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High End Luxury Cars

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  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    You might want to look at the Q45 also, as it meets your most important criteria.

    ljflx, you are correct about the original LS400 being priced "al-a-carte". The 90 model had a base price of $35k, and options such as leather and sunroof were optional. You won't find too many of these cloth-seat examples around, though...

    DB
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I know. Even in 95 when I took my first LS400 the sunroof and other goodies were still optional. I never saw an LS400 without a sunroof and I never saw one with cloth seats in the pre 95 era. They really should just make the premium edition be the base car and put the right starting MSRP.
  • I subscribe to Automotive News and after reading your post I looked at this weeks Auto News issue on the Web. Here are some public links and info extracted from my subscription issue that were provided. The public links from AutoWeek (the Automotive News sister publication) have almost the exact language as the commensurate article in Automotive News.

    1. Here is some of the key information from the 2007 Lexus article you mention -

    "How high is high enough? How big is too big?"

    "Those are the questions facing Lexus Division, which won the best-selling luxury brand title for the fourth straight year in 2003."

    "But Denny Clements, Lexus general manager, says the brand has fallen into a predictable rhythm - and he wants to change that."

    "We launch a car, then have a minor change after three years, and then a redesign two years after that," Clements said during an interview at the Detroit auto show."

    "Meanwhile, the Europeans have new product news and variations coming every year, and they're always on magazine covers. Lexus needs to be like that. Lexus needs to have something always going on. It needs to have that buzz."

    "Clements said Lexus and parent Toyota Motor Corp. have set this stir-things-up agenda for the next few years:

    - A new distinct design specific to Lexus, to be seen first in the 2005 GS 430 and evolving from there. (Note: the article says a MY05 GS not MY06 which makes more sense like merc1 said a few days ago.)

    - A redesign of each car line by spring 2007.

    - All-wheel drive availability with the redesigns.

    - The addition of a flagship above the LS 430.

    - The creation of a factory performance division, akin to Mercedes-Benz's AMG."

    "After spending the last several years bulking up in SUVs, Lexus is returning to its core strength: luxury cars. The next-generation GS 430 and GS 300 sport sedans, which will arrive in early 2005, will be followed by the replacements for the IS 300, ES 330 and LS 430, all arriving by spring 2007."

    Very interesting, IMO.

    2. Here is the Acura RL article on the AutoWeek Web site on the new RL - http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat- - - - - _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=01990871

    3. Here is a link from AutoWeek (the Automotive News sister pub) on the ultra-luxury Cadillac that I believe we have basically seen before - http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat- _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=00165382

    4. ON the Cadillac SUV engine initial statement from the article it goes on the say -

    "The move is in keeping with General Motors' plans to create a series of exclusive high-performance cars and SUVs for Cadillac called the V Series. The first of those models, the CTS-V sports sedan, is in showrooms. The CTS-V is powered by a V-8 derived from the engine used in the Chevrolet Corvette."

    "You will find Cadillacs running around with higher-output V-8s, running around with V-10s (and) V-12s," Stephens says, "and you will find even one variant with even more cylinders."

    Let me know if you want more info and I will e-mail it to you.

    Jim
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well thats what I basically meant, they're pricing the Phaeton below its main rival from Germany, not the actual dollar amount. Nobody can sell a car like a Phaeton or LS for 35K anymore, but for 76K pretty loaded/awd the Phaeton undercuts VW's main rival the S-Class by a huge amount. I know the numbers aren't the same when Lexus was willing to take a loss those first few years, VW isn't (and probably can't) do that.

    In your other post you say that a Mercedes "lover" originally stated that a Lexus is a poor mans Mercedes. It's no rumor, nor does it matter who stated it, it's said because Lexus keeps making their flagship (best premier etc) car in the shadow of Mercedes' S-Class, hence the distinction. It will be denied by some until the end of time, but the LS' whole reason for being is the S-Class. No other cars in this class look alike and pattern themselves after each other like the LS does the S-Class. Lexus and only Lexus keeps imitating their nearest competitor in just about every way. BMW, Jaguar, Audi and now VW all have cars in this class, but they're very different from one another.

