Last post on Feb 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz R-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Wagon
#496 of 697 Re: 4-Matic [albell]
May 16, 2006 (10:21 pm)
I bet the fallout has been something around the office! I wonder what they'll do for the next generation R, if there is one. It is amazing though because the R had a long lead from 2002 onwards as a concept and the interest seemed to be sky high during promotion, but then it hit the showroom floor with a thud. Here is a post I made over at MBWorld.org:
This is hot topic right now, the lackluster sales of the R-Class. I'm seeing more and move them on the roads, but if you look at the sales figures they're way up one month and then down the next.
I think the R missed the target for several reasons. First off they styling went got killed from concept to production. That concept "Vision GST" was stunning both inside and out. Of course the Lamborghini-style doors couldn't make production, but the body should have been kept as close to the concept as possible. Mercedes is more than capable of doing this, witness the Vision CLS and the production CLS, both gorgeous and the production model barely lost anything compared to the original concept. So styling is one issue, a big one from what I see people write about the R on other forums. First flaw: Styling - it strayed to far from the concept.
Next up is the interior. Again the concept had a much better looking interior with a futuristic looking twin-post design with lots of real aluminum and what not. Ok some of that has to be toned down for production, but the design/layout should have been kept the same. Then there is a quality of materials issue that still plauges the Bama made cars. Yes they're all better than the original ML in both design and quality, but there are other products in the SUV/Crossover segment with better built interiors with greater material and assembly quality. A Mercedes is not supposed to be surpassed in this area. Period especially at an opening price of around 50K. If Mercedes is going to market the R (as they initially intended) as executive transport for 6 then the interior should be a knock out in both quality and design, something futuristic an unlike any other Mercedes would have done the trick along with material quality like that of the new S or the CLS. Second Flaw: interior design/styling and quality (for the price and mission of the vehicle they aren't up to snuff).
There there is the issue of price vs standard equipment. Simply put there are too many options and not enough standard equipment. Since the the R doesn't appeal a executive express for 6 it is being cross-shopped with minivans and no matter how clueless a buyer may be about a Mercedes' other virtues they'll always compare the window sticker equipment to a common minvan and the R doesn't favor well, unless you spend another 10-12K in options which by then the price is way to high for this type of buyer. Third Flaw: Value equation is way out of whack even for a Mercedes.
Overall the R isn't practical enough to be called or function as a minivan and it isn't styling or luxurious enough to live up to the initial promise of the concept being a new type of executive express for 6 people. A jack of a all trades and a master of none if you will. So the road is going to be long and hard for the R until it gets a re-design in 2012 if the typial 7 years apply. I can't imagine it going that long and still selling in good enough numbers for it to make sense to keep producing it.
That said, the R320 CDI should be somewhat popular and I guess the result of all this surveying will be a re-package of the equipment and options. Now what I don't get is why Mercedes isn't putting the new V8s in the R (or ML) for 2007. Now that is just plain dumb. My little theory for this is that they're waiting for the V8s to be fitted with direct-injection for more power and less consumption for the U.S. market. Afterall what other reason could there be for not selling the new GL500 (our 550) in the U.S. when it is on sale already in Europe? If this happens it will be for the 2008 model year, next spring at the earliest....a long time for the now ancient SOHC V8 to soldier on.
I think that pretty much sums it up.
#497 of 697 Re: 4-Matic [merc1]
May 17, 2006 (2:27 am)
I agree with much that you write, but I don't necessarily agree that the R isn't practical. If you listen to or read what owners say, they love it, by and large. At least for me, it is the most versatile vehicle I have owned. I think there is a market for it, perhaps not in as great a number as MB expected, but MB blew it by targeting it, and equiping/pricing it, for the wrong demographic -- this should not have been targeted to the S-Class set looking for additional seats, but to families who wanted something other than a minivan or SUV, but needed the functionality of both, plus the luxury, engineering and driving characteristics of Mercedes. I don't believe that there is a dearth of prospective buyers out there. But it may be that MB doesn't know how to reach them.
