Mercedes just made me hate them

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Mercedes recently revamped the high mileage awards and no longer offers lapel pins to original owners. So apparently they don't care enough about their customers to give them a 25 cent piece of metal? How bogus. The high
mileage awards used to be much more thorough for original owners and I'm pissed as hell that 13,000 miles before my car can get an award they start skimping. This is enough that I'll never buy a Benz, my dad will never buy another benz (he bought 5 in a row, with the last one being a W126 in 1985 since all the newer models since have been much worse), and we might not even get a 300C SRT-8 like we had planned since it's the same parent company. I know other companies don't even have an award system, but to have one and then start skimping is so cheap. It's a lot like what I expect from Mercedes nowadays.Those cheap bastards. Richard
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A bit of over-reaction for "a 25 cent piece of metal."
Kal
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 15:55:24 -0500, "marlinspike"

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That may not be accurate.
I think it was Napoleon who remarked how men were motivated by virtually worthless bits of metal pinned to their chests.
I may not have those details exactly right.
In ant event, the marketing people should be smacked with a ruler.
.
Kalman Rubinson wrote:

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I have to agree - no, a 25-cent piece of tin is not reason enough to buy, or not buy a Mercedes. But that's not really the issue.
Here's the real issue: This is just one more symptom of a penny-pinching, cost-containment, corner-cutting mentality that has slowly permeated MB over the past few years. Figure it out - if the bean counters have cut corners on something so inexpensive to the coporate bottom line, then where else have they cut to the bone?
If you have a new Benz, you have my sympathy. It's not about the money - I can afford (most) of the new models. I just happened to become acquainted with Benz when they were a premier automotive company - not just a cost center that could as easily be producing discount home appliances.
Chrysler has brought a Wal-Mart mentality to the company that is entirely unsuited to the Benz automobile and it's market. Hope the stockholders are happy - but then, they're never dedicated to the company - just whichever company nets them a bit of profit six months down the line - when one company is trashed, they move their portfolio to greener pastures.
Conrad
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 14:17:41 -0800, greek_philosophizer wrote:

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Using this logic there would not be any quality companies that lasted. Which there are.
Cutting costs is what business is about. Maintaining standards is also important.
Time will tell if the Mercedes marque can continue to stand for something other then just overpriced garbage.
Personally based on what I see in this NG, mercedes is due for a revamping, with more attention to basic quality and less to ove-engineered bells and whistles.
This could ultimately make it a stronger brand IMO.
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On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 09:54:55 -0800, Martin Joseph wrote:

Companies that lasted - I'll buy that - QUALITY companies that lasted - For example? I have been utterly dismayed at the degradation of quality in most areas of the manufacturing community in the last 30 years or so. I still have a number of pre-historic products in my home that were a) evidently built by people who cared what they were doing b) built by companies that "lasted", because c) I have from time to time purchased newer versions of the same brand only to find that they have been cost-cut, out-sourced and obsolence-planned to the point that they are utter junk. I know this smacks of "old-fartism", which I certainly am capable of - but sometimes the old farts have a couple of things going for them - like experience and wisdom.
I asked for examples, so I'll give a a couple: My wife has burned out three of the new KitchenAid pro mixers in her catering business in the last two years - KitchenAid has been "improved" by outsourcing to, I believe China. She always has to fall back on my old, American-built KitchenAid.
Craftsman power tools. Crap for the most part these days. My personal experience includes a belt sander that keeps destroying it's bearing mounts for the rollers, a 1/2" "Pro" drill that died the first time I chucked up a 1/2" wood bit in it, and a circular saw that utterly burned up it's motor while under no significant load, cutting 1/4" plywood, with no sign of slowdown or bogging - just a bad smell and sudden stop. But I still have and use frequently an old Craftsman table saw that has seen enough board-feet of lumber to build the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Go figure.
I have an ancient Maytag that I keep trying to hide in my shed because it's so ugly - but every few years, I'm obliged to drag it out to fill in for another "new and improved" washer that's died in the middle of a family re-union (always on a weekend - how do they do that?)

