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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Has anyone ever put Visualogic headrest monitors in their cars or suv's? I prefer the headrest monitors over the headliner ones mainly for rear view clearance. Visualogic sends you matching headrests (with 7" or 9" flush monitors imbedded) to the OEM ones and you simply take out the originals and put theirs in. They even have sun-visor monitors. I will likely put them in the GX470 and am wondering if anyone has prior experience. The cost for the complete system is only $200 more than Lexus' factory headliner option.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Honestly, I don't see how you can interpret my comments as suggesting that I "ignore this price gap for sales purposes". You even quoted me as saying that price does matter, and that MB would sell more if it lowered prices. I certainly do see high prices as a handicap hindering MB sales.

    But do you see that Lexus faces handicaps, relative to MB, in its own sales? To wit:

    - lack of prestige (compared to MB)
    - lack of heritage
    - lack of a 117-year history of innovation
    - lack of "halo" models (V12s and AMGs)
    - lack of product diversity (fewer engine options, fewer coupes, fewer convertibles, no wagons)
    - fewer dealerships

    So yes, MB has price as a handicap, but Lexus has a whole host of its own handicaps...and manages to outsell MB in units.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    While it is true that MB is usually priced higher than the equivalent Lexus model, if you look at the ENTIRE product line, MB actually starts LOWER in price...

    $26,020 C230 Kompressor Sport Coupe
    $28,370 C320 Kompressor Sport Coupe
    $29,210 C230 Kompressor Sport Sedan

    The very lowest priced Lexus is the $29,980 IS 5-speed manual. (The ES is up at $32,350).

    So MB has 3 variants that are priced lower than the very cheapest Lexus, yet looking at the sales numbers for the total lineup, still doesn't outsell Lexus.

    Interesting, indeed.
  • Footie, nice comment about branding, MB, and Rolex: "so-so timepeaces, great jewelry". The problem with Rolex and perhaps shortly with MB is that like Izod shirts of 40 years ago, the brand has been cheapened and the "wrong" people buy them for the "wrong" reasons. High end watches have moved on, Rolexes are gauche, and why buy one when every car salesman has a knock off Presidential? (There are even web sites that compare the movements in the knock offs and rank them!) In short, the high end watch market has moved on and Rolex is less and less an aspirational brand. If Rolex were a stock traded here in the US, you would want to sell it short. My comments about Rolex apply to MB. Sure they are moving some cars because as an earlier poster claimed "they scream success" but once the underlying story gets out the brand will lose its cache. Truly successful people won't want any part of it. When the wannabes move in, there goes the neighborhood. MB (D-C)stock probably should be shorted. I think that history is full of brands that never are able to come back once the tipping point is reached. (Caddy seems to be the contemporary exception.)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Wrong. I'd like for you to tell me exactly what Mercedes models sales are "slipping in sales compared to the competition". Please provide some numbers for this. It surely isn't the E vs the GS, S vs LS, SL vs SC, C vs IS. Yes the ES330 does outsells the C-Class and your statement applies (factually) about Mercedes in the SUV market. Other wise such a broad generalzation: "but those sales are slipping relative to their competition." simply isn't based on anything factual.

    Price not withstanding, Mercedes' cars sell very well, across the board, not just certain models like Lexus.

    syswei,

    " I certainly do see high prices as a handicap hindering MB sales."

    Finally, that was my point. Your implication earlier was that Mercedes didn't sell better simply because the market didn't think they were worth the extra $$$, while assuming that everyone buying a competiting Lexus could afford the competing Benz model, yet chose a Lexi.

    I never said Lexus wasn't without their own "handicaps". Then you still say that Lexus outsells Mercedes, again true, but long as you know why this is so. It isn't because of what you tried to imply earlier. Lexus' so called handicaps, arguably aren't anything compared to a brand like Mercedes taking the amount of bad press they've taken over the last few years. To put it in the best Lexus fashion, heritage and unaffordable AMG/V12 models don't mean much when the everyday C320 and S430s are unreliable.

    "So MB has 3 variants that are priced lower than the very cheapest Lexus, yet looking at the sales numbers for the total lineup, still doesn't outsell Lexus."

    Wrong. The C-Class outsells the IS300 by a huge margin. It isn't even close. Also, I'd like for you to checkout your local Benz dealers lot and tell me if you see any base cars sitting around at those prices you listed. You do realize that that "$29,999" stuff is one of the oldest get-you-in-the-showroom tricks around, Mercedes is just as guilty of using this as anybody else.

