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Fortune: Mercedes vs. Consumer Reports


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Mercedes vs. Consumer Reports

The luxury carmaker is not happy with recent rankings that appeared in the 2007 New Car Preview.

FORTUNE Magazine

By Alex Taylor III, Fortune senior editor

November 20 2006: 9:11 AM EST

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- There is an old saying in the newspaper business that you shouldn't pick a fight with somebody who buys ink by the gallon.

First some background: For the 2007 edition of its New Car Preview, Consumer Reports surveyed its six million subscribers about what serious problems they had with the cars they own. Some 1.3 million responded and the results weren't good for Mercedes-Benz.

Here's a brief blow-by-blow: In a listing of the least reliable luxury cars, based on 2006 models, three of the six cars are Mercedes: the old S-class (prior to the recent redesign), the CLS and the E-class Sedan.

Same thing in sport cars. Mercedes hogged three of the seven slots for least reliable: the SL, the CLK and the V6 SLK.

Among mid-sized SUVs, the M-class, a quality disaster when it first came out, still ranks as the least reliable in its grouping.

Other luxury manufacturers turn up on the least reliable list, with BMWs, Jaguars and Cadillacs sprinkled throughout.

But what is striking about Mercedes' performance is its consistency. Of the 11 models reviewed by Consumers, none are recommended. Seven are left off of the list because of poor reliability; the remaining four are considered too new to predict.

Mercedes has the worst record of any automaker with that many models. For a brand that claims to be "engineered like no other car in the world," that is fairly frightening.

Source: Fortune

http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/17/autos/pluggedin_Taylor_Mercedes.fortune/index.htm?cnn=yes

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Stop crying and build a better car....

-Grant

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If you want a well built luxury car, get a Cadillac

Consumer Reports' annual survey of 950,00 car owners ranked the Caddy STS the least reliable luxury car of all.

Better bet: If you want a well built car, period, stay the hell away from GM and buy Japanese.

Top ranked luxury badges:

Upscale: Acura

Luxury: Infiniti

Mid SUV: Lexus

Large SUV: Toyota

Owner satisfaction winners for various vehicle classes go: Honda, Acura, Infiniti, Mazda, Scion, Element, Pilot, Toyota.

America makes a good car. Just not the best. Too bad too, 'cuz I'd buy an American car if they excelled in a vehicle class where 500hp engines aren't the norm.

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Um, I'll point out that it's not unheard of for CR to outright fake test results.

The case I heard of involved some SUV. The testers were told the vehicle was prone to rollovers. But when they ran their standard agility tests (two abrupt lane changes at high speed) the car performed without complaint.

The chief of their testing lab supposedly, after having the test run several times, announced "I'll make it fail", and ordered the test driver out of the car. Supposedly if took several times, but he was able, by running the test at considerably higher speed than their standard test, and by over-steering, to get two wheels to come off the ground.

They supposedly ran the test a total of 19 times, and the car failed the test where the driver was intentionally not following the test.

Guess what the photo that covered the two front pages of the article was?

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(I'll also point out: Owner satisfaction ratings don't rate vehicle reliability. They rate vehicle reliability versus customer expectations.)

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However, all that said: If Mercedes has a problem with CR, they're going to have to prove deliberate deception.

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Larry, cut out the FUD.

We aren't talking about dramatic rollover tests, or faked automotive disasters -- the kinds of things that Dateline, 20/20 and 60 Minutes have all dabbled in and gotten caught. This is just a survey of vehicle owners. If Consumer Reports wanted to take actual results and dishonestly skew them, I seriously doubt they'd have the cojones to set it up so the leading car in every single vehicle category was Japanese. That kind of unilateral result isn't the work of a practitioner of deception.

(I'll also point out: Owner satisfaction ratings don't rate vehicle reliability. They rate vehicle reliability versus customer expectations.)

Yep. And given the unusually high expectations people have for their Japanese cars' quality and reliability, I'd say the results are even more impressive.

Again: America makes some good cars. Some other folks make better ones.

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Um,...fake test results. .....

That's a strong assertion, Larry, accompanied as it is by the "um of condescension". Can you give us a cite, please?

However, all that said: If Mercedes has a problem with CR, they're going to have to prove deliberate deception.

And the same is true for the auto manufacturer victimized by the test you heard was faked, isn't it?

If Consumer Reports faked a test result, it would be pretty easy to prove that the test result was flawed, whether in a court of law or in the court of public opinion. Wouldn't it?

