View Full Version : Mercs

Gareth Blackstock
27th Oct 2004, 22:20
Just a thought,

Mercedes in the UK are classed as prestiege motor cars, so why are they just taxi's in pretty much every other country else you go to?


Feeton Terrafirma
27th Oct 2004, 22:59
They are prestige here too. :(

Wouldn't mind an E55 http://www.ls1.com.au/forum/images.ls1/smilies/sm_burnout.gif

27th Oct 2004, 23:09
Just the fact that Mercs are used as taxis does not devalue them in any way. Think of five star hotels - great rooms, although people rent them.

Could give other examples now, but let's behave gents.:E

28th Oct 2004, 01:04
Because some countries have higher standards than others when it comes to public transport.

Always was impressed by the Merc Taxis in the Canaries...compared to the bangers at home.

28th Oct 2004, 01:47
Or perhaps those locations view the use of a Benz as an investment in safety, relyability, etc. Besides, if you had the option to ride in a Benz or a Focus, which would you choose?

(And the wife drives a Focus so no flames, please).


DX Wombat
28th Oct 2004, 01:47
Barnstormerbut let's behave gents.that will be a novel experience for here :hmm: :ooh:

28th Oct 2004, 02:45
Would encourage anyone in the US of A to sign up for the "Love Mercedes" tour events

All free, no strings attached great couple of hours.

Did it last weekend in Fort Worth

It was especially good becuse it was raining. The let you drive the whole range of saloons and sports cars, you have to be a pax on the 4x4's because you could hurt yourself and they can do a better demo anyway.

They have a few different tracks set out on a parking lot (Texas Motor Speedway in this case). And the brief is to "try" and loose control of this car.

Very impressive.

And you get a goodie back and a $1500 certificate if you borrow money from Merc finance ltd.



Metro man
28th Oct 2004, 03:45
The Penninsular Hotel in Hong Kong use Rolls Royces as taxis, probably not too practical though.

Prestige depends on the model of Merc ,remember the 190 ? vinyl seats and pretty basic equipment. Mercedes used to have a good reputation for quality and long life ,especially the diesel engines.No taxi owner is going to buy something unreliable and expensive to maintain ,and a certain comfort level is desired if sitting in the car for 12 hours at a time .Tax benefits help reduce the cost as well.

28th Oct 2004, 05:14

But not the driving?

28th Oct 2004, 06:21
Here in Germany the Merc has an image problem. You can buy a cheap tee-shirt that reads, 'If I want to drive a Mercedes I will call a taxi!' Of course the people buying these shirts are not really potential customers for the marque.

You get the German married couple, man driving while wearing that sort of homburg that makes him look as if his head comes to a point, driving of course, wife with some sort of permed hair that looks as if it has been sprayed with lacquer so that it just needs dusting every few days to stay in excellent nick. On the hat shelf there shall be, by order, either a nodding dog (Wackeldackel) or else a toilet roll housed in a Spanish dancer doll, or in extreme cases of anal retentiveness, both of these items.

And then you have the Turks bombing around in 15 year-old 450SELs packed with the entire family, including their livestock, off to the wilds of Cappadocia to see their 14 year-old daughter married off to a goatherd cousin.

Then there is Flash Heinz, shirt open to the navel to reveal the 3-micron gold-plate zodiac sign medallion, profiling in his 2-seat roadster with a 4-cylinder engine equivalent to a hamster wheel.

Not least, Mercedes management has been caught p*ssing in the soup, such that quality control has been sacrificed on the altar of profit, American-style. Check out the stats for the M class. It makes sad reading.

All in all, Mercs just don't get it. BMW rules!

28th Oct 2004, 07:47

Then there is Flash Heinz, shirt open to the navel to reveal the 3-micron gold-plate zodiac sign medallion, profiling in his 2-seat roadster with a 4-cylinder engine equivalent to a hamster wheel.

Assumed it was a peculiarly (in both senses of the word) English breed, so what is the German for 'chav' then?

28th Oct 2004, 08:06
One of the biggest problems is the price.Rip off Britain has some of the highest priced cars in the world.
Take the new Mustang for instance $25000 = £14000 in the U.S.
Fords nominal sale price for the U.K. £25000 = $44500.
Couple that to also some of the highest petrol prices in the Western world..That's why we DON'T drive round in Mercs.

28th Oct 2004, 09:32

To answer your original question as to why there are Merc taxis in lots of countries, but we treat them as prestige there are several reasons.

