• Dec 13, 2009
That's customer retention, not retentive customers, though Mercedes-Benz could be said to enjoy both. J.D. Power and Associates has been indexing customer retention for seven years, and Mercedes-Benz tops the list in 2009. Power measures how many vehicle buyers are replacing an older model from the same brand, and Mercedes-Benz's 67-percent retention rate tops all others, including the usual suspects, Honda and Toyota.

What's resonating with customers are resale value and quality. Even used Mercs are spendy, but they all ooze an air of quality. Ingot-solid platforms and the fine sheen of obsessively-perfected engineering seem to convince buyers that the cars will last forever and are of the highest quality. Why said customers might then trade a car with such inherent awesomeness, which is built to withstand all manner of circumstances, is another story entirely, but Mercedes-Benz's first-place finish this year caps a five-year run of increasing numbers, culminating with this year's best-ever 67 percent, the highest the Power study has measured.

[Source: J.D. Power]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I own an S class and I will most likely not buy a Mercedes again for awhile.
      Like Matthew said, the service department guys and I know each other on a first name basis.
      I am quite surprised at the amount of expensive parts that they have in stock that you would not think, like gauge clusters, HVAC units, seat control panels etc.
      Thank God I have a warranty because I don't think there is a repair under $700.

      The Roadside Assistance is terrible and you should have AAA anyway because if you rely on Mercedes, you might be in big trouble.

      I think I will either get a Range Rover the next time around or maybe go back to Audi and get an R8. I had a great experience with my A6.

      I don't care for the new 7 Series, but I will tell you one thing, the BMW drives much better than the Mercedes.

      There are a lot of people that buy Mercedes for the prestige factor and I confess I did too. However, it is not the superior product that it once was and I would rather buy a vehicle that is. They are those that will continue to buy them because they simply want the name and that is fine, but real car people will not.

      For the record the Mercedes nameplate is not the biggest rip off. My buddy has a Continental GT and other than the big engine and the leather everywhere it is not worth the price. It lacks a lot of technology that cars half its price have and you cannot even get a sunroof with it. It is really not even that striking a car.

      I am not a fan of Lexus personally but damn if they are not super reliable and damn near bulletproof.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Continental GT isn't really a Bentley. It's small, sporty, and cheap (relative to other Bentleys). If you want a real Bentley (Old school) go for a Brooklands, Arnage, ect.

        I do like the CGT thought.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Two words: Badge Slaves
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love BMW/Jaguar/Porsche WAY more than Mercedes. Maybe Mercedes builds good quality cars, but I just dont like it-.-
      • 5 Years Ago
      I could see why Acura is only 38%, since Honda still doesn't know how to do the 'luxury' part of the equation, like Lexus. I still amuses me Honda tried to sell RL for $50k+ when it is just an 4wd accord with fancy interior.

      But I'm pretty surprised infiniti is only 25%... Lousy dealership experience maybe?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I switched from Infiniti to BMW because I loved the driving experience of the 3 series. Dealer service is the one thing I miss from Infiniti! If you want to be treated like crap, go to a BMW dealer.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a huge BMW fan and though I am a fanatic of bimmers, I do think Merc does something right. If I were in a position to be looking at a 7 or an S, I would think i'd pick an S -- though I do say this without ever having even driven one. Maybe soon! However that'll be awhile because i'd still pick a 5 over an E :P

      Until then, i'll enjoy my "lowly" 3-series sedan :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Old MBs were reliable. Newer ones are a crapshoot. My dad still has his 1975 300D.

      But as to the retention data, one has to remember that it is easier to retain customers for a luxury brand, than for a non-luxury brand. At the low to mid range, there is much competition for the dollar. And people who can't afford a new Mercedes Benz are much more price conscious than luxury buyers. If they don't like one or two small things, they can very easily be motivated to try one of dozens of other manufacturers. However, at the top end of the market, even if you get a bit of a lemon, you don't have the same number of alternative choices.

