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Consumer Reports slams Mercedes Benz
Forget all this stuff about Japanese metal once again dominating Consumer Reports and selected American models like Ford's Fusion and GM's Cadillac CTS making some serious moves into the upper echelons.
All that we mostly know, and some of it is mildly encouraging.

For the real head-slapper, look at the bottom, the very bottom of the Consumer Reports' 2007 Annual Auto Issue, beneath Ford, beneath GM, beneath VW, the Koreans and even lowly Chrysler, now living in automotive limbo as its owners decide whether it's worth keeping.

Look at which brand the editors of America's most respected, if occasionally flawed, consumers' magazine say they could not recommend at all -- not its bellwether sedan, not its roadster, not its American-made SUV, not even its flagship S-Class, ostensibly a statement about who's behind the wheel.

The big loser, the big fat zero staring out from the page, is Mercedes-Benz, the three-pointed star said to bespeak precision, class and engineering excellence, reputed to be the distillation of German automotive culture. Worse, the editors, in a quip that should land like a Scud missile in Stuttgart, say a 1998 Lexus LS400 had fewer problems and was more reliable than the 2006 Mercedes ML500.

Come again? An 8-year-old, warmed-over Toyota is preferable to a new Mercedes? This from the guys who can't get their parent company, DaimlerChrysler AG, to move fast enough to dump their weak sister, Chrysler? They're presiding over a brand that, at least according to one influential assessment, is even less dependable than the Chryslers they so love to trash?  More at Detroit News.

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