Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - stunorthants26
I take issue with the 'Class' bit - I had to clean a two month old A-Class the other day and I could hardly believe just how low rent they are!

Its just tragic how bad things have got given how good the cars used to be.

My particular concern was the quality of the boot trim - I know it may seem like a minor thing, but its soooo cheap and tacky, I wouldnt have been suprised to find out that its the same materials used in the base model Proton.

The plastic trim on the bootlid is unbelievably nasty, not to mention the Reliant Robin-like clang when you close it.
There was a marked difference between the boot area and the cabin, but even the cabin wasnt exactly nice. Sure, there are a few nice bits, but the vast majority is exceptionally poor for the price of the car.

I just couldnt believe that anyone would think that at £18,000, this car was remotely good value ( my customers partner works for Merc so they get them very cheap ).

The other thing that made me laugh - how can we be this far along in diesel technology and STILL Merc are making diesels that are rattly and loud - the only improvement between the 1.8 diesel in this A-Class and a 1990's Escort is the lack of vibration, but the noise is just as loud.

What a throughly disappointing car.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - 659FBE
My thoughts too. My sister in law, brother and a friend all bought A-class cars a few years ago, and I drove them all. I was amazed and shocked not so much by the poor dynamics of the vehicle, but by the assertions of the owners that "this is a really good car". A case of the Emperor's new clothes I think, with a three pointed star twinkling away. Obviously, later on, the realities of hard to fix faults by incompetent dealers and maintenance costs out of all proportion to the value of the vehicle became apparent.

None of these good people have replaced their cars with another A-class. I'd love to see some figures indicating how many people bought another.

659.

Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - stunorthants26
I cant speak for the A-Class, but I can certainly comment on my customers car changes:

Merc ML270 to BMW 530d Estate
Merc E320 CDi to BMW 645i
Merc C180 to BMW 320i
Merc C200 to BMW 523i
Merc E240 CDi to BMW 535d

Thats just a sample off the top of my head - is that a trend I can see...

Three of them said to me directly that they were so happy to see the back of their Mercs.
No wonder.

Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - oldgit
I cant speak for the A-Class, but I can certainly comment
on my customers car changes:


My mates car, an 'E' class, is also going the same way next Spring.

Whilst quite happy with his car, the after sales service of Mercedes has peed him off somewhat and that together with niggling, unexpected problems with the car means that he'll be going back to BMW again, which he left, albeit briefly, in order to sample Merc quality (which doesn't really exist anymore, now).

In other words, another dissatisfied customer.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Avant
"The other thing that made me laugh - how can we be this far along in diesel technology and STILL Merc are making diesels that are rattly and loud - the only improvement between the 1.8 diesel in this A-Class and a 1990's Escort is the lack of vibration, but the noise is just as loud."

The B-class is similarly afflicted: this is actually very stupid of Mercedes, as the noise is unpleasant enough (made worse in my case by the CVT gearbox) to put me off having another. Even more stupidly, there is no soundproofing on the underside of the bonnet. My helpful dealer says I can have this for £117, but their system says that it's fitted as standard in Germany to B-classes that are used as taxis. What sort of logic is that?

If I can't afford to go back to Audi, my next car will probably be an Octavia.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - stunorthants26
This is what really annoys me about how Mercedes has gone in the last ten years - such simple issues such as the quality of the plastics choice and soundproofing are passing them by.
Who on earth do Merc have to shoot to get the basics right?
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Collos25
The head Honcho was brought to the television studios of the national senders and made to apologise for the poor service and product satisfaction and stated that if things did not improve he would resign alas things have got worse and he is no where to seen.Even taxi companies have turned agains them if you want a class act then you buy a Bavarian bus.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - MVP
My friend bought one of the new model A class Diesels a few weeks ago - it developed a major oil leak between the engine and gearbox.

It's been in the main dealers for 2 weeks now, they gave him a Renault as a loan car.

I told him he was daft before he bought it, he now agrees with me.

I think when it comes to Mercedes, badge snobs get what they deserve.

If they re-badged the current Mers with a Korean badge, would anyone buy one?
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Xileno {P}
"It's been in the main dealers for 2 weeks now, they gave him a Renault as a loan car."

Things are looking up then :-)

At posh dinner parties, the badge is all that matters.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - The Lawman
We've got one as a courtesy car at the moment. I agree with the above comments, in particular the sound of the boot closure. Really plasticy and horrid. Engine ok for a diesel, but nothing special.