      My mother is a good example. She bought a 2000 SLK and said it was the worst car she has ever owned. It was in the shop all the time. So she got a BMW that never gave her trouble. But when that lease was up, she went back to MB. Why? Because she didn't want to drive a car that she thought was playing second fiddle to Mercedes. While that is only an anedoctal story, I believe that MB has a high retention rates for this reason.

      But the salient point is that up at the highest end of the spectrum, where can a slightly unsatisfied customers go? BMW and Audi are considered lesser badges. At the lower end and in between, choices are plenty for customers who were not thrilled with their purchase. If you drive a Toyota and you're not happy, you can try Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, Volkswagaon, Buick, Ford, Chevy and the list goes one. But if you own a Rolls Royce, and you are not thrilled, where do you go? You buy another Rolls Royce and cross your fingers. You don't give Toyota a try.

      This data speaks less to MB quality or customer service, than it does to the exclusivity of their club. If you are not too happy with your country club, but it is the most exclusive in town, where do you go? You suck it up and sit down.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My family has had several and we now own a 2008 ML and a 2008 C-Class (my own personal car). Between that we've had Opels/Vauxhalls (Astras and Vectras mainly as company cars) and a 2003 Audi A3 while living in Europe, a 1994 Nissan Pathfinder, a 2003 BMW 3 series and a 1998 Ford Taurus, a 2007 Mercedes-Benz C230 and a 1998 Mercedes-Benz E320. None of the cars we've ever owned have given us much trouble at all and the 2008's have given us no trouble whatsoever.

      Whoever thinks they're overrated hasn't owned them and/or taken care of them properly. They're excellent automobiles and I think that some of you who judge them purely based on their bad days with Chrysler are just biased and ignorant. They have many decades of quality and reliability and that's coming back. I have much respect for many manufacturers including Ford and Chevy and can give props to good automobiles regardless of make. Sadly I don't believe that's the case with many of you which is a real shame because that's a big part of being a car enthusiast. Too much hate on this blog.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All mercedes I have bought before 1994 were perfect. When I moved to the UK in 1995, we bought a c class that did not have any problems. When I moved back in 2002, we bought another c class used (same year as the one in the UK) and the problems were endless. It seems like the American models (even though the same) had lower quality. The 2008 E Class we bought new also has too many problems to list...thankfully the warranty covered most repairs....
        • 5 Years Ago
        That 'ethos' was wrong sure, but it was one created under the previous CEO Juergen Schremp who got them into that mess in the first place. Dieter Zetsche is much better and the recent products prove that too.

        And besides, GM pretty much screwed Opel over so I guess that makes it even. Oh yeah, and they also screwed the taxpayer too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As an MB owner, I have to say that MB's are bought for their social status. But that isn't to say that their quality is not a main factor when people buy their cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      After owning 3 AMG cars, my time with Benz is at an end. The 99 E55 was good, the 02 SLK32 was better, but the 03 SL55 is a headache. With only 35k miles, it has had new fuel pumps, new transmission control modules, and more smog control parts than I care to count. It requires a trickle charger for the aux battery, and plastic exterior parts are warping or discoloring. The plastic coating on the radio and HVAC controls degraded into a warm chewing gum-like feel, and the brake release and trunk release controls often fail to operate. Oh, the trunk leaks also. What a car!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a 1996 C220 which was built like a tank. I have over 370K miles on it and I've only changed the oil (every 25K -synthetic),changed brakes when the brake pad sensor light comes on, changed the spark plugs every 2 years, and cleaned the k&N filter once a year. Everything in and out of the car still functions as designed. The car shows no sign of dying yet...keeping fingers crossed that it'll last me until after my wife graduates from college. Then I want a CLK.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As the owner of an 2006 E55 (mine) and a C300 (my wife's), I will say that the quality and reliability of our vehicles is top-notch. The build quality is great also! I formerly owned a 2004 BMW 760Li and will NEVER own another BMW! In fact, I am looking at a CL65 as a write this, as the E55 is a little too small for us with a child on the way...
      • 5 Years Ago
      ugly , but like the star on the white one
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