    M
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Could we broaden this conversation beyond the very tired Lexus vs. Mercedes arguments? Is it possible to talk about the attributes (and/or shortcomings) of either one without measuring them specifically against the other?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Herb Chambers has 71 C-Class cars on his lot.

    Edmund's TMV for the Kompressor base unit is $24,767.

    23 are the little MB goofy coupes. None at $28K, but I think 10 $32 and under though.

    I think the problem with the C class is that its not much car for the money.

    The coupe is smaller than a Corolla, Hyundai Tiburon or Acura RSX, yet it weighs 300 lbs more than the heaviest of those at a not too sporty 3250 lbs. It has a whopping 9.9 cut foot trunk compared the RSX at 19.3

    This is what you get when you cut the butt off of a C Class sedan.

    Of course, one of the problems with the C-Class in general, is that the even the sedan is smaller than a Toyota Corolla and costs about twice as much. Duh?
  • Why do I believe that hidden behind that closed and locked garage door at your home is a beautiful ES 430? (Black on Black and you drive it only at night)

    Perhaps because "me thinks that you protest too much."

    If you take the time to drive an LS 430 someday, you will understand.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    1. You can call MB's poor reliability a "handicap" if you want. I call it a product deficiency. Lexus can't do much about the handicap we call lack of heritage (other than allow time, and lots of it, to pass)...whereas MB can and obviously should do something to fix its reliability issues.

    2. You wrote, "The C-Class outsells the IS300 by a huge margin."...and while that is factually true, it misses the point of my post 3682. The point is (as I tried to indicate with wording like "the ENTIRE product line" and "the total lineup") that the totality of MB's line (all cars, all SUVs) starts at a lower price point than Lexus. Yet MB total vehicle sales still trail Lexus'. Since the C starts 13% lower in price than the cheapest Lexus, it makes it harder for you to argue that MB trails Lexus in vehicle sales because of too-high pricing.

    BTW, even if you want to interpret my original post as pertaining only to the C, not MB’s entire line, for some reason you chose to compare sales of the entire C-Class to the IS alone, conveniently leaving out the ES. Now, the C ranges from $26,020 to $37,630 (not counting the C32 AMG or wagon) while the ES starts at $32,350. If the ES shouldn’t be added to the IS when comparing to C-Class sales, then what does the ES go up against? The $48,170 to $56,270 E-Class?

    3. Lastly, as far as your comment “checkout your local Benz dealers lot and tell me if you see any base cars sitting around at those prices you listed”…there are indeed cars around at those prices. The Autonation network has four C230K Sport Coupes IN STOCK within $1000 of the $26,020 price I posted, and in fact one unit at exactly that price. The same dealer network has exactly zero IS cars in stock within $1000 of the $29,980 price. The lowest-priced in stock IS is $31,629…so your implication that the MB and Lexus website prices don’t represent real-world availability actually seems to be more true of Lexus than MB. In fact in the real world maybe the cheapest MB isn’t 13% cheaper than the cheapest Lexus, it is 18% cheaper...yet Lexus still outsells MB (total product line).
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Real silly conversation when you think about it. With light truck and SUV sales continuing to grow (at the expense of car sales) and accounting for more than 50% of the market it is smart business to go with the flow.
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    1967 Toyota Century....
    http://www.toyota.co.jp/Museum/Tam/Car/Toyotacentury/
    I hope the new one does not look anything like this one.
    Here is a more current picture.
    http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=14773
  • Love the interior....HATE THE EXTERIOR...Looks like a large version of the old Buick Centry I once had (The one that had the same body style for 20 years, may still have that style)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    1. I'm not going to get into the reliability thing again, yes Mercedes has a problem, a pretty good size one at that. I meant that all the negative press has been a sales handicap, not the problems themselves, they are just that problems. I'm sure Mercedes has lost more than a few sales with the survey worshiping crowd.

    2. Your second point is dead wrong and has no basis simply because if Mercedes has, according to you 3 cars that cost less than the cheapest Lexus, then they surely have at least 10 that cost way more than any Lexus, CL55, CL500, CL600, S500, S55, SL500, SL55, SL600,
    S600, and the E55. You're telling me that all these much higher priced cars don't count?

    I clearly stated that the ES330 outsells the C-Class.

    "If the ES shouldn’t be added to the IS when comparing to C-Class sales, then what does the ES go up against?"

    First of all the C-Class variants are of the same car, with different engines and trims etc. The IS300 and ES330 don't share anything, not even the same engine or platform, so it would be merely reaching to try and lump their sales together. The ES competes with the C-Class to a degree, thats why I stated before that it does outsell the C. I personally find it's biggest competitors to be Buicks, which is what it rides/handles/drives like, although it's much better built. And probably the I35, which is about the only other foreign car playing the fwd card in this price class now. The Acura TL has moved towards being sporty.

