I heard something on the local news yesterday that left me quite perturbed. It concernes the Mercedes Bens M Class SUVs. A woman was driving her SUV on the freeway (the traffic here is constantly heavy) when all of the sudden, her car lost power. She had to coast to a stop on the side of the road then restart her car. This is the second time this incident happened to her.
Let's turn back the clock a few months. An internal memo circulates throughout the Mercedes Bens retailors, distributors, and manufacturers. The memo warns that the mechanism that holds the key in the ignition is weak and heavy keychains may cause the keys to come out while driving. This is the case with the woman on the freeway.
The woman was never informed of the key situation. Mercedes said that they did not consider it a defect and thus did not feel a need to inform drivers. The woman told the local news that if she had known about the defect beforehand, she would have never bought the car. I have called it a defect because it is a defect. The keys are never supposed to freely come out while driving. Mercedes Bens does not want to acknowledge the defect so they can sell cars. We all heard what the woman said.
Furthermore, Mercedes Bens said that it is dumb for people to have large and heavy keychains. Mercedes should not be calling potential customers dumb. Instead they should recognize a defect and call it a defect. They should inform the drivers and try to do something to fix the situation. Ford is known for recalling cars (Does the R stand for recall?). They release press reports to get the word out so they can fix a problem before it causes an accident (with the obvious Firestone exception).
Mercedes Bens builds great cars and has the reputation to boot. That does not mean that every car they make is completely perfect and defect free. The company should not become snobbish about their cars and disregaurd defects as nothings. However, Mercedes Bens has made a start when they announced that next year's model will have an improved key mechanism. So far only six cases have been reported to them. I guess most Mercedes drivers don't have heavy keychains.
Written 10/29/2001 by Chris Taylor