Mrs Lawman is however seduced by the 3 pointed star, and also likes the driving position.

She now wants an MPV. Looks like its Picasso time.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - ForumNeedsModerating
I had the previous A-Class as a loan car & thought it pretty unexceptional, the overall
quality was low & drive dynamics poor (I mean by this , for the vehicle type) . What
staggers me are Mercedes servicing costs. I've currently got a C270, nice engine/gearbox
but poor paint & interior trim with many intermittent niggles (odd ancilliary item malfunctions & cruise control)
that the local dealership seem delighted to tell me 'Sorry, when our technician tested the car
he couldn't find it...'' , yeah, well that what 'intermitent' means I suggest.
My other query at last 'B' Service (cost £505.62) was jerky 1-2nd auto change when cold,
again 'Well, the technician didn't experience this..blah blah....If you bring the car in again...'
That may sound reasonable, but getting an appointment with any type of loan car ,
(last service invloved me hanging around all day in the local town & getting a train back to the dealership)
seems difficult. What exactly them having the car and experiencing the problem themsleves would tell
them over & above my accurate description, I don't know, my impression is that they really want little
to do with it or don't have the technical capacity to diagnose faults.

So, my last Merc methinks (in common with a previous posters' poll) not because of the problems,
but because of the attitude, of 'can't do' . They do make some fabulous cars in terms of design,
performance & quality, but it seems that if you have a problem (unless perhaps you're an S-Class
customer who re-news every 2years) getting them to take ownership of it is difficult, in my experience
anyway. It's just a shame there aren't any Merc specialists witihn 90 miles of me, then I'd go the
2nd hand route with a W124 320 coupe (had one of these a few years ago & it was excellent)

~woodbines


Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - stunorthants26
It really saddens me because I used to covet Mercs in a big way - I grew up in the 80's when Merc were at their very best and deservedly charged a premium for their cars.

Since I started driving, I have wanted a Merc 190 - the best example of good engineering and quality Ive ever known in a small saloon. I still want one aswell and one day will get one.

I think Mercedes is heading for big trouble, maybe not this year, but certainly in the future.
They have simply lost the plot and much like VW, are riding on their past reputation - VW are by no means as bad as Merc, but ive read plenty of comments that the quality of the current Golf isnt as good as the previous generation, so another german maker stepping backwards in quality.

If I was in the market for a mid sized saloon, I wouldnt go near a Merc showroom - Id pop into Lexus and BMW, maybe Audi and even Subaru.

Are we at the point now where Kia will be overtaking Merc for interior quality within a few years? Hyundai are certainly trying hard too.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Roger Jones
You've stolen my thunder, stunorthants26.

Yes, the 190 (W201) is still worth lloking out for. They have a tremendous reputation for solidity and reliability. As the owner of several pre-plastic MBs (including a Coupé, as mentioned above), I'm sticking with them and, even if I were in the market for a new car, I don't think I'd go to an MB showroom.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - SjB {P}
You've stolen my thunder, stunorthants26.
Yes, the 190 (W201) is still worth lloking out for. They
have a tremendous reputation for solidity and reliability. As the owner
of several pre-plastic MBs (including a Coupé, as mentioned above), I'm
sticking with them and, even if I were in the market
for a new car, I don't think I'd go to an
MB showroom.


I personally found the 190 austere and utilitarian - even in Cosworth guise - but I'm glad you didn't say C180.
www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?v=e&t=14...1
What a woeful device!
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Big Bad Dave
SjB, how are the twins?
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - SjB {P}
SjB, how are the twins?


Nice of you to ask though, thanks, BBD.

Just great, thanks - life has never been better - but increasingly time consuming, hence relative absence for the past couple of months! I normally sleep for just five hours a night but that's go to bed, zonk, deep sleep, wake up, go! Right now I'd love just three hours unbroken sleep. Glad we kept gender a surprise - it added much more to the occasion - and we were blessed with a boy born on 12th October and 45 minutes later a girl, on Friday 13th October!

Hope all's well in Warszawa; still hoping we can grab that beer some time though my work destinations have changed of late.


Motoring connection - Don't buy Recaro ISOFix if you have a current generation Volvo V70 that you cherish. Although certified to fit, the only way to make the bases fit is to scrunch the Volvo's rear seat bases back in to a deep "Vee" to make way for the ISOFix supporting leg. Having purchased Recaro as the only ISOFix manufacturer with both group 0+ (birth-9 months) and group 1 (9 months to four years) seats certified for our car (the idea being to re-use the same bases with both seats), we've sent our bases back and now use the seats (Young Profis) with belt restraint instead. Will be in the market for different ISOFix seats (group 1) shortly.