    3. So basically you just proved what I said, out of the whole Autonation group you found 4 base C230s, yet according to you they're so plentiful to the point of pumping up Mercedes' sales numbers. Right. Remember I never even mentioned Lexus' MSRP's vs what they actually had available, you're just now mentioning that.

    Now again what does the price relationship of the IS and the base C models have do with the entire Mercedes lineup of cars compared to Lexus'? Do you not see that Mercedes is just as loaded with big $$$ cars as they are with cheaper ones? Especially compared to Lexus. No because that wouldn't fit in with your theory.

    "The point is (as I tried to indicate with wording like "the ENTIRE product line" and "the total lineup") that the totality of MB's line (all cars, all SUVs) starts at a lower price point than Lexus."

    That simply doesn't mean much because Mercedes sells a good number of E, S, and SL cars, relative to their competion, and like unlike Lexus, Mercedes sales gains of the past few years weren't made on just one car and 2 SUVs, they were made on nearly everything they sell, except the ML and SLK. Plus, plus the C's starting priced compared to the IS300's isn't repeated anywhere else in the lineup of these two brands. The E320 surely doesn't base for less than the GS300, the S430 most certainly doesn't base for less than the LS430, ditto SL500 vs SC430. Again, we see who's cars really costs more.......

    "yet Lexus still outsells MB (total product line). "

    Yes they do because of SUVs!! You keep stating this while trying to show me sales numbers for C-Class cars, of which only the ES330 manages to outsell it, WHAT ABOUT THE E vs the GS, S vs LS, SL vs SC, C vs IS........the relationship in each case either a) Mercedes outsells the Lexus, or b) they are in a dead heat.

    You're trying to attribute Lexus' sales lead to cars, and it isn't. Then on top of that you're claiming that because 3 Mercedes' are cheaper than the IS300, that Lexus has made some kind of stunning achievement based on car sales, when the reality (cold and the hardest of numbers) of it is that Mercedes outsells or sells the same amount of cars as each competing Lexus car model. The one and only exception to this is the C-Class vs the ES330. The sales dominance you keep harping on isn't based on Lexus' car sales!!

    What you're doing is like comparing a company like Ford to Honda, and claiming that Ford outsells Honda, which is true, but like you know who, Ford's truck sale numbers are extremely impressive, while Honda sells more Accords........its the same exact scenario.

    The bottom line is that if you going to look at how many cars Mercedes has that are cheaper (3) than the cheapest Lexus, then you have to look at how many they have that are more expensive than any Lexus, without even looking at the MB website I count 10. Ten compared to Three!!!

    I agree that ultimately the SUV vs CAR things is really irrelvant because in the end total sales is what will be counted up for the press releases due Jan 1, 2004. I'm only using the seperation of the two because you're trying to act like Lexus sales lead is due to moving more cars which couldn't be any further from the truth.

    michael_mattox,

    What I do understand is that you had nothing factual to back up your previous claims.

    M
  • oac3oac3 Posts: 373
    Great point. And I have to echo your voice of reasoning here on the SUV_vs_CAR sales [non-permissible content removed]-for-tat. GM would be out of business today if it were not for SUV's. Ditto FoMoCo. What the heck is Merc1 smoking these days, anyway ? Lexus outsells all luxury brands in the NA market. Period. No amount of armchair quarterbacking and excuses is going to change the situation unless other lux makers address their weaknesses and compete better against Lexus, wether it is in price, quality, reliability, customer service, etc.

    All we hear from MB fans are excuses why OVERALL MB sales are declining against the competition. Only a little less than 5 years ago, MB was the #1 selling lux brand in America, now they are about to fall to #4 and all we hear are excuses why Lexus sales are dominated by SUV's and not cars.... blah blah blah... I hope MB execs are not listening to these stuff from fans like Merc1, lol !

    I am sad to report that there has been little buzz out here in Tokyo (the city I visited) about Lexus. A couple of people I talked to say that the news is kinda low key and they remain skeptical of Lexus in Japan. A few who are huge BMW fans say they are not affected by the new faces of the 7- and the 5-, and want to own BMW's regardless. From my little, unscientific probe here in Tokyo, I think Toyota/Lexus needs a lot of marketing ad campaign to sell Lexus in Japan. Maybe they'll wake-up the populace here to the merits of a Lexus brand in Japan. Maybe they won't. I guess we'll see.

