CLK Cabrio factory and other things

Finally did it -- had a tour of the factory where the CLK Cabrio is assembled. Quite impressive, but not same as Merc itself (it makes 'only' 100 000 cars p.a. of all types).
They have a nice museum, of which I was given a private tour. There was a 5-yr old prototype of a cabrio with folding steel roof, but a FOUR-SEATER. Apparently no car manufacturer showed interest.
The Chysler Crossfire comes off the line here, too. Saw the roadster convertible, which may not have been launched yet. Apparently both cars are made to the same quality standard. So how is the price kept below Mercedes equivalents? Older technology maybe? Political pricing?
Oh, BTW, I am talking about Wilhelm Karmann, Osnabrueck.
I drove over and, while I was at it managed to stay north of 110 mph a surprisingly large amount of time, even touching an indicated 140 mph for about 0.5 seconds...
And, despite dire warnings from a Dutch newsgroup participant and another Dutch acquaintance I went right through the 'notorious' roadworks around Antwerp without much of a delay. No wonder the Dutch worry. A strategic tunnel is closed all of July to traffic wider than 2 meters and much of the ring road is similarly closed but for many months. This means you can't pull a caravan through... :-))
(Explanatory note: every holiday the Dutch hitch their houses to their cars and head south....they are famous for this.)
DAS
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AFAIK Chrysler has started selling the Crossfire Convertible in Germany. The whole car is based on the technical components of the old (now discontinued) Mercedes SLK, 60% of all parts are pure SLK. The SLK has earned its money for the company, so it seems very logical to me that it is possible to sell the Crossfire with the old parts cheaper than the new SLK with the newly developed parts. I can also imagine a political pricing - a Mercedes sounds more expensive than a Chrysler, so it may be more expensive;-)
Frank
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Citron Xantia - Made in Trance
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I think its just that Mercedes isn't worth the price they say it is. Ever thought about that?
I am also curious you say the SLK is discontinued. In North America it isn't. Is this just in Europe?
BTW when you say old parts its not old. You know that right?
haute in die Tasten:

is
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The previous SLK has been superseded by another version. Nobody said the SLK line has been discontinued. The Crossfire's basis is the 'old' SLK.
DAS
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Mercedes has replaced the first generation SLK (since 1996) with a new generation. The new SLK is slightly bigger, far more refined and features more space and bigger engines. Here is a picture:
http://www.topgear.com/content/news/cars_coming_soon/18 /
The first generation SLK was based on the platform, engines and suspension components used for the first C-Class (W202) since 1993. So the first SLK was quite outdated by now, which resulted in a ride stability which was not state of the art anymore. Now the Chrysler Crossfire has these outdated (yet brand new) components. This makes the Chrysler a car, which is okay by all standards, but not totally outstanding. And it is substantial cheaper. I bet that DC wanted to have a certain technology and price gap between both cars, because they compete in several markets.
Frank
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The cost of designing and engineering a vehicle has been amortalised over the time. Depending on cost and sale, the cost was paid off by third or fourth year of production.
That is how Ford is able (and afford) to continue low volume production of its monstrous Excursion once past its 'expiry date' and below the sales expectation. Ford recouped the investment very quickly due to the fact that Excursion is about 70 to 80 per cent directly from F250/F350.
I drove Dodge Magnum which used the Mercedes W210 body chassis. Very amazing and brutal vehicle! This is the best Dodge I've driven since I obtained driver's licence 22 years ago!
Oliver
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It's quite well known (and criticised in US circles) that the Crossfire is based on the last SLK model, so it is using amortised parts in part, though the body is quite different (couple and roadster). Indeed, a guy in QA (Quality Assurance) told me that the some of the Crossfire bodywork (bonnet in particular) is fancier ("aufwendiger") than the SLK's and needs more input.
For the cognoscenti: 30% of CLK cabrio production has actually shifted to the Merc Bremen works, apparently to take up some slack in production capacity. As some of you may have heard, there are substantial labour issues at Merc's main German plants, essentially revolving around pay levels, which the management wishes to reduce. Threat is to shift production to lower-cost countries.
I suppose the Sebring convertible can be kept cheaper than the CLK as it is an older, simpler car (the old-fashioed roof mechanism is the first thing that strikes one). Mind you, I wouldn't mind a Sebring convertible at US prices in Europe... Saw one these in Wiesbadn again last week, parked in the same street in which I saw it a few months ago. Must be a local resident, even if the registration plate is from another, though nearby, town.
DAS
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Ennui Society wrote:

The Dodge Magnum is the previous E class !
I did not know that.
I hope its true they are working on a convertible.
.
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Yes, Chyrsler is offering the coup and cabriolet version of its 300C later this year or early next year. I do not recall which current magazine showed the concept.
I won't be surprised if Dodge is adding Charger which is coup version of Magnum though.
Oliver
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When you say recoup what do you mean? Ford lost money on the Excursion there was no recoup. They don't work like that. I am not sure who is telling you guys in the group how these companies establish machines.
They estimate x machines and how much will be made after marketing ect... if there is a loss they stop production. Regardless if it is off another line... they made a loss. What your saying implies they were loosing money took the 70-80% parts and made more sales to cover on the F250 and F350. which makes no sense. No where is it documented that those 2 truck lines sales soared that high to do this.
Not to argue just to be honest with you guys.

'only'
a
FOUR-SEATER.
are
Mercedes
for
another
strategic
the
cars
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You got it other way round. Excursion is based on the popular and successful F250/F350 whose engineering and manufacturing cost have been paid off long ago. Excursion was introduced after the F250/F350 went on sale.
Ford produces and sells on average of 800.000 F-Series trucks a YEAR. That's billions of dollars in profit each year.
What doesn't pay off is the continued mechanical update of components or the routine assembly line tooling replacement. And the assemblers, too. That's peanuts compared to the profit.
According to several sources, Ford makes about $10.000 to $15.000 profit on each Excursion it sells so the company can afford to keep Excursion in production. Like I said before, Excursion is about 20 to 30 per cent different from F250/F350 trucks so it doesn't cost too much to design and manufacture the body shell unique to Excursion.
They stop the production only if: 1. No market warrants the continued production (Pontiac Trans Am/Firebird and Chevrolet Camaro come to mind); 2. The vehicle becomes stylistically or technologically outdated; 3. The vehicle has limited production run (Audi RS6); 4. The new safety and emission regulations make it prohibitive to update (Citron 2CV, original Volkswagen Beetle, and original Mini are example); 5. The company goes under or cannot afford to keep too many models in production (Ford Australia and Holden had that issue in the 1980s and 1990s and cut the local production enormously for time being); 6. The vehicle becomes too expensive to build (1963-1964 Studebaker Avanti never earned profit for Studebaker due to problematic glass fibre body shell); 7. The vehicle's 'shock-n-awe' styling didn't make sales success (Pontiac Aztek); 8. What else?
Oliver
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