Cutting costs - OK. Maintaining standards? Pure distilled horse-manure. You can replace standards with marketing easily with a young market that has been educated to believe everything should be disposable after three years. Whooopeee!!! I'm driving a Benz til the lease runs out!!!
As a purely objective experiment, discounting for accidents, lets see what the attrition rate of the current crop of Dodges, um, I mean MBs is compared to the mid-80's W123s after 25 years. I'll bet good money that the survival ratio is not even close. Do you want to put your money on that bet, or merely bet that 25 years from now there will still be some kind of Chrysler Benz product for sale that happens to have the star logo on it that your stockholders can trade in?

To quote my friend - this is nonsense. I have owned more vehicles than I care to think about. This has included Chevy Vegas and Cadillac ElDorados. I mention these two for a reason. At the time I owned them, I found NO significant difference in engineering between the Vega and the Cadillac. (OK, non-sleeved aluminum blocks on the Vega wasn't a reall cool idea), but mostly it was only more badly-executed bells and whistles on the Cadillac. Can you make a company profitable this way? You bet. Can you make a fine automobile this way? No way in hell.
Do I have a problem with all the plastic parts on my buddies ML? Nope. I don't care if you build them out of gingerbread - as long as gingerbread WORKS. I have a problem with shoddy, ill-fitting plastic parts that break.
I have no doubt that MB can "last" as a brand. But my argument is that sometimes a brand should represent more than the tri-star logo surviving on some cost-cut, out-sourced, marketing-above- engineering machine. It should represent the engineering and production values that established that marque. One can fail to recognize this, and still turn a profit. There will always be those who will jump at the MB name, just because of the reputation it earned at one time, but no longer deserves.
Ultimately the question is this. Can the current corporate culture continue to educate the consumer to purchase stuff that is worse than they purchased last year? I believe the answer is yes. So yes, MB will last - as a brand - as a stock exchange entity - but as a premier manufacturer af fine automobiles? That is the real question.
Sorry if I sound a little impassioned about this, but it's a bit like finding out that the girl you had a crush on in high school is now a hooker. Yeah, I'm sure she's making a living, turning a profit - but it just isn't the quality you fell in love with.
Cheers,
Conrad

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mercedes. Old nuts like you and me don't count, because we probably aren't buyers.

This is somewhat of the classic self fulfilling prophecy of "cars that last"...
Cars are machines. as long as there are parts they can be serviced. If people keeps saying "Gee them volvos really last" then subsequent people spend more money making keeping there Volvos running due to higher expectations...
Still, I drive a 19 year old mercedes, so I do believe that true quality shows up in the older specimens...

through cycles. Someday hopefully consumers are informed enough to insist on something better.

cases fine companies end up as nothing but there name.

yet, it isn't over.
Marty
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On Thu, 31 Mar 2005 00:33:04 -0800, Martin Joseph wrote:

Sigh - according to my urologist, some of my old plumbing is... oh, never mind ;-)

She has my respect - and a certain amount of fear. Short of mixing concrete, I didn't think that could be done.

If only it were just Craftsman. But I'm sure the Sears/KMart mega-merger will make that all better.

Agreed, but if that is the prime profile, then we have a different product - NOT the product that earned the reputation, but something more homogenized to the "New World" way of doing business. I just don't think Benz when I see the newer machines, and while personally, I think this started sometime ago (Oh, ok dammit, there hasn't been a decent one since 1985 ;-) but the real slide down the slippery slope started with Chrysler.

I dunno about that. I'm the champion of lost causes. Everything built by man wears out and breaks and even God's own mountains wear down in time, but I've had too many vehicles that were just flat unmaintainable beyond a certain point - I would have had to rebuild the whole damn thing from the ground up. Perhaps people ARE more inclined to fix things on some vehicles, but perhaps some vehicles also respond better to that type of maintenance.
No point in maintaining a Vega beyond a certain point, for example - there is no longer any non-corroded peice of chassis metal to attach new shock absorbers to. I don't believe in life support beyond a certain point, but I think that point almost doesn't exist for the older Benzes.

