Last post on Apr 04, 2011 at 2:02 PM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon
#90 of 886 Prestige Marque? My Butt!!!
Jul 09, 2004 (2:08 pm)
My daughter bought a 2004 C230 coupe in March 2004. After 2400 miles the transmission hose burst and the car was flat bedded to Sovereign Mercedes in Brooklyn, NY. As the car was not purchased there, the original dealer authorized a rental car. After 2 days, the car was returned to her and broke down again after just 6 miles! Again it was returned to Sovereign who has now had the car for over 2 weeks. According to their mechanic, they overlooked a faulty radiator the first time around and now have to replace the entire transmission, as well as the radiator. The parts are on order. In the meantime, Sovereign refuses to provide a loaner vehicle, or authorize a rental, and White Plains Mercedes, the selling dealer, says that it is Sovereign's problem now as the initial repair was mishandled. Mercedes USA refuses to intercede claiming that each dealer must set their own policies regarding loan vehicles. My daughter is out over $700 in rental charges, and counting. This is my daughter's first car and definitely her last Mercedes!!!
If Mercedes is seeking to alienate the next generation of car buyers they are certainly off to a flying start!
#91 of 886 Rentals and loaners
Jul 09, 2004 (2:21 pm)
It's interesting to see that each dealer is free to do whatever they feel like regarding providing a loaner or not.
I had thought the cost of loaners and rentals was at least partially sponsored by the factory warranty program.
#92 of 886 I replied to this post....
Jul 10, 2004 (4:52 am)
...on the C-Coupe board.
Dealer franchise agreements in this country permit individual dealers to do just about anything they want, short of outright fraud. The punishments that the manufacturers can impose are too small generally to be much of a disincentive for poor policies. Over the long haul, poor CSI scores will doom a bad dealer, but that doesn't help you when you need a problem solved today.
In the past, MBUSA had supported the loaner program by generously offering very low flooring costs for cars kept in stock for this purpose...plus the dealer could then turn around and sell the loaners as Starmark cars, and often still turn a profit over the original cost. Still, many dealers refuse loaners to customers who did not buy their car at that dealership, or impose other limitations. The small print on the loaner program in the various brochures makes it clear this is up to the individual dealer, but this seems deceptive to most people, and so it probably is...
#93 of 886 Re: I replied to this post.... [jrct9454]
Jul 10, 2004 (6:46 am)
According to the poster, even the dealer he purchased from did not want to work on the car or provide a loaner because some work had already been done at a different dealer.
Anyway, he can blast the dealer with unflattering survey responses now if he wishes.
Mercedes really seems to be spiralling downhill with the reduced quality and reliability ratings, dropping free maintenance on 2005 models and the company not supporting the loaner car program. What next?
Which manufacturers still support loaner cars at the corporate level as a perk that all owners get for at least the factory warranty period? BMW, Lexus, others?
#94 of 886 I know of no manufacturer in the US....
Jul 10, 2004 (8:55 am)
...that requires its dealers to offer loaners. It is VIRTUALLY universal with Lexus, but certainly not BMW [there are plenty of horror stories there, too], and in every case, the dealer has the ability to opt out if they want.
Lexus has a huge advantage: their policies at the corporate [Toyota] level make it fantastically profitable and lucrative to own a Lexus franchise. They keep the number of dealers low, assuring that no territorial disputes arise and keeping sales-per-dealer numbers near the top of the industry year after year. They just TAKE CARE OF THE FRANCHISE, and the dealers respond by toeing the line...win-win for everybody.
By contrast, MBUSA over the past 10-15 years has done just about everything possible to alienate its dealer body [this all started during the Mike Jackson era - he's now taken his act to the other side of the table, running Autonation's group of dealerships]: cutting margins, allowing multiple competitive dealerships within tight geographic boundaries, and most importantly, imposing the impossible task of fixing a bunch of cars that are often virtually unfixable [the last S-Class launch was an unmitigated disaster; the early W203 C-Class cars were troublesome; the MLs were stinkers at the beginning, etc. etc.].
