By on December 13, 2019

Let it be known: I’m not a fan of buying used cars. If you have ever read anything I’ve written, you’ve probably noticed that I nearly always encourage people to go with new over used, especially if the person asking the question lacks the time and capabilities to fix minor issues on his own. However, there are cases where buying used makes a lot of sense, particularly with models that experience extreme depreciation and have a good deal of anticipated longevity.

Today’s question deals with exactly such a situation. Or does it? Read on.

Hi Mark,

I love your columns and always look forward to reading them.  My question for you:

I love cars but I am a very deliberative buyer. My wife and I usually drive our cars for at least 10 years if possible, maybe more if the car is holding up. My last car was a 2005 Lexus LS430. I loved that car, but it was finally getting too old and showed signs of impending unreliability. I recently sold it and got a 2018 Avalon. Not my dream car by far, but it is a solid ride until I can give it to my son when he turns 16 in a couple years.

When it comes time to hand down the Avalon, I want to buy a car I really want.  Here’s what I really like in a car: rear wheel drive, V8, large luxury sedan. I also place a high value on reliability. I was settled on getting another big Lexus after my previous one, but I am kind of turned off by the lack of V8. Something about a large barge with a dinky V6 doesn’t sit right with me.

My original dream car of my impoverished youth was an early 90s Mercedes 560 SEL. What I am contemplating doing in a couple years is getting a Mercedes S-Class that is a couple years old (probably an S560 by the time I’m ready to buy).

(Read More…)

By on December 10, 2019

Daimler

Every TTAC reader’s favorite Mercedes-Benz, the subcompact GLA, will soon appear with a new body in tow. It’s taller and more bulbous than before, but it’s also more suited to the segment it’s supposedly a member of: the subcompact crossover segment.

The previous GLA, which had an unhappy sibling in the form of the now-defunct Infiniti QX30, suffered from practicality concerns. With its small overall size and low roofline, interior volume was hardly cavernous. This time around, Mercedes-Benz wants to correct past mistakes. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

high speed car. Shutterstock user Pozdeyev Vitaly

I had forgotten all about coast-to-coast Cannonball Runs. Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker was the first, of course, going from the East Coast to the West Coast in 53.5 hours in 1933, driving a Graham-Paige Model 57 Blue Streak 8.

The late Brock Yates, of Car and Driver fame, got it down to 32 hours, 51 minutes in 1971, and the 30-hour mark fell to Dave Black and Ed Bolian in 2013 (28 hours, 50 minutes).

Now, Arne Toman and Doug Tabutt have shaved over an hour off that time. With the help of spotter Berkeley Chadwick, they motored from Manhattan’s Red Ball Garage to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, California, in 27 hours and 25 minutes.

(Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

A new report indicates that BAIC Motor Corp, Daimler’s primary Chinese joint-venture partner, wants to increase its stake in the company. Currently, BAIC owns 5 percent of the German automaker (purchased in July) with rumors swirling in October that the firm wanted to increase its investment. There were also claims that Geely was attempting to stand in the way of the prospective deal.

While not Daimler’s main squeeze in Asia from a production perspective, Geely actually owns 9.7 percent of the company — giving it quite a bit of leverage. As such, there were murmurings that Geely put the kibosh on any ideas BAIC had on investing further. Geely has rebuffed the accusation. “We are a long-term investor in Daimler. We do not react spontaneously to any volatility and we support Daimler’s management and their strategy,” the firm explained.

Be that as it may, there appears to be a minor power struggle between the two Chinese companies. Both seem interested in strengthening their influence and happen to find themselves in each other’s way.  (Read More…)

By on November 14, 2019

On Thursday, Daimler made an announcement confirming earlier reports that it plans to cut roughly ten percent of its management staff as part of a broader restructuring plan. Financial hardship has become a sign of the times for the auto industry. Most sizable manufacturers are coming off an investment spree aimed at developing new-energy vehicles, autonomous driving systems, and connected services. Unfortunately, those commitments came at roughly the same time the world’s largest auto markets started to collectively plateau.

A broad approach no longer seems feasible for all but the absolute largest automakers on the planet. We’ve seen many attempt to downsize through restructuring or by entering inte partnerships with other firms to share costs — sometimes both. Knowing this as well as anyone, Daimler issued two profit warnings this year as Mercedes-Benz was fined $960 million in an emissions-cheating settlement while hemorrhaging cash through EV investments.  (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2019

Reports have come in from Germany that Mercedes-Benz has decided to reduce its management staff by around 10 percent globally. On Friday, German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung wrote that Daimler CEO Ola Källenius wishes to delete around 1,100 management posts while freezing wages for all 300,000 German employees — citing internal documents from the automaker’s works council.

Handelsblatt also said it intercepted a copy of the letter, with both outlets claiming Daimler would elaborate further on the plan this Thursday. While Mercedes said it couldn’t comment on the matter, its restructuring push was no secret, even before Källenius took over as chairman in May.  (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2019

Sascha Pallenberg, Daimler’s Head of “Digital Transformation,” shared a quote from CEO Ola Källenius issued at this year’s Automobilwoche Kongress, saying Mercedes-Benz is planning to manufacture an electric G-Class.

