SLK is a winner nothing but praise everywhere.Ē
Merc, donít tell me you havenít read the latest Road & Track. Dead last out of nine sports cars. However, this is my favorite segment so I take that comparo with a grain of salt because they are all very different cars. I like all nine with the exception of the Z4. The SLK although it has a great engine and is a lux favorite comes up short on performance.
Athough the Vette barely nipped the Boxster S for top spot, the Boxster S was clearly the editorís favorite, voted number one by 5 out of 9 editors. Folly on Porscheís part for sending a loaded Boxster at $67KÖ. price weighed on the final tally.
All said, I like the new SLK. What a shame you canít get the AMG version with manual. But for all around performance and every day driveability you canít beat the Porsches. Canít wait for the Z06 Vette to hit the streets and see what kind of havoc it will wreak at 63K. Even some 911 hardcores are drooling.
Feb 08, 2005 (6:38 am)
Yes it seems I forgot about that article....
I really don't think the SLK had a chance in a test with 911s, Vipers and Corvettes. Not a chance. The cars I'm surprised it didn't beat was the Z4 and 350Z. The SLK350 doesn't come up that short in performace because it outperformed the 350Z in a lot of categories. Must have been "feel" because the numbers should have at least put the SLK over the 350Z.
For its market segment and all around versatility I don't think the SLK can be beat. The Boxster is sportier yes, but then again it should be considering its a Porsche. Even in the C&D comparo the Boxster couldn't manage more than 1 mph faster around the track over the SLK.
Neither mags could really say anything bad about the new SLK, especially compared to the old one. The SLK55 AMG should have been included in both tests, especially the R&T one.
Feb 08, 2005 (8:23 am)
"Must have been "feel" because the numbers should have at least put the SLK over the 350Z."
SLK and 350Z were at the bottom of the performance categories. SLK nudged it by less than a point here. Even so, they were kind with their comments. Speed doesn't handicap it, it's just soft in comparison to the others... more of a touring sports car. Hey, comfort counts for something IMO. Ain't too many people driving an Elise to work everyday.
"The SLK55 AMG should have been included in both tests, especially the R&T one."
Indeed. But it's not available yet.
#7424 of 24726 Talk to the Press
Feb 10, 2005 (10:34 am)
A reporter would like to interview someone who recently bought a large sedan such as a Mercedes E-Class, Lexus LS 430, Mercury Crown Victoria or any large Cadillac or Lincoln.
Please send your daytime contact info to jfallonedmunds.com by Friday, February 11, 2005.
#7425 of 24726 Mercedes - barely profitable in operations
Feb 11, 2005 (8:15 am)
Merc1 - all those quality problems we talked about over the years have come back to hit home and are crushing them now. MB made E$20mln last year in operating profit. That means they are really losing money, probably a lot at the net income line. I'll also bet that $20mln was propped up with reduced allocations from corporate and heavy capitalization of questionable items that probably should be an expense on the P&L rather than an asset on the Balance sheet. If your a finance exec, you know the drill and you know how these things are done. I will also bet that we will soon hear about one time write-offs tied to MB credit taking a huge hit on leases from several years ago because the vaunted selling prices at the front-end are camouflaged by residuals that were far too high and didn't hold up in the real world. For anyone who bought - they take the hit, for those who leased - MB or the bank does. One of the last things in the world I'd buy today is an MB. It's like buying a stock you know is going to drop in price. I'm afraid that the slide is going to get much worse - that's my business assessment. I'll bet you in 3 years MB is 3rd to BMW and Lexus in status. I'll also bet that all these derivative cars that the auto mags love are making the business problems even worse. They are trying to be a botique shop and mass producer at the same time and the business case says do one or the other, doing both is suicide. As hard as it is to believe - Chrysler is holding up Daimler right now.
#7426 of 24726 Re: Mercedes - barely profitable in operations [ljflx]
Feb 11, 2005 (8:39 am)
What a scenario you paint here for MB's future ? Can it be that dire for them that as you stated ?
"I'll bet you in 3 years MB is 3rd to BMW and Lexus in status"
3 years for MB's fall from grace ? That is going to be a tough prediction to meet since 3 years is only around the corner from today. And Chrysler propping MB is really a bad sign for DCX; a case of the dog wagging the tail....
Feb 11, 2005 (9:26 am)
I don't entirely agree with you that "in 3 years MB is 3rd to BMW and Lexus in status." While the quality issues are impacting sales volumes and profitability, I don't see them impacting status as much. Look at high end watches...they are generally unreliable (compared to a quartz watch), but that doesn't seem to hurt their status. In cars, Ferrari is notoriously unreliable compared to say an Acura NSX, but we all know which has more status.
Besides, I think MB is finally getting serious about quality, and while imho they won't catch Lexus in quality, they should be able to make some improvements in the next few years.
#7428 of 24726 Re: ljflx [syswei]
Feb 11, 2005 (10:31 am)
Just my opinion from all my business experience and partly from personal experience of knowing people who won't even look at a Benz today. Plus these are people that are historical Benz buyers. But look at it this way - would you buy a car for 90K that will lose 50% of its value in 3 years when there are equal or better cars that are cheaper and retain over 60% of their value. Now you might lease it as long as some financial company is risking the loss in 3 years but how long will financial companies be foolish. There are only so long that people behave foolishly also. When the marquee name falls a lot falls with it. The new MB guy coming in knows better - which is why he is alluding to being brutal in cost cuts. He knows he has to be brutal on cost cuts because he has to cut the prices of MB cars in the future. But right now those prices are the link to its status. This type of exec cares about profits first and status second (or third or even lower in priority). I said a long time ago MB will not be able to sustain its MSRP's. I also said, many times, profitability was the issue not share of wallet tied to sales prices. The residuals not holding are the proof that MSRP's have to come down. I also said MB would put itself in this position a few years ago. It was a business argument but everyone thought I would be wrong and came back at me with the sexy cars and high HP and model elasticity as counterpoints to show their strength. What I always realized was that was MB's strategy to camouflage the real problems. They were trying to buy time to fix the reliabilty issue. But the latter has gone even more downhill. Combine some real bad management (read it - somewhere in there it still says they have righted things for 2005 - the pride and denial is still there), a very strong exchange rate vs the dollar, perception that is now rapidly catching up to reality, competition from powerful agressive companies that mint money and are very well run and already well established (BMW and Lexus), the growing acceptance in Europe of Asian brands, being way behind in hybrids etc. It's a bleak picture and these things have a way of crashing before you think. I don't think they will. I just think they will become just another lux brand who once was number 1 but has fallen. The business world has them everywhere you look. Lastly the story you read in the press ALWAYS has the Goldilocks spin. You don't want to know what is really going on. Trust me on that one.
#7429 of 24726 ljfix is right
Feb 11, 2005 (12:23 pm)
I, my wife, my father-in-law, and my uncle owned MBs before. We no longer buy MBs anymore due to its poor quality and reliability. We also feel that the MB status is slipping toward Chrysler since they are the same company. One of my colleague (also a doctor) used to own MB, he bought 2 Chrysler 300 instead and feels the quality of Chrysler is even better than MB!