By on March 20, 2012

In the market for an upscale Mercedes? Are you a reader of USA Today? In that case, stop talking to your travel agent. If you have already booked a ticket to Beijing, cancel it. USA Today fooled you. Most likely without malice. USA Today doesn’t know better.

Today, USA Today writes:

“If you’re looking for a deal on a luxury car, head to China. That’s where Mercedes-Benz is cutting as much as 25% off the price of some of its swankiest models.

Bloomberg News reports that China, an automaker’s paradise of anxious buyers only a couple years ago, is getting a lot tougher for those who want to sell to those who drive the very best.

Besides Mercedes, BMW and Audi are having to offer discounts of 20% on their flagships.”

Before you head to China, you may want to know what one has to pay there for one of those swank Mercedes cars. Due to murderous duties and taxes on those imported swank cars, prices in China are a tad higher than back home.

According to the Mercedes-Benz website, a Mercedes-Benz S 600 L (they only have longs,) costs 2,598,000 yuan in China. That is $410,821. Before all kinds of other taxes. A Mercedes S 600 (normal) is listed at $162,975 MSRP in the U.S. TrueCar says I should get one for $153,518. Even if I get that 25 percent discount in China, the price I pay here would buy me two S 600 in the U.S.

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26 Comments on “USA Today Is Insane...”

  • avatar

    Not every good deal, is.

  • avatar

    Wait till they start offering factory-delivery programs. That would be get hillarious at the airport, “What do you mean my ticket is to Shanghai, I am picking up my 750il!”

  • avatar

    Precious metal plating slightly extra.

  • avatar

    Par for the course. Let’s just say journalism college courses aren’t the most technically rigorous, mmkay?

    I’ve never had an interview with a reporter or reporterette where they did not get the details substantially wrong; on technical, legal or financial matters. Good thing most of the public get their information from them, ya know?

    • 0 avatar

      Thankfully, blog comments give experts a chance to back-talk the reporters. A lot of the time, the comments are inane, but the occasional gems that I find are worth the effort of reading them. Stories that don’t allow comments reek of “no checks and balances”.

      The problem is that, when I hear public figures speak in the media (like the US Chamber of Commerce recently), I keep hearing weak points in their argument and hoping that some blog-commenter will point it out, only to realize that he’s speaking in a format that doesn’t allow back-talk from the public. And then I’m sad that a weak argument was allowed to go un-challenged.

      • 0 avatar

        Please the advertisers who buy ads in your media.

        Disinform the masses so as to assist your own socio-ecnomic class.

        Write what your employers want to read.

        Many considerations involved other than the end results that are visible to the reader.

        We, the People, are immersed in life-long propaganda.

        For those who have spent a life-time studying history reading a school textbook about history what appears within the typical history textbook is appalling.

        And so much more.

        The “film at 11” typically conveys the same misinformation in the written coverage.

  • avatar

    Plus, of course, airfare, cost of shipping it home, etc. Dun USA Today!


  • avatar

    So waitaminute…
    The car costs $410k there, and $150k here. The difference based on the above is all taxes and duties. That amounts to $260k of gubmint cheese on that krautbuger. So if Mercedes is selling them for 25% off ($308k) and assuming the taxes remain the same, then doesn’t that mean that they’re essentially selling (after taxes)each car for $308k-$260k = $48k? did I do my math wrong?

    • 0 avatar


      The quoted price is the dealer price after Mercedes has paid duties etc to bring the car into the country. Then they added a little profit for Mercedes and some for the dealer. A discount of 25 percent on $410,821 means $308,115.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, all the big german luxury brands likely enjoy much better margins in China than the USA since people who are paying an extra $250K in taxes on the car don’t really give a damn whether you’re charging $200,000 pretax or $250,000 pretax. Which is part of the reason why the german luxury brands care a lot more about the Chinese market than elsewhere-they get to mark the cars up like crazy and the people buying them are so loaded they don’t really care that the cars cost $500K after government taxes.

      • 0 avatar

        If Daimler were putting out a few thousand a year there (a la Rolls/Bentley sales here) I could see 400K/unit pricing taxes or no. But if they are importing say 30K worth of these per year… it would seem Chinese society has *way* too much money to burn. Do they not have 50% (local/state/fed) combined income taxes there as we do here or a VAT as they have in Europe? I can learn how to say ‘me love you long time’ in Mandarin lol.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s beeen reported that China, was the largest market of M.B.’s S-class, if you believe it.

