The Truth About Cars » Mercedes-Benz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:26:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mercedes-Benz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Best (Volume) Or Nothing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/best-volume-nothing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/best-volume-nothing/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:50:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030497 A few days shy of April 1st, Mercedes-Benz has announced that they will build a luxury pickup truck for world markets. While M-B clearly has their eye on the VW Amarok, not to mention the countless markets where a pickup truck is a logical next step up from one of their vans, the whole thing […]

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A few days shy of April 1st, Mercedes-Benz has announced that they will build a luxury pickup truck for world markets.

While M-B clearly has their eye on the VW Amarok, not to mention the countless markets where a pickup truck is a logical next step up from one of their vans, the whole thing has the undeniable stench of “fuck it, we’re all out of ideas”.

The German luxury brands have been on an insatiable quest for volume over the past few years, and it’s led them down a strange path; front drive minivans, coupe-like SUVs, compact cars.

There is no bigger advocate in the automotive media for products that have a solid business case, but at a certain point, you have to wonder where the erosion of brand equity begins. In the world of quarterly results and responsibility to shareholders, these new products are a good idea. But when your barista is leasing a CLA at $299 per month, the very notion of luxury and exclusivity is gone.

Personally, I think the end game is going to be the inevitable rationalization of their model lineups, with unnecessary variants getting the ax. But go ahead, tell me why I’m wrong.

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New York 2015: Mercedes-Benz ML Renamed “GLE” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-mercedes-benz-ml-renamed-gle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-mercedes-benz-ml-renamed-gle/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:28:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029929   As part of its efforts to re-brand crossovers, the Mercedes-Benz ML is now the “GLE”, the X5 to the GLE Coupe’s X6. Along with a diesel 4-cylinder and a gasoline V6 (with or without turbos), there is an AMG version, the GLE63 AMG and an “S” version. The diesel, dubbed the GLE300d makes 2.1-liter, four-cylinder […]

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As part of its efforts to re-brand crossovers, the Mercedes-Benz ML is now the “GLE”, the X5 to the GLE Coupe’s X6.

Along with a diesel 4-cylinder and a gasoline V6 (with or without turbos), there is an AMG version, the GLE63 AMG and an “S” version. The diesel, dubbed the GLE300d makes 2.1-liter, four-cylinder diesel making 201 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque, while the atmospheric V6 3.5-liter V6 makies 302 hp and 273 lb-ft. The turbo V6 makes 329 hp and 354 lb-ft. The AMG versions use the familiar twin-turbo V8 will make 550 or 577 hp depending on grade. A plug-in hybrid version will also be available. Full details will be announced at next week’s New York Auto Show.

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Study: Mercedes Holds Highest Average Labor Costs Among US Manufacturers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-mercedes-holds-highest-average-labor-costs-among-us-manufacturers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-mercedes-holds-highest-average-labor-costs-among-us-manufacturers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028817 Who among all automakers has the highest labor costs in the United States? A study points to Mercedes-Benz. According to Reuters, a study of 2014 labor costs by the Center for Automotive Research found that the automaker’s sole U.S. plant in Vance, Ala. averages $65/hour, while Volkswagen and BMW held the lowest averages overall and […]

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Who among all automakers has the highest labor costs in the United States? A study points to Mercedes-Benz.

According to Reuters, a study of 2014 labor costs by the Center for Automotive Research found that the automaker’s sole U.S. plant in Vance, Ala. averages $65/hour, while Volkswagen and BMW held the lowest averages overall and among the transplants, coming out to $38 and $39 per hour, respectively.

As mentioned previously, General Motors and Ford have the highest costs among the Detroit Three, averaging $58 and $57 per hour compared to FCA US’ $48. The three automakers are also the only ones whose employees are represented by the United Auto Workers, whose 2007 contract created the two-tier wage system meant to help the trio remain competitive against the transplants, as well as to stay afloat during the darkest days of the Great Recession.

Other automakers with business in the U.S. include Honda ($49/hr.), Toyota ($48/hr.), Nissan ($42/hr.), and Hyundai/Kia ($41/hr.).

The averages in the study were based on pay for both direct-hire and temporary employees working full-time. The research group also found that Japanese transplants had the highest percentages of temporary employees, helping to cut down on labor costs.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023561 There’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 […]

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15 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 without a speck of rust that I saw in a Northern California junkyard a few weeks ago, and this car comes on the heels of this ’71 250C, this ’73 280CE, this ’74 280C, and a bunch of W114 sedans that I haven’t even bothered to photograph. I’m sure that the cost to restore one of these things is just breathtaking, which is why those in the know rarely take on such projects.
12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn their time, these cars made just about every conceivable competitor look like a shoddily-built, frivolous rattletrap, built for idiots who didn’t understand the value of a Deutsche Mark.
04 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow’s this for dignified air-conditioning controls?
10 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car listed at $11,530 new, which was about 61 grand in 2015 bucks. Meanwhile, the much bigger, cushier, more powerful 1973 Lincoln Mark IV cost just $8,694 (just for fun, how about a brand-new Citroën SM— about the least sensible car you could buy in 1973, yet also the most beautiful— for $13,350?), while the Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado— with five hundred cubic inches under the hood, no less— could be purchased for $7,360.