    I know you (a LSx2 owner) and your circle can afford a S600 with no sweat, but the *average* LS430 buyer can't, especially if someone is paying cash. Doesn't the average LS sell for about 60-63k? The S600 is double that. Nothing is etched in stone here, I'm just speaking in general. The "poor man's Mercedes" saying probably came up too when looking at the price spread between the two cars, one starts at 55K and goes to 72K, the other starts at 73K and goes to 125K, thats a huge difference.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I must say I find Lexus' plans impressive on paper, but if the GS is any indication then I'm not so sure. The LF-S to GS was sort of a letdown. The LF-S is supposed to be the next IS, per autospies (I know right).

    I also read where Lexus wants to sell 350K cars a year in the U.S. That would be some feat, every dealer would be able to use money to keep their fireplaces lit. Lexus has what 200 dealers, Mercedes around 300 and Cadillac has over 1200. Lexus can start printing their own money if they push 350K units out of such a small dealership body. This may be possible if the next IS has a sedan/coupe/convertible/wagon lineup like it's target 3-Series. The HPX would have to take off also. I'm not convinced the next GS will be all that more popular than the current car.

    Thought I'm not so sure if the GS lineup is done just yet. They've released some detailed info on the next GS300, but I don't think the GS430 is set in stone, I can't see them NOT increasing the horsepower on the V8 GS. It could be possible that they haven't said anything yet because they don't want the current LS430 to be affected. I mean spring 2005 is quite a ways away. I also can't see them not offering awd on the V8 model, I mean Mercedes and Audi (to a lesser degree) sell a good number of awd V8 cars in snowy places where rwd is too big of a pain. Last summer when visiting Minnesota, every Mercedes I saw was a 4Matic, I mean every single one. I'm sure Florida is quite different and I've never seen a 4Matic Benz when I visit Texas so awd seems to make a difference depending on location.

    Cadillac will have to put up or shut up in my book. The XLR and CTS are not the world beaters Lutz promised. The XLR while competitive, at the end of the day is still a few rungs below the SL and the CTS hasn't come close to beating the 3 or 5-Series. The V-Series cars will be good for image and those who can afford them, but what Cadillac, Acura and Infiniti for that matter needs is a attention grabbing flagship car. The new STS *so far* doesn't look like anything the E, or 5-Series should worry about. The next RL if a hybrid could be that car for Acura. The next Infiniti Q45 could be a few years off since the current model just came out for 2002.

    M
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    I enjoyed reading these posts. I thought Merc1's comments were right on. I've owned MB, BMWs and Lexus. The S600 is not in my price range. The LS ultra is $70K and has more features than the S500 at $80K. I've warranty problems with both MB and BMW, but never with the LS. The Lexus experience is real. There is no going back.

    Yes, MB has better styling, but only on the outside. Nothing beats the interior of an LS and that's what I see the most of. Also, the 04 LS has greatly improved the bland exterior problem.

    LS is a poor man's MB. Yeah, I've heard that said, but not by those who have really studied the cars and owned them. I don't think anyone has ever thought I bought my LS because I could not afford the S. I've also heard MB is for those seeking image over value.

    Slicer_3729: Everyone agrees, the LS easily is the winner in your first 4 categories, and the interior wins for your 5th. I equate fun to drive with smooth and quiet, so for me it wins that, too.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I didn't mean to imply that everyone who buys an LS430 can buy an S-600. But I'd bet a very high percentage can swing an S-430 and and many of that group could get an S-500. There are plenty of people that reach high for the cars in this grouping and the group below. It's really a function of your decisions in life. In my town I'll see S-class and LS430 cars on driveways of homes that range from $500k to $5mln. You can easily see who could afford anything they want. Personally I'd finalize a great house before picking a great car. That's why I drove an Acura Legend (an excellent car but certainly not in this league) through 1994. The S-class was within my reach in 1990/91 and I also passed on the LS400 in those years until 1995. But I knew I wanted a bigger home in a different town. Built my house in 1994. It's funny how things happen. A higher auto payment may have made me take a lower priced lot. I took the more expensive lot back in 1994 bacause I had few other financial obligations. The other lot I was considering was $50k cheaper and that's $300 a month on a mortgage. Today that $50K is worth $600K. I still remember your decision a few years ago and I commend you for it.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Thanks for the article updates. It looks like Lexus will be changing quite a bit in the coming years. The article, which I finally read, mentioned the following (some of which you touched on):

    1. A super-luxury Lexus above the LS is coming. Lexus says "it's not an issue of if, but when."

    2. Lexus will create a performance division similar to Mercedes/AMG and BMW/M. According to Lexus, "we have to have those image products."