  • avatar

    USA Today is the McDonalds of the news industry.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      That’s an insult to McDonald’s. I love Big Mac’s…or at least I did until I read about the Pink Goo…

      On an unrelated topic, I think Bertel’s finally losing the plot.

      Unless I miss my guess, the teaser photo for this article is a photo-shop of a screen-capture from a BDSM website. (I know because……a friend told me. Yeah,that’s it, that’s the ticket! A friend of mine told me!) Combined with his “special blue gear-shift lever” photo from last week’s VW story, I’m thinking BS’s private predilections are starting to spill over into his work….bordering on NSFW and gonna get some of us B&B in dutch for hitting the site at work.

      Excercise caution, BS….please.

      • 0 avatar

        One: Your degenerate, obscene and deviant fantasy is running amok. You literally ASK to be whipped. This picture is borrowed from a cart racing site ( ) not from a dungeon. This picture has absolutely nothing to do with your wishes to be punished. The picture was properly sourced, do your research before running off at the mouth.

        Two (and this goes for everybody): Telling me what to write, what not to write, what to show and what not to show is always futile and often counter-productive. You will simply get more. Brace yourself for more pictures from the cart-racing underground.

  • avatar
    400 N

    I read the title as USA is Insane Today.

  • avatar

    What’s the Euro delivery price for the S600? That at least used to be the smart way to buy German, not buying in China. Nice discount, little vacation to Germany at least somewhat paid for by the factory.

  • avatar

    lol you think that’s bad… spare a thought for Australians.

    $437,463.90 is what we pay for an S600L after taxes.

    Even the cheapest BMW (320i lolll) is $60,000 after taxes! We pay double to triple what you guys pay, especially true for anything european!

    • 0 avatar

      Ridiculous, 60K AUD for a 3 series. Pretty soon they’ll punch you with carbon taxes too. As an American who does follow Australian politics… time to revolt mate, toss that she-devil Gillard and her Green commie pals into jail where they belong. Maybe we’d get enough inspiration to do the same in our neck of the woods. :)

      • 0 avatar

        “As an American who does follow Australian politics… time to revolt mate, toss that she-devil Gillard and her Green commie pals into jail where they belong.”

        Gillard has nothing to do with high car prices in Australia.

      • 0 avatar

        Gillard does have a bit to do with the car prices.

        New cars sold in Australia are subjets to several federal taxes including;
        a 5% tarrif on imported cars,
        a 10% goods and services tax,
        and a 33% luxury car tax on tthe cost of a car over AUD 57466.

        As the prime minister Gillard is responsible for the federal taxation regime

        Cars are also subject to stamp duty levied by the states, this ranges from 2.5% to 6.5%.

        There are other reasons for the high cost of cars in Australia including the small size of the market, the distance from manufactures, the higher costs of doing business in Australia, and the willingness of Australians to pay higher prices.

  • avatar

    BTW, Bertel, how much is the “entry level” c-class that starts from RMB 308k (MSRP??) in USD?

    • 0 avatar


      According to ‘The Google’ currency conversion, An entry level C-Class Merc in the People’s Republic runs approximately US$48703.42.

      What’s one in the US? $34,800 (according to

      Makes that $27k ILX look like a bargain, eh? (Sorry guys, had to throw that one in there)

      Of course, since Acura sells in Hong Kong as well as NA, the ILX may be MUCH more expensive there, since a $35k USDM C-Class costs (pre-OPPRESSIVE, COMMUNISTIC taxes) $49k. So, I guess that would make the ILX, what, $40k-ish?

      I’m a big Acura/Honda guy, but, to all ya’ll Hong Kong guys (if your internet hasn’t been shut off by the gov’t by now), a valid question: would you pay $40k (or $209619.90 in HK$) for a modern day Cimmaron?

      Ouch, my head hurts…

  • avatar

    BUT…would you have to pay the tax if the vehicle was not going to be used in the country?

    Alternatively, would you get the tax refunded if you immediately exported it?

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