In a lot of the European countries there are huge tax advantages where a business has to use a car (not a company car, but a necessary business expense) - so paying for a Merc gets the taxi driver a big tax break (in Germany I heard that it was as much as 25% of the asset value of the car per year).

Secondly Mercs had a great reputation for longetivity, so again for a taxi company there is an advantage in having a business tool that lasts a long time. Don't forget the same used to apply 30 years ago to Peugeots, there were loads of the old 605s(?) esp in Africa - again because they had a reputation for going on for ever.

So the taxi repays itself in tax breaks without needing further capital outlay - no great business sense needed to see the sense there. Plus there is a market for old taxis going east.

Lasernigel has also hit on one fact - we are still paying through the nose in the UK for our cars, and BMW set the lead when they found that premium pricing got them sales and profitability. Merc & Audi followed much the same path. So in Euro-land buying a Merc/Audi/BMW is much less costly than here - I can see why taxi drivers go for diesel Fords/Vauxhalls etc.

As for US pricing - I pick up the papers when I'm over there and weep when I look at the car ads.

28th Oct 2004, 09:59
Hmmm....in this country Mercs are popular with contractors and taxi drivers. MB has a real image problem lately. Ever since the W124 MB has severe quality problems. I remember a huge demonstration of German taxi drivers complaining about the bad quality of the W124. Personally I experienced 2 blown up 300E engines in warranty time those days. It's gone down more ever since, especially after merging with Chrysler, which reflects in the consumer satisfaction polls, I think there now somewhere near in 49th place.

Drove MB for 25 years, now a fully satisfied BMW driver.

28th Oct 2004, 10:01
In the 'good old days' BMWs (2002 type model) were a very high price in the UK but were a similar price to the equivalent sized Ford or Opel (i.e. Vauxhall) etc. in Germany.

You could always upset a BMW driver by referring to his prized possession as 'a Kraut Cortina'.

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
28th Oct 2004, 10:14
The top of the range Honda Accord costs a lot less than a mid range Merc, and it comes with all the bells and whistles as standard including excellent after sales cover for everything. Why pay for a name ?

28th Oct 2004, 10:22
Plenty of Merc taxis in Aberdeen. Still don't feel I'm driving around in a pile of crap when pottering about in the SL though. I'm sure anyone with a BMW 750 or Z1 doesn't worry too much about the existence of the 3 series (I'm sure people with Rollers don't fret about the existence of BMW either - hmmm, or maybe they do...).


28th Oct 2004, 10:54
My personal opinion is that the 124 series was the last reliable, quality item they produced. The guys at my local MB dealership seem in general to agree with that. The mechanics seem to love working on them too. Not that they get the chance much of course.

The 124 series also seems to be the commonest taxi. The cost of spares is pretty negligible, as they don't wear out as quickly as your average marque. If you work on your car yourself you'll love this car.

Feeton Terrafirma
28th Oct 2004, 11:02
If you work on your car yourself you'll love this car.

If you can afford a Merc you can afford to pay the dealer to service it

Flip Flop Flyer
28th Oct 2004, 11:17
The 124 series also seems to be the commonest taxi.

Not where I'm from it's not. In fact, can't remember seeeing a single 124 as a taxi in CPH for a very long time. New C, E and S series rule supreme with the odd Volvo/BMW/Audi tossed in for good measure.

Mainly a tax thing in Denmark. Private cars are taxed to the order of around 200%; taxis are taxed around 30%. Before a taxi can be sold as a private car without getting taxed it must be at least 2 years old and have more than something like 200.000km on the clock. A taxi company can therefore sell the cars more or less for the same that they paid. But who's going to buy an Opel or Mazda with 200.000 on the clock? Exactly. Therefore, it's mainly Mercedes and other, supposedly, reliable German brands. Trouble is that Mercedes does have quality issues, especially with the new E model. Too much Chrysler influence?

28th Oct 2004, 11:34
Feeton, with UK MB dealers wanting £72 per hour labour, and a 17 year old car that's in excellent condition and a treat to work on, I don't have any trouble deciding. Besides I enjoy it!

Feeton Terrafirma
28th Oct 2004, 11:48
There was a time I enjoyed working on cars, but these days its not something I want to do. Maybe I'm lazy or maybe its because my second son is a mechanic who loves it and i like to see him happy.

