Author Topic: Costs to keep a Mercedes?  (Read 4885 times)

cloudsail

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Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« on: July 06, 2015, 01:20:03 PM »
About five years ago we and my husband's older brother got together and purchased a Mercedes C-class for my father-in-law.

He loved the car, but being retired and all didn't drive it very much.  The car is still very new and has very few miles on it.  For various unexpected reasons, my in-laws are now considering moving from Canada back to their native Taiwan in the very near future.  They obviously won't be taking the car with them.

My brother-in-law lives in Canada, but he has two pretty new cars and does not want the Mercedes.  We also have two cars, but one of them is a VW New Beetle that my husband has had since college, and is slowly breaking down.  However, we don't use it very much, and it has sputtered on, so we weren't really planning to replace it unless it suddenly died and the costs to repair are exorbitant.  When we do have to replace it, we were considering maybe a small electric car.

My father-in-law wants to give the Mercedes to us, to replace the Beetle.  Very generous of him, but.... let's just say owning a luxury car has never been in my aspirations, and I'm starting to fear the possible costs involved.

My husband roughly estimated the moving costs and import duties to be about $2000.  Can anyone knowledgeable about cars give me some idea of the ongoing costs of keeping a Mercedes?  Is this going to make a significant impact on our finances?  On the other hand the initial costs are definitely less than buying another car, so it's hard for me to gauge which is more costly.  This is further complicated by the fact that I'm not even sure when in the future we would've bought another car anyway........

I really just need someone to talk this over with, since ultimately I don't think I'm going to have much say on whether or not we do this >_<.  I know nothing about luxury cars.  Is this going to be a nice reliable new car that we can enjoy or a possible money drain?

pagoconcheques

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2015, 01:35:40 PM »
The "C Class" is a luxury car only in the sense that they are still branded as such in north America.  In Europe a C-Class has about the same cachet as a Chevy Malibu and wouldn't qualify even for taxi service in many places.  The point here is that your perception of Mercedes as a brand or your concept of "luxury car" should not factor into your decision process. 

I have owned two Mercedes-Benzes over the years.  They were both generally solid and reliable cars and I found them vastly preferable to their contemporary "American" brand cars.  However, they were very expensive to maintain.  An old joke among Mercedes owners is that the cars will last forever but you will buy them over and over. 

The trick with any used car is to weigh the value proposition (cost vs. projected use) against the alternatives.  It sounds like your initial cost is very low and you are looking at replacing a car in the near future anyway.  Also, it is often said that you don't so much buy a used car as the habits of its previous owner.  This does sound like a car that was taken care of so your risk there is probably minimal.

I'd be somewhat concerned about the true cost of federalizing  the car for use in the USA.  Beyond just transporting and importing the car, you have to make it legal to register in your jurisdiction.  You'll have to have the speedometer and odometer converted to miles and there may be nasty paperwork that will end up taking longer and costing more than you imagine--it is seldom done except for very high-end luxury and sports cars and the C-Class is neither.  A Canadian-spec Mercedes may have a different engine/transmission combination than what was sold in the USA, different lights, different bumpers, etc., and it might be impossible to federalize it.  You need to research this carefully. 

You might see if all the parties involved are amenable to selling it and giving you the proceeds toward your next car--could be a win for everybody involved. 

Good luck!

cloudsail

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2015, 06:06:26 PM »
The "C Class" is a luxury car only in the sense that they are still branded as such in north America.  In Europe a C-Class has about the same cachet as a Chevy Malibu and wouldn't qualify even for taxi service in many places.  The point here is that your perception of Mercedes as a brand or your concept of "luxury car" should not factor into your decision process. 

I have owned two Mercedes-Benzes over the years.  They were both generally solid and reliable cars and I found them vastly preferable to their contemporary "American" brand cars.  However, they were very expensive to maintain.  An old joke among Mercedes owners is that the cars will last forever but you will buy them over and over. 

The trick with any used car is to weigh the value proposition (cost vs. projected use) against the alternatives.  It sounds like your initial cost is very low and you are looking at replacing a car in the near future anyway.  Also, it is often said that you don't so much buy a used car as the habits of its previous owner.  This does sound like a car that was taken care of so your risk there is probably minimal.

I'd be somewhat concerned about the true cost of federalizing  the car for use in the USA.  Beyond just transporting and importing the car, you have to make it legal to register in your jurisdiction.  You'll have to have the speedometer and odometer converted to miles and there may be nasty paperwork that will end up taking longer and costing more than you imagine--it is seldom done except for very high-end luxury and sports cars and the C-Class is neither.  A Canadian-spec Mercedes may have a different engine/transmission combination than what was sold in the USA, different lights, different bumpers, etc., and it might be impossible to federalize it.  You need to research this carefully. 

