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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential" 360

Posted by timothy
from the is-it-a-king-george-moment? dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. Maybe it should go you shouldn't trash talk the company you partner with. U.S. head of Mercedes-Benz Steve Cannon was just quoted as saying future service of Tesla's vehicles could be 'limited,' and that while it's great, the market could be more attracted to other luxury automakers once their products hit the market. Cannon also suggests that the current infrastructure isn't up to maintaining and fueling electric vehicles, in particularly Tesla's stores and go-to servicing can't handle high demands. Naturally he said Mercedes has the 'whole network' to put customers minds' at ease. Sounds like fighting words to me. Hey Mercedes, where's your Model S competitor?" There is a reason that Jim Rogers drove around the world in a Mercedes.
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

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  • Yeah? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:04PM (#46782813)

    From the summary, it seems like they are valid criticisms at the moment. I hope tesla grows and becomes a big player, but both those points seem like they'll need to be addressed as they progress.

    • Re:Yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lgw (121541) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:18PM (#46783437) Journal

      The simple fact is, for the moment Tesla is an expensive car but not a luxury car. It gets the smooth ride part right, thanks to the non-reciprocating motor and no gearshifts to manage, and that's great, but compared to a similarly piced Merc or Lexus it's lacking (and at the unsubsidized price, where the S-Class lives, it's embarrassing).

      But that being said, Tesla company-wise is like nothing the industry has ever seen. They keep improving cars they've already sold. No one does that. Many of the "luxury features" on a luxury car aren't actually very expensive, they're just a matter of seeking every possible improvement, from better window laminates to keep the car cool in the sun, to a slightly better feel to the sun visor when you swing it thanks to not using the cheapest possible part. I'd bet that Tesla will catch up fast - I've never seen such rapid incremental improvement in a model line in my life.

      While some features do add a bunch to the cost of the car, I think Tesla, thanks to it's top-notch ride, could be fine alongside the E-Class / GS / Dozen or so other cars in it's price range in just a few years, of Tesla's rate of improvement continues. Unsurprisingly I guess to us geeks, they take a software-company view of "1000 incremental improvements? no problem, here's how we'll roll em out" that may leave the execs at Mercedes et al wondering what hit them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think Tesla, thanks to it's top-notch ride, could be fine alongside the E-Class / GS / Dozen or so other cars in it's price range in just a few years

        An E class starts for about 60% of what a Tesla starts at. Maybe you should know this before you post this kind of asinine thing.

        Unsurprisingly I guess to us geeks, they take a software-company view of "1000 incremental improvements? no problem, here's how we'll roll em out" that may leave the execs at Mercedes et al wondering what h

        • by NotDrWho (3543773)

          But I know, Slashdotters need to tilt at windmills endlessly... if Tesla were to ever catch on and be as common as Kia we'd see the discussion switch to how they're shit and some other startup has vision and Tesla is going to wilt and die any day now...

          Man, I was really into that band back before they went all commercial and mainstream. IT USED TO BE ABOUT THE MUSIC, UBUNTU!!!

      • Mass adoption of electric cars is inevitable as soon as electric cars consistently outperform gasoline at a similar price point, which in turn is inevitable. Until then things will move in fits and starts, and for now, "limited" accurately describes the markets. But Daimler-benz would be nuts to deny that the writing on the wall. I suppose they feel the time is right for a bit of FUD.

      • Have you been in a Tesla Model S. Because I have been driven around in one and I have been in a Mercedes S Class and the one thing that struck me about the Tesla was oh my this is like an S Class maybe even nicer. I have never been in a nicer American built car. All the sudden the price made more sense to me. It's in BMW 7 series S class territory for sure.

        I am not an eco guy by any stretch more of a car guy actually but that seems to me to be the best built American car you can buy. I think Tesla has a lot

    • Re:Yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:35PM (#46783555)

      Some of them are sort of valid, but not relevant in practice. For example, it's true that Tesla's current service infrastructure can't handle high demands... but that's because the infrastructure is sized for the current customer base. Building a service infrastructure that can handle many more customers than you actually have is a waste of money, and it's completely unnecessary so long as you continue to scale that infrastructure as you grow.