I guess the other perspective is that I can't afford the $220,000 for the Merc I would want to have. Thou I must admit I have seen a couple of 4 yr old ones for around $100,000 Then again I'm selling my current car because its just turned 3 yrs old.

28th Oct 2004, 12:50
'Ere in ze sud de la France, we 'ave many Mercedes taxis. Moz of zem are of ze classe E, but some are even ov ze classe S. Anybody who 'as bin 'ere will unnerstand zat a taxi 'ere only needs to wurk 4 heures par jour for to 'ave a confortable vie. Eet is only a simple matter to remove ze taxi signe from ze rouf et voila! En an instante, zey are not conducteurs of taxis. But ze real riche pepuls on ze cote d'azur. Make ze teste ze next ocassion you are 'ere, shout "taxi" at ze Mercedes roulling on ze Croisette at Cannes. If 'e stops even momentarily, could be a taxi driver in reel life, not a moving-picture star... :O

28th Oct 2004, 13:19
I was at a rugby international in Dublin a few years back. After visiting a few pubs a friend and I jumped into the back of a Merc at some traffic lights and said to the driver "Lansdowne Road please". After chatting to us on the way, asking us where we were from and the usual friendly chat, he duly dropped us off at the main gates, not an easy task in the crowds and traffic. I asked him "how much?" and he replied: " This isn't a taxi!":O

Any other city in the world and we would probably have been shot! :ok:

28th Oct 2004, 13:27
T'was the luck of the nonIrish?! :)

simon brown
28th Oct 2004, 19:58
Cant fault the reliability of my old 300E W124 .Bought it at 105K sold it 280K had it serviced on the button and apart from normal consumables only the wiper relay went and it still returned 28 to the gallon after all that time.Try getting that out of an old 5 series....There was a problem on some of the later ones with cylinder head oil leaks which mine started to do ...funnily enough just before i sold it. Now have a W124 Coupe and have had one or two minor electrical probs so quality was on the wane towards the end of production. Dealer says they dont get many 124s in apart from servicing.Most probs are with the new ones. Lets face it the new coupe retails at 36K new the old 124 retailed at 50 K when new 14 ks worth of savings....Cant hear the engine on tickover but the tick , tick , tick of the bloody clock is annoying. Its for sale now as I need a fun plank to drive.

These Germans know a thing or two about screwing cars together
You either like Mercs or you dont.Personally I think all 3 of them make fine cars and ive run models from all 3 manufacturers and have always found ownership a pleasure. Most oldies are being stolen to service the African taxi market.

28th Oct 2004, 21:36
Suppose a Merc is better than the good old Jag, where they even provide you with a mobile phone............to call for breakdown services when your 15 miles out of the showroom :E

28th Oct 2004, 22:10
Only in Ireland eh?

Besides which, doesn't a brand new London Taxi (TX1) cost upwards of £40k? Makes an E-class look good value!

28th Oct 2004, 23:10
True, but when you purchase a TX1 you get a personality transplant and lessons on how to be rude to pax.

"Nah mate, don't go south of the river"

29th Oct 2004, 01:58
I remember shortly after the Benz/Chrysler merger (takeover) my wife and I were laughing about her previous car -- a Dodge Neon. We were thinking that we could arguably state that we had owned a baby-Benz! It wasn't too long after when an enterprizing kid in the neighborhood bolted an old Merc hood orniment on his forest green Neon. I'm sure he felt better about his Neon, but I doubt a benz owner felt better about their Merc...


29th Oct 2004, 02:57
state that we had owned a baby-Benz

I'm sure Mr Benz was rolling over in his grave over that one. Dodge Neon indeed.

29th Oct 2004, 03:51
I thought this was going to be a thread about guys in jungle uniforms and black ops and stuff...........

29th Oct 2004, 04:46
A Malaysian cameo....

I was standing outside a hotel in Petaling Jaya. There's a white Merc 200D at the kerbside with the local equivalent of Flash Harry sitting behind the wheel - "look at me in my Mercedes-Benz style" [never forget the Benz!] Euro- tourist comes out of the hotel, walks up to the Benz opens the back door and gets in. Much angry shouting and fist waving and the Euro-tourist jumps out again, yells "Well it bloody well looks like a damned taxi" and slams the door.

