Top Gear Owners Survey

John Peerce

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Here is the list from the Top Gear top 50 cars survey, from the BBC website.

Cars were rated on reliability, driving enjoyment and dealer service.

Mercedes doesnt seem to have made it to any position on the list ..perhaps this could be a wake up call to MB to go back to previous glory days when Mercedes cars were truly over-engineered.

Jaguar XJ Series - 90.9
Toyota Yaris - 90.5
Skoda Octavia - 90.4
Lexus IS200 - 90.2
Honda S2000 - 89.8
Mazda MX-5 - 88.9
Toyota Celica (new) - 88.4
BMW Z3 - 88.3
Mazda 323 - 88.1
Subaru Legacy - 88.1
Skoda Fabia - 88.1
Porsche 911 - 88.0
Rover MG ZT - 88.0
Honda HR-V - 88.0
Subaru Impreza (new) - 87.9
BMW X5 - 87.7
Subaru Forester - 87.3
Mazda 626 - 87.0
MCC Smart - 86.9
Porsche Boxster - 86.7
Toyota RAV4 (new) - 86.6
Toyota Corolla (pre-Dec 01) - 86.4
BMW 5-Series - 86.4
Honda CR-V - 86.3
Honda Accord - 86.3
Subaru Impreza (pre-Oct 00) - 86.2
Hyundai Coupe (pre-Jan 02) - 85.9
Honda Civic (new) - 85.7
Honda Civic (pre-Dec 00) - 85.5
Jaguar XK8/R - 85.5
BMW 3-Series - 85.5
BMW 3-Series (Compact) - 85.2
Toyota MR2 (new) - 85.0
Mini One/Cooper - 84.7
Volvo S60 - 84.5
Saab 9-5 - 84.5
Audi A4 (pre-Jan 01) - 84.4
Audi A6 - 84.3
Skoda Felicia - 84.0
Toyota Avensis - 84.0
Ford Puma - 83.9
Jaguar S-Type - 83.8
Lotus Elise (pre-Dec 01) - 83.8
Audi A4 (new) - 83.8
Seat Toledo - 83.7
Nissan Micra - 83.3
Rover MG ZS - 82.4
Rover 75 - 82.2
Ford Cougar - 82.1
Nissan Primera (pre-Feb 02) - 82.0
 
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andy_k

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that's because you need to look at page 2 - highest placed Merc was the E class - scraping in at number 57 :(

Interesting observations though - the VW Golf only made 106th place, the beetle 97th yet other cars (Seat/Audi etc) built on the same chassis ended up higher up the list - weird but true.

The problem with all these surveys no matter how big they are is that they always attract people who want to complain, happy owners very often don't feel the need to tell the world just how content they are.

One more interesting fact that cropped up in the survey was that 95% of the people who said the owned a Ferrari and filled in the form were lying :)

Maybe the powers that be at MB will take heed but somehow I doubt it

Andy
 

Glideman

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I agree with the above but I think people who buy Mercedes cars are more likely to complain than someone who buys a Skoda. If you've never driven a good car then you'll not know what it's like to own a reliable one.

As an ex-mechanic I've driven a lot of so called good cars but the only really good cars are made in Germany, I steer (pun intended) well clear of ALL French cars & Italian cars. Even Ferraris are very poorly built for the money they cost. I'll stick with Mercedes for as long as I can, always wanted one & I'm very happy with it.

Just done a service & the parts were cheaper than for most cars. . . .

Mobil1 0w40 8ltr - £50 (Costco)
4 spark plugs - £5.84
oil filter - £4.80
air filer - £8.52
I had to buy the tool to remove the oil filter which cost £7

Can't beat that, cheaper than my last car (Jeep) they even gave me 30% discount for owning a car over 5 years old.
 
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Ian B Walker

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Originally posted by Glideman
I'll stick with Mercedes for as long as I can, always wanted one & I'm very happy with it.


