Forum

Community => Auto Torque => Topic started by: ptashek on 27 September 2018, 10:55 AM

Title: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 27 September 2018, 10:55 AM
This fresh in from the MB Club UK forum: "As of 30th August 2018 there will be a charge of 100 euros for requesting copy of your data card from Mercedes", and there's one person who wanted to order one at a dealership in the UK, and was indeed asked to part with £90 in exchange...

Mind yours gents if you have them, they're worth a fortune now.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: Harv on 27 September 2018, 11:04 AM
100 Euros?!
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 27 September 2018, 01:00 PM
100 Euros?!

Madness, isn't it?
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: floyd111 on 27 September 2018, 03:42 PM
and for that you get at least an actual card.. or just a PDF copy?
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: marku on 30 September 2018, 09:42 AM
and for that you get at least an actual card.. or just a PDF copy?


Neither I would reckon just the same rather poor copy of a microfiche. At least it was very acceptable when free. It does seem a lot but I suppose for the work involved its not a lot. I guess more people are requesting them now as their availability is now more widely known.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 30 September 2018, 09:56 AM
Im disbelief, folks from the UK club are making some enquiries through official channels as to what and when changed exactly.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: Balfour on 01 October 2018, 05:06 AM
...and there's one person who wanted to order one at a dealership in the UK, and was indeed asked to part with £90 in exchange...

That was me, I'm afraid. Turns out I was a couple of weeks too late to request the data as the fee came in at the end of August...
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: UTn_boy on 22 November 2018, 09:35 PM
It's $150 here in the U.S.  What I don't understand is how it costs $150 to type in a VIN on to a computer, have the data card come up, and email it.  All data cards were scanned in to a database years ago, and actual data cards were incinerated, so they no longer exist in physical form.  Also, how is it that they can get away charging people for something the car owner already owns....or owns the majority of the rights to?  It's corrupt, and I've a feeling this will end badly for MB. 
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: Squiggle Dog on 22 November 2018, 10:51 PM
I really feel like Mercedes-Benz is taking a turn for the worse when it comes to support for older vehicles. It worries me. Ten years ago you could get practically every part and nut and bolt for just about any car they ever made, and lots of free information. Now parts availability is highly reduced and any support that's left costs dearly.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: stillmatic on 23 November 2018, 01:12 AM
I was refused a data card from MB a couple of months back after being instructed on this forum to write to them and ask for info. I was sent to my local dealership instead, could this be related?

Thank you for your e-mail.

We apologize, but we (Mercedes-Benz Classic Customer Center) are not able to issue a data card for your vehicle.

Please contact your local Mercedes-Benz dealership to apply for a data card.

The department for service and parts is able to provide a data card for your vehicle.

Thank you for your understanding.


Kind Regards

Mercedes-Benz Classic Contakt Center / JDE
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 23 November 2018, 01:53 PM
I was refused a data card from MB a couple of months back after being instructed on this forum to write to them and ask for info. I was sent to my local dealership instead, could this be related?

Apparently, yes. You can now only request the cards via the dealer network.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: marku on 25 November 2018, 08:48 AM
Thought that was always the case got mine from the dealer I bought parts from.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: UTn_boy on 27 November 2018, 01:35 PM
I really feel like Mercedes-Benz is taking a turn for the worse when it comes to support for older vehicles. It worries me. Ten years ago you could get practically every part and nut and bolt for just about any car they ever made, and lots of free information. Now parts availability is highly reduced and any support that's left costs dearly.

Your feeling is spot on.  Mercedes is purposely exhausting all classic parts with no plans to restock anything.  I'm excluding things like filters, etc.....but even those are thinning out, too.  The only models they're concerned with keeping support alive and well for are 300SL and Pagoda models.  The price gouging is a tactic they're utilizing to thwart any/all interests in the older models.  I'm not sure why they're so against supporting the older models......maybe because people are starting to see that the newer models are already coming apart at the seams while a lowly W123 or W116 with hundreds of thousands of miles on them are still alive and well?   I know about 3 years ago classic Mercedes sales outnumbered new car Mercedes sales.  Not in volume, but in dollars.  I think this scared the crap out of Mercedes, and their retort is what they're doing now.......ending parts supplies and price gouging on what's left. 

