• Nov 20, 2006
In the recently released 2006 Annual Car Reliability Survey by Consumer Reports, seven models from Mercedes-Benz were rated as Least Reliable. The last generation S-Class, CLS, E-Class, SL, CLK, V6 SLK and the M-Class SUV were all ranked least reliable based on the Consumer Reports survey comprised of responses from 1.3 million of the magazine's subscribers. A Mercedes spokesperson blames the brand's poor performance on a couple of issues that include brake dust on high performance stoppers (that's part of the charm!) and problems with the company's new 7-speed transmission that have reportedly been fixed. Mercedes-Benz has certainly had quality issues the past several years that can't be denied, which may in part be blamed on its insistence of imbuing its lineup with the latest whiz-bang gadgetry that ups the complication factor exponentially. Still, many fault Consumer Reports for using an outdated and flawed survey method that doesn't accurately report the reliability of the vehicles that appear on and off its lists. Michael Karesh, a vocal Autoblog commenter and purveyor of a Consumer Reports alternative site called True Delta, has written several articles that address the most serious problems with the way Consumer Reports conducts its surveys. Despite one's opinion on the validity of what Consumer Reports reports, there's no denying the fact that the periodical holds serious sway with consumers. It's no wonder Mercedes is so miffed at the rankings it received at the hands of Consumer Reports subscribers, though the German automaker needs to recognize the part its own vehicles played in these standings.

[Source: Money.cnn.com]

Related posts:


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've been collecting data for a year, and have released preliminary results to panel members twice. So it's up and running. For reasons that should be obvious, I need participants before I can provide results. I hope that, partly based on my critiques, people will see the need for a better approach and sign up to help out. Many have, and I am thankful for this..

      CR's reputation has a few bases, some justified, some not. The justified reasons are that they've been around for decades and they lack conflicts of interest aside from the need to sell magazines and memberships.

      The less justified reasons are that they haven't had any real competition--they've been the only game in town--and have rarely if ever been subjected to a serious external evaluation. A couple weeks ago CR released their latest results. I looked at how these were reported in a couple hundred different newspapers. Not one of them did more than repeat what CR had said at the press conference.

      Because most people don't look into the details of CR's methods and way of reporting results, and they read absolutely no critical evaluation of CR in the press, they might understandably think that CR is already giving them all of the reliability information they need. At this early stage I've found it necessary to point out how this widespread perception is incorrect.

      Later, as the differences of my approach become more obvious and (hopefully) the press takes a less passive approach towards CR my critiques won't be so necessary.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A -- 47 years ago, my Mom nicknamed me "Consumer Reports" because I was so interested in product information. I was reading the mag in grammar school.
      B-- Interpreting the ratings: I used to have a 1989 Mustang GT convertible. Mustangs always got, before the 1994 revised model, a black circle for body integrity. Reason (as I saw it): all the convertibles were converted coupes, and CU's white middle class base bought mainly convertibles, as that generation fastback was very blue collar.
      C-- Mercedes owners are entitled to be unhappy about filthy wheels and things that don't work, or fall off. If a company runs snotty ads about how great they are, it helps when the product lives up to it.
      D-- I remember very well a short article in which CU, maybe 18 yrs ago, drove a an E class, and wrote something like, "It is very nice, but only a memeber of the decadent bourgeousie would buy such an expensive car, when a Honda suffices." __LOL__
      CU has come a long way toward understanding cars, but still has that Westchester mentality.
      NOW THEY GET THAT A CONSUMER IS ENTITLED TO WANT WHAT HE WANTS -- THIS IS A CHANGE.
      • 8 Years Ago
      tee he he, someone with a phd mentioning people 'without bias'. I wasn't aware any university perpetrated the fox mentality of a population 'without bias' - i guess you learn something new every day.

      that said, truedelta's a great site.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I bought an M class late in the first model year for that vehicle. Worst. Car. Evar. Sold it back to the dealer after three months. It will be quite a while before I consider another DC product...
      • 8 Years Ago
      This discussion had me wanting to understand more about how CR rates reliability. There is an entire FAQ online... No need to wonder:
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/maintenance-accessories/consumer-reports-car-reliability-faq-8-06/overview/0608_consumer-reports-carreliability-faq_ov.htm

      And, in their blog, I see even they have had problems with Mercedes models, though it is clear that their own experience does not impact survey results.
      http://discussions.consumerreports.org/n/blogs/blog.aspx?nav=main&webtag=cr-autotest&entry=120

      Looks like good information, even it doesn't support your own favored brands.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Based on the experiences my friends have had with their MBs, I am not surprised at all with the results from CR. One of my friends was so fed up with her MB (2002 by the way) because of all the electrical problems that she got rid of it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I know annecdotes don't mean much, but here is my mbz-quality annecdote.