Same here

I have just done a service too (Oil on advise, thanks to Dieselman)

Millers 10w40 8ltr - £29
6 spark plugs - £9.76
oil filter - £3.27


Old car but purrrrrs like a kitten
 
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John Peerce

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With regard to the two comments above, I think the real problem with mercedes is that NEWER cars are not what they used to be. I note that both posters above own pre 1995 cars. Its post c.1997 cars, and especially post 1999 (after the merger with chrysler) that the quality of Mercedes cars appear to have gone down. Also note that the survey covers cars registered between Sept. 1999 and Feb. 2002, so mercedes cars from prior years would not have been included. If they were, mercedes would have scored higher..

As regards the point that "people who own cars like Mercedes (because its supposed to be quality) are more likely to complain" well i would disagree with that. You can see that in the top 50 list of satisfaction BMW has several positions and so does Porsche. We may not like Beemers, but these are hardly considered low quality cars, and their owners were happy to rate them highly.

Suffice to say that the Air-Condition specialist who i took my car to (after the air condition condenser in my car became rusty and leaking and the condensor leaked too (and this is a 1999 car!!!) said that he makes his "bread and butter" out of Mercedes cars because the air con condenser/system fails so much. He joked that if he relied on Hondas and Toyotas to make a living he would have closed his shop a long time ago!

I myself am a technology analyst. One company which i have have seen at a presentation recently is the management of ST Microelectronics, Europe largest semiconductor/chip company (makes chips for cars, mobile phones etc, amongst other things). The management said that the most demanding customers they have are Japanese car makers , they demand absolute perfection in the quality of chips used in their cars. No mention of German car makers.

Finally, i think the survey didn't just look at the reliability of the cars. It also looked at customer service (ie dealerships). Even the most die hard mercedes fans amongst us can agree that MB dealerships (stealerships ?) are seriously high-cost, yet mediocre quality in their customer treatment compared to other luxury brands (first hand expericence for me, i don't need a survey to tell me this).

So with all due respect, the cost of self-servicing the car, which is whats noted in the above two comments, is not the issue here.

I like mercedes just as the next man here, and i spent £3500 on various repairs on my car in the last 12 month. But liking this brand doesnt mean we can't face the reality that there are real quality and reliability issues that this brand has been inflicited with in the last few years.
 
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mayoga

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I never thought I would see the day when my Lotus :D would get a higher rating than the MB :confused:

Gav.
 

MainMan

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I think the significant factor here is that Mercedes have multiplied their annual sales by a factor of about 3 over the last few years. They're moving into volume sales just like BMW did several years ago. So people who bought Mondeos before are now considering buying a C class instead. The trouble is that they expect the Merc to be a significantly better car than the Mondeo and it isn't - and I don't mean to denigrate the C class. The trouble is that the Mondeo is a very good car and it's difficult to improve on it much. So people are disappointed. There was a time when a visit to a Merc dealer was, if not a pleasure, then not too painful. But it's worse than a visit to a Ford dealer now. I know. I've tried both.

Someone said that the Japanese make more reliable cars now and this undoubtedly true. I think it's a choice of Japanese or German now. The Japanese are better but the depreciation is the killer. Even values of their niche cars are crippled by the fact that you can import a RHD low mileage secondhand one from Japan at a low fraction of its new price. Just look at the Toyota Supra. This is a superb car but they stopped selling it England because of imports. They reckon that 90% of Japanese MR2 Mk2s are now in England. So my 1990 MR2 was virtually worthless after 10 years. I don't think this will be the case with a 10 year old SLK for the simple reason that there aren't any RHD imports that you can buy.
 
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Glideman

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I never put much trust in stats thrown up in a survey as there are too many variables, for instance I think most would agree that BMW cars are usually owned by younger more technology savvy people than Mercedes owners, this would lead to more people who are computer users filling in the survey.