Mr C Hinecap
29th Oct 2004, 06:20
We can't include the USA when comparing cars, prices, fuel etc. I spent my hols there ans was astounded by the stupidity of the car culture there. Nobody NEEDS a Ford F350! The complaints that gas had topped $ a gallon! Well - it would not be a problem if you didn't drive an RV (motorhome) the size of a 55 seat coach whilst towing a 6 litre jeep (that does 12 mpg) so you have something to go to the shops in when you park!!

OOooooohhh - it might be a big country, but there is a need to have it 'presidented' by someone not linked to oil companies! Stop the feel-good and start being responsible!

29th Oct 2004, 09:33
Back in the seventies Ford ran a series of adverts in the States for some malformed heap of crap that sported a vaguely Merc-like radiator grille. They showed various people mistaking the Ford for a Merc. As if!

Joking aside, I have been in some Third-world Merc taxis with 300,000-plus miles on the clock, still going strong. That's pretty impressive. But when you raise the question of 'image' the fun starts.

Here in the Fatherland a car is an extension of both the home and the male member. You get some bizarre collisions between taste and reality, mostly manifest on the hatshelf of middle-class Mercs. I have seen Winky the cat, the Wackeldackel, the Spanish dancer with toilet roll up her fundament, the faux-gold holder with a box of facial tissues, the perfumed cushion, the bead fringe across the top of the rear window... the possibilities are endless and either horrifying or amusing or both.

A close member of my extended family has a friend who is in the Republican Party, the German one. (They are basically a load of Nazis in my eyes.) This fellow, an older-type guy, pitched up one day to give me 'the hairy eye' as I was going about my foreigner-type stuff out in the yard. I think I was polishing my Lagos-registered BMW R90S motorcycle or something sinister like that, prepatory to going off to defile Greater Germany.

I just looked behind him to clock his car, a Mercedes W124 about ten years old that was in absolutely spotless condition. You couldn't have eaten your dinner off the bonnet because you might have got crumbs on it. One look at the car and you knew just where this cat was coming from. There on the hatshelf was a box of tissues, ready to deal with any eventuality.

Gareth Blackstock
29th Oct 2004, 12:02
Blimey, I've caused a bit of a debate here!!! I was saying it was just a thought, I always used to view Mercs as cars for the elderly and wealthy pensioner!! When I started travelling though I was amazed at the amont of beat up old Merc taxi's there are around the world!! I have always been a fan of german cars and I own a german car as well, best car I have ever had and it just keeps going and going.

However as some of you rightly pointed out about the american motors, it does astound me at the prices of them over there, I was in Florida last year and saw a 2 year old Corvette with a Head Up Display for $48,000. Makes you sick!! But, I am thinking of getting myself one of the new Mustangs though.


Biggles Flies Undone
29th Oct 2004, 14:04
I had a 230TE (estate) back in the 90s when I was doing a lot of miles and carrying some chunky loads. I bought it because I was told “they go on for ever”. Well, it was a good load carrier but as for its build quality..... Suffice to say I would never have another. And what Merc under £45K in the UK is really worth having today?

Same goes for BMW at the low end – if I ever need more than the 2 seats I’ve got at the mo the M3 looks good on paper – but the image of BMW’s 3 series is awful.

Hate to say it, but the Japs deffo have the high ground on reliability, quality, VFM and image at the moment in the <£45K arena.

29th Oct 2004, 14:15
A car is merely a tool, what makes it a pleasure to own is the way in which you the customer the owner of said car are treated by the garage where you bought the thing, I have had Jagwah, BMW and now onto Mercedes.

I like the old clubhouse feel that the Jagwah establishments try to put over, spoilt mainly by young sales persons who have no idea what you mean when you mention the howl of the 3.8ltr straight ported Mk11's.

The calm oppulance of the BMW Showrooms reminds one that you are about to part with some serious dosh, but it is so nice to be thought of as a customer who is spending good money.

Then you come to the Sterile, stainless Steel and Glass surgery of the Mercedes showrooms, where busy people with nice suits and sheave's of crisp paper walk briskly by, giving you the impression they cannot stop to talk to you despite the obvious handbag crammed full of dosh which is screaming at you spend me, spend me quickly, where hushed tone's are spoken and furtive glances are made towards you, good God is that a customer, quick find someone who can work out the Apr of a C500, and then as if by some magic chime all the Mercedes persons dissappear into a sales meeting, you are left with some numbskull girl on the reception who just looks fabulose but knows absolutly nothing with the exception that she has just broken her finger nail, so back out you go into proper fresh air, get back into your already out of date Mercedes and you drive off back towards the Jagwah or Bmw or home, but at whatever most of the class car showrooms are occupied by morons who drive Datsuns or Smart whatever or Minis, and you the man/woman who really fancied their product( to us its a car) has to either stay as you are, go elswhere, or buy something not really appropriate but will excite the backside of all your pax.

