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, 23 Feb 2015 16:00:09 +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 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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mercedes-benz-r-class-courtesy carnewschina.com

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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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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Mercedes-Benz Releases Automotive Rorschach Test http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-releases-automotive-rorschach-test/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-releases-automotive-rorschach-test/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:09:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950993   The collective distaste for the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA is known among the B&B and the wider automotive world – but now, Mercedes has dropped a collective bomb on the psyche of enthusiasts everywhere. A reflexive love of all things station wagon/shooting brake pervades the gearhead mentality. Will they accept a station wagon version […]

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Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014

 

The collective distaste for the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA is known among the B&B and the wider automotive world – but now, Mercedes has dropped a collective bomb on the psyche of enthusiasts everywhere.

A reflexive love of all things station wagon/shooting brake pervades the gearhead mentality. Will they accept a station wagon version of the Mercedes CLA? Mechanically, it’s identical to the standard car, and the sloping roofline might even make it less practical than the GLA in terms of cargo hauling ability. But it’s suitably obscure enough to send a tingle through the loins of the kind of enthusiast that professes their adoration for the wagon, but fails to buy them when they are released for sale on our shores.

 

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014

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Capsule Review: 2015 Mercedes Benz GLA45 AMG http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/review-2015-mercedes-benz-gla45-amg/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/review-2015-mercedes-benz-gla45-amg/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945145 Per Mercedes-Benz’s own naming strategy, anything with a G is considered an SUV, even if the GLA45 AMG is classified as a car. That would make this GLA45 AMG a hatchback – a hot-hatch if you will. Since no one in United States buys hatchbacks, it’s being called an SUV anyways. I went along with […]

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Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG side

Per Mercedes-Benz’s own naming strategy, anything with a G is considered an SUV, even if the GLA45 AMG is classified as a car. That would make this GLA45 AMG a hatchback – a hot-hatch if you will. Since no one in United States buys hatchbacks, it’s being called an SUV anyways. I went along with this until I pulled up next to a cross-over SUV called Range Rover at a light and noticed that its door handle was above this cute-ute’s roofline. Truth is that it doesn’t matter what you call it because it’s a blast!

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG engine

The 2.0-liter 355hp engine sounds mean at startup, letting everyone know that this isn’t a plain olde’ Benzito, but it doesn’t sound like a tuned child’s toy either (Fiat 500 Abarth, I’m looking at you).  Select sport mode, start driving and you really wouldn’t know what is under the hood. There is plenty of low-end power and the engine is not screaming in agony on its way to a relatively low 6250rpm redline. It doesn’t feel like any 2.0-liter or turbo motor I have ever experienced; smooth and linear power from idle to redline. Very impressive.

The gear changes from the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission are fast, accompanied by exotic car-like gurgling backfire noises that were clearly designed in the most sophisticated of anechoic chambers. These noises may not be to everyone’s liking but will let the slower drivers know that they have just been passed by something special. The transmission’s only issues were at very low speeds, where it sometimes couldn’t decide exactly which gear to chose or when to fully disengage the clutch.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG dash

The speed and power of this vehicle are really deceptive, especially on the highway where triple-digit speeds are achieved rather effortlessly. Surprisingly, even in sport mode, it doesn’t launch off the line with authority (I didn’t abuse the vehicle by holding both pedals in) but then really takes off once it built up some speed. Buff books say that a quarter mile run can completed in high 12-second range, which was exotic car territory just a few years ago, now accomplished in a four-banger hatchback with a transversely mounted engine.

Toss this SUV wagon hatchback vehicle into a highway on-ramp and it will stick surprisingly well, with minimum body roll. The steering is very quick and direct, and may just be one of the best of FWD/AWD-based cars. On public roads I obviously didn’t drive anywhere near its or my own limits, but even then the little Benz telegraphed its intended part of travel and tire adhesion very well, with safe and predictable intentions toward understeer. There is a downside to all that fancy handling, however. When the smooth pavement ends, the bumpy ride begins. It’s not as bad as some so-called sport sedans with stiff springs and no-profile tires, but it’s certainly worse than any MB I have ever been in – something like GM’s Magnetic Ride Control would make a huge improvement.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG interior details

The interior will be familiar to anyone who has recently sat in a new MB. The infotainment system is heavy in buttons but generally easy to use, similar to other German makers, with the use of large console mounted knob but with Ford-esque steering wheel buttons. The sports seats are supportive and comfortable, a combination that is not always exclusive. Other AMG cues are visible in big clear gauges, flattened steering wheel, shifter paddles, and a really nice carbonfiber trim.