(Jumps up and down and shouts "EXACTLY MY POINT") OK, now that I've got that out of my system... Those vehicles were satisfying to drive, and rewarding to maintain - OK, after a few hundred thousand miles, maybe you DO need new ball joints - replace them properly and you have another few hundred thousand out of the chassis. Worth doing, in my admittedly archaic playbook.

Actually, in 20 years, probably China rules, but that's a different discussion for a different forum. American cars do piss me off, because I'm an American. I remember a news special (20/20 or some such) when the first of the Infiniti/Accura/Lexus cars were making a splash. The German spokesvolks were asked if they felt the Japanese were encroaching on their market. They said no, they felt that those who appreciated their approach to the art of the automobile would continue to buy German. Interestingly enough, the Japanese said the same thing - they were targeting the Honda/Toyata/Nissan market that wanted something a little more upscale, but felt the German market wasn't penetrable. BOTH the Germans and the Japanese said that their only concern was that Americans might get their act together, as they were both using cutting-edge American production line techniques, robotics, etc. - that we were failing to implement on our own assembly lines.
There are signs of improvement on the American front. The cars we are turning out now are a marked improvement over the crap we thought we could get away with in the 70's and 80's. But some of the old shuck 'n jive attitudes still prevail.

Yes, the new STS is nice. It truly has some much-improved engineering. It also has it's share of bells and whistles. Stabilitrak? MagneRide freaking magnetic ride control suspension? I have no idea when my Bilstein shocks were replaced last - they may be original, although the idea of shocks with a third of a million miles on them still managing to dance that fine line between supple and responsive just blows my mind. Yet they do. Is a well engineered basic suspension a worse idea than a complex electronic system that may be (no, almost HAS to be) guilty of a dozen more possible points of failure? Here's a clue - How many Gran Prix racers are running the Stabilitrak system? Surely they need cutting-edge suspension more than someone driving their STS to the local convenience store. Variable valve timing? Don't get me started. What kind of cutting-edge 100th-of-a-second drag racing requires variable valve timing? Is this really something that's going to enhance the experience of hitting that long stretch of I-10 between Pensacola and San Antonio? Give me a break. Or give me a breakdown - another cute thing to die when you least need it to.
I contend that premium does not necessarily equal gimmicky, and that engineering should deliver real value and performance, not mere bragging rights at the water cooler..."I have an incredibly small penis, but my car has MagneRide AND Variable Valve Timing - so there!"

I'm not ready to drag the engineers out into the back lot, line them up and shoot them until I see what they originally specified, before the marketing and bean-counting androids trashed their original designs.

No doubt. I'm mostly expressing dismay at what in my demographicly insignificant view is a calculated series of steps backwards. Look at all of the automotive firsts the Mercedes marque can claim. Could those have even happened in their current corporate culture? In other words, could OJ have been OJ if he had to play checkers? It's the wrong game.

I think that when they are cutting corners to the point that even a lousy lapel pin (the original point of the post) is too much expense that yes, crappy is not necessarily the goal, but is necessarily the result. Just how freakin' cheap is that?

Nope it isn't over. One of the benefits of having a few miles on me is this - I really am much less worried about other's opinions of me. So... I don't plan on taking the new world hard - I plan on it taking me hard. If I don't like it, I'm going to bitch. I'm going to change political parties. I'm going to put my dollars where my mouth is, and not where I think things are going wrong. And wherever possible, I'm going to encourage folks to do the same. Education only hurts for a little while, but stupidity and apathy are terminal diseases. For people and for automobile makers.