  • by turkeydance (1266624) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:05PM (#46782823)
    what review did Eeyore give it?
  • Myopic viewpoint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ckhorne (940312) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:10PM (#46782861)

    As long as you look at the world as it is now and don't account for a fast moving tech world, I suppose his viewpoint is correct.

    In the same vein, around 2004 or so, smart phones would have appeared "limited" because the cell and wifi infrastructure didn't exist. Yet, in 10 years, the supply has met the demand (well, arguably), and now smart phones are ubiquitous.

    Or it could just be sour grapes.

    • He has a valid point. Tesla only has one product. If they fail, the owners of those wild no longer have service plans or warranties. As much as Mercedes may or may not suck, they are definitely not going out of business any time soon. If you're spending $70k on a car and your options are between the two companies I could definitely see the appeal in sticking with a tried and true brand.

      • by JWW (79176)

        Personally, looking at Tesla, how the company is run and the products they make, I predict that within the next 20 years Tesla will sell more cars per year than Mercedes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by David_Hart (1184661)

          Personally, looking at Tesla, how the company is run and the products they make, I predict that within the next 20 years Tesla will sell more cars per year than Mercedes.

          Mercedes has cars in multiple price ranges and doesn't have range issues (gas stations everywhere).

          Until Telsa can figure out how to get the pricing down and sell cars near the $30,000.00 (or equivalent) price point AND increase the range AND have near ubiquitous fueling stops (supercharge stations) it's highly unlikely....

          • When big established manufacturers (Think Honda, Toyota, GM and Ford) build electric vehicles, prices are bound to come down. Even more so when patents on battery technologies expire / gas prices get higher. Until then, Hybrids are the best compromise.

            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              Umm.. currently available vehicles:

              Honda Insight -- plug in hybrid.
              Toyota Prius - plug in hybrid (a version of the Prius)
              GM - Spark - pure electric, and of course the Volt - plug in hybrid.

              I have no idea about Ford.

              (I have a smart EV.)

          • Re:Myopic viewpoint (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:51PM (#46783681)

            Tesla also plans to have cars in multiple price ranges; it sounds like they plan to have three within the next few years (the Model S, the Model E, and the Model X, and yes I realize the pun they built into the model names, they also trademarked "Model Y"). One of them, the Model E, is going to target that $30k price point (at least after rebates), although the reports are that the range will be in the 200-250 mile range rather than the 300-350 that their current top-end cars get.

            In terms of increasing the range, that should improve gradually over time as the cost of battery cells go down. That was the point of the $5 billion dollar GigaFactory that they're building, to reduce the cost of lithium ion cells. The primary goal of that is to reduce the cost enough to hit the Model E's price target, but it also has the benefit of enabling higher ranges in the luxury cars where they can spend more money on the battery, albeit at the expense of weight. I know that they're working on longer-term solutions to improve range. They got some patents recently that relate to combining metal air batteries with lithium ion batteries in a hybrid power solution designed to circumvent some of the limitations of metal air batteries (they have the potential for higher densities, but have poor cycle life), although that stuff is a rather long way off.

            In terms of ubiquitous fueling stops, they're working in that direction. They're hitting a steady pace building new stations, and by the end of 2015 should have most use cases covered between home-charging overnight and superchargers for distance drives. Automated battery swaps may help too.

            Their success isn't a sure thing, but they're definitely making progress towards solving the problems.

        • Maybe. But then as with other new players in various industries, the new players often end up being the R&D teams for the longer established businesses. When Tesla finally get close to the sweet spot of making money and having ironed out all the kinks, every other car company with deeper pockets and already established service centres, etc, can jump in and drown Tesla at the bottom of the pool.

          • Tesla could do what Lexus did, and focus on customer service. Besides, they already have a head-start...

      • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:51PM (#46783179)

        If you're spending $70k on a car and your options are between the two companies I could definitely see the appeal in sticking with a tried and true brand.