“There will be a zero-emission EV version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. In the past there were discussions whether we should eliminate the model, the way I see things now I’d say the last Mercedes to be built will be a G-Class,” Källenius said.

Using current battery technologies, this seems idiotic. The G-Class already outweighs pretty much every EV on the market this author can think of and it’s only going to get heavier once it’s lugging around a gigantic battery pack. The lightest G-Wagon tips the scales at 5,550 pounds. Another thousand wouldn’t be out of the question if Daimler expects it to have a truly competitive range. The model is just too heavy and has the aerodynamics of an open parachute.  (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2019

Cooperation between automakers is a good way to cope with rising costs but, if we’re being honest, it’s much more exciting when they don’t get along. Think about some of your favorite automobiles. Odds are good that they have a counterpart from another manufacturer they’re supposed to be warring with — Mustang vs Camaro, WRX STI vs Lancer Evolution, Camry vs Accord, Gremlin vs Pinto.

The best rivalries are between manufacturers, as those provide ample opportunity for snide marketing. If we had our druthers, automakers would be forced to compete in biannual gladiator-style competitions that open with scored trash talk. But dreams rarely come true; automotive bloodsports probably require a few years of heavy planning, too.

Luckily, industrial-grade insults aren’t something we have to wait for. To our delight, Daimler AG and BMW Group were going at it on Halloween.  (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2019

If you’re like this writer, you might be surprised to learn that snails, the subject of this piece, are loosely related to the octopus. Learning doesn’t have to end when you leave school.

Snails, also known by more scientific names, are fun to step on, but can cause quite a bit of consternation and unexpected expense when they inhabit premium German automobiles. Especially ones that just took a very long boat ride. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2019

MY2017 C63 S Coupe Edition 1 - Image: Mercedes-Benz

The next-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 will be quite a bit different than the model that’s currently on sale. We’ve already heard stirrings that rear-wheel drive will be swapped for standard all-wheel drive with the sub-brand’s now-familiar drift mode. But additional rumors now suggest the Autobahn bruiser is poised to abandon its 4.0-liter biturbo V8.

While nothing has been confirmed by the manufacturer, Autocar claims details sourced from AMG’s Affalterbach engineering HQ indicate the C63 will embrace a 2.0-liter inline-four using a 48V mild-hybrid system.  (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

No longer the gaudy marque seen in countless hip hop videos in the early 2000s, Maybach is now joined at the hip to Mercedes-Benz, offering lux-ified variants of the S-Class sedan under the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. Soon, that super sedan will have a higher-riding sibling, as even fabulously wealthy people sometimes need venture off the beaten track.

Fact is, those buyers have more choice than ever in choosing a more capable steed. Maserati has the Levante, Bentley has the Bentayga, and Rolls-Royce now has the Cullinan (truly a diamond in the rough). It’s time for a Mercedes-Maybach GLS. (Read More…)

By on September 24, 2019

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, hood ornament - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

There’s a whiff of diesel in the air this morning, as all the news out of Europe seems to stem from compression-ignition trickery by German automakers. Hot on the heels of the indictment of Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess and his company’s chairman, Daimler finds itself on the hook for nearly $1 billion in fines in the same country.

The penalty comes by way of Germany prosecutors who claim some 684,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles came equipped with rigged exhaust gas after-treatment systems. (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2019

Image: Daimler AG

Daimler has been forced to store thousands of vehicles at a former military airport in northern Germany, the result of supplier issues that are stalling deliveries of the updated GLE-Class. While keeping cars on ice until they can be shipped is totally normal, it’s odd to see them lined up on a runway. It makes it look like they’re all about to take to the sky or engage in the most congested drag race in history.

Assembled in Alabama, these SUVs are being held up by unknown supply chain problems. Mercedes-Benz suggested there may be also be problems stemming from the multi-market launch of the updated GLE and a surge in output from the U.S. factory.  (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2019

With the Mercedes-Benz A-Class now available in North America, the CLA Coupe (a sedan) is no longer the automaker’s most affordable offering. Part of that stems from the manufacturer need to keep some financial distance between the two. The A-Class is Daimler’s new gateway drug, leading younger buyers down the perilous road of purchasing GLEs and E-Class wagons. It’s best to let the CLA give the smaller sedan some economic breathing room. However, that was never really an issue, as CLA pricing has been running away with itself for years.

According to order forms intercepted by CarsDirect, the 2020 CLA250 will start at $37,645 (including a $995 destination charge). That makes it $3,550 dearer than the 2019 model year and $7,745 more than when the first CLA appeared in 2014.  (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Despite vans being slightly more popular than getting a thumb in the eye, Mercedes-Benz is sticking with them. Earlier in the month, the automaker revealed the production version of its 252-mile (we’ll see) EQV. Essentially an electrified version of the plush V-Class/Metris, the model will likely serve a very specific subset of the population.

On the other end of the spectrum, Daimler has been mulling over what should be done about the Citan. As the smallest van in MB’s range, the Citan also has the lowest point of entry. However, sales are roughly one-sixth what the V-Class sees in Europe, making it a plausible candidate for discontinuation. But it was not to be. On Friday, Daimler announced it will keep its smallest MPV on the table.  (Read More…)

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