Sorry, but I do feel for the poor sods like Jib's customer who thought it would be a run of the mill car to run, but it turns into a money pit. My view is that if the proverbial Ford Focus had problems of this magnitude, Ford would be broke (oh it is, but you know what I mean).
I know someone who bought a secondhand A class recently - an older one - on a T plate I think. She had never had a MB or any other quality German car before - as far as she was concerned she was buying into a luxury small car with luxury car status and reliability. Of course I could not say anything - but I think that is why they still sell - the buyers just dont know the truth until it is too late.
I bought one for my other half a month or two ago, she had it a week and smashed it up, i wasn't worried about the car, it turned out to have lots wrong, which i corrected straight away! theres a thread on here somewhere about it!
There not as bad as people think, it like all cars, you get a good one and you get a bad one!!