As far as Jap cars are concerned they may be more reliable but they often miss the class & style that you get with German cars. The panicle of Jap engineering is probably the Lexus, how many people would swap a Merc for a Lexus? The only thing Japanese car makers are good at is copying other manufacturer’s ideas.
 

woodfield

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I think a lot of this survey is driven by 'enthusiasts' feeling happy about their wheels, Saburu always does well, Lexus is on top, not main stream vehicles. I drive a Lexus IS200 at the moment but am looking to replace with a C class 180K saloon.
 

hirbod

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Originally posted by John Peerce
With regard to the two comments above, I think the real problem with mercedes is that NEWER cars are not what they used to be. I note that both posters above own pre 1995 cars. Its post c.1997 cars, and especially post 1999 (after the merger with chrysler) that the quality of Mercedes cars appear to have gone down. Also note that the survey covers cars registered between Sept. 1999 and Feb. 2002, so mercedes cars from prior years would not have been included. If they were, mercedes would have scored higher..

As regards the point that "people who own cars like Mercedes (because its supposed to be quality) are more likely to complain" well i would disagree with that. You can see that in the top 50 list of satisfaction BMW has several positions and so does Porsche. We may not like Beemers, but these are hardly considered low quality cars, and their owners were happy to rate them highly.

Suffice to say that the Air-Condition specialist who i took my car to (after the air condition condenser in my car became rusty and leaking and the condensor leaked too (and this is a 1999 car!!!) said that he makes his "bread and butter" out of Mercedes cars because the air con condenser/system fails so much. He joked that if he relied on Hondas and Toyotas to make a living he would have closed his shop a long time ago!

I myself am a technology analyst. One company which i have have seen at a presentation recently is the management of ST Microelectronics, Europe largest semiconductor/chip company (makes chips for cars, mobile phones etc, amongst other things). The management said that the most demanding customers they have are Japanese car makers , they demand absolute perfection in the quality of chips used in their cars. No mention of German car makers.

Finally, i think the survey didn't just look at the reliability of the cars. It also looked at customer service (ie dealerships). Even the most die hard mercedes fans amongst us can agree that MB dealerships (stealerships ?) are seriously high-cost, yet mediocre quality in their customer treatment compared to other luxury brands (first hand expericence for me, i don't need a survey to tell me this).

So with all due respect, the cost of self-servicing the car, which is whats noted in the above two comments, is not the issue here.

I like mercedes just as the next man here, and i spent £3500 on various repairs on my car in the last 12 month. But liking this brand doesnt mean we can't face the reality that there are real quality and reliability issues that this brand has been inflicited with in the last few years.

I must say that I totally agree with the above comments, the quality of the newer Mercs are not anywhere near the older (upto early to mid 90s) mercs.
 

DavidG

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I am ever so disappointed with Mercedes it is my last one.

My dad drives a C200 diesel 1994 and in 9 years only changed 4 heating plugs. Blinded by this fact I bought my own c class 1999 8 months ago and sold it after 6 months (after a serie of probs) for a A170 2001 face lift to accomodate the by then extended family. In 2 months it's been to the dealer once and was rescued again this monday. I am still waiting for a phone call to find out where the car is and what is wrong with it (although I am prety sure I know it)! Plus various pb with the driver's seat and the electric window.

It seems that their entire range is made in America. Not true I know but their cost cutting exercise is indeed costing Mercedes maybe more than they can offord!

Next time I will have a look at BMW.
 

simonl

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On tonights Top Gear they were talking about the survey and just when they got onto the "reliablity" of Mercedes I knocked the bloody remote and missed it (changing channel with a telewest box takes about 2 minutes). Anyway, what did they say?
 

jimmy

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Originally posted by simonl
On tonights Top Gear they were talking about the survey and just when they got onto the "reliablity" of Mercedes I knocked the bloody remote and missed it (changing channel with a telewest box takes about 2 minutes). Anyway, what did they say?

Basically, Clarkson asked several MB owners in the audience what they thought of MB. The answers were not good, all their cars seemed to have serious problems and were at the dealers.

