J. D. Power lists SL and SLK among most reliable luxury cars

http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/2007/02/05/reliable-luxury-autos-forbeslife-cx_dl_0205reliableluxuryautos.html
Over the years, we have heard a lot of gripes about unreliable luxury
cars.
Lamborghini's LM002 "had the durability of a potato chip," one car- industry analyst remarked. Your typical Land Rover, one reader wrote, is "as reliable as a drunken house painter."
And there are entire Web sites dedicated to jokes about Lucas, the company which used to supply mediocre electrical components to Jaguar, giving the automaker's build quality a miserable reputation that has endured for decades ("Q. Why do the English drink warm beers? A. Because they have Lucas refrigerators").
In other words, if you buy a luxury car, don't expect it to be trouble- free.
In Pictures: 2007's Most Reliable Luxury Cars But some brands, particularly Japanese luxury automakers, are known for immaculate manufacturing. At the start of this year, half of the market's 16 most-reliable luxury cars -- the models which earn Consumer Reports' highest marks for predicted reliability and/or J.D. Power's highest marks for manufacturing quality -- were Japanese, including Toyota Motor's (nyse: TM - news - people ) $61,000 Lexus LS flagship sedan, which the carmaker just overhauled.
Dependable Drive The new LS is the fourth generation of the car since Lexus introduced the line in 1989, and it has garnered more awards for quality than any other luxury car, says Lexus. It has also won J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability Index study every year it has been eligible.
Lexus builds five of the 16 most-reliable luxury cars. Its slogan used to be "the relentless pursuit of perfection," and it wasn't just lip service.
While the company has world-renowned manufacturing methods, "the pursuit of perfection" is implanted so vigorously into Toyota's corporate culture that Lexus engineers its trademark reliability into cars before they ever hit the factories. The company's designers and engineers have mastered the science behind the creation of reliable vehicles, and they don't need to wait to see how their technology and engineering will hold up on the actual cars, at least not to the extent that other manufacturers do (to test things out, other automakers need to build more pre-production prototypes than Lexus does).
Increasing Competition Given Toyota's merits, we were surprised to find that several other luxury cars compare favorably with Lexus' models, despite being issued by companies that are hardly Toyota-like.
DaimlerChrysler's (nyse: DCX - news - people ) Mercedes-Benz subsidiary, for example, has had reliability issues resulting in massive recalls and dreadful Consumer Reports ratings. However, J.D. Power has given two of the carmaker's vehicles (the SL and SLK convertibles) its highest marks for manufacturing quality. Power reports that SL and SLK owners, within 90 days of taking delivery of their new cars, are seeing very few problems with features, accessories, interior components and body quality. Could Mercedes finally be tackling its quality-control issues?
We're asking the same question of other German cars this year. In general, they are known for having technology that is prone to failure because of its complexity. Yet we were surprised to see cars by Mercedes, BMW and Porsche on our list this year.
The Findings Our list is made of new-model cars. A car is on our list if it has the highest marks for reliability from Consumer Reports and/or J.D. Power. Both use one-to-five scales for evaluating quality and reliability. A "top marks" indicates a "five" from Power or Consumer Reports, or both. The vast majority of luxury cars are not on our list.
What's more, not every luxury car has reliability ratings. If a car was new or overhauled for calendar-year 2006, don't expect to see it here. For example, Consumer Reports has not issued reliability predictions for Cadillac's Escalade and Acura's MDX, two SUVs that were overhauled last year. New cars like these need to be on the market longer in order for customers to report problems the vehicles may be having. And such blue-blooded cars as Maybach and Bentley models tend not to have reliability ratings from Power and Consumer Reports because the vehicles' volumes are too low to make for effective studies.
Power bases its overall manufacturing quality score on "problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature, or item--i.e., components that stop working or trim pieces that break or come loose." Both Power and Consumer Reports base their quality and reliability ratings on owner responses to their surveys. Consumer Reports asks owners if they have had trouble with their cars' engines, electrical systems, paint, audio systems and other components.
Rest assured, it's possible to find luxury and reliability in one vehicle. And that's no joke.
.
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I wasn't one of those surveyed, but I certainly would have given the SLK high marks if I were. I have a '99 SLK that I bought new, and I've had only two problems with it. The first was a leaking windshield washer reservoir, which was replaced under warranty during the first year. The second was one I didn't know about: when I took it in for routine service a few months ago, they told me their was a recall on the tail light assembly, and that they would replace it free of charge. I was surprised not to have received a recall notice, but in fact in came in the next day's mail.