        The thing is, as more and more people buy the $70,000 car, Tesla can start mass producing cheaper models as well. When my truck completely wears out in about 5-7 more years or so, I would certainly consider buying a Tesla if they have a model costing around $35k. As they are able to reach potential customers at the lower price points their brand will grow. Tesla isn't DeLorean, is much more practical than SmartCar, and has much better asthetics than any other electric car out there today. I think the company has legs.

      • by deroby (568773) <deroby@yucom.be> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:06PM (#46783325)

        I once thought the same thing about SAAB....
        (except for the 'they suck' part off course)

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        Musk has personally guaranteed the resale value of the Model S against any comparable luxury sedan. The "personally" part meaning that if Tesla goes out of business, he will still honour that guarantee. I presume that means if you sell it and are unable to get the guaranteed value, he'll make up the difference. As a result, if Tesla were to go bankrupt, you could avoid the liability by immediately selling your Tesla car and relying on the guarantee to avoid losing money on the deal. Of course, if ALL of his

    • Re:Myopic viewpoint (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:39PM (#46783071) Homepage

      Or it could just be sour grapes.

      Of course it is. Mercedes missed the boat, despite trying to be cutting edge (e.g. with the F1 engines). Tesla came out of nowhere and made the best car in Mercedes' traditional market, the luxury sedan class. They are so far ahead Mercedes are years away from even producing something comparable to the Model S.

  • Ghandi said... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roxoff (539071) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:10PM (#46782863) Homepage

    "First They ignore you, Then they laugh at you, Then they fight you, Then you win."

    I think this looks a bit like Mercedes laughing at Tesla...

    • Re:Ghandi said... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:20PM (#46782911) Homepage Journal

      "First They ignore you, Then they laugh at you, Then they fight you, Then you win."

      I think this looks a bit like Mercedes laughing at Tesla...

      These days the big players know about Ghandi's saying, and attempt to do an end run around it:

      First they ignore you in public, fight you in private, and spend millions on lobbyists to prevent you from getting off the ground.
      Then they start suing for patent infringement/Trade infringement/whatever and possibly attempt to buy you out and bury your technology.
      If you survive, then you win. For the past 60 years, nobody's really got this far in the US, other than Japanese and Korean automakers, who played by the rules and became just like the US automakers.

  • by ericloewe (2129490) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:11PM (#46782873)

    Didn't they invest in Tesla a while back, including a joint venture for the electric B-class?

    • Re:Wait a second... (Score:5, Informative)

      by confused one (671304) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:21PM (#46782925)
      yes, yes they did. Mercedes released a Euro B-class car using a drive train jointly developed by and supplied by Tesla. In addition, Mercedes is reported to be buying batteries for other projects from Tesla. Me thinks the Mercedes salesman is trying to protect his sales numbers and trying too hard to not look behind the curtain.
      • by Desler (1608317)

        To look behind what curtain? The one that saw their worldwide sales in 2013 increase by 10.7% and a 14% growth rate in the US? Yeah, I'm sure hems quaking in his boots.

        • by gman003 (1693318)

          If you'll look beyond simply the next quarter's profits, you'll see why he probably is quaking in his boots.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      They supply steering wheels for the Model S.

  • Calling that vehicle a Mercedes is like relating a Ford Trimotor to a Model T. Sure they have some parts in common but it is not even remotely close to something you can pick up at a local dealership.
  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:24PM (#46782939)

    Have any of them actually dealt with a stealership in the last 50 years? (Only reason I get near them, is dealer only parts.)

    Seriously; telling me to not buy a Tesla because I'll miss out on the dealership is like telling me not to...drawing a blank...no analogies are bad enough. Anybody?...lets skip the prison rape ones.

    • by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:35PM (#46783031)
      don't give up on smoking, you'll miss out on the cancer.
    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      Yeah, but how often do you purchase a brand new luxury car? Anyone who does that is essentially flushing $10,000+ dollars down the drain the instant they drive their car off the lot. What's a few thousand here or there after that?

      This is a guy running Mercedes, so that's his point of reference.