I've been buying MBs since 1968, and our '02 C240 is number 14. I like the car very much, and knock on wood, it has been very easy to live with so far [two small problems remedied at the dealer with no great difficulty] - HOWEVER, I always qualify my recommendations these days when asked: if you want a trouble-free ownership experience, buy Japanese. The Germans still produce a superior touring car, but owning one requires a degree of patience and understanding that may or may not be worth it to you. And yes, in my opinion the best cars they ever made were the W126 S-Class cars, and the W124 Es...I'm out looking for a good used W126 right now.
Real MB enthusiasts, including virtually all of the MBCA club members I know, do indeed focus heavily on the "good old days" that seemed to have ended sometime in the mid-to-late '90s. To be completely fair, this applies IN SPADES to hardcore BMWCCA people, as well - most of them think most of what BMW is offering up these days is of no interest to them [I belong to both organizations], and think BMW has lost its way.
#95 of 886 Re: I know of no manufacturer in the US.... [jrct9454]
Jul 10, 2004 (9:55 am)
If the manufacturer puts up money directly or indirectly to pay for or subsidize the loaner program, they should be able to "require" it.
I looked through the Lexus website and the only reference I found was for the Certified Pre-owned cars. Looks like complimentary loaner cars are part of the deal with CPO cars.
If loaner cars are at the dealers whim on a Mercedes or other luxury brand, then you might as well just buy a non-luxury brand car and take part of the savings to pay for your own rentals if needed.
#96 of 886 I don't disagree...
Jul 10, 2004 (12:36 pm)
...but your beef is with US franchise laws. Thanks to a great lobby, a lot of lawyers, and generous political contributions, the dealers call the tune, not the manufacturers.
What SHOULD happen, of course, is that no car maker ought to advertise a program that the dealers are not 100% committed to delivering. The wording in the literature is legally unambiguous, but practically misleading.
We've probably beaten this to death...the fact remains, MB and this particular dealer have managed to alienate a first-time customer - the worst no-no in the business. Sigh...
#97 of 886 Steering wheel phone controls
Jul 13, 2004 (10:26 am)
Can someone please clue me in on the use of the phone buttons on the steering wheel?
As background, I am considering a 2002 C230 as a used purchase, but want to make sure I have some form of hands-free phone unit to use. I saw the phone buttons on the column, but have no idea what they are linked to?
I'm guessing it is some proprietary car phone service that you pay a subscription fee towards, but on the off chance that it somehow works with your existing cell phone, please let me know.
Any clue would help...-Clueless
#98 of 886 2004 C230K Alignment Problems
Jul 23, 2004 (12:29 pm)
I've been noticing a very slight pull to the right on my new C230K from just a few months old car. Has anyone experienced this problem? Any advise? Thanks
#99 of 886 Re: 2004 C230K Alignment Problems [felly]
Jul 24, 2004 (4:53 am)
Sure. This isn't unusual. When I tested our '02 C240 prior to the sale, it had a noticeable pull. I stipulated that it had to be fixed before closing the deal. It took two tries. On the first, the alignment tech said that he had set it within specs, and though it was improved, it wasn't cured completely. I asked the service mgr to assign the most experienced suspension guy to the case; he decided to vary the caster settings [made the left and right front caster settings slightly different]. Caster affects the willingness of the car to change direction, so he in effect made it just slightly more stubborn on the side that was pulling. Voila, problem fixed. The cars tracks like the proverbial train now, which is the way all MBs should.
Keep in mind the problem could also be one or more tires with belt problems; one of the standard tricks is to swap tires from side to side, or back and forth [not possible of course with staggered tire sizes or unidirectional tires, which is one reason I avoid both] to see if it goes away.
Bottom line: for a competent dealer, this should not be a huge challenge. If it proves to be, find a better dealer.