http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/2007/02/05/reliable-luxury-autos-forbeslife-cx_dl_0205reliableluxuryautos.html
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A few months ago I heard from a technician at a Merc garage in London that the problems were essentially in cars built overseas (e.g. M Class) which, unfortunately, included some bread-and-butter vehicles.
All been addressed, he claimed.
When I told him that my CLK Cab has not so far had any big issues he said he was not surprised as it is among those not built abroad, even if not at a Merc factory (at Karmann).
DAS
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HOOOOO BOY !!!!! Where did they find a couple of reliable mercedes karz? I had two and would still drive a mercedes if they could stay on the road and pass by the stealership.
mcbrue under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
06 Rexus LS430
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How is that "rexus" working out for you mcbrue? Are Yamamoto and Inoue any more reliable than Hans and Franz? Is the car as fun to drive? Dose parking it in your driveway increase the value of your trailer? Inquiring minds want to know.
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The Rexus is no Mercedes. It is reliable - hasn't broken down yet and it has 9500 miles on it since I got it in Sept. And the S Klass kars couldn't do that! But it is a dissapointment as a car - it is NOT a luxury car after you have driven a Mercedes allthough it does keep running. I just keep hoping it will break down and strand me the way the Mercedes used to so I can dump it. The little yellow fellows with the slide rules just don't get it! The parts are there, but the engineering is for show, not go. It would take several pages to list all the ways the thing disappoints or rather just fails to meet expectations. I dumped the old S Klass after another plastic part broke back by the fire wall and drained all the water from the radiator so I couldn't drive it anywhere else. Had it towed in and fixed and then went to the local MB store and wanted to drive a new one with the heated/cooled seats. Couldn't - only one with that option was the owners! And a few other little things like that happened. So I ended up at the Rexus store. Guess I wouldn't be so disappointed except they sold me a "new" one from up in yankee country in NC that was used and had been delivered to NC store in Sept/Oct 05 ! So the Rexus dealers are probably less reliable and lower life forms than the Mercedes dealers who at least do not claim to be so great and honest! Just wish we could get a great stealership here and that Chermany vould make the S Klass reliable! Took the new Rexus out on a road trip through the remote parts of the West - like 2 hrs to the next human. And the Rexus kept running but there is no way to call for service via satellite they way you can on Mercedes. Guess Rexus figures you won't have to call so why bother putting that stuff in. Note that when I did call Mercedes service at breakdown times they suggested calling AAA cause they could get there quicker so I doubt their automatic call service is any better - can hear Hanz und Franz now telling you to get a local hearse cause theirs is far away when the kar kalls in after a fatal accident! Rexus engineered for show not go! Just take one little thing - the windshield wipers have (and this is for THE BEST 06 LS430) three speed settings and only three - an automatic that has reallllllly flaky speeds, a low that is too fast, and a fast that is too slow. And the wipers are a real wonder!!!! The drivers side wiper dumps a couple inches of water in a distorting, semi-transparent river running down the drivers windshield right where you want to look through to see if something is coming at an angle. Dratted Rexus has one advantage over the S Klass - the seatbelt on the drivers side has a manual adjust for height instead of the Mercedes automatic so I can adjust it so it doesn't hit me in the neck and strangle me. Manual adjust in a luxury car? Yes, it is like all things Japanese, just a little bit cheap! The belt is so thin that when you unhook it, it twists up and gets stuck in the door! Of course I never used the Mercedes belt cause it always tried to strangle me with that autoadjust height. Cars are sooooooo much fun!!!!
Summary - Rexus more reliable but very disappointing, stealerships no better even though they used to be.
mcbrue under the bridge in the trailer down by the river
06 Rexus LS 430
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I see. So that elusive thing called quality is something more than just relibility, creature comforts and gimmicks.
I just keep hoping it will break down and strand me the way

I had the same feeling when I borrowed a friends 450. It was a big heavy toyota.
I dumped the old S Klass after another plastic part

Well he probably did not want you to get it dirty.
And a few other little things like that happened. So I

I have experienced very few honest nanoseconds at a dealership. Most dealings remind me of playing three card monte at a carnival when I was a youngster.

:) Isn't technology wonderful? I don't think these gimmicks are aimed at folks from the country. I wonder if those folks from SC that drove into the lake on I-95 and disappeared for a week or so before the State Police found their submerged car would have benefited from this?
Rexus engineered for show not go! Just take one little

This is a safety feature, so you only hit things at a slower speed. It also washes the car as you drive.
Dratted Rexus has

You are the consumer from hell, of course they are trying to strangle you. You should write a syndicated column on car and dealer quality. Next you should buy a Jag. That would give you lots to write about.

In fact, every one of them are worse. Pretty soon there will only be three or four dealerships on the east coast and they will be bigger than the car companies.

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Then they defrauded you!
How did you find out?

I really do not understand why financially sound automotive manufacturers allow customer satisfaction to be determined by third party dealers. Toyota , I think, clears about 10 billion a year and they could afford to own the dealers. Maybe Western South Carolina is an area that somehow misses out on quality control efforts.

Welcome back.
Maybe a nice CLK convertible?
.
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US rules?
In Britain and Germany and, probably, other parts of Europe car companies do own dealerships.
In UK all the dealerships in and around the three main cities -- Birmingham, Manchester and London -- not already owned by MB were bought up.
DAS
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    Ditto in Canada.... only a 'very' few independents left. One of them in my area.
cheers, guenter
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See my above post which you answered.
DAS
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