E55 Availability

Well I finally got the word, I'll be getting my E55 in August. The build date is in the 2nd week of July. It will have taken only 2.5 years on the waiting list to get one. The question that I have now is will it be a 2004
or 2005. Does anyone one know when the year changes in the MB yearly cycle? American manufacturers generally change in Sept or Oct as I recall.
BTW I had another dealer offer me a fully loaded Silver E55 but it had $7500 worth of adds that I really don't want. I decided to wait a little longer and get it the way I want it. Can't drive now anyway, I just had a 2 level lumber spine fusion and my doc won't let me drive for a few more weeks.
More later, Rob
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Errrr ..... there is no 2.5 year waiting list for the E55 as they cease production this year for the E60.
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Miro wrote:

Which is why delivery should be delayed for three months so you can get an E60. That spine thing sounds painful - hopefully it will be ok for you to enjoy that fine car.
.
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Well German manufacturers change their production years from September build, so any normal country has say an October 2003 built car described as an 2004 model, yet why is it then that the yanks always seem to talk about 2005 cars early in the new year? If so desperate to have advanced year cars, why stop there?

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Where it has the build date on my car I just changed the 2 to a 3
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This is something that's peeved me about the U.S. auto industry for a long time. I don't recall exactly when or with which model this began (the '84 "C4" Corvette comes to mind for some reason), but it's been going on at least since the early 1980s. A manufacturer will want to tout a new model as the latest thing, and so it will arbitrarily bestow it with the next model year rather than the current one.
I think the entire auto industry the world over ought to dispense with all this B.S. and the confusion and decep- tion it causes and standardize on a manufacturing year that's in synch with the actual calendar year, e.g., if a car as built in October of 2005, then it'd be a 2005 model, not an early-build 2006.
Geoff
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There's a little more to it than that. Sometimes the manufacturer wants a longer than normal production run of that model (this makes sense if the tooling changes required are very expensive), so they'll introduce it as a model year ahead so they can produce that same configuration for more than a year.
Other times, they'll make significant changes in a model during the model year but not change the model year (sometimes, these improved models will be referred to as "and a half" models).
When GM introduced the Chevy Lumina as a 1989 model, they did so in early 1988, intending to produce the 1989 model year for 18 months, which they did.
The problem is that model years themselves are arbitrary, but they're easier to remember than production revision numbers for the general public.
--Paul ** Note "removemunged" in email address and remove to reply. **
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[ skewed model years ]

Producing a model with the same configuration for an extended period doesn't require that it be given the same model year designation for the duration of the production run. The auto industry is rife with exam- ples of cars that were identical from one model year to the next, or minimally different in ways that didn't require tooling changes (different grille, taillight lenses, wheel covers, trim, etc.).

They do, but they shouldn't. Major changes should be confined to model-year switchovers so as to prevent consumer confusion. It simplifies things for the manufacturers, too -- which is why significant running changes are the exception rather than the norm.

And as my original point stated, they got to reap the marketing benefits of selling the car as "next year's" model for nearly a year. That verges on false adver- tising. Rather than selling the car as an '89 starting in early 1988, the honest thing would've been for them to sell it as an '88 right from the beginning and through the '89 model year. Of course, the marketing disadvan- tages are obvious.
The whole issue could've been circumvented by following tradition and basing the model year on the cars' dates of manufacture: calling the cars built during GM's usual 1988 production period 1988s, and those built in 1989's, 1989s. Why would that have been a problem? There's no law that says a car has to be physically different from the previous year's model in order to qualify for a new model year designaton.

They're not arbitrary, any more than, say, fiscal years are arbitrary. They do in fact mostly coincide with the calendar year. Any consumer who's reasonably informed knows that a car with a given model year was most likely built anytime from the autumn of the previous calendar year through late summer of the designated model year, when the auto plants customarily shut down for retooling.
Geoff
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[...]

The problem (again) is one of marketing. Customers would have asked what was the difference between the '88 and '89 model years at the end of the '88 model year. Salesmen would have had to say, "There isn't a difference." Car magazines and newspaper car reporters would have made a big deal out of the fact that the 1989 Belchfire was exactly the same as the 1988 Belchfire.
And don't forget that consumers these days are conditioned to expect bargains on unsold current model year examples when the next model year is about to roll into showrooms. If a manufacturer is looking for a long run of a given configuration to reduce costs and recoup heavy engineering and tooling investments, it makes sense to introduce the car with a deceptively-advanced model year and produce it for longer-than-normal.
And finally, let's not forget that the US government has a tendency to mandate safety, pollution, and fuel economy standards beginning with a manufacturer's XXXX model year. If a car is planned to be substantially unchanged from one model year to the next, the manufacturer may still be forced to make significant changes to the car to meet US government requirements. Yes, those requirements are telegraphed years in advance and manufacturers have plenty of time to plan around them, but once again, extending a model year can have its advantages to the manufacturer.
The long and the short of it is that model years are arbitrary. It is only custom that has led consumers to expect the 2005 model year cars to begin production in late summer of 2004. Manufacturers have all fallen into the same rhythm out of competitive pressure. If GM were to begin regularly introducing the next model year in April instead of August or September, the other manufacturers would follow suit.
I don't think that arbitrary model years are necessarily a bad thing. If GM wants to produce a car that is 100% unchanged for 18 months, I think they *should* be allowed to introduce it early and not change the model year designation. I don't see any reason why they should be forced to follow model-year-designation rules. Most people can see through such shenanigans and don't really care. If consumers truly despised such practices, manufacturers wouldn't use them.
--Paul ** Note "removemunged" in email address and remove to reply. **
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The introduction of the "new" models in about October, dates to before the 1980's in US. I recall the unveiling of the '57 Chevrolet Bel-Aire in September, 1956. The local media was at the dealership and crowds lined the street - this in a small Southern town with only one Chevrolet dealership for 75 miles in any direction. This hoopla probably had been going on for years before, but maybe the media attention marked this one for me.
Why do they do it? PR is the only thing that I can think of. My '66 XKE was about 1/2 '66 and 1/2 '67, but was called a 1966 in the documentation and on the chassis plate. I just had to figure out if the part that I was replacing was for a '66, or a '67, if there was a difference. My service manual covered all of the Series II, as well as the "prior to Series II," which were not referred to as Series I in the US. Oh well, I guess that each country has its own ideas of how an automobile should be typed, regarding its vintage.
Hunt
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There is also an issue with their CAFE limits. Several years ago (maybe 1998?), GM introduced the new model year for its large SUV's in January (i.e. 1999 models were begin sold in January 1998). The reason was that they had exhausted their fuel economy limits for the current model year and selling any more 199x Suburbans and Tahoes would have put them out of compliance with federal regulations. Since they knew their overall fleet was going have better fuel economy for that next year, they decide to just "borrow" from its CAFE limits.
Another reason for introducing a new model year before the end of the current calendar year is so that the factory workers are not "distracted" by the holiday season while they are trying to learn new assemblies.
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