      • Granted nobody who replies to this thread is his target demo. There is a difference between making more and keeping more.

        I've heard stories (from the dealership side, i.e. you won't believe the chutzpa on Frank.) about finance guys writing up $45K trade-ins as $450 value and chumps not reading the contracts before signing them. Gotta wounder how they got their money in the first place...

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I got one
      "lets skip the prison rape ones."
      oh, never mind.

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:40PM (#46783597)

      Seriously; telling me to not buy a Tesla because I'll miss out on the dealership is like telling me not to...drawing a blank...no analogies are bad enough. Anybody?

      If only there were a car analogy for this situation...

  • Can't make a better product? Try FUD (TM) for all your business needs!

    Unfortunately, IBM or Microsoft probably have a business method patent on it.

    *ducks to avoid flying chair*

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@PARISlynx.bc.ca minus city> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:27PM (#46782961) Journal

    Tesla has made an electric vehicle that doesn't make anyone with a sense of style want to puke, and that's a very good thing, but there's just a handful of things they need to do, IMO, to really knock the ball out of the park for electric cars:

    1) One needs to be able to charge it quickly, perhaps with an upper limit of about 10 minutes or so, sufficiently to go approximately as far as one could expect go on a tank of gas in a typical car of today. I would not expect to be able to charge it this quickly on conventional house current... it probably would require a dedicated type of charging circuit. But this would make recharging a car at such places not significantly more time consuming than filling up a car with gas, and would make owning an electric vehicle vastly more convenient than it currently is.

    2) Charging infrastructure needs to be ubquitous, so that if you can drive there in a regular vehicle, you should be able to get there and back in your electric car as well.

    3) The pricing structure for an electric car should be comparable to that of an otherwise similarly equipped gas-powered vehicle... and should not carry a premium cost that is almost equivalent to buying an additional automobile. Making them affordable, in addition to the other two points, will mean that there's no reason for people not to drive one.

    If or when Tesla, or any electric vehicle manufacturer, can hit all three of the above points, I'd dare say that the writing will finally be on the wall for the age of gasoline, and I think electric cars could outnumber gasoline vehicles on the road within a decade.

    • by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:41PM (#46783085)

      from a previous story, how would you handle the quick charging of electric vehicles en masse? In the power grid's current form, this would probably end less than well. It'll be a long while until gasoline is so expensive that updating the power grid to handle electric cars makes sense.

      (IMHO) It's more likely that we'll see cars that become increasingly lighter, more fuel efficient, more hybridized (or similar to the volt in drivetrain).

      but the pure electric car isn't going to be ready until a) massive updates to the power grid b) swappable batteries c) battery tech that lets cars go 500-1000 miles on a charge.

      • You put big honking (flow) batteries at the charge station. So you only run 0000 gauge wire from the station battery to the car battery.

        The charge station battery recharges at 400V 3 phase.

        Rotten kids will roll soda cans under cars while charging. Just to see the fireworks. They will try to ban aluminum containers before figuring out rotten kid proof connectors.

      • by guru42101 (851700)

        IMO the solution is to change it from charging the battery to swapping out the battery. The problem then is having a standardized battery configuration/connection and we all know how well standards go. The station can then charge for the electricity and expenses, including an amount to cover the occasional battery replacement.

        • by Guspaz (556486)

          Tesla has plans to add automated battery-swap stations to some of their superchargers. They've already demonstrated the swaps in a controlled environment (they put a battery swap station under a stage, drove a car on stage, swapped the battery, drove it off, drove another on, swapped it, drove it off), although it may have just been taking the battery off and putting the same one back on. All sedans they've sold to date are designed for battery swaps, and they plan to cost it out as an equivalent to what ga

      • by mcrbids (148650)

        but the pure electric car isn't going to be ready until a) massive updates to the power grid b) swappable batteries c) battery tech that lets cars go 500-1000 miles on a charge.

        Why the boolean logic?

        In case you hadn't noticed, pure electric cars are stomping the ever loving crap out of the luxury/performance car market. So long as the cars are selling at a growing pace, they are here to stay and are ready for the people who continue to buy them.