Conrad
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Frozen butter actually... Against my better advice. But it has a LONG and tedious service before she got to it.
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I think that there was a phase long before Chrysler was even a twinkle in MB management's eye.
The legend goes that MBs were designed and built and then priced. However, as the car market became more competitive management felt it had to make to a price point, i.e. set a price and then build a car to fit.
It manifested itself in various details, like the removal of damping in ash-tray covers in some models. We're talking maybe 10 - 15 years ago. This cause a lot of negative comment and some of that was reversed. How much of this attitude lingers? Who knows?
In general one has to think in economic terms. Merc's bread-and-butter cars are sold in relatively large numbers against heavy competition. Quality and reliability do not have to suffer, as the Japanese manufacturers have shown. In my opinion the malaise arises from top management's fascination with irrelevant projects: household electrical goods, aerospace and the like, all of which divert from the main job at hand, which is to build trucks, buses and cars.
Maybe the acquisition of Chrysler was a mistake, but it is the one venture where I can find some sympathy, as it was a quick way of establishing a massive passenger-car presence in the USA. After all, Chrysler sales are about double the volume of global MB-brand sales.
On the other hand, maybe MB would have done better just growing organically, maybe even building more factories there?
Despite all the negative comments I am happy, so far (he said carefully), with my 2001 CLK Cab. Niggles have been handled well by the Merc garages. I have done only about 20 000 mikes since new; not much, but still.
DAS
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I don't think it is. This is just yet another step Benz has taken towards turning into complete utter crap. They stopped caring about their products in 1992 and now they show they don't care about their customers.
"But if a long train of abuses, prevarications, and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going; it is not to be wondered that they should then rouze themselves, and endeavour to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected; and without which, ancient names, and specious forms, are so far from being better, that they are much worse, than the state of nature, or pure anarchy; the inconveniencies being all as great and as near, but the remedy farther off and more difficult" - John Locke - Second Treatise on Government
This is just as applicable here as to government. Benz has made move after move in the direction of not caring and now this is the last straw, and it's not strange for people to be up in arms about this. I rather have nothing than have to deal with bullshit. Richard
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Oh dear...
I only heard about this award in the USA through this NG. Didn't even know it existed before then. Can't say I have been bothered to check existence in Europe.
Between my dad and me we have been driving Mercs almost continuously both as company and privately-owned cars since the mid-sixties.
I think you have been cheesed off by the removal of something that you expected to obtain. Maybe this is just the trigger for you to do what you intended at some stage?
I agree with you that it (award withdrawal) is a stupid thing to do but it alone should not have an effect, everything else being equal. What other brands give out awards?
DAS
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It's in Europe too...and everywhere else Benz's are sold

Between 1972 and 1985 my dad bought 5 Benz's. From longer ago that I care to know to 1972 his dad was buying Benz's, basically there was always a Benz in the family. My dad fully expected to replace our 380SE with the next gen S-class until he saw what the 140 was like. Haven't bought another Benz since.

I'd say this is the straw that broke the camel's back. I would have given Benz a chance if their cars ever started to get good again, but not now. As long as the awards system stays like this I'll never buy a Benz.

Granted none, but I think take away an award is worse than never having one, plus now what's left to seperate Benz from everybody else? They aren't clearly better than other similar cars any more, and now they don't show greater care for the customer either. Richard
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What would you do if you made a product that the buyers could brag about the quality by getting badges, then the quality of your product dropped so low that people no longer bragged? Only way out is to drop the badges. Problem now is all the old MBs with the badges, none on the new ones. Everyone now knows the quality is not there. If it were me, I would lower the requirements, send the badges on my own without being asked for them, in hopes people will display them.
Paul
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Yuck.
Badges, we don't need no stinkin' badges.
Driving an older car in nice condition is enough of a badge for me. It's pretty obvious to anyone who cares that a 20 year old vehicle in nice condition has been around the block a few times and is being cared for...
Marty
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marlinspike wrote:
(snipped horsewank)
hehehehehehehehhhe
Fuck me sideways with a beetroot!
If a 25 cent piece of metal is thta important dont buy a Benz!!!
Nige
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You can go fornicate yourself with a 10 foot clown pole

Like I said, I won't be buying any more. What's left to seperate Benz from BMW? Nothing except for lower sales and not doing as well in the quality surveys. Benz really did die in 1992. Richard
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marlinspike wrote:

What is a clown pole?
I never saw Ronald McDonald with a pole.
.
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On 2005-03-24 10:41:11 -0800, "greek_philosophizer"

Yeah you never saw him getting jiggie with Burgie.
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Hmm, isn't Marlinspike the home of thunderous and rambunctious Captain Haddock in the Adventures of Tintin? He does delight in blaring and whining about many little nit-wit items, namely the telephone connection mixed up with the butcher shop...
marlinspike wrote:

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