Top Gear Survey / M-Class bombs

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In a recent BBC Top Gear survey the M-Class is 155/159... :-(
http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/survey /
Amazingly, the bottom 10 list is dominated by Peugeot and Renault...
DAS
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What are the critreria for this ranking? I have a friend with an ML and he seems happy with it.
.
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http://www.topgear.com/content/features/stories/2005/11/stories/01/1.html
That will explain all, it is a completely impartial survey of owners and members of public who own the vehicles.
This always used to be done in conjunction with JD Power but it appears not have been this year, or at least they aren't advertising it.
Manufacturers take this very seriously, it isn't some trumped up journalist making all kinds of generalisation, it's real people who own the cars and give an impartial view of the entire ownership experience.
With Mercedes in particular it seems their biggest stumbling block is customer service, or lack thereof, which I have also experienced first hand from three separate dealers.
Alan M

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No kidding....
Look at my posting on my V-Class rust problem. Cutomer service is appaling and the dealerships are well out of touch with head office. They are also suffering from major quality issues, as I found out on the V-Class. One can try to justify this on a V-Class because it comes off the commercial line, a poor excuse in my book, but people I know are having rust problems, amongst others, with E class and even the original SLK.
Mercedes are just a big dissapointment in my book! - Time to take stock Mercedes.....
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I've never been a fan of the M-class, but this survey has me interested in these Skoda's. Too bad that they don't plan to export them to the US.
Josh
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'Cheap' VWs made in a state-of the-art factory in the Czech Republic. A bargain if you can cope with the 'non-badge'...
Was once a byword for rubbish (together with Lada et al). How the lowly have risen!
http://www.skoda-auto.com/global
DAS
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In Polish Skoda means "too bad" so the joke went (when you got one, still better than a lada) "Skoda ze Skoda", too bad it's a skoda. Though they were not so bad, they did the job.
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Interesting (about the Polish meaning). But the name is quite old, of course. I guess in the 'bad old days' the name did not matter; you were just pleased you got a car...
The Skoda was probably the least bad from the communist era. In Britain only the Lada and the Skoda were available for any length of time, though we did see Polski Fiats and Wartburgs (East Germany). However, Wartburg imports into Britain stopped in the seventies IIRC.
DAS
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

Not forgetting Moskvitch.
Huw
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There were official Moskvitch imports?
DAS
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Oh yes. They rather died a death after a few wheel studs sheared while being torqued up. This received much adverse publicity at the time I remember, from which they never really recovered.
Huw
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Oh of course, Skoda just sounds the same as the Polish word, which is probably the same in some other slavic languages.

I don't know about the 'bad old days', in Poland they were not that bad, every country was different. In Poland for example, 93% of the land was privately owned and Hungary was almost capitalist. Though after going to West Germany who'd want to go back, seemed dreary.

:-) Yes, from what I hear Skoda was the least bad. And there were Ladas sold in Canada till the mid 90's, I hear the Nivas were quite alright. We had a Polski Fiat export version (meaning all the screws were tightened and they weren't put together on a Friday afternoon) and it lasted (with another owner) over 20 years, until it got into an accident, it went all over Europe, east and west and even went to Turkey, that was a good car.
cp
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No waiting for a car in the 'old' Poland, then?
OT: Did you the story about the Polish dog looking at East German dog across the Oder river?
East German dog: Oh, I wish I were on your side, then I could bark freely...
Polish dog: And I wish I were on your side, so that I could eat freely....
But:
Q: How did you tell the difference between a tile shop and a butcher's shop in East Germany?
A: Meat hooks hanging from the wall.
Or:
Q: How did you tell the difference between a greengrocer's and a butcher's in East Germany?
A: Tiles on the wall...
Ahhhh, the good old days...
BTW, I don't agree at all that HU was "almost capitalist" unless you mean it in the sense of "a miss is as good as a mile". And if it were, so what? Didn't stop the bread queues or the secret police.
DAS
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Waiting for a car? Sure, but I wasn't talking about that. I don't know if that's so serious. If you had connections, like my father, you just went and got one, couldn't get the export version any other way. The commies did not want people too mobile.

:-) funny I don't know about the eating part, the only complaints regarding food was when the commies hoarded all the food in case of a Soviet invasion in the 80's, when literally only vinegar was on the shelf. Of course, there was much more choice in West Germany, they must have the best processed food in the world, culinary German engineering I guess. I remember when some food "aid" came in from the US, that was some disgusting shit, farmer fed that to their pigs. Must've been leftovers

:-) yeah, that applied to Poland as well sometimes.

Ahhhh, well that is relative. My family does not have any serious complaints regarding life in communist Poland. Though living in West Germany was much better of course.