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That's a strong assertion, Larry, accompanied as it is by the "um of condescension". Can you give us a cite, please?

And the same is true for the auto manufacturer victimized by the test you heard was faked, isn't it?

If Consumer Reports faked a test result, it would be pretty easy to prove that the test result was flawed, whether in a court of law or in the court of public opinion. Wouldn't it?

I believe where I saw it was on 60 Minutes.

But I suspect some folks are mis-interpreting my point. (This may, perhaps, be because I didn't state it. Or maybe it's because I really don't have much of one. :) )

My point was that, while I'm not going to claim that CR has never published misleading or skewed results, that if Mercedes wants to claim unfair treatment, that'd better have a really strong case, because the presumption is going to be the other way.

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Couldn't find the result of this lawsuit, but Larry is correct here. This article is from 2000...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPcap/2000-02/09/042r-020900-idx.html

Since 1968, Consumer Reports has been sued a dozen times for knocking products and has never lost a case or paid an out-of-court settlement. But this legal battle could prove to be the most challenging. And looming just ahead is a companion suit by Suzuki Motor Corp., whose Samurai SUV was branded rollover-prone in 1988.

The Trooper was put through its paces in the spring of 1996 at Consumers Union's 327-acre test track in East Haddam, Conn.

Three professional drivers with engineering degrees performed a rapid zigzag maneuver intended to simulate what might happen if a driver had to swerve to avoid striking a child who darted into his path.

Rounding the turns at just over 33 mph, the Trooper "lifted both right wheels high off the pavement," the Consumer Reports article said. "It would have rolled over completely were if not for our test driver's quick and skillful steering."

To avoid putting the other drivers at risk, engineers mounted a pair of outriggers--similar in function to bicycle training wheels--on the Trooper, which continued to tip up when run through the course, the magazine reported.

All told, the Trooper tipped up its two right wheels during 75 of 192 lane-change maneuvers, Consumers Union says in court papers.

Although all vehicles with high centers of gravity have a potential to tip over, Consumers Union says that in 12 years of testing more than 80 SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans, only the 1988 Suzuki Samurai and the 1995-96 Isuzu Trooper performed so badly as to warrant a "not acceptable" rating.

According to Isuzu, however, the test drivers caused the Trooper to tip by turning the steering wheel faster and farther than real-world drivers would ever do in the worst emergencies.

................

Without determining the truth of Isuzu's claims, Paez said in a 21-page ruling in September that a jury might be able to find that Consumer Reports was liable because it knew that the driving maneuver used to test the Trooper "was highly susceptible to driver influence" and because "its testing methods had been criticized by [government regulators] as unreliable."

In addition, he said, Consumer Reports possessed government statistics showing no fatalities from Trooper rollovers in 1995 and chose not to use them in the article.

"Deliberately avoiding information that may undermine a published story may be grounds for a finding of malice," Paez wrote in his opinion.

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Mercedes has really had a problem with quality for the past few years

If you want a well built luxury car, get a Cadillac

:laugh: Thanks for the laugh. Absolutely hysterical. Have you considered trying stand up? ;)

I don't think it's a coincidence that more and more are made poorly AND more and more and made in this country every year. :doh:

Honda and Toyota make PLENTY of cars here in the states and they don't have that problem. If I'm not mistaken, a majority of Toyota's sold in the states are built in the states and Toyota's are far and away the most reliable cars out there.

Honestly, if there's a REAL coincidence you can look to, it would be the partnership with Chrysler and shared parts distributors that would be to blame. This is not typical of Mercedes, who have in the past, built some of the most durable, longest lasting cars on the road. The down turn seems to be oddly synced with the merger with Chrysler, a company notorious for poor quality automobiles.

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But back to the point of the thread, if you have enough money to spend on a luxury car, get a Lexus or an Acura. Mercedes is crap. Jaguars have always been crap. Cadillacs look nice, but are pretty much crap, too.

Dude, I have a 2002 c240 and I absolutely love it. The car runs like a dream, and it is as smooth as can be. I test drove a Lexus 300, BWM 325 i, xi, z4 & z3, Audi TT, quattro, Infinity G35 (I think) and a Porche boxster and the Mercedes was by FAR the better car out of all of them. Maybe it was the sports package, and having a standard, but it drives better then all of them, even the Porche (which was a VERY fast car BTW).