Sadly I will move away from Mercedes because I like to deal with humans, not clones of some Kraut in Germany who can only work from what his laptop tells him!


Biggles Flies Undone
29th Oct 2004, 14:25
Yes, that’s another point! I always felt like the service reception peeps were looking down their noses at me just because I turned up in jeans and had the temerity to examine the bill before I paid it.

I had a conversation with one of their salesmen, too (just before the annual bonuses came out) along the lines of what the bottom line price for an xxx would be. The guy raised himself to his full 5’7” (in Gucci loafers) and declared “We never discount – anyway 95% of our customers are corporate and they never haggle about the price”.

Says it all, really.

White Bear
29th Oct 2004, 23:59
Mr C Hinecap
Lets leave the US bashing alone shall we.

It would be wonderful if you could offer some constructive criticism, or have something new to say, but belly aching about how cheap petrol, cars, and trucks are in the US makes it obvious to all, that the real issue is why does it cost so much in the UK?

Please remember all the things that go into American built cars and trucks are bought on the world market and at market prices, including petrol, and the people who build them are paid a good wage. If you are required to pay more in the UK for these things, then it seems to me that is a problem for the UK and it's citizens.

Perhaps you should ask why the manufacturer of the very same Japanese car can sell it in the US for the same number of dollars, as it does pounds in the UK? That example might help you once again focus on the real problem.

Please don't assume the US is always wrong, every country has it's foibles, the US has it's car culture, the UK revels in it's rich past and unique culture, each to it's own.



Solid Rust Twotter
30th Oct 2004, 06:31

Try that in South Africa and you'll find yourself a passenger in a pilotless Merc with a skidmarked driver's seat watching a cloud of dust disappear rapidly over the horison.

Doing anything nasty to the criminal would infringe his rights and leave you in hot water......... :( :rolleyes:

2nd Nov 2004, 12:20
Most people that knock Jags have never owned or driven one, I have owned six and can honestly say none of them have ever broken down...but back to Mercs

I am thinking of getting a new Merc 300 CLK cabriolet but am worried about the performance which sounds a bit sluggish - anyone know more? What alternative is there anyone owned an Audi TDI convertible?

Flip Flop Flyer
2nd Nov 2004, 15:21
I've never understood the need for very many horses under the bonnet of a cabrio, but each to his own. I've driven the new Audi S4 cabrio and it's good fun. But I'm sure you can have almost as much fun in a 2.4, and save a lot of dosh in the process. Can't compare the A4 to the CLK as I haven't tried that. Other options could be a BMW 330Ci or a Saab 9-3 Turbo (goes up to around 210 horses I belive). However, for the ultimate in something as utterly impractical as a Cabrio I'd go for a Mini Cooper or VW Beetle; they don't even pretend to be practical :E

Never tried a diesel cabrio, but why not? Don't think the BMW and Saab are available with an oil burner though.

Seem to remember having read somewhere that the UK is the biggest market for cabrio's in Europe. Supposedly they spend their lives with the top on

B Fraser
2nd Nov 2004, 16:58
Mercs !!!!!!!!!! They make lorries and I do remember seeing a minibus with a three pointed star :yuk: :yuk: :yuk:

Now Porsche is a totally different concept. I drove the Cayenne just to confirm my expectations that they had in fact got it wrong but whoooooaaaaaaarrrrrr ! :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

I didn't want to go clockwise on a roundabout, I wanted to drive straight over it :ok:

2nd Nov 2004, 19:09

The only car to get is one with plenty of HP(Horse Power, not the finance) and the only way to get that is BIG ENGINES, get the biggest one and then performance is nearly assured!


2nd Nov 2004, 19:14

"Assumed it was a peculiarly (in both senses of the word) English breed, so what is the German for 'chav' then? "

The "Chav" is a fairly new term, here in Scotland we've had "Neds" for decades. I believe one MP coined them as "Negligibly Educated Deliquents"!

Flip Flop flyer - BMW 320Cd just been recently released, but for the price you'd be much better with the 325Ci petrol. Now, if only they'd bring out the 330Cd!