My point was that every eastern bloc country different.
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1) Well, it was an East German joke, not a Polish one...
2) Agreed.
DAS
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one point to remember if if you spend thousands more than the equivilant car from japan, ford etc it you expect a bit more, reliability at the minimum so if anything goes wrong it feels worse than if you bought some crap heap and were half expecting.
i recall hearing mercedes did something in the mid 90s to reduce the life expectancy of their cars because they were massively over-engineered and customers were holding on to them too long. looks like the pendulum has swung the other way too far and they are in danger of losing the quality rep they gained because their cars were massively over-engineered.
personly i wouldnt buy a post 94 merc when you could get a reportedly better built bmw for less but then i like older cars anyway so would prefer to get an older classic.
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Hi,
I have an M and A class. I've been really disappointed by both cars and the reasons for me can be traced directly back to the lack of good design. Personally I found the dealership fine; in fact when ever I had a problem, they tried to address it. Good pick up/collect service, polite, pro-active, always resolved simple problems etc...
I've decided to off load the A class after 2 years of trying to make my peace with it. The choices for me were
- A new A class (!)
- Honda Jazz
So I did an ad-hoc survey of people in my local B&Q and Tesco car park last weekend. I found a couple of new A class owners; they were pleased with their purchase but when I asked "Have you had to go back to the dealership?"; All yes. "What were the problems?"; Noises and minor faults. "Are they fixed?"; Not really. I asked a couple of old A class owners; "Happy?"; yes. "Problems?"; All yes. "What are they?"; all were serious (e.g. Steering, drive, suspension).
The Honda drivers (not all Jazz as I could not find many). "Happy?"; Yes. "Back to the dealer?"; some yes, some no. "Of those that went back, what were the problems?"; all turned out to be dealer fitted options but VERY minor issues (e.g. Car not cleaned out after fitting option X). I've previously found exactly the same problem with Ford and VW cars I've owned; the product is good, but it's let down by the dealership.
So I'm getting a bog standard Jazz today. (I know I've slipped off-topic!).
My point is that I think the MB dealerships are much better than average BUT the underlying product they're selling is off the mark. I don't know if this is because MB started to try and do "Value engineering" as it's called or not. Too be honest, I just think it's "bad", it just can't be "cheaper".
An abridged list of "bad MB design that you just can't believe" would be;
ML
- Clock can only be read by driver
- Advised to not use cleaner on Alloys as the detergent is the root of brake squeal "It's a well known problem with the car sir"
- Softness of paint work which sucks in any oil based dirt
- ESP and BAS problems
- Difficulty of operating rear seats; who could have designed that and thought it was OK?
- Lack of usable boot space
- Front headlights attract condensation after a couple of years
A
- Steering and drive problems
- Gearbox problems
- That stupid flip top box between the driver and passenger that prevents access to the brake lever and window controls
- Seat comfort
- Blind spots in forward and rear view
- Poor turning circle (is it worse than the ML???).
- Totally useless radio
- Underpowered
- Poor fuel economy
- High insurance costs
Anyway, it's so disappointing because there are so many things that are good, but you can't see them for the bad. You might think that the problems above could have been seen on a test drive. Maybe you're right, but for me, you just assume that the MB badge is going to take care of the basics.
I've never owned a Honda so maybe I'll have problems with them, but these are the factors that swayed me;
- Low speed zippiness
- Turning circle
- All round visibility
- Comfort of driving position
- Ease of moving the seats around
- Honda newsgroups tend not to report generic design or manufacturing problems
- Jazz has nearly twice the MPG of the A class
- Jazz insurance is under half of the A class
- I could easily find people that had never been back to the dealership with problems
- Cost of trade in 5KGBP rather than 10K5GBP (can't believe that!).
Just for balance,
- Motorway road noise is NOT as good but this is a minor problem for me
- High speed poke not as good
- Don't think that the dealership will be as good
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My main beef was the dealer service,
I decided to lease a new MB becasue I was so fed up with down time ofr repairs/reliability.
The idea of a new warranted vehicle is the backup.
Mine had major suspension failure after 9000 miles, dealer wouldn't collect, dealer wouldn't provide a courtesy vehicle, they did however offer to drive me to the nearest tram stop. Err thanks. Dealer wouldn't deliver, I had to go and collect, when I arrived to collect (after they called me) it wasn't ready. I got in to drive home and half the faults hadn't been corrected.
I tried the only other dealer in reasonable driving distance and got the same response.
Needless to say I will never buy a new MB again.
My wife has a new Jaguar which we bought earlier this year, the contrast is stunning, they collect and deliver and leave a courtesy car whilst yours is away, the dealer is helpful and polite and I wouldn't hesistate on recommeding them to anyone. My wifes car was retunred having been fully valetted, My MB was returned with the mechanics oily handprints still on the bonnet, wing, door , steering wheel.
I buy new vehicles because I want dealer service, I pay a premium for this incorporated in the price of the vehicle, it isn't an extra. I expect to be looked after.
I will use a manufacturer that does this as opposed to one that doesn't.
Alan M.
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Fiat and the three French manufacturers. My own data point with them is entirely consistent with these findings - a 2001 C-Class Sport coup that rattles and squeaks and has suffered endless electronic and quality problems, backed up by useless dishonest dealers. I will never buy another one.
1. Lexus 2. Skoda !!! 3. Honda . . . . 32. Mercedes 33. Citroen 34. Renault 35. Fiat 36 (and last) Peugeot
http://www.topgear.com/content/features/stories/2005/11/stories/01/3.html
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Let's not be too sweeping. Bottom is the Merc M-class, a known problem child.
'My' Merc garage is pretty good. Where do you live? Are you within reach of the three metropolitan dealerships (Brum, M'chester, London)?
DAS
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