#498 of 697 Re: 4-Matic [albell]
May 17, 2006 (6:05 am)
I caved and bought an Odyssey Touring w/NAVI and Rear Entertainment System for my wife. $1500 under invoice and at $33,947 plus TTL, it's too good of a deal to pass up. Say what you want about that, but Mercedes blew it for me on the R. In 2012 I'll be out of the market for the R(and any minvan/SUV/people hauler for that matter). I honestly hope you all who have purchased an R-class don't get killed on resale/trade. Good motoring to you all and we'll see you on the highways!
#499 of 697 Re: 4-Matic [chirp]
May 17, 2006 (9:53 am)
The Odyssey is a great bang for the bucks. Great van, high on reliability, safety and resale. The only great thing about the R class is that leasing it is very cheap. If I had to pay cash for the car, I would buy the Honda because it retains it value. The value of the R Class goes down rapidly and is not as reliable as the Honda. We were able to lease a $54,000 car, 27 months, 15,000 miles per year at $499 plus tax a month is not a bad deal. By the way drive off was $1400.00.
#500 of 697 Re: 4-Matic [albell]
May 17, 2006 (3:23 pm)
The R works for me. I've owned an ML with the 3rd row seats for 6 years and now my three boys are getting big enough that the back space is cramped. I have four requirements for the car...
1) I need space between the kids - this means three rows of seats. The "Will you stop touching me" episodes will lead to airbag deployment!
2) I need to have a full sized seats in the third row. My kids are growing daily and I don't want cramped quarters or I have more fights
3) It needs to be easy to get in the back.
4) It has to have 4 wheel drive.
I've looked at full sized SUVs but they are too hogish and it still isn't easy to access the back seat in many of them.
I've looked at minivans but only the Sienna has 4 wheel drive. At this point I can't bring myself to drive a minivan even though they are quite nice and incredibly functional.
I've looked at the R - for me it seems like the right set of features for us.
I am probably not typical but a Sports Family Hauler is a better term than Sport Tourer for us. Not sexy but I have to think that there are bunches of family that would love something more sexy than a van but with much of its practicality.
#501 of 697 Re: 4-Matic [albell]
May 17, 2006 (8:39 pm)
I think there is a market for it, perhaps not in as great a number as MB expected, but MB blew it by targeting it, and equiping/pricing it, for the wrong demographic -- this should not have been targeted to the S-Class set looking for additional seats, but to families who wanted something other than a minivan or SUV, but needed the functionality of both, plus the luxury, engineering and driving characteristics of Mercedes. I don't believe that there is a dearth of prospective buyers out there. But it may be that MB doesn't know how to reach them.
This might have been the way to go, but then wouldn't price be a problem??
#502 of 697 Re: 4-Matic [merc1]
May 18, 2006 (2:25 am)
Bingo. The pricing -- or rather perceived value for $$ -- IS the problem for the R, given its demographic sweet spot. On the other hand, MB doesnt seem to have any problems moving very well equipped M-Classes, and likely will sell a bunch of GL's, which again suggests that marketing muffed this punt.
#503 of 697 Re: Windscreen too tight? [rclassfan]
May 18, 2006 (8:08 am)
Sorry about the late post. Mercedes glass is labeled, but the same glass is made on the same line as PPG. It won't be labeled MB and it may raise questions on trade in. That said, there is an issue with independents replacing glass and trying to reuse the sensors. Don't let them do it! Since this is through insurance, why would you not let MB do it? This is a structural part of the cabin and is glued in precisely. The glass through MB will have a new sensor area. If you don't go MB you can still buy the white sticker through parts.
I have seen very few issues like yours on the service drive. I have seen it though, if the impact was "near" the edge. In seven years I have witnessed only 2 stress fractures without impact. I have a loop just for this issue.
My suggestion is go to the Dealer or you might get your drains glued shut and inoperable rain sensor, interior lamps, dash lights to bright, questions raised at trade in due to red flags.