    3. Lexus' GM says no car "gets him more emotional than the pending redesign of the LS 430. It is more than just a redesign...it will make the same impact as the original."
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    I read somewhere (Consumer Digest I think) that a Lexus LS 500 might be available in model yeaar 2005. The 500 will be available alongside the 430. In 2006 or 2007 a Lexus LS 600 will come to market with a 400+ Hp V12 engine. That would really shake things up
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi all,
      Interesting comments by the Lexus GM..What's so predictable about their design change frequencies? Most European carmakers run their designs longer than Lexus. (Jaguar, MB S Class, BMW) What he's missing is lack of originality. You can debate the aesthetics all you want, but each of the Euro nameplates have their own distinctive design. Like it or not, you can't mistake a 745 for anything else. I'm glad Lexus leaning toward making a LS that rivals the original in impact..Only time will tell.

    I've noticed this forum usually centers around the Lexus vs German issue. What do you all think about Jaguar? Have they finally built a worthy competitor to the Lexus, MB, and BMW? How much have they really improved on reliability?

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Man we've been at this for a long time, I'd forgotten that we've had the "life decisions" conversation before. Imagine me reading that after all these years!

    I'm sure a high percentage of LS430 buyers can swing a S430, especially if they're leasing them. No doubt.

    I've always wanted to ask what town do you live in, it sounds like quite a place the place. Probably like what Naperville IL is here.

    The Acura Legend is the reason why I've always had a strong desire to own and Acura, but they just can't seem to get the styling right.

    edspider1,

    It really does depend on your circle or group, because to some a Lexus is just that a poor mans Mercedes, and to some it's a better car that doesn't get its just do. Since Lexus does make a great car all they'd have to do to erase that stigma is create their own styling and not follow Mercedes' every move. They probably will do the former, but the latter is just good business.

    sv7887,

    Ahh...Jag u wa. Yes, imo the new XJ is a full fledged member of this class. It's light and lean and is easily a styling home run. The only thing I noticed at Detriot is that it still does have anywhere near the room of say a LS430 or 745Li, so far that hasn't slowed its sales down. I'm not sure about their reliability you'll have to ask one of the survey people about that one. They only Jaguar I truly don't like is the X-Type. The XK is a modern classic. Its about the only other luxury car besides a Mercedes SL that can wear the same styling since 1997 and still look so good. Jaguar's dual-edged sword is their styling you either like it or you don't. It's either just right or way too much for some, and in the case of the old XJ it made the car very uncompetitive because it simply was too small (low roof etc) for many.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Colts Neck NJ. It's horse country and Bruce Springsteen lives about a mile away. Beautiful area that is very surburban - more like an upstate NY town but it's only 40 miles from NYC. There are no city like street lights around and no fire hydrants (which causes insurance to run high). You can't build a new home here anymore unless it's at least 4300 feet or so (most are 6-10,000 these days) and it's 10 acre zoning. So the seclusion makes it a town for celebrities and athletes like. Tom Brokaw wanted to move here but the town rejected a helicopter landing pad he wanted in his back yard (he wanted to be able to get out quickly if a news story broke). MB's and Lexus cars and SUV's everywhere with a lot of TLC's, LX470's and now the GX470. Decent number of Jags but not many Range Rovers or BMW's save for the X5. Rarely do you see an Audi and I've yet to see an A8 in the 10 years I'm here.

    Big SUV's are in around here for local needs and because we've had a lot of snow in the past 6-8 years. We seem to be a southern snowbelt area of NYC whenever the storms take a mid-atlantic route. The blizzard in 96 put down more than 3 feet here and in last years President's day storm we had about 30".
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Colts Neck NJ - One of the areas where there are more S500s than Civics. :) The average home price is $1M.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    I'm getting my LS430 next week. While I cannot afford a S600, I can afford a S430. However, after looking at them both, I had to go with the LS430 because I get more car for the money (Ultra Lux Pkg) and I will have a reliable car to boot.