As an aside; the Recaro Young Profi seats are superbly made and a breeze to use even with belt restraint. They also have some nice touches like spirit levels (yes, assumes level ground I know) to aid setting the child seat at the correct angle.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - SjB {P}
Nice of you to ask though, thanks, BBD.


= Nice of you to ask, thanks, BBD.
Don't know how the "though" got in there!
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Big Bad Dave
"we were blessed with a boy born on 12th October and 45 minutes later a girl, on Friday 13th October"

Are they identical?

Could you drop me a line maybe at some point this week? Address in profile

Cheers

Dave.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Aprilia
I personally found the 190 austere and utilitarian - even in
Cosworth guise - but I'm glad you didn't say C180.



Of course MB's traditionally were austere and utilitarian. With the 190E (as with W124, W126) you get a very straightforward car, but very well engineered and simple to understand and fix. Its when MB started to add the bells and whistles that things went wrong, particuarly when that includes electronics.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - SjB {P}
Of course MB's traditionally were austere and utilitarian. With the
190E (as with W124, W126) you get a very straightforward car,
but very well engineered and simple to understand and fix.
Its when MB started to add the bells and whistles that
things went wrong, particuarly when that includes electronics.


Perfectly true, but who needs bells and whistles to remove austere or utilitation construction? I had a reliable MG Metro that remains both the simplest and the most fun car that I've ever had; during eight years of ownership I did all my own maintenance and even rebuilt - to overbore and tune - the entire engine and gearbox. Driving pleasure was terrific. Give it some decent rust protection (the cause of its demise) and I'd probably never have sold it; instead it would have become a weekend fun car.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Bill Payer
I've currently got a C270, nice engine/gearbox but poor paint & interior trim with many intermittent
niggles (odd ancilliary item malfunctions & cruise control)


I'm touching a very large piece of wood here, but I've had a C270 for 2 yrs and is been to the garage once, for a service (cost £150, plus the oil that I supplied).

I would say though, perhaps because for many years (until the Merc) I've had company cars, that I wouldn't be going to the garage with intermittant problems, or any problem unless it prevented me from using the car. For instance, mine drifts to the left. Some owners have spent huge amounts of time & money trying to correct that but I won't - MB say they all do it so if MB think it's OK for the car to drift left then so be it.
On your car, if it jerks from 1st to 2nd then let it. If MB are happy for everyone that you take in your car to come away thinking Mercs have jerky gearboxes then that's their problem.
It's just a shame there aren't any Merc specialists witihn 90 miles of me,


Where abouts do you live?
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - yorkiebar
Doubt if its the opinion of Mb.

More likely just the (yet again!) poor main dealerr !

Contact MB Uk customer service. Bet they will be interested!

As an aside, why do so many main dealers make life so hard for themselves when they have such a chance to clean up their areas ? if local independants acted like they do they wuld go out of business !
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - madf
I did my research on buying an A class. I'm sorry but all the faults are well documented..

A little time spent on reconnaisance is seldom wasted... especially with the internet.
Whilst I have some sympathy with owners, all the information is already available.

So imo anyone buying a Mercedes or a VAG car (see thread on German satisfaction) and then complaining has I am afraid only one person to blame.. cos it is rather obvious both makers have real live and deep problems.. (ditto Renault etc )


madf
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - stunorthants26
On the subject of the 190 - so what if its a little workmanlike - atleast it WORKS unlike many current Mercedes.

As for not having all the bells and whistles - I drove a seriously mint cond 190E 2.6 auto a couple of years ago which had leather, air con and all the usual wood trim. It looked fab, it felt fab and it drove fab. It is a little left-field in Merc 190 terms in the 2.6 guise, but its a little gem.

The one thing Mercedes-Benz used to stand for was quite simply, rock solid engineering and far superior quality. Now they dont have it, Im not sure what they stand for anymore?
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - boxsterboy
For instance, mine drifts to
the left. Some owners have spent huge amounts of time
& money trying to correct that but I won't - MB
say they all do it so if MB think it's OK
for the car to drift left then so be it.


That's probably just the tracking. I used to have the tracking on my C270 checked every 10,000 miles. It would get knocked out by our 'wonderful' roads.