        And as long as this happens, manufacturers will make continuing improvements to the cars they make.

        A) The power grid is constantly being worked on. As people buy more cars, the grid will be upgraded to match demand.

        B) Swappable batteries mi

    • by AaronW (33736) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:55PM (#46783227) Homepage

      1. While Tesla may not be able to charge in 10 minutes, they have been aggressively rolling out rapid charging with their superchargers. In their cross country trip they spent 20% of their time charging. In the next month or so they will be rolling out battery swapping between the Bay Area and LA. That takes about 90 seconds. When I drove to Reno from the Bay Area I stopped in Folsom long enough to get a burger. By the time I was done I had plenty of range to reach Reno. The hotel I stayed at had an RV park as well where I was able to plug in.

      2. The charging infrastructure is filling out quickly. Regular J1772 chargers are popping up everywhere. Furthermore, the Tesla model S comes with a charging adapter allowing charging at any NEMA 14-50 50A outlet which is quite common at RV parks as well as a 110v plug (which is almost useless since 110v charges so slow).

      3. The Tesla model S is priced similarly to other cars in its class. The model E is planned to be priced to cars similarly.

      Generally the charging time is not an issue. It takes me 5 seconds to plug in at night and 5 seconds to unplug in the morning. Basically I have a full charge every day (or in my case about 70% since it's easier on the battery).

      The existing and planned supercharger stations are shown at http://www.teslamotors.com/sup... [teslamotors.com]

      They're first focusing on the major transportation corridors before branching out further. By the end of next year most of the US should be covered unless you're traveling off the beaten path. With the model X going in to production next year I expect them to add more chargers in more out of the way places. Tesla is also releasing an adapter for ChaDeMo and will release an adapter for the combo plug if and when it starts to be deployed (Tesla's signalling is already compatible with the combo plug).

    • by mybecq (131456)

      So, in other words, make an electric car that has all the convenience of a gasoline car at the same price. Genius.

    • by Livius (318358)

      But a Tesla can be still viable in the short term, just not a complete transportation solution. For example, if a few times a year you expect to make a trip where there might not recharging facilities, just rent a car those few times.

    • by rsborg (111459)

      Tesla has made an electric vehicle that doesn't make anyone with a sense of style want to puke, and that's a very good thing, but there's just a handful of things they need to do, IMO, to really knock the ball out of the park for electric cars:

      [... list of things that emphasize gas car and petroleum distribution benefits over electrics ...]

      If or when Tesla, or any electric vehicle manufacturer, can hit all three of the above points, I'd dare say that the writing will finally be on the wall for the age of gasoline, and I think electric cars could outnumber gasoline vehicles on the road within a decade.

      Here's a similar list of things that was "common wisdom" for other disruptive technologies:

      1) iPads (and tablets in general) will dominate over PCs once they solve the printing and windows compatibility problem (reality: even the latest tablets suck for these tasks, but PCs are in decline while tablets sales are set to overtake overall PC sales).
      2) Apple would dominate if they ever provide a mid-tower customizable Mac. (reality: Apple owns the $1000+ market for PCs and laptops, and their PC business is mor

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        1) iPads (and tablets in general) will dominate over PCs once they solve the printing and windows compatibility problem (reality: even the latest tablets suck for these tasks, but PCs are in decline while tablets sales are set to overtake overall PC sales).

        Tablets are outselling PCs because people already have PCs, and they aren't replacing them every 2-3 years like they did 10-15 years ago. PCs aren't getting noticeably faster, and software isn't getting horribly slower the way it used to, so everyone's j

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:36PM (#46783041)

    "...Tesla's stores and go-to servicing can't handle high demands. Naturally he said Mercedes has the "whole network" to put customers minds' at ease."

    Yes, I feel so much more at ease knowing there is an entire network of highly trained and certified rip-off artists across the country ready to turn my $35,000 Mercedes into a $60,000 pain-in-the-ass when it breaks down and needs to visit a "certified" repair shop.

    "There is a reason that Jim Rogers drove around the world in a Mercedes."

