Originally Posted by Year's_End
Good points, but on that same token, Cadillac's past floundering was an example of change done incorrectly (and Saab is a perfect example of a company that lacked a clear marketing plan with very poorly competing models at their given price points).
The trick with most "cheap" luxury cars these days is that production methods are far superior than in the past, and you're going to be hard pressed to find a vehicle that does a poor service to its brand's image. Mercedes took a huge hit in the late '90s and early '00s when the bean counters and corner-cutting was at its worst. They've since remedied their errors for the most part and it's present amongst their latest fleet of vehicles.
Agreed; in hindsight it was change done incorrectly, but at the time, for the Executives under large amounts of pressure from global competition, federal regulations and artificial fuel shortages, it seemed like the right idea at the time. Any chance Mercedes finds itself the same situation now? Post 3rd-world automakers selling mimicking luxury models at half the price of an S-class, looming US CAFE MPG regulations of 50 MPG and reduced emissions below that which are almost imperceptible now (good Lord we must save the Planet!).
You are correct, the art of manufacturing automobiles has changed drastically from the 1970’s. But it is all relative; in general, most cars are manufactured in their time at the ambient level of quality in the industry. It is hard to get a model functionally wrong these days except for brand niche. All manufacturers are really good at it, the science of it has been drastically improved, but that doesn’t mean the marketplace and political pressures are any different and reactions to them any better this time around.
You’d hope Mercedes learned from Cadillac. But the evidence of its purchase (oh yeah, “merger”) with Chrysler seems to indicate the opposite. Mercedes certainly didn’t learn from Ford and GM mistakes in creating the Ford PAG and GM’s purchase of Saab.
Believe me, I could give a rat's ass about Mercedes; I'd buy a Buick far before some auto-transmissioned luxury yacht from Germany, but to me, selling a FWD Nuevo-lux economy car in America seems not a good idea.