I was doing 110 at 2am over the weekend, and it was like I was doing 60 in a Honda, the car is quite, smooth and feels like a tank when driving. It is responsive, and it is by far the best car I have ever driven.

As for the article, I would highly recommend a Mercedes to anyone if they can afford it, and I doubt I will ever buy a car from a different manufacture again.

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I don't think it's a coincidence that more and more are made poorly AND more and more and made in this country every year.

Might that be the result of the United Automobile Workers union and the inability of the car manufacturer's to regulate (read fire) poor performing employees that don't give a damn about the car they're building? Might they care a bit more about the $30 an hour they're getting, the health care benefits they're getting, and when the next mandated work break starts. :doh:

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Might that be the result of the United Automobile Workers union and the inability of the car manufacturer's to regulate (read fire) poor performing employees that don't give a damn about the car they're building? Might they care a bit more about the $30 an hour they're getting, the health care benefits they're getting, and when the next mandated work break starts. :doh:

:doh:

I addressed this in an earlier post. If this is true, how do Toyota and Honda successfully produce so many cars here? How is Toyota the #1 most reliable car in America while producing a majority of there cars right here in this country?

It's the company, not the workers.

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The Japanese, they're short so their eyes are closer to the electronic components than many other nationalities. Caucasians are too tall and gangly. Look how far the caucasian's eyes are from the integrated circuitry. That's why Japanese products are better.

Asian cars: Because caucasians are just too damn tall.

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The Japanese, they're short so their eyes are closer to the electronic components than many other nationalities. Caucasians are too tall and gangly. Look how far the caucasian's eyes are from the integrated circuitry. That's why Japanese products are better.

Asian cars: Because caucasians are just too damn tall.

Archie Bunker on Watergate:

Nixon's mistake was that he hired all those Gremans. Halderman. Erlichman.

He should've hired Japs. They're better at electronics.

And when they get caught, they do the right thing. They kill themselves.

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Might that be the result of the United Automobile Workers union and the inability of the car manufacturer's to regulate (read fire) poor performing employees that don't give a damn about the car they're building? Might they care a bit more about the $30 an hour they're getting, the health care benefits they're getting, and when the next mandated work break starts. :doh:

Because we all know that if you give workers health care benefits, they immediately start to slack off.

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Um, I'll point out that it's not unheard of for CR to outright fake test results.

The case I heard of involved some SUV. The testers were told the vehicle was prone to rollovers. But when they ran their standard agility tests (two abrupt lane changes at high speed) the car performed without complaint.

The chief of their testing lab supposedly, after having the test run several times, announced "I'll make it fail", and ordered the test driver out of the car. Supposedly if took several times, but he was able, by running the test at considerably higher speed than their standard test, and by over-steering, to get two wheels to come off the ground.

They supposedly ran the test a total of 19 times, and the car failed the test where the driver was intentionally not following the test.

Guess what the photo that covered the two front pages of the article was?

.

Being accused of doing something wrong by an irate car manufacturer and actually doing something wrong are two very different things.

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:doh:

I addressed this in an earlier post. If this is true, how do Toyota and Honda successfully produce so many cars here? How is Toyota the #1 most reliable car in America while producing a majority of there cars right here in this country?

It's the company, not the workers.

Yup...Toyota is kicking the collective asses of GM, Ford, and Chrysler...why? Because their vehicles are BETTER, that's why! My wife has owned only Toyotas her whole life, and refuses to buy anything else. I bought a brand new Tacoma (built in California) last year, and it's a really great truck...and will still be worth something five years from now.

Mercedes-Benz USED TO BE a hallmark of quality and reliability...I see plenty of OLD MBs still on the road and running great...but not any more...if it doesn't say Toyota, Honda, Lexus, or Scion, I'm not buying it...there is nothing the "Big Three" make that I would want to buy...with one exception, the Corvette...GM's only car worth buying, IMHO (see the 500 HP comment posted earlier). The jury is still out on Hyundai...they used to make junk, but their recent stuff looks promising.

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looks like Hyundai is hitting home with the Santa Fe. I've been seeing more and more of those as of late. Just due to the name, Hyundai, people are still weary of it.

For me though, if it is not Nissan, Toyota, or Honda, their luxury lines, or BMW, I probably will not buy it. I heard VW's and Volvo's have maintenance issues, as do Audi's and Jaguars. I'm personally fine with my 2005 Nissan Sentra.

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