They didn't have the instincts of volume car manufacturers that had engineering cultures of being thrifty with materials and component design, so things broke and failed. But don't confuse quality component manufacture with reliability. We test drove the Lexus and its not far behind. They never have an easy fix, its always 2,000 for this computer, 1,500 for this wiring harness even though its just a little plug thats shorted out. Gazillions of parts and oddball wiring buss schemes that were unrepairable and required the complete disassembly of the interior of the cars to diagnose just about anything.
They had numerous adventures with oddball transmissions that stopped shifting. Mercedes always had a reputation for quality, which is not the same as reliability. I rarely ever drove the Mercedes, I drive the Yukon all the time now. They over engineered everything, from hood hinges and windshield wipers, to door latches and fan clutches. Their body parts rusted profusely and fell apart. I love them for all their tortured ideas. This is not a good idea.
Their reputation for greatness really emanated from the work they pioneered in safety systems, mechanical designs, robustness, and overbuilding of just about everything. I've probably owned 20 Mercedes over the years, from the 1960s vintage sedans, through the 1970s and 1980s, and now own a 2012 E550 Cabriolet. They made super complicated power steering systems that became sloppy and wandered over the road and leaked. Their legendary diesels I owned one ran forever, if you repaired the ancillaries regularly. When the emissions era hit, they made a mess of fuel injection systems and emissions controls, which caused terrible reliability problems I owned several. But stuff still broke, just like other cars.
Power steering problems,, steering noises, creaking noises when I would drive up my driveway. Just got rid of it. I work in a body shop, also and we have to bring the vehicles for servica also. . My 2012 E550 has been bulletproof, but has clunky electronics and control systems.
Nowadays, they are back in balance of cost and complexity for their designs. The final straw was when I was stopped at a stop sign and every light lit up on the dash and it died. Their electrical technology just is not advanced enough. They made power door locks with vacuum actuators that failed and locked people out of their cars. Personally, I like the look of the Lexus better, but I wasnt the one who was going to be driving it so I let my wife choose.
Not just lights and functions on the interior, but their engine operates, and relies so much off of computer function. Like all manufacturers, they did weird things to try and save money, like use single row timing chains on their lower end engines, instead of double row, which snapped. So much nicer for the money. We have had 5 Mercedes. When the electronics boom in cars happened, they made a complicated mess of that too, which caused immense reputation problems W140 chassis anyone? As for reliability, Lexus definitely has the advantage. Mercedes has always been on the cutting edge of lots of automotive design themes, but not all were successful.
Wife needed a bigger grocery getter with the new addition to the family. They're not advancing the way they should, they are the worst luxary brand car to buy. They are probably the same as most other cars these days. Yep, I've owned a bunch. They are still fastidious and highly thoughtful in everything they do, but more practical in many ways.
Mercedes is the most arrogant car company in that they think putting mercedes on the vehicle is more important than quality. They experimented with aluminum for engine blocks, which failed miserably. . . . .
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