Someone recently suggested that Mercedes can no longer make quality parts the way they used to be made in any efficient manner, and that if they could the prices for the end user would be astronomical.  I don't find that to be entirely true, but it does make some sense to a certain extent.  So who knows. 
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: rumb on 27 November 2018, 04:05 PM
In the 3 years I have been restoring my car I have seen many items that I already purchased that are now nla. Add to that the dozen or so critical parts like 6.9 front strut upper bushing that are nla and I feel like I am in the last group that will ever be able to fully restore one of these cars.  At least for me I have already bought nearly every new part possible for a 6.9 that I can find. The parts on my shelf are worth as much or more than the rest of the car I am working on.
On benzworld.com they trash talk uro to no end, but they are at least a company that is stepping in and making many nla parts. I think that is the way Mercedes is handling it now. Let someone else make the parts.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: UTn_boy on 28 November 2018, 12:17 AM
I'm all for another company making part that are no longer available, but until URO can step up quality control I can't imagine buying things they make will end well.  A few years ago I tried to help URO by physically sending them various parts made by Mercedes to further develop what they were already replicating.  Sunroof seals, motor mounts, door seals, front/rear glass seals, etc.  I included cross sectional cuts and diagrams noting how their product differed from the Mercedes part, complete with measurements, radii, and even the proper material the part should be made from with chemical formulas.  I never heard back from them, and they never returned my NOS parts like they said they would.  So I just have to assume they don't care. 
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: oversize on 28 November 2018, 01:43 PM
You get what you pay for in today’s society...
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: Squiggle Dog on 28 November 2018, 02:22 PM
You get what you pay for in today’s society...

...and sometimes you don't even get that.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 28 November 2018, 02:30 PM
The price gouging is a tactic they're utilizing to thwart any/all interests in the older models.

There was actually an interview with the current head of the Classic division, Christian Boucke, in the February issue of the Mercedes Classic Magazine.
They are merging the Classic Centre and Mercedes Museum into one venture, relocating the former closer to the museum itself. The aim for the entire division is to "make it more accessible and more profitable". I'm guessing the "more profitable" bit is what we're seeing in terms of pricing...

I don't think they've lost interest in classics altogether, since it's a massively profitable legacy for them. But they can't support every model ever made, so they're probably concentrating on the obvious collectors choices. The W116 isn't one of them, as we all know. Even the W124, which has a much bigger cult following, is starting to feel the squeeze. Can't win with bean counters these days.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: oversize on 28 November 2018, 03:03 PM
True they can’t keep all parts for every car. However there are parts that commonly fail yet they are nla. I used to love the fact MB seemed able to supply almost anything (as long as you had deep pockets) and it set them apart from all others. However it’s possible their success has been at the expense of that accolade, since they’ve introduced so many models to support.

While it may be true the 116 isn’t supported well, that’s true of all others. The 6.9 is steadily gaining momentum and many parts for it are interchangeable with the other models in the 116 range. Popularity is only as good as the hero car in the range and I can’t see a 124 24v or 140 v12 ever being as popular as a M100 powered vehicle. Have some faith and encourage people to buy a 116 and hopefully MB will take notice.

If MB don’t get their act together soon I feel others will take matters into their own hands on a larger scale and provide aftermarket quality parts at a reasonable price.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: nathan on 29 November 2018, 05:50 AM

UTn, I would be expecting a call from MBs lawyers about copyright of their parts.  suggesting a company directly copy one firms property?! I wouldn't be making that one public knowledge!

as for the free data cards, MB is a private company and they dont 'owe' any of us anything for free.  the fee of 150 does seem steep, just spend the money on 116 parts instead!

Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 29 November 2018, 02:42 PM
MB is a private company and they dont 'owe' any of us anything for free.

They don't "owe us" anything for free, but it's that sort of thinking that is biting "traditional brands" in the proverbial...

Say, there's 1 million classics that don't have an electronic data card in EPC (if memory serves, anything prior to the W124 doesn't), and the actual cost of issuing a printed copy is 100EUR, the rest is MB markup. I see that 100mln is an investment in the brand image and loyalty, and therefore potential future sales, not just dead-weight cost. MB were far better at this decades ago, when it wasn't all about profit. And if they had embraced the modern age in full, they would have digitised their archives a long time ago not just in the last few years (via https://mercedes-benz-publicarchive.com), and provided the non-public content as a self-service offering, potentially making more money this way.

But I guess they can't do that as they need the cash to cover recalling 700k cars (https://www.daimler.com/innovation/diesel/recall-faq.html) through their own fault (diesel gate).
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: floyd111 on 29 November 2018, 04:45 PM
I don't think MB was ever anything else then a profit driven company. That's not changed. Competition has changed a lot, though, comparing the 20's, 50's and even the 70's. What's changed -maybe because of that competition- is the version of profit-driven policy, a thing that morphed from one shape into another. Keeping all the parts for all their classics is entirely possible on a logistical level. Like a public bus company, some routes will make money, others will not. One pays for the other, in order to achieve the largest possible network of routes. Together they are still in the black, and for MB that meant that  a unique parts-service was possible, something only MB has ever been able to offer.
These days, much like the privatized an gov postal services, railway services and bus services, all non-profitable pathways are being deleted and that sounds the end of what was once an excellent principle. I don't think MB will be chasing anyone producing copied parts for any of their 20+ year cars anymore. With their years in China, they have learnt to accept and adapt, no doubt.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: oversize on 29 November 2018, 06:53 PM
Anyone considering such an endeavour would be well advised to seek legal advice first.

MB no longer sell many older parts, so I fail to see how they could retain copyright. I’m sure there’d be time limits on such things which have probably long since expired.

It seems to me MB have no aspirations to remanufacture old parts since the tooling was destroyed (or so I’ve heard). Many parts were outsourced and thus MB didn’t have control over the tooling. And I doubt they included indefinite tooling retention in the manufacturing contracts since they never considered enthusiasts who might keep their cars for 40+ years. Therefore if no engineering specifications exist, even MB would have to COPY their own product!
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: UTn_boy on 30 November 2018, 12:05 AM

UTn, I would be expecting a call from MBs lawyers about copyright of their parts.  suggesting a company directly copy one firms property?! I wouldn't be making that one public knowledge!

as for the free data cards, MB is a private company and they dont 'owe' any of us anything for free.  the fee of 150 does seem steep, just spend the money on 116 parts instead!

Don't get me wrong....I don't expect anything for free, and I don't feel the MB owed anyone anything in this regard.  The fact of the matter is that when one legally owns a car, that person owns more rights to the data card for that car than MB does.  A $10-$20 service fee for a data card I could live with, but given that all available data cards have now been digitized and saved in massive hard drives, all that has to be done is to send three emails....one from the dealership or classic center, one back to the dealership or classic center, and the last one to the owner of the car.  The time involved is minuscule, and does not merit a $150 fee.  They're simply being greedy.  As Stan said, it's been a profit making company for many many years, and in their eyes the more they can rake in the better. 

Regarding the copyright mess......I did nothing that URO doesn't already do.  I've no documentation of the help I sent them, and they certainly don't.  So nothing could be proven.  I'm not worried, especially since the statute of limitations has expired.  I certainly wouldn't do it again, though. 
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: URO Parts Support on 30 November 2018, 10:51 AM
Hi UTn_boy, we sent you a PM and an email yesterday regarding those parts you provided several years ago.  Clearly we dropped the ball on getting back to you on this, please respond via email or PM when you get a chance so we can determine the status of your parts and get you taken care of.

