Tag: mercedes

By on April 3, 2013

Why, why, why the hell is the new BMW 328d called the 328d? It’s a 3-Series, so that part’s legitimate, even if today’s 3er dwarfs the old Bavaria. It’s also a diesel, so the “d” seems appropriate, even if the absence of a “t” rankles a bit among those of us who remember the 524td. Not that “t” always meant “turbo” in BMW-land; sometimes it meant “touring” like fast, sometimes it meant “touring” like station wagon.

The problem is this: the “28″ in 328d suggests a 2.8-liter engine. Just like the 528e had. Well, actually, that was a 2.7-liter engine. The same engine appeared in the 325e, where it was also 2.7 liters. Still, those are relatively white decklid lies compared to the effrontery of putting a two-liter engine in a car and badging it as a 2.8, right? There has to be a rhyme and reason here somewhere, surely. And it there isn’t, then surely there’s a way to put some sense and sensibility back into the German-car game, right?

Good news: I, your humble author, have a solution.

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By on March 4, 2013

Mercedes must expand into the smaller segments in a big hurry, never mind the protests from amateur marketing experts that doing so will water down the brand. That brand needs a lot of watering, lest it will shrivel and die. At home in Europe, Daimler’s core customer group on average is around 60 years old. Don’t poo-poo that demographic: There used to be a lot of growth and money in it. However, it is getting frail: The peak of this demographic is soon to retire. Daimler needs to get young stat. Its fountain of youth is a car Reuters dubbed “the last chance saloon” – the CLA.
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By on February 20, 2013

Daimler is dead set against using the new refrigerant HFO-1234yf, even if it is forced down it throat. The EU makes it a must in all news cars, but Daimler says it can fry and kill you. Now, Daimler can get burned big-time. Without HFO-1234yf, its new S-Class will be illegal, but “using HFO-1234yf is out of the question,” a Daimler spokesman told Automobilwoche [sub]. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2013

Kate Upton was hoped to be Michigan’s hottest export, but she sold her big-breasted soul to Mercedes. Turns out, she doesn’t like cars. She prefers a horse. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2013

Dear Steve & Sajeev,

For 14 years I have owned a 1998 Ford Windstar Northwoods Edition with the indomitable 3.8 Liter engine. I love this van! It’s been so reliable. $38,000 and 4 transmissions later, and old rusty is still trucking. Only had to do 4 head gaskets. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2013

There are rumors ricocheting around Beijing about a possible big tie-up between China’s BAIC and Daimler. BAIC is Daimler’s joint venture partner in China, where the joint venture handles Chinese production of the long version of the E-Class, the C-Class and the GLK. (Read More…)

By on December 31, 2012

It’s time to make a confession to the good folks at TTAC.

The mileage game is rigged.

How so? Well, approximately two-thirds of the vehicles that reach the 300k+ mark  at an auction I attend will usually belong in one of four categories.

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By on December 18, 2012

The S-Class Mercedes has been the default choice for the global taste-and-wealth set for a very long time, probably since the demise of the Elwood Engel Continental. The 7-Series BMW, by contrast, has always been a slightly embarrassing purchase, the choice of the man cut out from the classy club by birth, ignorance, or a slightly unseemly insistence on driving dynamics. BMW is the striver’s brand, launched into the spotlight by a man who was sort of the Nadia Comaneci of sweaty social climbing. Mercedes is the real thing. Hasn’t it ever been thus?

German investors, on the other hand, seem to like the Roundel.

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By on November 28, 2012

The late Gore Vidal was fond of saying, “Gratitude can be a complicated thing.”

He was right. Whether you are a hater, or simply a chronic critic, the act of complimenting those who follow the beat of a different drummer is usually not within the tip of the human tongue.

We want things our way… and sometimes we’re just plain wrong.

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By on November 19, 2012

Mention China to Daimler managers, and with a pained look, they will quickly change the subject. China is the superpower when it comes to conspicuous consumption, and even more conspicuous choices of cars, and horrors, Mercedes is lagging far behind  Audi and BMW, brands that previously had been looked upon with disdain by Daimler managers. Daimler won’t take it anymore, and wants to put a board member in charge of its lagging China business, says Der Spiegel. It will be a demanding job. (Read More…)

By on October 31, 2012

What percentage of new cars sold this year in the United States have European badges?

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By on October 24, 2012

Mercedes wants to double its passenger car sales within the next eight years. By 2020, Mercedes wants to raise its sales to more than 2.6 million units annually, from  1.3 million this year. This is what Daimler CEO wrote in a letter to all employees. Automobilwoche [sub] has a copy.
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By on August 10, 2012

Let’s be clear about one thing: racism sucks.  Be it the recent, tragic temple shooting or some BS you experienced when doing/not doing what your culture demands, this is a fact of life. That said, geo-cultural influences are everywhere, including the car design biz.  Take my time at CCS: one of my classmates was a South Korean lawyer who wanted to style cars for Hyundai. His work was unique amongst all studio creations, reflecting a culture that’s borderline impossible to understand by the uninitiated. Which is damn near every college kid.

This person’s work reminded me how culture influences design, and how people can negatively react to it. Which leads us to a flagship Mercedes heavily(?) influenced by a Mercedes design studio in Japan. Yes, Japan.  So let’s get to it. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2012

Dutch classic car collector Frans van Haren paid $3.8 million for a 77 year old Mercedes 500K Spezial Roadster. The regrets came when he tried to sell the rare car of which only 58 were built. When the car was offered for sale at last year’s Techno Classica car show in Essen, Germany, the car was impounded. Van Haren can kiss the car good-bye. A German court ruled that the car goes back to the estate of its erstwhile German owner. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2012

 

Confused in South Bend writes:

Hi, Sajeev….

I am the owner of 2003 M-B C240 base, with the Bi-Xenon headlights. Recently, one of the headlights has developed an issue….in cold weather, it does not work.

Went to my German car specialist, who wasn’t so special on this issue.  No problem, he said, replace the bulb.  $160 later, still had the problem.  OK, negotiated for him to give me a credit on the next fix.

Researched on the web, purchased a used Ballast.  Mr. German car specialist looked at the part, scratched his head and said, “I don’t know what this part is.” Mercedes dealer says, spend about $900 for an entirely new headlight assembly.

I know that Mercedes engineers think money grows on trees….but $900 to fix a balky headlight?  Come on… (Read More…)

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