    Oh, my company VP here in Tokyo drives an S500, and I got to ride with him (chauffered, of course) to dinner on Friday. Car was black/black and drove like a dream. Creamy smooth, and very luxurious. I sure felt good in the back seat. Plenty of leg and elbow room. The Nav in the car looked so good, almost Lexus-like.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You mean to honestly tell me you can't see where syswei is pointing to Lexus' entire product line as the main factor as to why Lexus' sales are so high? My only point about that is that their entire product line doesn't sell like all the hype in here would suggest it does. He acts like every Lexus model is a star seller like the ES or RX, and it simply isn't true.

    Seriously, all these facts go right past you?

    If you can't understand that a much higher set of sticker prices would hinder #1 sales status then you're not dealing in reality. There is no way the brand with highest sticker prices can be a bestseller in todays market. When they did accomplish this it was the introductory year for the CLK and M-Class, two models that were arguably cheaper , especially the ML, than most (not all) other Mercedes' at the time. And ironically it was the ML (an SUV) that did most of that sales growth, proving once again this the hottest segment and what drives you know who's sales machine.

    You're saying that other automakers need to address their weaknesses in order to compete with Lexus, like Lexus has no weaknesses. Hopefully for Lexus they aren't thinking that way about the GS and IS.

    This was all brought about by two things. The implied notion that Mercedes' cars weren't good enough to sell better, forgetting that that cost more. Secondly, that Lexus cars are better so they sell more, when in fact they don't sell more cars. They do sell more vehicles total, because they do sell a better collection of SUVs, but going by the first point it would seem the implication is that Mercedes' cars are better, at least going by syswei's more sales = better car theory. Since this theory is based on the assumption that everyone who bought a Lexus looked at a Mercedes and decided on the Lexus.

    It's amazing that I'm often accused of not able to see anything good about Lexus, but I do give Lexus it's just credits on reliability, quality, service etc. Yet the fact that Mercedes sells it's more expensive cars at an equal or most often better rate than Lexus does, it says nothing about their market presence or penetration and is lost on everyone...and therefore means nothing.

    Boy if Lexus had a more expensive car than a Mercedes that sold better, you'd never hear the end of it!

    M
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I don't know how it is where you guys live but I have noticed that all of the Lexus dealers I have been to in SC and NC keep a fairly low inventory
    of new Lexus vehicles.
    I am suppose this is done on purpose and creates a since of urgency.
    They typically have 2 to 3 times more used Lexuss than new.
    The MB and BMW dealerships I have been to typically carry more new inventory.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Let me try to put this in better perspective. Lexus full product line runs from $30k-71k. If competitor xyz’s line runs from 80k-300k, it would be easy to see that xyz “should” sell fewer vehicles. If xyz’s line runs from 40k-140k, it would also be easy to see that xyz “should” sell fewer vehicles. But if xyz’s line runs from 26k-140k, as MB’s does, just why should they be selling fewer vehicles that Lexus, which runs from 30k-71k?

    To my "yet Lexus still outsells MB (total product line)” you replied “Yes they do because of SUVs!!”. So? If, 10 years from now, MB outsells Lexus in total vehicles, but does so on the strength of SUVs, does that make the achievement less significant?

    You accuse me of "trying to act like Lexus sales lead is due to moving more cars" and I don't see how an honest reading of my posts could result in that conclusion. My posts have including wording like "ENTIRE product line" and "the total lineup" and "the totality of MB's line (all cars, all SUVs)" and, a few days ago, "poor-selling GS".
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "But if xyz’s line runs from 26k-140k, as MB’s does, just why should they be selling fewer vehicles that Lexus, which runs from 30k-71k?"

    Because they only have a few cars at that 26K price point you keep pointing to, did you not see all the ones that list for more than 71K? Mercedes has more cars that list over where Lexus tops out at, and there is no way those three cars below Lexus' cheapest model could sell that many to make a difference. There are at least 10, count them TEN Mercedes' that list for more than 71K, compared to only 3 that you listed that cost less than 30K. Six of those list for over 100K, a place where Lexus isn't represented. It's very simple. You keep talking about the C-Class, which again, like I stated earlier is the only Mercedes that has a base MSRP less than a Lexus. One Class of cars compared to 6 other models lines of MBs that sticker for higher than their Lexus competitors. How in the world can one model line (C) offset this? It can't.

    "If, 10 years from now, MB outsells Lexus in total vehicles, but does so on the strength of
     SUVs, does that make the achievement less significant?"

    No of course it doesn't. I clearly stated in my previous post why I made the distinction. But you refuse to see the reason why Mercedes will probably never win the sales race...and really can't be expected to win a sales race.....their MSRP's are much higher overall.