Please accept our apologies, and thank you for your patience.

URO Parts Support
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: URO Parts Support on 30 November 2018, 11:00 AM
Regarding the copyright mess......I did nothing that URO doesn't already do.

No need for anyone to worry, there's nothing illegal about making aftermarket parts, as long as the trademarked OE brand logos aren't replicated. 

It would certainly be nice if the original logos could be used when making aftermarket parts for high-end classic car restorations, but it simply can't be done legally.  The best we can do on those items (such as glass or plastic light lenses) is a different logo that has a similar shape and isn't noticeable from a distance, but is completely different when viewed up close.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: floyd111 on 01 December 2018, 02:27 PM
Hi UTn_boy, we sent you a PM and an email yesterday regarding those parts you provided several years ago.  Clearly we dropped the ball on getting back to you on this, please respond via email or PM when you get a chance so we can determine the status of your parts and get you taken care of.

Please accept our apologies, and thank you for your patience.

URO Parts Support

Is anyone here taking the Mickey, or is that indeed a URO post?
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: rumb on 02 December 2018, 06:09 AM
It's legit, I reached out to a contact of mine.
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: rumb on 02 December 2018, 06:19 AM

  The fact of the matter is that when one legally owns a car, that person owns more rights to the data card for that car than MB does.

From what I have read auto manufactures own the software in your car and it's illegal to modify it, though I have heard of legislation to change that.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/04/automakers-say-you-dont-really-own-your-car

more recent news
https://www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-wins-dmca-exemption-petitions-tinkering-echos-and-repairing-appliances-new

Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 02 December 2018, 07:42 AM
From what I have read auto manufactures own the software in your car and it's illegal to modify it

It's been like that in the software world since pretty much forever.
You never buy the software, just a license to use it, and the T&Cs will always have large blocks of what you can and cannot do with it. And the one thing that's always there, in case of proprietary software, is prohibition of any sort of modifications, disassembly etc. And truly, other than lawyers, nobody really ever cared about any of it. There's plenty of security researchers (friendly, and hostile) who slice and dice modern car software as they please. Often, with shocking results: https://www.wired.com/story/car-hack-shut-down-safety-features/
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: UTn_boy on 02 December 2018, 01:47 PM

  The fact of the matter is that when one legally owns a car, that person owns more rights to the data card for that car than MB does.

From what I have read auto manufactures own the software in your car and it's illegal to modify it, though I have heard of legislation to change that.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/04/automakers-say-you-dont-really-own-your-car

more recent news
https://www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-wins-dmca-exemption-petitions-tinkering-echos-and-repairing-appliances-new

Lucas and yourself are right along the lines of software, but what does software have to do with a data card?  Our cars have no software in them.  I'm excluding the Bosch fuel computers for the D-jet cars because MB bought a license to use that from Bosch in their cars.  The same holds true for any products made by VDO (late cruise control, instrumentation, etc.), FORD Philco (early cruise control), and Chrysler for the automatic climate control.  I'm referring to the rest of the car.  The data card includes nothing relating to software.  It's option codes, production information, engine number, transmission number, front and rear axle numbers, and the types of tires and lights used.  Am I missing something? 
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: ptashek on 02 December 2018, 02:48 PM
Am I missing something?

Just a tangent in the thread, nothing unusual ;)
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: rumb on 02 December 2018, 03:36 PM
Not really, I've just been caught guilty of wandering a bit with this thread.  :o
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: UTn_boy on 04 December 2018, 11:30 PM
Ah ok.  I was worried that I was the one that had gone off on a tangential plane or completely missed the general idea of something that one of you fellas had said. 
Title: Re: No more free data cards from the Classic Centre?
Post by: marku on 07 December 2018, 08:22 AM
Just looking at the new EPC and noted that it states that it holds over 30 million datacards from 1978 but only those for the European market. A re-import from a non European country will show the datacard greyed out.