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.
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
I may not have those details exactly right.
In ant event, the marketing people should
be smacked with a ruler.
Kalman Rubinson wrote:
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.
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 14:17:41 -0800, greek_philosophizer wrote:
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
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.
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
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
mercedes. Old nuts like you and me don't count, because we probably
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
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.
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
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.
I think that there was a phase long before Chrysler was even a twinkle in MB
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.
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
"Conrad" <nospam@no_org.net> wrote in message
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.
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
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?
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
"marlinspike" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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
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.
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.
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
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...
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