      Last year at the local "Taste of Lexus" driving event, I had the chance to compare an E500 to a bmw 530i and a lexus GS-something. The benz had a sweet engine and tranny - torque monster - but it felt like it was falling apart. The trim on the door rattled when I closed it. The brakes felt like the rotors were warped and the steering shimmed. Now you might say lexus maybe beat the sh*t out of the competition to make it seem bad, but the bmw was tight and perfect, as was the GS. The benz felt like it would not last long at all.
      I had the impression mbz quality was improving, but not after driving that E500. Real shame this marque is exhibiting such shoddy quality. Their cars look nice, have nice mills in them, but I would pick bmw or acura or lexus over mbz any day, mostly because of poor or perceived poor quality.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I wrote an email to the senior editor that wrote the Forbes article. It bounced back for some reason, but here it is:

      I was interested in the article about Mercedes vs. Consumer Reports.
      However, I felt a real sense of either a non-story or under-reporting.
      After reading the line, "That hasn't stopped Mercedes-Benz from taking a few
      swipes at Consumer Reports over some very damaging reviews of Mercedes
      vehicles..." I anticipated a story about what Consumer Reports said about
      the cars (which was covered) as well as what swipes Mercedes has made about
      Consumer Reports.

      Based on the by-line: "The luxury carmaker is not happy with recent
      rankings that appeared in the 2007 New Car Preview," I anticipated a story
      about what Mercedes has done to, or in response, to Consumer Reports, the
      publication. Instead, it looks like someone read the latest Consumer
      Reports, then called a spokesperson from Mercedes for comment. Based on
      that, they then wrote a story about how Mercedes is taking swipes at
      Consumer Reports, and "picking a fight" with the publication.

      What has Mercedes done to "pick a fight" or "take swipes" at Consumer
      Reports? It looks like nothing more than a corporate reply to a reporter
      over a negative review of their product (which is to be expected) and an
      excuse to highligh the history of Mercedes's reliability. Are there details
      that have not been reported? I'm confused.

      I'm not a Mercedes owner, nor do I ever anticipate owning one, however, I
      like to be informed by the news, and the way this article is written, there
      is no news other than the review given by the Consumer Report article. For
      that, I can just buy the magazine.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a year 2000 E-320.Superb and mechanically flawless at 88k mi.She's held up beautifully.The quality of the materials in the cabin are 1st rate and show no wear.Hunkers down at 80 mph smooth,solid and like she's riding on rails.Must be the new ones.I heard the ratings are problems per vehicle.So a single complex problem could concievably be counted as a dozen or so,Throwing it's ranking off considerably.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've had about 8 cars since I started looking at CR for its ratings. Never once have their reports been off. The Toyota: bulletproff, VW was crap. Volvo.. ok, Honda perfect, newer Volvo, ok, Saab better than the rest but not Honda levels, MINI: totally unreliable the year I had it, Only our BMW 325it experience has deviated from CR's reviews (and has been totally reliable). Their testing is the from real-life experiences. If you don't like the results, chances are you're erring towards passion over proof.

      I actually chose another car instead of the MB E350 wagon, based on appalling reliability reports.. and in further defense of CR, I recall that the Mercedes Benz E320 was their highest ranked sedan ever.. a few years ago, yet they still couldn't recommend it due to Fiat-type quality. -Just mentioning it to challenge those that think CR only favors transport-appliances.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Every MB I've owned has been bullet proof, including the 2006 the wife bought.

      As for CR, total BS, always has been always will be.
      • 8 Years Ago
      We currently own 2 MB Models. One is a 2006 E-320CDI Diesel and the other is a 2006 SL500. Neither have had any issues. The 2006 CDI is a 5 Speed tranny where the SL is a 7 Speed. I think that consumer reports may on the average be accurate with reader feedback, but maybe most MB customers are more critical of a problem with a 100K+ luxury car than a 20k econo box. This would bias the feedback some when reporting but from the owner standpoint...not CR. I do have to say that when there are problems with a high end auto like a MB or BMW (Which we have owned 3MB and 5BMW) the dealer will not hesitate to do whatever is needed to make you happy. A loaner MB or BMW is always there, cars are always washed and spotless when returned and the service advisors are professional and polite.

      I had a Corvette C6 recently that needed a transaxle repair due to a manufacturing defect with the 1st gear synchro isntallation. They had the car for a week with no offer of a loaner and an OH Well attitude at the dealership. I think that this explains the loyalty to the german brands even though they may have a few glitches in the past.

      So it all comes down to whether you want an appliance (Toyota, Honda, Lexus etc....), a cheaply made american car (Chevy, Ford etc...)or a German driving machine that has superb handling/ride characteristics that may have a few issues with high end electronics or a new technology that they will bend over backwards to make right...

      I do speak with experience with the Toyotas and Hondas also...(We have had 6 of them...All trouble free appliances) but We will be long term MB owners as long as the driving experience and customer service are top notch.
    • Load More Comments