You might see if all the parties involved are amenable to selling it and giving you the proceeds toward your next car--could be a win for everybody involved. 

Good luck!

Thanks for the solid advice!  I hadn't thought of federalizing the car at all, though looking on Mercedes Canada's website it is something that we should ask the dealer about.  When we imported our two cars from Canada years ago (me a Toyota Corolla, since sold, and my husband the Beetle), we only had to pay import fees.  It was a pain because the import office was super hidden, but we didn't have to make any modifications to the cars.  I also seem to recall it was significantly more expensive for the Beetle than the Toyota.

I would love to just sell the car and take the money, or split the money with brother-in-law since he paid for it too, but no one is willing to do this.  It is a five-year-old car but only has the mileage of a one-year-old, so my in-laws feel they would be getting a very bad deal for it.  My husband feels this way too, unfortunately.

forummm

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2015, 06:18:44 PM »
Use auto trader, KBB, or some other website to see what you'd actually get for it in the actual city it's in (or a nearby or otherwise comparable area). That might be more helpful than just speculating.

cloudsail

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 11:46:13 AM »
Use auto trader, KBB, or some other website to see what you'd actually get for it in the actual city it's in (or a nearby or otherwise comparable area). That might be more helpful than just speculating.

Good idea.  Searching around on some Canadian sites gave a rough estimate of $20,000+, but... I honestly don't remember what we paid for the car.  Mercedes are popular over there due to the large Asian population, so it was much more expensive than it would have been in the US.

mtn

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 11:48:59 AM »
Sell it. That car is going to be a headache eventually.

forummm

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 11:57:59 AM »
Use auto trader, KBB, or some other website to see what you'd actually get for it in the actual city it's in (or a nearby or otherwise comparable area). That might be more helpful than just speculating.

Good idea.  Searching around on some Canadian sites gave a rough estimate of $20,000+, but... I honestly don't remember what we paid for the car.  Mercedes are popular over there due to the large Asian population, so it was much more expensive than it would have been in the US.

Unless you have a time machine, what you paid for it is irrelevant. That is a sunk cost. You will never get that money back.

What's your best option now, given what's available to you now? So let's say you can get $20k for it there. And that bringing it to the US and making it legal is $3k. If someone gave you $23k right now, would you pay $23k for that car now to own it now in the US? Or would you do something else with that cash? That's the decision you have.

cloudsail

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 12:11:11 PM »
Sell it. That car is going to be a headache eventually.

That is my biggest fear T_T

cloudsail

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 12:18:14 PM »
Unless you have a time machine, what you paid for it is irrelevant. That is a sunk cost. You will never get that money back.

What's your best option now, given what's available to you now? So let's say you can get $20k for it there. And that bringing it to the US and making it legal is $3k. If someone gave you $23k right now, would you pay $23k for that car now to own it now in the US? Or would you do something else with that cash? That's the decision you have.

That's a good way of looking at it..... and I would definitely do something else with the cash.  Like buy a cheap low maintenance car, or since the Beetle is still functional put the money into our "second rental RE" fund.

forummm

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2015, 12:52:10 PM »
Unless you have a time machine, what you paid for it is irrelevant. That is a sunk cost. You will never get that money back.

What's your best option now, given what's available to you now? So let's say you can get $20k for it there. And that bringing it to the US and making it legal is $3k. If someone gave you $23k right now, would you pay $23k for that car now to own it now in the US? Or would you do something else with that cash? That's the decision you have.

That's a good way of looking at it..... and I would definitely do something else with the cash.  Like buy a cheap low maintenance car, or since the Beetle is still functional put the money into our "second rental RE" fund.

Then your decision is clear.

Goldielocks

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 05:16:34 PM »
How would you feel if your FIL suddenly gave your BIL $15,000 next year, because he felt "guilty" about giving you a car but not your BIL?   

This is very typical.

cloudsail

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 10:59:17 AM »
How would you feel if your FIL suddenly gave your BIL $15,000 next year, because he felt "guilty" about giving you a car but not your BIL?   

This is very typical.

If he did do this I don't think I would have any feelings about it, but it's unlikely because BIL is a doctor making a LOT of money, and they also contributed to the down payment of his first home.  I think that's partly why FIL wants to give us the car.

I brought up selling the car to my husband a couple times and he's really not willing to do it.  I think in part because it would make my in-laws unhappy.  It's hard to explain this kind of thing to older people.  Maybe we can eat the import and moving costs, drive it for a few years then if maintenance costs start to add up I can convince my husband to sell it.

Though now it means less money for the "second rental RE" fund :(

frugaliknowit

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Re: Costs to keep a Mercedes?
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 11:13:59 AM »
Tell him if he insists on giving it to you, it will be sold.  If so, invest the money, or if you are done with the Beetle, replace it with something senisble and invest the difference, if any.