Forward visibility is not great, with large A-pillars and low sitting position and/or high beltline. The mirrors are rather small, too. From the driver’s seat, the hood has a visible dome in it but I am not sure if it is there to reaffirm that this is a sports, in a WRX sort of way, car or a truck in a 4Runner sort of way. Things get worse looking back; small windows and huge C-pillar make reversing or parallel parking downright challenging. There are sensors and a back-up camera to help assist with this, but the overall process is more difficult than it should be.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG exterior details

To test this vehicle’s abilities to do SUV things I filled up the trunk with week’s worth of groceries, a booster seat and a toddler seat in the back seat, and then instructed everyone to take their seats, with my wife in the front. Shockingly, everyone was comfortable. The back seat is short on legroom but the kids didn’t care. The trunk is small but swallowed up the groceries and a diaper bag. It may not be a large vehicle, but it is functional in a typical hatchback fashion.

The base Mercedes-Benz GLA250 starts at $33,300. But this GLA45 AMG is anything but base and therefore it starts at $48,300. Add to that your choice of packages: Premium Package, Driver’s Assistance Package, Multimedia Package, and/or Aerodynamic Package, and the total price can easily surpass the $60,000 mark. That is a lot of coin for a car that Mercedes representatives themselves referred to as “a Subaru WRX for grownups”, which may just be the best way to classify this vehicle.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG front 34

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC provided the vehicle for this review.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG rear 34

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Mercedes-Benz Tops In J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945105 Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium. AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the […]

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 front

Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium.

AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the mainstream brands, MINI scored 727 out of 1,000, marking the fifth straight year the BMW brand took the top spot on the podium.

Infiniti, Jaguar — last year’s top finisher — Lexus and Porsche round out the premium top five, while Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Fiat did the same among mass-market brands.

As far as the overall car-buying experience is concerned, J.D. Power found an improvement of 12 points among mass-market brands, and a 16-point improvement among premium brands. The main factor for both sides was a knowledgeable sales representative who could understand a customer’s needs, especially with more “tech-heavy” offerings on the lot and in the showroom, per vice president of the automotive retail practice, Chris Sutton.

This year’s survey collected 29,805 responses from those who bought or leased a new vehicle between April and May of this year.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 4Matic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-2015-mercedes-benz-c400-4matic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-2015-mercedes-benz-c400-4matic/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:35:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944313 We use a lot of terminology in our quest to classify automobiles which actively pursue thicker portions of your pocketbook. No matter how many E-Class Benzes ply their trade as German taxicabs, we still allow the S-Class’s high-class image to rub off on the CLA in order to call the entry-level Mercedes sedan an “entry-luxury” […]

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 frontWe use a lot of terminology in our quest to classify automobiles which actively pursue thicker portions of your pocketbook.

No matter how many E-Class Benzes ply their trade as German taxicabs, we still allow the S-Class’s high-class image to rub off on the CLA in order to call the entry-level Mercedes sedan an “entry-luxury” car. A 3-Series without leather, lacking a six-cylinder, can still be called a luxury sports sedan. Lexus’s CT200h uses a Prius powertrain, but hey, it’s a Lexus, so it must be “premium” right?

Upscale. High-end. Executive. Premium. Luxury. The words, commandeered by the manufacturers themselves, have lost so much of their meaning because we have lost our ability to place any faith in words which too often turn out to be nothing more than marketing catch-phrases.

But words don’t matter. Forget the words. Ignore the words. Discard the words. Do whatever you have to render the traditional classifying terms null and void.

Doing so will help you accept the truthful message that the new W205 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, tested here in C400 4Matic form, is an honest-to-goodness, legitimate luxury car. Not because it wears a three-pointed star on its key fob, steering wheel, trunk lid, grille, and bonnet, but because it positions you in “the state of great comfort and extravagant living.”

It starts with bank vault-like door closures, but it’s the high-quality interior that truly positions the new C-Class as a cut above its traditional rivals. If not for its size, power output, and pricing scheme, the C-Class wouldn’t really come across as a 3-Series rival in 2015. All the common touchpoints and the places you’ll never touch will cause you to think the C-Class is too nice, too luxurious, to be lumped in with the ATS, IS, Q50, and even the A4.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 4MaticMore than the materials themselves, it’s the narrow tolerances, the snug fits, the silent operation of moving parts, the unusually tactile way in which vents open and move, the snickety-snicking of the volume control wheel, muted accent lighting, and the perfectly weighted forward and backward motion of the Agility Select rocker.