Like you, I had only a few problems with my C270, and, touch-wood my E320 has been similarly reliable with only 1 minor fault so far.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - quizman
I have never been a Merc fan, my father had 3 230E's and 1 A class 1.4, I drove all of them. On the first two 230's the brakes were awfull, they would skid too easily. The last 230 had antilock which was better. I found the seats rather uncomfortable and never liked the interiors, all that horrible polished wood. They cost a fortune to service and used alot of petrol.

As for the A class, well it was just a joke car.

My father only bought Merc's because he thought the 3 pointed star on the bonnet made him feel more important. He would get my mother any old cheap car and say that it was good enough for her.

My brother has a CLK, one son has a ML 270, the other son a SLK. In fact I am the only male in the family not driving a Merc! The shame.

And to think, No Do$h once accused me of being a badge snob for buying a VW.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Bill Payer
That's probably just the tracking. I used to have the tracking
on my C270 checked every 10,000 miles.


I don't want to get into a big discussion on a problem I'm ignoring :-) but, in reality, I suspect that the car is simply very camber sensitive. Driving the 'wrong way' in lane 3 of the motorway in a contraflow recently, the car drifted right.
The tyres are wearing pretty evenly.

I'm sure someone that knew what they were doing could adjust the alignment so that it ran true on normal road but the MB forums are full of tales of woe about people who've tried to get this 'fixed'. Many alignment places won't touch Merc's and the dealers charges for such work are huge. I just know that if I start off down the road of trying to get it sorted then the likelyhood is that I'll end up frustrated (and out of pocket).
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - SjB {P}
suspect that the car is simply very camber sensitive


Often true in my experience.
My technique to establish if so?

Drive down the crown of several straight and apparently (hence choosing more than one) level roads with two wheels on one camber and two on the other.
ie treat the dotted white line or catseyes as a Scalextric(tm) groove.
Now relax grip.

If the car runs true, nowt to worry about.

Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - AlastairW
Reminds me of an ancient, motoring related, joke:-
A policeman spots a car speeding along the crown of the road. The policeman flags the driver down and asks him what he thinks he is doing. Well, said Murphy (for it is he) "Ive just got my new licence and at the bottom it says tear along the dotted line"
The old ones are the best eh? Alright, I'll get me coat...
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - gbn
We looked at an A-class and ended up with a Meriva.

One year old, diesel, half the price of matching A class of same age, cheaper to insure/run and bigger
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - boxsterboy
>>>> I'm sure someone that knew what they were doing could adjust
the alignment so that it ran true on normal road but
the MB forums are full of tales of woe about people
who've tried to get this 'fixed'. Many alignment places won't
touch Merc's and the dealers charges for such work are huge.
I just know that if I start off down the
road of trying to get it sorted then the likelyhood is
that I'll end up frustrated (and out of pocket).


For what it's worth, I used Micheldever Tyres - only £25 + VAT at the time for a four-wheel laser alignment.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - DP
I was similarly unimpressed with the A-class. My neighbour has one and it always strikes me how cheap and tacky the interior looks, and how ordinary it is to drive. Sadly, she is one of these people who would spend £20k on a runny turd if it had a Mercedes or BMW badge on it.

With regard to Mercs in general, the taxi firm our Dutch office has a contract with in Amsterdam use E-class Mercs, usually in 270 CDi or 320 CDi trim. The 320's go like rockets (Dutch cabbies are complete loons by the way and 160km/h seems to be achieved wherever remotely possible), and are very smooth, but the 270 is really vocal even from a backseat passenger point of view.

Talking to the drivers, they all report reliability issues and electrical faults. In fact, the 270 auto I went in on Thursday had a speedo stuck on 80 km/h and was reporting an SRS fault. The driver was ranting about it (it had just happened) as the car had just come out of the dealer two days before, having had a gearbox rebuild. The car was a 2005 model with 80,000 km on the clock.

Yet as a car, to look at, to sit in, and to be driven in, the E320 CDi is a cracker. I just wouldn't want to own one.

Cabbies are a great source of information on the durability of any car in my experience.

Cheers
DP
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - stunorthants26
Cant be long now before Subaru has a better image than Mercedes - maybe Merc should employ Subaru engineers to make their cars work properly.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - cardriver
>>Cant be long now before Subaru has a better image than Mercedes<<


I think in most countries outside the UK the Japs already have a much better image than the Germans.
I'm not suggesting Subaru have at the moment (but give me a Legacy before a Merc anyday) but Lexus definitely has a better image than MB outside the UK.
IMO Honda and Toyota also produce much better engineered cars than MB.
Within the UK we are very much an image driven car market so the MB's VW's etc will always probably sell well whilst appearing at the lower end of the customer satisfaction charts.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - boxsterboy
maybe Merc should employ Subaru engineers to make their
cars work properly.