    Uh, yeah, a one-of-a-kind purpose-built Mercedes counts about as much as an army tank in this discussion. If you want to make claims about traversing the globe, impress me with an actual product demonstration, not a bullshit one. I would hope one would be able to traverse the globe in a custom-built vehicle that likely exceeded $500K in total costs, regardless of who built it.

    • by fishybell (516991)
      BMW R1150GS Adventure [wikipedia.org]
    • by LDAPMAN (930041)

      What Mercedes did you but for $35K? In the US there are only a couple of models that start that low. I spend about $5K a year on service and tires. Anything other than routine service is under warranty. It's actually pretty reasonable for an $85K car.

      • by geekmux (1040042)

        What Mercedes did you but for $35K? In the US there are only a couple of models that start that low. I spend about $5K a year on service and tires. Anything other than routine service is under warranty. It's actually pretty reasonable for an $85K car.

        Wow, so over the next 10 years your $85,000 Mercedes will only cost you another $50,000 in maintenance costs while depreciating to a value far less than most new cars. Gee, and think of the savings on top of that for premium fuel, as I'm certain a car that luxurious wouldn't dream of drinking that layman-grade 87-octane shit.

        Yes, I understand clearly now. Apparently the more you pay for a car the less your ability to understand what "reasonable" is.

        And I never purchased a $35,000 Mercedes, or any Mercedes

    • by mirix (1649853)

      To be fair, there are a lot of W123 mercs rolling around the most backwater parts of earth, with little maintenance, going on 40 years straight now. Often under taxi duty and other hard service, routinely overloaded.

      The diesel variants are known to break a million or two miles, and are the first thing that comes to mind when I think of "most reliable car".

      On the other hand, I don't think newer MB is built quite as well... Maybe just more complicated and much more to fail, but I think less over-engineered as

      • Mercedes tried to learn how to run their lines faster from Chrysler.

        They will be years unlearning all the bad things from that.

  • Maybe the relationship is over and Mercedes is feeling a little bitter?
    • Maybe the relationship is over and Mercedes is feeling a little bitter?

      What Mercedes needs is a non-committal rebound relationship with a cute exotic Asian carmaker.

      They seem to be questioning their identity, so maybe a discrete hook-up with a Tata Daewoo ladyboy?

  • Like, about a million years ago or something [wikipedia.org].

    Times change, the world moves on.

  • Here are several in various price ranges.

    http://www5.mercedes-benz.com/... [mercedes-benz.com]

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      That B-class electirc drive looks hideous. That's why Tesla is getting a lot of notice right now. Their cars actually have style to them, not just the generic electric/hybrid look.
      • by LDAPMAN (930041)

        If you want style you buy the S class. The B class is supposed to be an affordable econobox.

        • by Nidi62 (1525137)

          If you want style you buy the S class. The B class is supposed to be an affordable econobox.

          That's the point though. People have shown they want affordable to also look good. That is why the road isn't covered with Priuses and SmartCars. I really think Tesla will be the first company to actually combine affordable, hybrid/electric, and asthetically pleasing. This is the modern day equivalent of Ford saying people can have the Model T in any color they want so long as it's black; the car manufacturers are saying you can have any cheap electric car as long as it looks like that.

          • Toilets (western style) all function more or less the same, hence they have to look similar.

            Same with econoboxes. Four seats, crumple zones. Not much room left for creativity.

            When they try to get creative you end up with abominations like the new 'beetle' and Fiat '500'.

  • by Geoffrey Shmigelsky (3620279) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:15PM (#46783409)
    My transmission on a Mercedes 2011 GLK SUV just died. The repair cost is $12,000, its almost not worth repairing.

    Unfortunately its not covered by warranty - cut off at 80,000 km, we have 83,000 km.

    Ironically, just this afternoon I spent 30 minutes on the phone with Tesla to discussing ordering my replacement vehicle. Needless to say:

    New Mercedes cancelled.
    New Tesla imminent.


    Will be here in July.

    Maybe Mercedes should focus of the reliability of their transmissions vs focusing on competitors. I will never buy another Mercedes - ever.