01 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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UAW Local 112 President Working To Organize MBUSI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uaw-local-112-president-working-organize-mbusi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uaw-local-112-president-working-organize-mbusi/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020505 The UAW hasn’t had the best luck unionizing the South thus far, but one man hopes to bring Mercedes around. Ward’s Auto reports UAW Local 112 president and MBUSI quality operations employee George Jones is leading the effort to organize the 2,200 full-time employees and 1,200 temporary workers in Vance, Ala. The local has support […]

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The UAW hasn’t had the best luck unionizing the South thus far, but one man hopes to bring Mercedes around.

Ward’s Auto reports UAW Local 112 president and MBUSI quality operations employee George Jones is leading the effort to organize the 2,200 full-time employees and 1,200 temporary workers in Vance, Ala. The local has support from German union IG Metall and the Daimler World Employee Committee, as well as favorable rulings from the National Labor Relations Board, though Mercedes has appealed a ruling that would allow union leaflets to be distributed in non-work areas.

According to Jones:

We’re the only ones on this little island. Tuscaloosa (Vance) is a cash cow. All we’re asking for is fairness. Management has total control. It’s all about power.

The president is focused on giving a voice to the union as far as job classifications, staffing and perks go, adding that temp workers earn half of the $29 full-timers receive, with no guarantees of becoming full-time, and no benefits. He says that Mercedes also doesn’t offer a pension plan in MBUSI, while the 401(k) plan provided “is like going to the casino,” citing what happened during the early days of the Great Recession.

Jones says it will take a while for Local 112 — whose membership numbers he did not disclose — to organize the facility, with no set time to hold a vote or card check. Should the UAW win in Vance, however, it would be the first transplant-owned light-vehicle assembly plant in the South to be organized.

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Geneva 2015: Mercedes G500 4X4 Squared Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-g500-4x4-squared-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-g500-4x4-squared-arrives/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:26:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012698 Climbing down the Swiss Alps, the Mercedes G500 4X42 bowed at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The G500 4X42 rides upon 17.7 inches of ground clearance, double what one can have on the standard G Wagen, and moves over the rocky trails with help from its 4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 422 horsepower and 450 lb-ft […]

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Climbing down the Swiss Alps, the Mercedes G500 4X42 bowed at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The G500 4X42 rides upon 17.7 inches of ground clearance, double what one can have on the standard G Wagen, and moves over the rocky trails with help from its 4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 422 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque.

Were it to go into production the G500 would have 22-inch alloys or 18-inch wheels mounted on 37-inch beadlock tires, providing 52- and 54-degree approach/departure angles, respectively; breakover is 47 degrees.

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Infiniti Teases QX30 Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/infiniti-teases-qx30-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/infiniti-teases-qx30-crossover/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:11:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004274   Nissan’s deal with Daimler is bearing further fruit in the form of the QX30, a compact crossover that’s based on the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Like the Q30 concept, the QX30 is a front-wheel drive compact designed to go head to head with the Audi A3 and the upper end of the mainstream market. Expect a […]

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Nissan’s deal with Daimler is bearing further fruit in the form of the QX30, a compact crossover that’s based on the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Like the Q30 concept, the QX30 is a front-wheel drive compact designed to go head to head with the Audi A3 and the upper end of the mainstream market. Expect a range of powertrains similar to the CLA (2.0L turbo gasoline engine, a selection of diesels), as well as a price tag close to the magic $29,995 mark.

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Mercedes-Maybach Pullman Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mercedes-maybach-pullman-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mercedes-maybach-pullman-revealed/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 05:01:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003730 At roughly 21 feet long, the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is the successor to the legendary Mercedes 600 Pullman (aka the Großer Mercedes) – it will be made for dignitaries and heads of state and cost a bloody fortune. Powered by a twin-turbo V12 engine, the Pullman will feature a 2+2+2 seating arrangement, as well as other 0.01 percent […]

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At roughly 21 feet long, the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is the successor to the legendary Mercedes 600 Pullman (aka the Großer Mercedes) – it will be made for dignitaries and heads of state and cost a bloody fortune.

Powered by a twin-turbo V12 engine, the Pullman will feature a 2+2+2 seating arrangement, as well as other 0.01 percent features like a glass partition (that changes from transparent to opaque via an electronic switch), electrically sliding curtains and a full armoring package. All in, a fully loaded Pullman with armoring will cost about $1-million.

 

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Geneva 2015: Mercedes Pullman, C-Class PHEV To Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-mercedes-pullman-c-class-phev-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-mercedes-pullman-c-class-phev-debut/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1001946 The big daddy of despot and celebrity rides will model its new suit when the Mercedes Pullman arrives arm-in-arm with a C-Class PHEV in Geneva next month. Reuters reports the new six-passenger Pullman will, like the original’s ideological successor, the S600 Pullman, be based upon the current S-Class, but will gain a meter in the […]

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The big daddy of despot and celebrity rides will model its new suit when the Mercedes Pullman arrives arm-in-arm with a C-Class PHEV in Geneva next month.

Reuters reports the new six-passenger Pullman will, like the original’s ideological successor, the S600 Pullman, be based upon the current S-Class, but will gain a meter in the length of its wheelbase to accommodate high-level dignitaries and celebrities on their way to world-affecting and/or illicit affairs.

As for the C-Class PHEV, the model will be among the first to have a plug-in hybrid powertrain, allowing drivers to head into the city for work and/or errands on just electric power alone.

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Mercedes-Maybach Lands In China With S600, S400 Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mercedes-maybach-lands-china-s600-s400-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mercedes-maybach-lands-china-s600-s400-models/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 15:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992938 Chinese luxury sedan consumers are the first to see Mercedes-Maybach in their showrooms, arriving in the form of the S600 and S400. CarNewsChina reports the S400 4-Matic retails for ¥1.3 million ($229,000 USD), while the S600 goes for ¥2.88 million ($462,000); for comparison, the S600 will sell for $189,350 when hits U.S. showrooms on Tax […]

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Chinese luxury sedan consumers are the first to see Mercedes-Maybach in their showrooms, arriving in the form of the S600 and S400.

CarNewsChina reports the S400 4-Matic retails for ¥1.3 million ($229,000 USD), while the S600 goes for ¥2.88 million ($462,000); for comparison, the S600 will sell for $189,350 when hits U.S. showrooms on Tax Day.

Power comes from either a 3-liter biturbo V6 with 330 horses and 354 lb-ft of torque for the S400, or a biturbo V12 with 530 horses and 612 lb-ft of torque for the S600. Both premium sedans send their respective power through a seven-speed auto either to the back or all corners, depending on model.

Other features include: Burmeister sound system; captain seats; rear-seat entertainment system; leather and wood interior; 20-inch alloys; and chrome for days.

Mercedes’ decision to introduce the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand to China first is a play to have the country be the brand’s largest market from the start. This shouldn’t be too much trouble, as used Maybachs can be had for as low as ¥2.68 million ($430,000) and newer models hitting nearly ¥12 million ($1.9 million), showing the overall strength of the Maybach name in the market.

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Back Home Again In Indiana: Mercedes-Benz To Move R-Class Production To Its Old U. S. Hometown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/back-home-indiana-mercedes-benz-move-r-class-production-old-u-s-hometown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/back-home-indiana-mercedes-benz-move-r-class-production-old-u-s-hometown/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:13:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989242 As a tyke growing up in South Bend, Indiana, my father and I would often stake out the lots behind the Studebaker factories with hopes of spotting the next generation Avanti or Lark. Too often all we spied were rows of Mercedes-Benz automobiles due to the fact that Studebaker was the U.S. distributor for the German brand up […]

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As a tyke growing up in South Bend, Indiana, my father and I would often stake out the lots behind the Studebaker factories with hopes of spotting the next generation Avanti or Lark. Too often all we spied were rows of Mercedes-Benz automobiles due to the fact that Studebaker was the U.S. distributor for the German brand up until shortly before the closure of their South Bend operations in 1963.

Yesterday it was announced that Mercedes-Benz was returning to South Bend to build the R-Class crossover at the AM General plant, producer of the military Humvee and the late GM Hummer. Mercedes-Benz once moved their headquarters from South Bend to New Jersey and soon to the South (Atlanta) and now R-Class production is moving from the South (Alabama) to South Bend. Got it?

Slow sales of the R-Class in the U.S caused Mercedes-Benz to stop offering it here in 2012 but they continued to assemble the crossover in their Vance, Alabama plant for export to China. The cavernous R-Class is naturally a great fit for chauffeur-driven Chinese consumers.

Demand for Mercedes SUVs has put a strain on their Alabama factory so the automaker chose the AM General plant to build up to 10,000 R-Classes annually beginning this summer. The facility is also located a few miles from Elkhart, Indiana and its dozens of recreational vehicle factories so an experienced assembly-line talent pool is readily available. It took the UAW about 20 seconds after the Benz press release to announce that the AM General plant is already under their control, leaving the Alabama facility as the only non-union Mercedes-Benz factory in the world.

The only remaining question is: if Benz brings back the high-performance R63, will its AMG tag now stand now for AM General?

 

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NAIAS 2015: Mercedes C450 AMG 4Matic Second AMG Sport Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-mercedes-c450-amg-4matic-second-amg-sport-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-mercedes-c450-amg-4matic-second-amg-sport-debut/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=978449 Is the Mercedes GLE450 AMG Coupe not quite your speed? The AMG Sport line might have something else for you, in the form of the C450 AMG 4Matic. The sedan and estate models are meant to bridge the gap between the standard C300 and the Mercedes-AMG C63. Thus, power for the second AMG Sport offering […]

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Is the Mercedes GLE450 AMG Coupe not quite your speed? The AMG Sport line might have something else for you, in the form of the C450 AMG 4Matic.

The sedan and estate models are meant to bridge the gap between the standard C300 and the Mercedes-AMG C63. Thus, power for the second AMG Sport offering comes from the C400’s 3-liter twin-turbo V6, which has been re-tuned to deliver 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. Nil to 60 comes at 4.9 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. The power is routed to all four corners via a seven-speed automatic, the rear pair of wheels receiving up to two-thirds of said power.

Adaptive suspension is borrowed from the aforementioned C63, which offers three-stage adjustable dampers, while the front axle boasts special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints. Multi-link rear and a stiffer body shell improve overall driving dynamics.

Other features include: five-mode Dynamic Select; MB-Tex upholstery; adaptive braking; USB multimedia system; performance seats; four light-alloy 19-inch wheel options; and collision prevention. The C450 AMG 4Matic will go on sale later this year.

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NAIAS 2015: Mercedes Reveals 2016 C350 PHEV Sedan, Estate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-mercedes-reveals-2016-c350-phev-sedan-estate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-mercedes-reveals-2016-c350-phev-sedan-estate/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 03:45:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=976369 Amid Dr. Z’s proclamation that 2015 would be “the Year of the SUV,” the Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid was revealed prior to its official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show [Live photos now available – CA]. Autoblog reports the PHEV — in sedan and estate form — can travel for up to 20 miles […]

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Amid Dr. Z’s proclamation that 2015 would be “the Year of the SUV,” the Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid was revealed prior to its official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show [Live photos now available – CA].

Autoblog reports the PHEV — in sedan and estate form — can travel for up to 20 miles with only its electric motor. Said motor also helps contribute to the C350’s 250-horsepower figure when paired with the 1.9-liter turbo-four under the hood, as well as a top speed of 130 mph, and the ability to go from nil to 60 in six seconds.

Aside from regenerative braking and collision-avoidance systems, not much else was revealed, especially in regards to price and estimated fuel economy. Those details are likely to come during press days this week.

The PHEV is expected to go on sale later this year in the United States as a 2016 model.

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Mercedes Brings ‘Luxury In Motion’ To 2015 CES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-brings-luxury-motion-2015-ces/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-brings-luxury-motion-2015-ces/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972857 The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show isn’t just the place to see the latest and greatest in gadgets and 1,000-inch Ultra 5K curved-screen Omega Definition touchscreen televisions with Minority Report-style controls, but also where some of those things will wind up in the auto industry. For Mercedes-Benz, it’s the F 015 Luxury in Motion. The carbon-fiber, […]

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The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show isn’t just the place to see the latest and greatest in gadgets and 1,000-inch Ultra 5K curved-screen Omega Definition touchscreen televisions with Minority Report-style controls, but also where some of those things will wind up in the auto industry.

For Mercedes-Benz, it’s the F 015 Luxury in Motion.

The carbon-fiber, aluminum and high-strength steel concept’s main selling point is autonomous driving and its relationship with both time and privacy, something Daimler AG CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche believes will become the two most important “luxury goods” in the 21st century.

To facilitate this, the Luxury in Motion offers variable seating for four, perfect for conducting business meetings on the way to Google, or enjoying a weekend getaway to Las Vegas. The seats also swivel out to 30 degrees upon opening of the doors, allowing for easier exits and boarding.

The interior also boasts six display screens “harmoniously integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels,” creating a “digital arena” for everyone’s convenience. The screens can be accessed via Minority Report-style gestures, eye-tracking or touch.

As for power, the Luxury in Motion “was designed to allow the impact-protected integration of an electric drive system with fuel cell”; perhaps Daimler might be interested in some patents, then? The concept also weighs 40 percent less than a standard vehicle in its segment, and is notably larger than the S-Class.

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BMW Takes US Luxury Sales Crown Back From Mercedes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-takes-us-luxury-sales-crown-back-mercedes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-takes-us-luxury-sales-crown-back-mercedes/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 12:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972809 After a year-long battle for the top position on the U.S. luxury sales podium, BMW takes back the crown Mercedes-Benz won in 2013. Reuters reports the Bavarians moved over 9,000 more units by the end of 2014 over the wonder boys back in Stuttgart, coming out to a total of 339,738 for BMW, 330,391 for […]

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After a year-long battle for the top position on the U.S. luxury sales podium, BMW takes back the crown Mercedes-Benz won in 2013.

Reuters reports the Bavarians moved over 9,000 more units by the end of 2014 over the wonder boys back in Stuttgart, coming out to a total of 339,738 for BMW, 330,391 for Mercedes. Both automakers also experienced growth in U.S. sales during the last year, though BMW’s 9.8 percent boost over 2013’s numbers raced past Mercedes’ 5.7 percent increase.

Taking third on the podium was Lexus with 311,389 units sold in 2014, though its rate of growth bested the top two finishers at 13.7 percent over 2013.

Rounding out the rest of the U.S. mainstream luxury pack, Audi took fourth from Cadillac, the latter to be the only make to see a decline in growth in 2014, falling 6.5 percent to 170,750 units; Audi sold 182,011 over the same period, 15.2 percent more than it did in 2013.

Acura and Infiniti took sixth and seventh respectively, with 167,843 to 117,300 units moved. Both also experienced the lowest rates of growth in sales in the outgoing year: 1.5 percent in Acura’s favor, 0.8 percent for Infiniti.

Lincoln finished dead last with 94,474 units sold, but had the biggest rate of growth out of its fellow competitors compared to 2013 at 15.6 percent.

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Mercedes-Benz Set To Announce Move To Atlanta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-benz-set-announce-move-atlanta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-benz-set-announce-move-atlanta/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 03:08:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971786 Sources that Mercedes-Benz will announce Tuesday that their headquarters will move from Northern New Jersey to Atlanta, Georgia. The move is the latest in a series of relocations to the South. Last year, TTAC was the first to break news of Toyota’s move from Los Angeles to Dallas.  Nissan previously departed Los Angeles for Nashville, Tennessee. Atlanta offers […]

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Sources that Mercedes-Benz will announce Tuesday that their headquarters will move from Northern New Jersey to Atlanta, Georgia.

The move is the latest in a series of relocations to the South. Last year, TTAC was the first to break news of Toyota’s move from Los Angeles to Dallas.  Nissan previously departed Los Angeles for Nashville, Tennessee.

Atlanta offers several benefits for Mercedes-Benz, from easier access to already used ports in Georgia to direct commercial flights into Alabama, where Mercedes-Benz operates a large assembly plant. Mercedes was said to be considering Raleigh, North Carolina as another finalist.

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MBUSA Looking South For New Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mbusa-looking-south-new-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mbusa-looking-south-new-home/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962394 With Cadillac getting its inner hipster on in SoHo, and Subaru trekking four miles west to conduct its American hustle in Camden, N.J., Mercedes-Benz USA is feeling the urge to heed the song of the South and go with the wind. Automotive News reports MBUSA is looking at relocating its 800 employees to either Georgia, […]

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With Cadillac getting its inner hipster on in SoHo, and Subaru trekking four miles west to conduct its American hustle in Camden, N.J., Mercedes-Benz USA is feeling the urge to heed the song of the South and go with the wind.

Automotive News reports MBUSA is looking at relocating its 800 employees to either Georgia, Florida or North Carolina, leaving Montvale, N.J. after 42 years. Representatives for the company wouldn’t confirm or deny the plans, believing it to be nothing more than rumor and speculation.

The company is currently looking over tax incentive packages, with New Jersey working on its own package in the hope of keeping MBUSA’s headquarters in Montvale. JLL Inc., the commercial real estate firm that is helping Toyota move its U.S. headquarters to Texas from California, is also lending assistance to the company.

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Tesla’s Tanking U.S. Sales And The World Of Automakers Falsifying Sales Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teslas-tanking-u-s-sales-world-automakers-falsifying-sales-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teslas-tanking-u-s-sales-world-automakers-falsifying-sales-numbers/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958665 The auto journo world is in a tizzy because electric automaker Tesla refuses to post its car sales numbers on a monthly basis and the numbers they do divulge are suspicious as they are without detail and they vary widely from actual registration numbers. Our friends at Jalopnik ranted about it last week, calling on Tesla to start […]

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Teslas in a row Courtesy ibtimes.com

Tesla’s first fleet deal? Around 100 Model S’s were sold to a Las Vegas startup taxi service.

The auto journo world is in a tizzy because electric automaker Tesla refuses to post its car sales numbers on a monthly basis and the numbers they do divulge are suspicious as they are without detail and they vary widely from actual registration numbers. Our friends at Jalopnik ranted about it last week, calling on Tesla to start reporting sales consistently. They based their story on a report by Seeking Alpha that deduced that Tesla may have as many as 12,000 unsold Model S’s, based on registration figures and the automaker’s quarterly financial reports.

We say congratulations, Elon Musk, you truly are the head of an American car company now, as reporting bogus sales numbers to the press is a normal part of an automaker’s modus operandi. Auto manufacturers claiming they sold more cars than they actually did is nothing new.  Sales numbers in the US are based on those deliveries reported by dealers, not when the automakers wholesale the vehicles to the retailers as some believe. Carmaker execs at times may be motivated to look good to their bosses or shareholders or to outsell a rival. They will then pressure, coerce and bribe dealers with one-time cash incentives to have them report bogus sales at month or year-end, often to the dealer themselves as loaner or demonstrator cars.  The vehicles are never driven and then sold as new, ideally as quickly as possible as their warranty clocks are ticking. Dealers who do not comply are thus put in an unfavorable price disadvantage with competing same-brand stores.

The Japanese automakers pioneered this practice during the high-demand, low supply days. At American Honda from the 1970s to the early 1990s, dealers reported every unsold car as sold at the end of each month or they risked losing precious future allocations. Those were the days when every Honda dealership employee “bought” a dozen cars a year and then the dealer would turn to the white pages of the phone book to find more “buyers.” It is not an urban car legend that a California Honda dealer once sold Accords to customers named “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck.”

In December 2012 BMW North America, in their zeal to beat Mercedes-Benz in the US, reported 37,399 vehicles sold, an amazing 69% higher than their 2012 average monthly sales rate, thus claiming the US luxury brand crown. That December the industry rose 21% over the 2012 average due to it being the heaviest incentive month of the year and this no doubt contributed to the rise in Bimmer sales. However, BMW dealers that I spoke with in January 2013 complained that half of their inventory had been reported as sold in December.  BMW got tons of pub for beating Benz but few noticed that when actual registration numbers came out a few months later it was revealed that Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW for 2012. Incredibly, in one of the few occasions where the media sniffed out this practice, the Wall Street Journal had reported about BMW’s shady sales numbers just months before.

It was one thing to report cars sold as loaners or demonstrators under the direction  of the factory; it is another to do report ghost sales when your dealership needs the incentive cash to stay afloat. We covered the story of a South Carolina Suzuki dealer who was convicted of fraud earlier this year for doing just that. It probably did not help his case that he was also convicted of a cornucopia of illegal advertising and finance practices.

As far as Tesla sales this year, here are the facts as near as we can determine: Automotive News has estimated Tesla’s reported sales in the US through October were 19,530 units. Actual registration numbers for the same period were 11,731 cars, a full 40% below the sales figures.  Further, these registration figures show Tesla off 22% from the same period in 2013.  Other sources have pegged the drop off at 26% this year.  This may explain why Tesla may be dabbling in the fleet market for the first time, as pictured above.

Elon Musk responded to these reports by saying they are selling every car they build and his team issued a response saying that don’t report monthly sales because, “the media tends to read all sorts of nonsense into deliveries.” They also pointed out that a car could be sold one month and not registered until the next. Why, yes, just like every other automaker.

 

Elon Musk Courtesy static1.businessinsider.com

If GM or Ford stopped reporting monthly sales and started spewing such drivel, the press would vilify them but the rules are different for Musk.  If he told the media that Tesla sold 200,000 cars one month, outsold all the other luxury carmakers combined and that he personally just got back from Mars, the slobbering press would not question him and resultant news stories would send Tesla stock into orbit.

Don’t get us wrong. We think that a new auto company selling 15,000 high dollar electric cars annually in the US through a unique, direct sales channel is an incredible accomplishment.

The Tesla Model S is one of the most innovative cars available today and Musk is one of this century’s greatest entrepreneurs, not to mention an amazing PR man. Who cares if can’t tell us the truth about how many cars his company sells?

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Lower Fuel Prices Not Slowing U.S. Car Sales At BMW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/lower-fuel-prices-not-slowing-u-s-car-sales-bmw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/lower-fuel-prices-not-slowing-u-s-car-sales-bmw/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 13:01:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958529 Passenger car sales in the United States are up just 1% as the overall industry has grown more than 5% through the first eleven months of 2014. America’s two best-selling premium brands, however, are enjoying more encouraging passenger car numbers in 2014. Quickly decreasing fuel prices are not, as of yet, slowing car volume at BMW […]

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Mercedes-Benz BMW USA sales chartPassenger car sales in the United States are up just 1% as the overall industry has grown more than 5% through the first eleven months of 2014. America’s two best-selling premium brands, however, are enjoying more encouraging passenger car numbers in 2014. Quickly decreasing fuel prices are not, as of yet, slowing car volume at BMW in the least.

BMW car sales are up 12% through the first eleven months of 2014 on the strength of the 3-Series and 4-Series, which account for more than six out of every ten BMW passenger car sales. As the chart’s red line shows, the percentage of BMW’s volume generated by cars was as low as 59% in March, as high as 77% in July and 76% in October, but slid back somewhat to 67% in November.

Mercedes-Benz car volume is up 4.4% this year, although the brand’s cars tumbled 18% in October and 7% in November. Again, as the chart shows in the green line, Mercedes-Benz’s SUVs and crossovers accounted for 36% of non-Sprinter Mercedes-Benz volume in March, a figure which rose as high as 38% in May and 39% in October but fell to 37% in November.

We were clear about the reasoning behind charts like this a week ago, so we won’t go into the justification for displaying figures like these again. Are fuel prices a factor in pushing luxury SUV/crossover sales upward? Perhaps, but the numbers for these two top-selling luxury brands manifest little change.

And there are other contributing factors. Mercedes-Benz now sells their most affordable crossover, the GLA, which didn’t go on sale until September, and the new C-Class is only just beginning to play a role. Meanwhile, X6 volume dried up in August, September, and October as BMW USA waited for the new model to arrive.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Mercedes-Benz Hikes CLA Price Above $30k Threshold http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mercedes-benz-hikes-cla-price-30k-threshold/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mercedes-benz-hikes-cla-price-30k-threshold/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:35:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958585 The sub-$30,000 Mercedes-Benz is no more. For 2015, Mercedes is raising the price of its popular CLA sedan by about 5 percent, putting it above the critical psychological threshold. As CarsDirect reports The base MSRP for a front-wheel drive CLA250 jumps from $29,900 to $31,500, an increase of $1,600 or 5.4%. The all-wheel drive 4MATIC […]

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The sub-$30,000 Mercedes-Benz is no more. For 2015, Mercedes is raising the price of its popular CLA sedan by about 5 percent, putting it above the critical psychological threshold.

As CarsDirect reports

The base MSRP for a front-wheel drive CLA250 jumps from $29,900 to $31,500, an increase of $1,600 or 5.4%. The all-wheel drive 4MATIC goes from $31,900 to $33,500, the equivalent of $1,600 or 5.0%. The top-tier CLA45 AMG creeps up $1,050 or 2.2%, from $47,450 to $48,500. (All prices exclude a $925 destination charge.)

Sales of the CLA have been brisk, with tight inventories leading to minimal discounting on the baby Benz. But the Audi A3 is giving it some competition in the relatively new entry-level German luxury car segment. Whether Audi will follow M-B’s lead or stick to the $29,990 sticker price remains to be seen.

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Volkswagen Unveils Plans For 5 Series/E-Class Fighter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volkswagen-unveils-plans-5-seriese-class-fighter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volkswagen-unveils-plans-5-seriese-class-fighter/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957841 The world is not enough for Volkswagen AG, as it now has plans to introduce a mid-size sedan to slot between the Passat and the Phaeton. AutoBild reports the proposed model will do battle with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, with sedan and wagon variants on the table, with U.S. and Chinese markets […]

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The world is not enough for Volkswagen AG, as it now has plans to introduce a mid-size sedan to slot between the Passat and the Phaeton.

AutoBild reports the proposed model will do battle with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, with sedan and wagon variants on the table, with U.S. and Chinese markets receiving the sedan while the Europeans can buy either style.

Regarding platforms for the sedan, VW is considering either its MQB architecture — following the next-gen Passat in 2017 — or Audi’s MLB platform, which underpins the A6. Power is expected to come from four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, and would be linked to all four corners via DSG and Audi’s Quattro AWD system.

The proposed base price for the model would begin at €37,500 ($46,500 USD), and would be assembled in either China, Mexico or North America. The new model would go on sale sometime near the end of this decade.

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Undisguised Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Still Looks Like A Mash-Up Of An S-Class And A Wart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/undisguised-mercedes-benz-gle-still-looks-like-mash-s-class-wart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/undisguised-mercedes-benz-gle-still-looks-like-mash-s-class-wart/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 23:28:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957610 Not long ago, I described the Mercedes-Benz GLE as “a cross between the new S-Class coupe and a growth of the Human Papilloma Virus.” I stand by that statement. A completely unoriginal derivative turd, the GLE is basically an X6 rip-off made by Mercedes-Benz. Even worse, it wears an “AMG” badge, despite sharing nothing with the […]

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Not long ago, I described the Mercedes-Benz GLE as “a cross between the new S-Class coupe and a growth of the Human Papilloma Virus.” I stand by that statement.

A completely unoriginal derivative turd, the GLE is basically an X6 rip-off made by Mercedes-Benz. Even worse, it wears an “AMG” badge, despite sharing nothing with the great AMG cars of past and present. It is little more than a sop to consumers in the BRIC countries, and a naked play at profit and volume by Daimler.

One part of me wishes them well for shrewdly playing off the needs and wants of the legions of people who would buy this thing. The other part of me wants to reach for the liquid nitrogen canister and cryo-therapy this thing off the face of the earth.

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Generation Why: Forget It Pete, It’s Chinatown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/forget-it-pete-its-chinatown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/forget-it-pete-its-chinatown/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 17:07:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954625 What an unfortunate time for Mercedes-Benz. Brazil and India are limping along economically, and the sub-$70 oil prices are surely going to limit the number of Rosneft bigwigs (and outright criminals…err, oligarchs) able to gallivant around in the latest crop of crossovers. At least China is still churning, right? Of all the luxury car makers […]

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What an unfortunate time for Mercedes-Benz. Brazil and India are limping along economically, and the sub-$70 oil prices are surely going to limit the number of Rosneft bigwigs (and outright criminals…err, oligarchs) able to gallivant around in the latest crop of crossovers. At least China is still churning, right? Of all the luxury car makers in China, Mercedes-Benz owners are the wealthiest.

 Mercedes wasn’t the first to introduce the coupe-cum-crossover to the automotive world. That dubious honor goes to BMW, which introduced, in rapid succession, the X6, the 5-Series GT, the X4 and the 3-Series GT.

Mercedes, on the other hand, has been coasting on the success of the G-Wagen SUV, which, in a world of antiquated designs wrapped in high-dollar vestments and sold at outrageous markups, is the zenith of this formula: a 30+ year old military truck built for the Shah of Iran, flocked in faux-Chanel handbag upholstery and sold to the consorts of the one percent as this season’s must have mode of transportation.

The one and only time I have driven a G-Wagen was when I babysat the owner of a G63 AMG, a friend-of-a-friend who makes bi-monthly appearances at rehab facilities. We had stayed out far too late – or should I say, I stayed out far too late for somebody who hadn’t ingested cardiotoxic quantities of stimulants, and it was up to me to get my friend, and the G-Wagen home safely.

I drove the short distance back to his home, marveling at what a wretched nugget of dogshit the G-Wagen was. It was dynamically reprehensible: every application of the brakes, throttle or steering resulted in some kind of reciprocal pitching or yawing. Even though it packed a twin-turbo AMG V8 under the hood, there was no way you could ever use any of the power. The G63 is a bit like a side of beef that’s rotten and covered in toxic mold, but sold as dry aged steak – at least that’s the best analogy I came up with, while my friend hung his head out the window, cackling at girls in too short bandage dresses ala Heath Ledger’s Joker.

I’ll concede that for a tiny minority, it offers unparalleled off-road capabilities. But the world is no longer made for the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, or its cohort of rugged, body-on-frame SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender. The ubiquitous axis of emissions and crash safety regulations imposing an increasing burden on automakers, who must go even further out of their way to achieve compliance in these areas for products that were engineered in the era of belted sanitary napkins.

At this point, OEMs have two options, both sufficiently expensive. They can invest in radical changes to the vehicle (no folding windscreen and aluminum body panels for the Wrangler) or the inevitable pussification of an iconic product (the rumored “lifestyle” Defender said to be debuting in the next year or two). Option A works best if you have sufficient volume that will allow your investment to scale. The Jeep Wrangler is a perfect candidate, since it has sufficient volume, cachet, pent-up global demand and the ability to withstand frequent redesigns, allowing Fiat Chrysler to amortize the costs of such a radical change.

Jaguar Land Rover, recognizing that the Defender’s current “it car status” stems from its position as a Veblen good for those who summer in Newport, East Hampton and other places that once posted signs proclaiming “No Dogs, No Jews”, is taking the other road. Since they will never build a few hundred thousand Defenders per year (capacity and market forces suggest as much), they’re stuck using whatever is laying around JLR’s garage- and you can bet that it’s not the current ladder-frame/aluminum panels setup that, while emulated by the Americans, doesn’t have a hope in hell of meeting the current regulatory regime.

And what about the G-Wagen? I have no idea. It might turn into a castrated version of itself, riding on the GL platform. It might linger on as a very expensive flagship, with Mercedes continuing to churn out small quantities for Arabians and Kardashians.

What I do know is this: Mercedes is re-jigging their entire SUV and CUV lineup to organize a heriarchy of nomenclature. The GLK will become the GLC, the GL will get a new moniker (presumably GLS) and buyers who might normally opt for a G-Wagen will be steered towards the GLE Coupe, M-B’s new X6 fighter.

The GLE Coupe resembles a cross between the new S-Class coupe and a growth of the Human Papilloma Virus. It is unspeakably vulgar, an aesthetic atrocity and we are going to see them everywhere within two years time. How do I know this? Because whenever I feel a conviction this strong and this negative about a new vehicle, the market tends to embrace it with open arms. I had similar feelings towards the Buick Encore, and look how that turned out.

In his latest column, Peter De Lorenzo chastises Mercedes-Benz for thinking that “…they will reach the Promised Land through volume, plain and simple.” I’m not sure what PDL thinks the promised land is for M-B, but I am confident that in the eyes of Dr. Z, it’s spelled “E-B-I-T-D-A”. We are in an era where the auto world is a mature market, where volume matters and greater economics of scale drive profits, and where the unrefined tastes of consumers both at home and abroad is now the focal point for brands that we enthusiasts once held in high esteem.

Forget it Pete, It’s Chinatown.

 

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UAW Aims To Push MBUSI Managers Into Compliance With NLRB Ruling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uaw-aims-push-mbusi-managers-compliance-nlrb-ruling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uaw-aims-push-mbusi-managers-compliance-nlrb-ruling/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954705 Following reaffirmation of the National Labor Relations Board ruling in its favor, the United Auto Workers will push managers at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to respect the ruling, allowing the union to discuss organization on the factory floor. Reuters reports Mercedes “remains neutral” on the issue, preferring to leave the choice to organize […]

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MBUSI Mercedes-Benz Alabama

Following reaffirmation of the National Labor Relations Board ruling in its favor, the United Auto Workers will push managers at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to respect the ruling, allowing the union to discuss organization on the factory floor.

Reuters reports Mercedes “remains neutral” on the issue, preferring to leave the choice to organize among its 2,500 full-time and 1,000 temporary employees. The UAW, meanwhile, wants the automaker to follow its labor policy used outside of the United States, acknowledging “the human right to form trade unions” and respecting “the right of collective bargaining.”

The NLRB ruling reaffirms the original ruling made this summer, ordering Mercedes to rescind a rule in its employee handbook that barred employees from talking about unionization on the floor while not on the clock.

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Uber Hitting E-Class Taxi Roadblock In Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954649 Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model. According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger […]

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Mercedes-Benz_E_200_NGT_taxi_best_award_May2011

Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model.

According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger — average age of 3.5 years — and more luxurious, as well.

Familiarity — or lack thereof — is another factor in grabbing mind share. Berlin-based consultant Boris Knoblich says that while Uber’s lower fares are attractive, he didn’t know “anything about those drivers or the cars they’re driving.” Per Die Zeit, 73 percent of Germans feel the same way, showing no interest in the transportation network company, even if its fares are lower.

Uber’s German boss, Fabian Nestmann, is attempting to change those opinions and to bring the fleet on par with the taxis. Regarding the latter, Uber is considering making direct deals with automakers for newer, higher-quality vehicles. Nestmann also suggested in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last month that the German government drop mandatory health checks or local geography testing for tax drivers, likely to help his company make further in-roads into the market.

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