And in return Merc could lend Subaru some engineers so they could come up with a diesel engine! How they expect to sell cars in Europe without one is beyond me.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - nick
And in return Merc could lend Subaru some engineers so they
could come up with a diesel engine! How they expect to
sell cars in Europe without one is beyond me.

Subaru's own due next year. Let's hope it's good but please keep it out of the Impreza!
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Aprilia
Cant be long now before Subaru has a better image than
Mercedes - maybe Merc should employ Subaru engineers to make their
cars work properly.


Having met many Mercedes engineers I can assure you that they are very competent and need no lessons from Subaru (also excellent, I might add).

The problem that Mercedes have is that in the early-mid 1990's a lot of young German managers went off to the US to do MBA's and do stints of 'overseas experience' in US companies. There, they learnt all about 'maximising shareholder value'; 'business process reengineering''; 'leveraging the brand' etc etc. They returned to Germany and implemented these ideas at MB, much to the dismay of the engineers, and the outcome was cars like the A-class.

Fifteen or more years back, MB engineers would design a car. It would then be up to the accountants to figure out how it could be built at a sensible price whilst still making a profit. The new strategy is to figure out what you can sell the car for, take out the profit you want, and then tell the engineers to build a car with whatever is left over.
Thankfully they have now realised the error of their ways and are realigning the company with traditional German business values, rather than imported US ones.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - LeePower
You would also think that the increase in the amount of warranty claims & irate customers at the dealerships would have been a bit of a clue that the penny pinching wasn't a good idea for the Mercedes brand.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - henry k
You would also think that the increase in the amount of warranty claims & irate customers at the dealerships would have been a bit of a clue that the penny pinching wasn't a good idea for the Mercedes brand.

>>
An example of " Do not put facts in the way of my plan" ?
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Avant
"Cabbies are a great source of information on the durability of any car in my experience."

Indeed they are - and every time I've been in an Octavia taxi the driver lauds it to the skies - 300,000 miles without missing a beat. Eat your heart out, Mercedes.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - MVP
My friends "new" A class came out of it's fortnight in the garage after loosing it's engine oil via a dodgy gasket between the engine & gearbox.

The other day a hose failed leadinf to total coolant loss.

These cars are obviously big trouble - does anyone know when he would be within his rights to reject it as unfit for purpose?

Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Navara Van man
Sadly merc have gone down hill big time. My main aspect of vehicle selection is practicality hence why i drive a navara double cab. If I was looking for a new car it would be the subaru/ volvo / bmw.

Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Xileno {P}
How sad, Mercs used to be so great. Maybe they will sort the problems out. Saw an immaculate 'C' reg estate last night, not restored either, just in good original condition.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Marc
Stunorthants - you are spot on in wanting a 190 or 190E. Last of the real Mercs along with the E Class of similar vintage - obviously the S and SL are also very nice but out of reach for many people.

I bought a 190E in 1999 and it was the best car (in relation to purchase price) that I have owned. The car was nine years old with about 80k on it IIRC. It was a three owner car with a FMBSH. It was an absolute minter, although base spec manual 1.8 in signal red. After a vac and wash it really looked brand new. However, everyone is right in saying that the 1.8 is slow and the manuals are clunky. You really want a 2.0 auto (preferably injected "E") or a 2.6. Also, the servicing regime is a pain (and expensive) - oil change every 6k and service every other 6k.

It did have a few minor problems - boot leaked, sticky electric aerial and very small patch of rust on door pillar. Pretty good going for an old car. I also had to replace the radiator. I think I put my first posts on this site when I got this car.

I got rid in 2002 when I got onto the company car scheme otherwise I'd still have it...
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - stunorthants26
I think there are three cars that id love to own - the Merc 190E, a Volvo 240GLT and Saab 900, early 80's. Three cars that are a lesson in how to build a car that will last - something that todays car makers ( Subaru aside ) should take a hard look at.
Merc A-Class - Who are they kidding? - Honestjohn
I get a high level of complaints about expensive problems with old shape A Class more than 4 years old. Typically diagnosed as needing a new auto transmission at £5k , which is more than the car is worth. Also expensive steering and suspension problems. Unless you can buy a cast iron warranty with it, don't by an old shape A Class.

HJ
 

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