Piano black finishes across the central part of the cabin are a big mistake, but not a mistake an actual C-Class buyer must live with – there are choices. The perched central screen is a big no-no from a stylistic perspective, as well. Yet it looks better here than in the CLA250 4Matic we recently reviewed, in part because of its size; in part because of the spectacular cabin in which it resides. Tacked on the dash, the C-Class’s screen does keep your eyes closer to the road, but there are plenty of convoluted interior mechanics to distract and disturb a driver.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 4Matic rear closeBesides speech recognition, theoretically a wonderful solution but comically ineffective in this C400, many controls can be operated with conventional buttons mounted below the touch screen, or a touchpad, or Mercedes-Benz’s better-known control knob, which is partially hidden by the touchpad. Seat controls, in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, are located up on the door. The cruise control stalk is hidden away behind the steering wheel, mounted too close to the power tilt and telescoping wand. Wiper options, which are surprisingly limited, are on the same stalk one uses to operate signals. Then on the other side of the wheel, the shifter is a column-mounted unit but not a straightforward column shifter in the manner of nearly all column mounted shifters in the history of column mounted shifters.

But the C-Class is a luxury car, both nominally and in reality, and thus a little complication goes a long way to convincing us that this isn’t an intuitive Hyundai Genesis. Goodness no, that would be a crying shame. No, go and accidentally swipe that touch pad when you meant to press it, fly past Pop2K and The Pulse and The Blend and Love and Elvis in your attempts to access SiriusXM’s 90s on 9. Because Steal My Sunshine.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 interiorThe C-Class is also a bigger car than it used to be: nearly four inches longer than the old car on a wheelbase that’s three inches longer than the W204 car. This provides slight numerical differences in interior space – 1.8 inches more legroom in the rear; 1.6% more cargo capacity – but the difference, in reality, is more stark. It’s ten inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than an Acura TLX and doesn’t feel nearly as spacious, but the C400’s rear seat is more usable than the rear seat in the slightly longer Lexus IS. Capacious? No, but usable. Particularly for front seat occupants actual comfort is downright, dare I say it, luxurious.

Although it’s a bigger car than the old C-Class, it’s also marginally lighter. This C400, lacking any extra performance options, feels decidedly compact to drive and park (not that you’d want to use Active Park Assist, which is prone to mistakes and is slower at parking than you are) and would feel rather tossable if not for the slow-to-react steering. Brake feel and performance is top-notch stuff for a non-performance-branded German sedan, perhaps even for an AMG car. Ride quality is properly firm and unflustered almost all the time but then, suddenly, bizarrely crashy when the coastal Atlantic pavement deteriorates and the low-profile rubber (225/45R18 front, 245/40R18 rear Continental ProContact GX SSR) pays its price. But aside from those rare moments which likely won’t even be encountered where road conditions aren’t dreadful, it’s a calm car. Better yet, the C400’s optional air suspension likely makes for both an improved ride and superior handling.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 4Matic BurmeisterThe new C may be a return to form for a brand that didn’t use to perpetually chase BMW-like sporting credentials. Yet while the C400 4Matic isn’t a sports sedan in the sense that Audi’s S4 or a BMW 335i Sport is a sports sedan, it’s a very athletic car with hugely impressive engine specs. The artificially aspirated V6 sends none of its vibrations into the cabin, but it can come across a bit gruff for, say, lovers of inline-sixes. This fresh-off-the-line car landed in my driveway early on its tenure with fewer than 1200 kilometres/800 miles on its odometer, but the 3.0L twin-turbo V6’s 329 horsepower (at 5250 rpm, and 354 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm) felt like ponies well versed in CrossFit, Pilates, hot yoga, and spinning. This is a fast car.

Switch the C400’s Agility selector into Sport+ and those horses behave more like a pack of large, untrained, on-leash puppies furiously pulling their way to the dog park. Eco, Comfort, and Sport are all better options unless you plan to aggressively drive down a great road.

With all of these modes used intermittently, in a mix of city and highway driving, the C400 4Matic Mercedes-Benz Canada loaned to us for a week in November returned 22.6 miles per gallon, a real achievement for a green engine with 329 horsepower, an often heavy right foot, and mandatory all-wheel-drive. It’s rated by the EPA at 21 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 4Matic screenAnd again, though the C400 4Matic is poised and balanced through corners, though it accelerates like a supercar of 15 or 20 years ago, and though it brakes remarkably well, this isn’t necessarily the keen driver’s choice. Its 7-speed automatic transmission doesn’t shift swiftly enough and its intelligence is countered by a reluctance to play. It’s a lot like the guy who says he likes 90s music, but when Waterfalls comes on, he won’t turn up the C400’s optional Burmester sound system, a sound system which deserves to be jacked for all manner of music, whether it’s TLC or CCR.