    Here is my own prejudice against MB. I have friends who are MB fanatics. They would NEVER have a "Japanese piece of crap". Of course all of their cars have to be "European". They also have a very expensive house with 100% mortgage, credit card debt, a 1995 MB S420 with a new loan on it, a boat that they have a loan on and can't afford to fix when it breaks, etc.

    I, on the other hand, couldn't care less about the "prestige" of the car or where it came from. Reliability and Resale is key. I have a nice house with 50% equity, no credit card debt, and only pay cash for "recreational purchases".

    This in no way makes me better than anyone else I just think, from my experience, it does hold true to the two types of buyers. IMHO
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I drive a BMW instead of a Lexus. ;-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    As I said yesterday - to each their own on spending money. No one should be critical of others. Some are carefree - spending everything they have and when a job is lost the house usually has to be sold. These people tend to seek status and as such do buy lux cars and yes many of them buy a Lexus as well. So to generalize that they buy the most prestigious brand is probably over the top. It's probably the case in a higher percentage of times but trust me these people also buy Lexus, BMW, Jag etc because they all have plenty of status.

    Others are more conservative and build equity in homes and businesses and build up savings. It's life and all that really matters is whether one is happy. I know plenty of rich people and many of them are not satisfied and I know plenty of lesser income people and many of them are.

    Merc1 - forgot - Queen Latifa is also in town about a mile away. Bon Jovi lives over in Rumson which is a helluva town on the Navesink river (Springsteen used to live there) and Geraldo Rivera and Connie Chung are in neighboring Middletown NJ. I just missed Bon Jovi at Ray Catena one day. He was shopping an LX for his wife and I had just taken the GX out for the day to see if it was the right truck. The big money towns here are Colts Neck, Rumson and Holmdel and all three have some homes that price out at $10-20mln particularly Rumson because of the water. Now one guy in town would be an interesting interview. He has an SL, an SC, an LS, an S500 and an LX470. But he also has a 10 car garage in a 12,000 foot house with lifts. So God only knows what else he has in that garage.

    By the way the car salesman will tell you some great stories. A funny one my guy told me was about Martina Navritolova - she bought her and hers SC430's. Those were his words.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    That was my overall perspective of European brands. Just like yours may be that anyone (especially a 35 y/o with no kids) who drives a LS430, when they can afford a BMW or MB, is boring.

    I guess it all depends on where you fall. I am more like the guy earlier who ranked "fun to drive" as last. Mostly because I don't want to find driving "fun" as I do too much of it.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Bon Jovi lives over in Rumson which is a helluva town on the Navesink river"

    Yes, he lives in a nice cottage, but it is for sale.
  • Can anyone imagine the thrill and status you would have if you had neighbors like Geraldo, Ms. Chung, Bon who?, Springsteen et. al? Come on, with neighbors (and the assorted hangers on and government agencies that they would attract), like that who needs to live there? You wouldn't want to even see them on television (e.g., Geraldo) so why would you want them as neigbors to share your life with? It sounds like the all-flash, no-cash, bling-bling crowd. No thanks.

    Give me a medium sized city with real people with a sense of community. Where people drive what they own not what they need to lease as a fashion statement. Throw in a couple of Starbucks and Borders/Barnes&Nobles located within two hours of the ocean and skiing and that would be all she wrote.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yikes, that sounds like Barrington IL, or Lake Forest where all the Bears live. Any British or Italian cars there..Ferrari, Aston-Martin, Bentley? I'm surprised you've never seen an A8 there. I always heard that the Northeastern part of the US was a Audi, Saab and Volvo stronghold. The celebs there makes it sound like Hollywood Northeast...lol.

    kdshapiro,

    Careful, you aren't going to be able to verify that with a survey or bar graph from JDP. I mentioned what you said about SL's in your area and got the Gettysburg address from atop the CR and JDP mountain.

    mfullmer,
     
    ljflx is right, it does indeed vary. There are people in debt up to their eyeballs with every brand of car, not just the prestige Euro brands.

    M
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    You are correct. My experience has been though, people with so-called "European Prestige Brands" generally (note that I used "generally") are more wrapped up in the "Prestige" of having a European car than the overall functionality. