Last post on Dec 25, 2012 at 11:19 AM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Sedan, Wagon
Nov 17, 2002 (12:07 pm)
Well sure the factory is *ultimately* responsible for quality, and a bad dealer network will kill off a car as sure as a bad car itself will (can you say "Renault"?), but the factory can't micro-manage the dealership, not actually or even legally. Best thing Mercedes can do is be more careful who they give franchises to in the first place.
Lexus had a great advantage here in building up Lexus dealers from scratch. No bad habits, no old ways. They did a good job, too.
It's my opinion /guessimate/ hunch that maybe 75% of the difference between Lexus's reliability record and Benz's is because of the dealers bobbling the service and repairs. The other 25% of the difference between Lexus and Benz is genuine, but not worth choosing a Lexus over a Benz, at least not to me. My sweetie's 1998 Lexus is about the most boring, isolated, numb car I have ever driven in my entire life, next to a 76 Eldorado, which takes the crown.
Nice ride, though, and runs great, so I can see why some people would give up a smudge of reliability and chose a Lexus. Me, personally, if I had 2-3 trips a year to the dealer, even on a tow truck, I'd pick a Benz every time. As long as I have a warranty, as long as they fix the car, and as long as the car finally "settles" down after the first year, I'd be fine.
If my new E Class kept kicking up a fuss as warranty's end drew near, then maybe I'd bail and admit that Benz isn't building a great car anymore.
But I do wonder, if we really dug into CRs complaint file, how many of these "black marks" are really legimate, serious, *repeatable* defects, and how many are just people who cant' stand the thought of their new car breaking down or who are getting reamed by a sloppy, diffident dealership.
#64 of 1173 the balance between boring reliability and drivability
Nov 17, 2002 (2:33 pm)
Granted, the manufacturer can't micro manage the dealer, it can and should monitor the service function and yank an franchise of an under performer.
I don't understand what you mean "..give up a smudge of reliability and chose a Lexus." You may have meant Mercedes. I have and did. MB had to replace my transmission on a '98E-320 after less than 30k miles. The fault here was the manufacture not the dealer.
I suspect many people view a car as a utility and opt for a Lexus even though a Mercedes or BMW may be more fun to drive. At some point degraded quality will neutralize the advantage of better handling. It's a question of how much inconvenience poor manufacturing and poor dealer service pushes a buyer to a boring but reliable car.
#65 of 1173 Mr. Shiftright
Nov 17, 2002 (4:42 pm)
"It's my opinion /guessimate/ hunch that maybe 75% of the difference between Lexus's reliability record and Benz's is because of the dealers bobbling the service and repairs"
This might possibly account for some of the difference between Lexus and MB. However, Toyota also has very high marks for reliability from CR, yet CR ranks Toyota dealerships well below average. So Toyota's high marks in reliability cannot be explained by superior dealer service.
Nov 17, 2002 (5:59 pm)
Yes, but while all Lexus dealers are Toyota dealers not all Toyota dealers are Lexus dealers. If CR culled out and polled only Lexus dealer surveys, I suspect the results would be much much higher. I have to say that my friend gets excellent service at her Lexus dealer, much better than I ever got at my local Benz dealer. However, my Benz parts department is excellent, I give them high marks.
sorry, r1_97, I mis-typed. What I mean was "I could see people giving up some reliability to own a Mercedes rather than a Lexus because the MBs drive so much more accurately IMO".
Nov 18, 2002 (8:39 am)
My own experience with Mercedes parts departments has also been extremely positive. Most recently, the parts tech went out of his way to find an equivalent to a part that I had actually requested, which saved me about %50 of the cost.
Last night, I got a good dose or road grime and brake dust into my mouth while removing my E's splash guard. Does that qualify as an 'Mercedes E-Class Repair Problem ?'
Nov 18, 2002 (9:40 am)
Yes, you could have swallowed it and gotten sick. Mercedes should be held responsible and should have a "do not drink" label on all their brake pads.
Mercedes parts network is awesome. They stock just about everything for my 1980 Benz, at least everything I've ever asked for, including sockets to hold the instrument cluster bulbs and the right front door automatic door lock actuating rod. I am very impressed with stuff like that.
#69 of 1173 Shifty.... I'm not convinced
Nov 18, 2002 (11:44 am)
We've owned, and are current owners of both MB and Lexus. Various models and years of service. .... which car would I rather drive...hands down MB. Which car would I rather service.....hands down any Toyota product, in any price range.
There is no question in my mind, MB is built to a higher standard of fit and finish and is a superior driving experience and probably overall a safer car. But MB drivers are being asked to be satisfied with the same level of parts and systems reliability as the 1980s while Toyota has continued to increase reliability to the point that they are now the bechmark for the industry.
Why should an MB driver be content with failure of such non-hitech parts as shocks and struts or radiators or head gaskets, or be plagued by electrical gremins and systems failures in a $50K + automobile in the first 5 years of service when someone driving around in a $12K Toyota Corrola or a $50+ Lexus will have nothing but routine maintanence and wear out part replacement for the first 125k miles of service?
It's not just an MB problem and perception. There are many other car companies that have not figured out how to design and buy parts and systems that are as reliable as their Japanese counterparts. And I don't think that I am alone when I say that people should expect the same level of reliablility from their new E320 then their Toyota Corrola.
Nov 18, 2002 (1:09 pm)
Well, your point is well argued but I still feel people apply a higher standard to Mercedes than they do to a Corolla. I see this time and time again, and it is a most interesting phenomenon.
The Toyota owner will insist their car is "great" and yet when I get in it and drive it I find many little things wrong or I hear or smell or see some potential problems. But they, driving as they do with no great expectations in either the performance or prestige department, simply ignore the little defects.
The Benz owner, however, ESPECIALLY the first time owner, is over that car with a magnifying glass and an acoustic stethoscope.
My sweetie's 98 Lexus 400 has a very annoying thump in the right front suspension, the tires wear out too fast and the seat heater couldn't warm a mouse on a beach in Hawaii.
Does she complain? Never. The car is "perfect".
You know, the Benz is like the smartest kid in your high school.The day he/she slips and falls into a mud puddle, everyone laughs.
a) Another way that Benz is unfairly judged is in longterm durability and build quality. A Benz absolutely kills, demolishes a Lexus in fit and finish over the long haul. But how many people hold onto a car more than a 5-8 years anymore?
As for why Benz owners must endure little glitches in basic components, well, that's a Benz. It's the same reason why people endure the eccentricities of Ferraris and Lotus.
You wanna marry the librarian or the flemenco dancer? You want an SC430 or an SL500? They aren't the same, and to get the more exciting and interesting car you are going to probably have to trade off some reliability. You can't buy an SL500 from anybody else, so take it or leave it.
#71 of 1173 Re: Shiftright
Nov 18, 2002 (1:49 pm)
"But how many people hold onto a car more than a 5-8 years anymore?"
"SC430 or an SL500"
Not that I'm a particular fan of the SC430, but at that price difference, the MB should be "the flamenco dancer".
I'm further wondering how much of MB's long-term reliability may be due to its design. MB boasts with a statistic of how many old MB's are still on the road. I may be biased, but old MB's have a certain classy look, while most older Lexi look like just that, old Lexi.
I'd rather spend my money restoring/maintaining a good looking or enjoyable car.
#72 of 1173 RE:Shiftright
Nov 18, 2002 (2:35 pm)
I have enjoyed this discussion. . . I have owned four Toyota cars, two BMW's, and one MB (E430) and I have had more electrical problems and failed sensors in the first 5000 miles than with the Toyota or BMW products. I cannot say if I just received a bad E430, but I have noticed the same type of problems described in this Town Hall.
I understand that parts wear out and I expect to maintain the car, but I am not sure if my E430 experience is normal; replacing two parts for the COMAND system in the first six months; replacing the CD changer in two years which caused the COMAND system to fail. I may not keep the car past 5 years, but that decision should be based on a desire to upgrade, not reliability. . .