It does seem that "they dont build em like they used to" is true. The older mercs had reputations of being built like tanks and would run forever. It seems in the the late 90's they had problems with paint quality and corrosion now they are having electrical and mechanical problems.

It does seem true that MB have reduced costs in order to sell cheaper cars to a wider market but at a cost in reliability and customer service.

Part of the trouble is that people like to complain and criticise and remember the bad things but are not so forthcoming in thanking or praising when things go right. Thats why we hear more of the bad things about the dealers.
 

Tigger

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The sad fact is that making cars prone to certain problems maybe ensures a more predicatble aftersales revenue stream. Its not personal just business.


The gearbox oil change is a classic example. I'm sure we all agree that its a good idea to change the oil. On older models you can get it done at a stealership but for the newer models you are told that MB do not recommend it.

To make it worse some MB models do not even have a drain plug on the torque convertor so you'll never get all the crap out.

So I guess they worked out that on the same oil a gearbox will last maybe 150k miles...
 
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John Peerce

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Another example in addition to the comment above about the gearbox oil change, is the interval of engine oil change.

Newer cars are supposed to have this ASSYST system that means you can drive a car up to 18,000 miles before having to change the engine oil !! they are having a laugh arent they ? On my car the previous and first owner had followed this system and only changed the oil every 15k-16k miles..this sort of thing can shorten the life of the engine considerably, which is why you will not see many of todays mercs lasting as much as mercs of early 1990s and 1980s.

No car should have the same engine oil more that 8k-10k miles, and for those who do alot of short distance, city type driving oil should be change every 3k miles.
 
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RichardM

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Originally posted by John Peerce
Newer cars are supposed to have this ASSYST system that means you can drive a car up to 18,000 miles before having to change the engine oil !! they are having a laugh arent they ?

More than that, I had my car serviced last week at 19,100 miles and it still had 700 miles till it was due, and thats with me driving it pretty hard all the time.
 

saorbust

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Have to say I agree with the comments regarding dealerships. I've never had an issue with servicing, but the dealers are crap.

When purchasing a Merc in Germany I was made to feel like a king. We couldn't have asked for more. They treated us to dinner, nice hotel and all sorts - and all we did was ask to order an export.

I have found that by looking around you can find good servicing in the UK. My local dealers are good - but surprisingly (or maybe not) I make a decision on which one to use depending on if its a normal service, a warranty claim, or an electical glitch. Surely that can't be right !!

As for the dealer - the moment they took the cash for our new car - the sales manager went completely cold. The sales exec couldn't have been nicer - even let me have a spin in a SL55 for an afternoon.

I think most of it is down to people. Oh well.
 

RichardM

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MB Hertford do have office facilities now, you can surf the internet, have a drink or watch tv whilst your cars being looked at.

I get the feeling they try as hard as Lexus (I had a Lexus for three years) but the MB dealers are just too busy so there are long waiting times etc.
 

jaymanek

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This is all about strategy and any numbers of complaints will not make a difference. MB are making cars for a wider consumer base. They are not making engines and gearboxes to outlast bricks and mortar anymore. I read somewhere that they have set expected life of a 7G thingy gearbox at 130,000 miles. Obviously, people like us on this forum wil change oil religiously to make it last longer, but the point is, MB dont want it to last longer.
MB no longer make money by just selling top class luxury quality cars. They have to compete with cheaper products. You can buy a new c class for 20K, they have obviosly cut back on quality to be able to sell at that price...

The point is that the quality of MB's are still good at the top end (with a few exceptions like the ML), but they have made sacrifices with A, C and maybe even E class's to sell at silly prices.

Yes they are now competing with japanese cars, and you cant really expect anything more than a hint of the qualities of days gone by when you go and buy a new mainstream MB these days.

As for dealers, they have no excuse, its only a matter of time before they get a firm kick up the backside. They are crap, no questions.
 

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