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Wednesday, November 22, 2006 3:33 PM

Mercedes-Benz -- service reputation soon

Mercedes-Benz has a long, storied history of building prestigious automobiles, known for their engineering, comfort, and safety. Expensive, yes, but excellent-driving vehicles.

Cut to 2007: they're still expensive, but the premium brand's shine is being further tarnished as its vehicles' reliability continues to decline. In the latest Consumer Reports Annual Car Reliability Survey, five of the ten models with the most reported problems overall are made by Mercedes-Benz. Further, the carmaker also captured another three spots within the worst 20 performers.

Consumer Reports
experience with Mercedes-Benz test models hasn't been all that good lately, either. Here's a brief list of our models' problems within the past year:
*     SLK350 - Excessive oil consumption required three dealer visits.
*    ML350 - Dealer replaced the engine due to excessive oil consumption.
*    C230 - Replaced the driver's air bag.  
*    R500 - Air bag warning light came on; replaced a wire to the steering column, broken electric sunshade, recalled for exhaust bracket and faulty valve on spare tire.
*    CLS500 - Air bag warning light came on (but then turned itself off), replaced a bad wiper blade on the driver's side.
*    GL450 - Navigation system replaced.
*    SL550 - "Check engine" light came on. 

It is important to note here that our experience with these seven Mercedes-Benz models does not affect their Consumer Reports reliability ranking or final score. Contrary to what has appeared in some other blogs and news reports, and has even been said around the proverbial water cooler, our reliability ratings are based entirely on reports from private owners in our annual survey. 

Mercedes-Benz has long been an innovator and a leader in engineering and safety. Many models still provide a particularly enjoyable driving experience-- when they work. Something better change soon, or that reputation for engineering, carefully cultivated for decades, will be down the tubes faster than you can say "service engine soon." --Jim Travers

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quincymikeAuto Content Specialist Mike Quincy is responsible for keeping the vast CR database up to date with all the latest automotive facts and figures. As media liaison, Mike is routinely interviewed for print, radio, and television.
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