    PS: You would think having purchased 4 vehicles from Mercedes and plans for another, that would mean something. But you would be wrong. Their side of the story - we were late for our Series A service - hence tough luck.
    • by LDAPMAN (930041)

      Thats why all my services are pre-paid and I have an extended warranty. Paying for the service visits in advance saved me about 40%.

      • So let me get this straight. Mercedes expects their cars to crap out nearly the moment they drive off the lot and they will happily sell you a subsidy to cover their cost on a warranting the vehicle you purchased? Holy sh*t that's quite a business model, sign me up!.
        • by LDAPMAN (930041)

          The standard warranty was 100K miles but I drive about 30K miles a year so I needed more to last me the 3-5 years I expect to keep the car.

    • Ha. That really rocks.

      I'm saving up for a cheaper Tesla model (or used Model S) in 2017. If my Audi makes it that long. The automatic transmission sometimes forgets which gear it's in, and can't shift anymore. As Teslas are single gear-direct drive, they don't have that problem.

      Congrats!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Strudelkugel (594414)

      I sympathize. I have a similar story about my former Benz. At 70K miles I had repair problem with the motor. MB's fault really, had to have been set up wrong at the factory. Cost of repair was about $7K. They put in $2K, but I had to fork over the rest. I will never buy another Benz. I have owned several cars. None ever had a catastrophic failure at 70K miles. Of course the dealers will tell you that is why you should buy an extended warranty. My response is the policy and its renewal fee would have been ab

    • WTF are you doing even considering non-warranty service from a dealer?

      I bet it's just a clutch and the dealer is fucking you, yet again, this time with ghost pepper and crunchy peanut butter lube.

      Having purchased 4? That makes you are repeat chump. Like someone who keeps sending $50K to Nigerian scammers.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Maybe Mercedes should focus of the reliability of their transmissions vs focusing on competitors. I will never buy another Mercedes - ever.

      Guess what? It's not just Mercedes. I don't know where Mercedes gets their transmissions, but the automatics (tiptronic or not - actually, in some cars, it's a software and shifter issue only) that VAG gets from ZF seem to be quite crap. The A8Q I'm working on right now is on its second transmission, and the first one was replaced in about year two. As leaky as this car is, I wouldn't likely have bought it if it had been on the original slush box.

      Germany was the watchword for quality up until the late eight

  • by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:16PM (#46783425)
    What he really should have said is all automakers are frightened to death by Tesla and embarrassed beyond all bounds that they did not create Tesla's products. Obviously there is a conspiracy afoot to stop Tesla in its tracks as every state that Tesla sells in has suits claiming that they should not be allowed to exist. The industry is reacting as if Tesla had invented a car that could run for free on a drop of water. The powers that be see the handwriting on the wall and they are have a fit.
    • You always know who someone's competitors are by whom they attack and the measure of how threatened they feel by how aggressive and unscrupulous they do so.
  • Once players such as Mercedes and Porsche enter the luxury electric vehicle market, he questions whether Tesla will be able to maintain its current, growing success.

    Tesla isn't aiming to be in the luxury market. They will be gradually reducing the price of new models until they are affordable for non-rich people. If Tesla can deliver a superior product for less than a Merc where do you think consumers will go?

  • This would be hard to take seriously even if it wasn't peppered with so many canned marketing buzzwords. Even if another automaker manages to outdo Tesla (highly unlikely at the rate they are going), it will only be because Tesla blazed the trail that terrifies the existing automakers so much that they wouldn't venture it even when GM had a perfectly good all-electric vehicle over two freaking decades ago. I hope Tesla buries all of them, and Mercedes would be a good start.
  • Missing context.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ianm.phil (1140173) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:50PM (#46783667)

    New Mercedes electric minivan has a Tesla touch
    Apr 17 2014, 08:04 ET

            Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) has started production of an electric B-class minivan.
            Tesla Motors (TSLA) is providing the 28kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor for the line.
            The model will go on sale this summer in the U.S.

    http://seekingalpha.com/news/1... [seekingalpha.com]

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:53PM (#46783701) Journal
    These guys were having pissing contest about 0 to 60 mph times. Fighting for fractions of seconds. Both companies were making engines bigger and bigger in an effort to shave a few milliseconds. They have gone far beyond the point of marginal returns. Their hot rods were merely some skin strapped on to these enormous engines.

