The truth about Mercedes Benz India-1: Sneakily replacing dangerously defective parts!

Cama Motors, a highly reputed and one of the oldest dealers of foreign cars, has made allegations of murderous malpractices of Mercedes Benz. It charges Mercedes of being neck-deep in a variety of immoral and unethical practices

Would you believe it if you received a letter from Mercedes Benz informing you that you had won a lucky draw and your gift was a “FREE INSPECTION!!” But they actually want to replace your turbocharger without informing you? Or would you believe that Mercedes Benz engineers discovered that the clutch assemblies of their cars across the board were remaining stuck to the floor when warmed up. But instead of immediately pulling every single car off the road, they took eight years to first secretly fit a heat shield (hiding the purpose from dealers) and then developed an insulated bodied clutch which was selectively fitted to the “problem cars” thereby putting countless lives at risk for years?
These and many more shocking incidents have been exposed by none other than an extremely reputed ex-dealer of Mercedes Benz. The dealer in question, Cama Motors, is in this business for over 120 years. Back in 1931, Late Khan Bahadur Rustom Cama brought dealership of Ford Motors to Ahmedabad and even today it is regarded as a memorable landmark not just for local people but also for Ford. Remember, the first car in India came through a Mumbai-based Englishman only in 1897. 
Having discovered to his horror the above sneaky, surreptitious malpractices, Rustom Cama, executive director, Cama Motors, has filed a number of complaints against Mercedes Benz India with every concerned authority, including top management of Daimler AG, German Embassy in India, Competition Commission of India (CCI), and the ministry of surface transport. However, he got no response from anywhere. 
Frustrated, he has created a website to describe decline in quality of Mercedes Benz cars over the years. The welcome line says, “Cama Motors deeply regrets its association with Mercedes Benz”.
The website says, “...service measures were carried out as part of a continuous campaign which we (dealers) were told was in keeping with the tradition of ‘continuous improvement’ according to Mercedes Benz India.”
“We never understood or expected that some of these campaigns, which amounted to removing parts and software and replacing it, were connected to life-threatening defects. We ourselves were so embarrassed by the pathetic quality that we blindly carried out these measures which you will undoubtedly be disgusted by when you see the details.”
“It was only after many years that we could no longer remain in denial and we began to piece the details together, painting a picture of a company murderously involved in malpractice of the most serious kind. We are sure that it will shake the world of consumer rights when people are made aware of the deceitful way in which this company has tried to cling to its past glory, while being neck-deep in immoral and unethical practices,” it says.
Speaking about his experience with the dealership of Mercedes Benz, Mr Cama said, “After trapping many reputed dealers like us, over the years the company modified its relationship with dealers. It also included several new clauses and non-disclosures pacts in the agreements. When dealers like Cama Motors became a liability for the company, one by one we (dealers) were harassed and some were even destroyed. Over past few years, 13 dealerships have been closed, mostly with severe abuse of power from Mercedes.”
According to Mr Cama, his latest effort on the web is to develop a resource for customers of the many mysterious defects, which it was kept in the dark about. His website also gives information to customers who bought their Mercs from Cama Motors to check if they were cheated by the company using the dealer or not.
Moneylife sent mails to Mercedes Benz India asking them about the allegations made by Cama Motors. The response from the company would be added as and when we receive it.
Parimal Raj
10 years ago
My experience with Merc ownership has been altogether different than what has been mentioned here. But rather than explaining those things, I would like to know why was the dealer silent for so long ? Why he came out with this when he was fired from dealership ?
As far as clutch plate is concerned, I think this must be age old story as new one comes with auto transmission, so no manual interference. Mine has 7speed 7G tronic auto trans & it is one of the best I have used, far better than my BMW.

Now please see the following links -

BMW to pay $3M fine for US recall issues -

BMW North America agrees to $3m safety fine -

But still I trust my Beemer (BMW). Similarly, for me Mercedes remains my first love [hope my girl friend is not reading this ;) ] and no matter what is being said, my experience is fantastic and hence least bothered about it.
BTW, I feel 99% of comments made on this article are by those who have never owned a Merc, which is best to be ignored.