It’s abundantly clear that Mercedes-Benz crafted a luxury car with athletic ability, rather than an All-American athlete with nice finishes in prominent places. (On that note, the C-Class uses its high-grade materials in all corners of the cabin. And it is thoroughly American by one standard: new Cs are built in Alabama with the ML and GL.) They won’t market it that way, of course, because even older buyers who remember Mercedes-Benz at its best feel the need to associate “sport” with the period of youth they’re trying so desperately to remember, assisted by ginkgo biloba, pickleball, and inappropriate use of leggings.

Regardless of which supplements its owner ingests, which sport they play, and how they dress, the new C-Class will nevertheless be a true luxury car, in an authentic use of the phrase. And with a base price of $49,515 in the United States, it better be.

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 Unveils New Nomenclature Scheme, Maybach Addition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-unveils-new-nomenclature-scheme-maybach-addition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-unveils-new-nomenclature-scheme-maybach-addition/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944465 Mercedes-Benz is shaking things up as far as its long-standing nomenclature system is concerned, as well as introducing a new name to the portfolio: Mercedes-Maybach. The first Mercedes-Maybach, the Mercedes-Maybach S600, will make its way down the ramp during next week’s 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. On the boot lid, the new sub-brand will follow […]

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Mercedes-Maybach 01

Mercedes-Benz is shaking things up as far as its long-standing nomenclature system is concerned, as well as introducing a new name to the portfolio: Mercedes-Maybach.

The first Mercedes-Maybach, the Mercedes-Maybach S600, will make its way down the ramp during next week’s 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. On the boot lid, the new sub-brand will follow Mercedes-AMG’s display pattern: Maybach on the left, Mercedes star in the center, model designation on the right. The ultra upscale sedan is expected to set the pace for Mercedes-Maybach as a sub-brand “that sets a benchmark for exclusivity and meets even the most discerning of requirements in terms of its appointments.”

Mercedes-Maybach 02

As for the parent brand overall, with 30 vehicles set to be in showrooms by 2020 — including 11 all-new models — Mercedes decided it was time to do some housekeeping, with most of the attention going toward its SUV range. Thus, the following:

  • GLA: GL A-Class
  • GLC: GL C-Class; was the GLK
  • GLE: GL E-Class; was the M-Class, or ML
  • GLE Coupe: GL E-Class Coupe
  • GLS: GL S-Class; was the GL
  • G: No change due to lineage

The L serves as a linking letter between the main class and the five core classes, the latter remaining unchanged. Roadsters will be redesignated as SL beginning in 2016, following the same pattern as established with the G-Class. Engine designations also receive a reboot, and will be displayed in lower-case on the boot lid. Mercedes’ AWD system, 4MATIC, remains unchanged.

New nomenclature Mercedes-Benz model series

New nomenclature Mercedes-Benz drive systems

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Piston Slap: Get Ready to Lose Much More! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-get-ready-to-lose-much-more-c-class/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-get-ready-to-lose-much-more-c-class/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 14:33:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943113   TTAC Commentator LordMurdoc writes: Sajeev, I’m finally ready to lose my BORING 2002 Geo Prizm. Checking eBay for older Lexus LS or a Mercedes C-class(about 2004-2006) . If I went with the Merc with the gasoline V6, what type of Gremlins might I expect to attack me when my wallet is most vulnerable? The […]

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Know what that triangle is for? (photo courtesy: www.drive.net)

TTAC Commentator LordMurdoc writes:

Sajeev,

I’m finally ready to lose my BORING 2002 Geo Prizm.

Checking eBay for older Lexus LS or a Mercedes C-class(about 2004-2006) . If I went with the Merc with the gasoline V6, what type of Gremlins might I expect to attack me when my wallet is most vulnerable? The Prizm is turning my brain to mush and my right foot is in despair!

Thanks for your excellent advice.

Sajeev answers:

That’s a good question, insofar that I’m answering the question I heard you to ask…not your actual question.

“Why yes, the 2003+ Lincoln Town Car with an SCT tune, a cop car air box/rear sway bar, late model Mustang GT mufflers and a quicker axle ratio is PERFECT for you!  Considering otherwise is foolish, and thank goodness you are no such fool.”

But somewhat more seriously, these questions are fun: the OP knows he’s about to do something stupid.

Like buying a neglected Lexus LS with an explodey timing belt. Or the litany of little things to drive you nuts on most W203 C-class Benzes. Or big things, like certain V6s with balance shaft issues. But, on the plus side, the C240 looks more robust, perhaps even having less body mounted electric gizmos to fail as it’s a lower level model. Maybe even with super durable MB-Tex coverings!

I’d go with the C240, for the stout motor.  The rest of it? Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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