    Not a single one of them thought of adding an electric motor to go from 0 to 2 mph.Going from 2 mph to 60 using IC engines would be a cinch. They could reduce the weight of the engine, they did not have to engneer them to have enough torque at the low end to get the car off to start. The optimization curves will be totally different, and they could have gotten whole seconds shaved off. Like Tesla showed them when it debuted.

    They saw diesel electric locomotives replace steam engines in just one decade in 1950s. They know how well electric motors work as traction motors. We are not talking about battery cars, electric cars or even hybrids. Simple lead-acid battery with enough juice to pull the car from rest to 2mph may be five times. Total battery capacity less than half a mile of range. This they could have done back in the 1960s. They could have had the bragging rights on the quarter mile time and 0 to 60 time pissing contests. But no. They did not think of strapping a small motor to remove the low end torque requirement in their ic engines.

    They were very straight jacketed think with in the box conformists. May be these mechanical engineers hated the electrical engineers and did not want them anywhere near their crown jewel the power train of the automobile.

    • by Animats (122034)

      They saw diesel electric locomotives replace steam engines in just one decade in 1950s.

      The reason was different. Diesels cost about 3x as much as steam locomotives pre-WWII. But by the 1950s, diesel engine manufacturing was a production line process and the price had come down.

      The real advantage of diesel over steam was that steam locomotives are incredible maintenance-intensive. Here's daily maintenance [youtube.com]. That's what had to be done every day, by a whole crew. That's just daily. Here's 120,000 mile maintenance, [youtube.com] done about once a year for a road locomotive. This isn't an oil change; this is a

  • about 7 years ago; SLK 350. It was plagued with lots of electrical problems and a few mechanical issues. It was fun to drive, but I will never buy another Mercedes again. Simply not worth the money. I would definitely consider buying a Tesla if I was in the market for a car like that.
  • "Tesla won't sell out to us for a price we can afford"

  • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:32PM (#46784387) Journal

    May as well be a buggy manufacturer in the early 1900s mocking Henry Ford as not having the infrastructure to support automobiles. "Look!" says the CEO, "His automobiles have to be serviced by one of those rare individuals that knows how, but our horse and buggy work everywhere!"

    Prior to widespread adoption of internal combustion engines, gas stations (as such) didn't exist. Prior to widespread adoption of the telegraph and the telephone, infrastructure supporting those innovations didn't exist. Prior to the widespread adoption of the Internet, there weren't millions of miles of high speed data cables crossing the globe with signals directed by complex high-speed routing devices. Prior to the widespread adoption of cell phones and smartphones, there was no infrastructure to support them either.

    Yet all these things thrived because the infrastructure grew with their adoption. When someone has a car and needs fuel, he has to figure out the logistics of that himself and it can seem unworkable on a larger scale. When half his neighbors have cars and need fuel, an enterprising young businessman comes along and opens a gas station. When Elon Musk sells a few hundred high-end sports cars (the Roadster) around the world to some rich people, he and his customers have to work out some painful logistics for things like service and it can seem unworkable on a larger scale. Check back in five years and see how much trouble it is to run around in the latest Tesla car then.

    Tesla's working because they started at the high end of the market where margins are high and logistics are easier. They've used those high margins to push through massive infrastructure improvements around the US and in other richer areas to allow for an even more rapid adoption. They've established a brand by promising big and delivering bigger, then continuing to deliver long after the sale (improving an existing car? who's ever heard of such a thing?!) Mercedes can claim Tesla isn't a threat, but they're a few years away from either having to spend a fortune trying to catch up or they'll end up paying Elon Musk licensing fees for his tech.

  • by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Friday April 18, 2014 @12:38AM (#46785453)
    I don't read articles written by children.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann

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