And those who feel Volvo is safe, also need to look at this video -

Apart from this, I would like to thank you Ms. Dalal for publishing my comment in your article on Worldspace Radio when it was discontinued.
P M Ravindran
10 years ago
Not only Merc but any scoundrel can get away with any crime in India because what we have for a govt is the biggest mafia in the whole world!
nilesh prabhu
10 years ago
Even HP does the same thing, first they sell a printer and after two year provide no spare parts and compel customers to buy new printers.

Big scam
nagesh kini
10 years ago
Our home grown Marutis, Tata and M&M vehicles are any day far better!
Today's papers report of Ford recalling 1.28 lakh Figo and Classic in one of the biggest ever exercises.
The liberalization ought not to have extended to opening doors to the luxury segment diesel guzzlers that occupy a lot of road space.
In the bargain we have more of the videshis. They need to be curbed by a heavier dose of taxation asap!
Vinay Isloorkar
10 years ago

"It will shake the world of consumer rights when people are made aware of the deceitful way in which this company has tried to cling to its past glory, while being neck-deep in immoral and unethical practices" Well said Cama Motors!

The marketplace is a great leveler. No wonder BMW and Audi are giving a fitting reply to Mercs' snobbery. In fact, if you have the moolah, owning a Merc today is infra dig.
Wilderness Films
10 years ago
For me, it was simple. I bought a new E class back in 2001 and it was so terrible to start with - so plasticky and plain on the inside, and so dreadful in terms of performance, that I swore to never buy another Mercedes and leave the brand to the new-money-upstarts who so love it, for their know no better!

My litany of complaints:

My new car developed three major problems, all within the first few thousand kilometers.

The car had driven just 1000 km. in all, and the sensors stopped working. Every time I start the car, the ESP, ABS and other sensor alarms all start going off, advising me next to visit the workshop! I have started ignoring them, which kind of defeats the purpose of having this complex sensory system in place. Having sent the car back to the workshop on three occasions within the first 2000 km. these remain unfixed!

This appears to clearly be a recurring defect in the car. Perhaps I have been given a defective car?

I seem to be facing a lot of trouble with my almost-new E220 CDI, which was purchased new in October 2001. First, the sensors stopped working when the car had been driven only a few hundred kilometers. I got rather alarmed, when I was a few hundred kilometers outside Delhi, and the car LCD ordered me to return to the workshop!

That repaired, now at the ripe old age of 2800 kilometers, my car's air-conditioning system has altogether stopped working. I have checked the fuses and they seem to be fine. I have been trying to call T&T Motors since Saturday evening, and their weekend duty guard seems set on banging the phone down on me, without giving any information.

I am such a careful driver (the condition of my car stands testimony to this) and I drive very gently, so there is no way that poor driving conditions could be responsible for the airconditioning having stopped working.

I can't drive the car till the air-conditioning is restored or repaired, depending on what is wrong with it.

In changing the sensor, I find that the car has been driven close to 150 kilometers. How can this be possible? It has merely gone to your showroom and back to my office, ostensibly. Also, a full tank of fuel is now down to a three-quarter-full tank. Perhaps someone used the car unauthorizedly while it was at your workshop? Please investigate. I also noticed over six fresh scratches, among other places, around the driver's side door opening handle. Again, please investigate.

I recall that someone else was driven in a customer's car when I came to test drive the Merc, prior to buying it. I am concerned that my own car was perhaps used as a temporary test driver vehicle during the sensor repair job, which would easily explain the extra kilometers runs, and the scratches on the paintwork...

I think I wouldn't have faced such early problems if I had bought even a Maruti 800!
Udit C
10 years ago
Shocking, especially to see that Mercedes also haS new ideas on what one can get away with in India.

Impressive benchmark for business ethics in India.
Free Helpline
Legal Credit