    "My posts have including wording like "ENTIRE product line" and "the total lineup" and "the totality of MB's line (all cars, all SUVs)"
    and, a few days ago, "poor-selling GS"."

    Again, I said anything to the contrary because you initially stated that Mercedes' cars didn't sell more because they were poor cars, and I responed that Lexus'cars must be lesser because Mercedes sells more cars. If Lexus dominates in SUVs, Mercedes does in cars, based on your more sales = better car theory. I know you were implying overall, including cars and suvs, but that goes back to you ignoring the price differences.

    M
  • Specifically what claims do you want me to back up...The quality claim?...The total sales claim? (even though Lexus has fewer product lines then Mercedes as you have pointed out.)
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    You wrote “Mercedes will probably never win the sales race...and really can't be expected to win a sales race.....their MSRP's are much higher overall” and my comment is that you seemingly refuse to recognize that MB’s higher prestige SHOULD allow it to maintain higher MSRPs.

    Put it this way, suppose Timex 14 years ago had introduced a new, luxury watch brand, called Lex, lets pretend. And let’s say that everyone in the world recognized Lex as being EXACTLY as desirable as Rolex, Cartier, Brietling, etc., EXCEPT for prestige. Don’t you think that Rolex should be able to command higher prices, but still sell the same number of units as Lex?

    Also, your statement flies in the face of two facts:

    1. MB’s higher prices have – in the PAST – not prevented it from being the number one unit seller

    2. On an individual model level, some MBs, such as the E, outsell the relevant competition, despite the higher prices
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Just so we all understand, even though MB would llike to be able to charge a prestige-based price premium alone, they unfortunately have to add a very significant warranty cost to the price of each car due to their lower reliability and much higher incidence of service calls than Lexus, Infiniti or Cadillac.

    Some consumers may be thinking that they are paying for prestige with that higher MSRP, but in fact, they are prepaying the service requirements that their vehicle is most certainly going to have during the warranty period.

    Lexus and Infiniti are in the enviable position of being able to sell very competitive offerings at a lower price with similar services and warranties and still make very good profits because they don't have to spend near as much of their gross margin on warranty work.

    I think the other part of the 'prestige' pricing difference goes into MB's relatively huge merchandising and advertising campaigns.

    It's all about money.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The SUV sales are also more profitable and are increasing the average sales dollar of the whole line. The RX now averages over $40k and the GX averages over $50k.

    To an enthusiast the SUV doesn't count. To a car manufacturer the enthusiasts who thinks like that is irrelevant. Lexus will add the HPX soon and I'll bet it will be a smash. The enthusiast will diss it and Lexus will laugh all the way to the bank. I also think that the new GS will be a big seller. Saw a new 5 series in person today. Awful!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I read years ago...and I'd like to know if this is true or not...that decades ago some guy at GM figured that getting the customer to (in essence) do final quality control checks would save GM money versus doing it in the factory. Save money at the factory..but I guess they didn't count the cost of losing customers down the road.

    Not saying this is true of MB or anyone else today, as I think all car companies understand the importance of quality. But I think its an interesting story.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I'm trying to figure out how Automobile magazine sees Lexus imitating BMW with that next GS. Either someone had one drink too many over there or someone really knows how to stretch their imagination. On the other hand maybe they think it should have been a BMW.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    We are going to know alot more in less than a month:

    http://www.lexus.com/about/press_releases/popups/2003/pr_12_09_a.- - html

    Merc1, will you be going to this show?
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I don't get the discussion about sales volumes here - what's that got to do with cars' qualities? If sales volume proved anything, heck, buy a Beetle while you can.

    On the sales volume side, the Beemer 7 series lost 10% volume to 40k up to last September, while the S-class shipped 56k. Jag XJ and Audi A8 shipped 22k and 13k, respectively. So Merc's doing alright in the luxury segment. All numbers courtesy of http://www.autobild.de/aktuell/neuheiten/artikel.php?artikel_id=5334.

    Far more interesting: http://bilder.autobild.de/bilder/1/41404.jpg

    2005. No one can accuse Benz of design mis-steps with the S class. And Merc also has CLS and GST (R-class) on its way. If I were a one-product competitor, I'd be very concerned.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The HPX styling has the GST beat in my opinion. The rear of the GST doesn't measure up to the looks of its front end. Inside - it finally looks like MB is getting up to par.
  • New S class pics in the link, nice front end, ugly rear end.
    The CLS is not a good looking car at all IMO, but I have seen pics of its interior which is very nice. So are we going to get both of these new models by the end of next year ?
  • Those head lights look like they came right off a lexus.

    Is Mercedes now buying parts from lexus to save money??
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