Mercedes is traditionally the brand of choice for German taxi drivers, and Mercedes controlled around 80% of the market during the 1990s. In the last year Mercedes' share has fallen to less then 50%, reports Automobilwoche, thanks to a series of lacklustre and bad models (the Vaneo, Vito, V-Class and W210 E-Class ), and rust and electrical problems.

Instead German taxi drivers are chosing Volkwagen, and to a lesser extent Opel cars. Between July 2004 and July 2005 4,500 new Mercedes cars are estimated to have been registered as taxis, 4,000 Volkswagens and 1,000 Opels. A further 500 were 'other' makes, including Audi, Volvo, Ford and BMW.

Although Mercedes is offering good finance incentives and special taxi models with a 20% price reduction, there is apparently still a six month waiting time for delivery on many models, and this is putting potential drivers off.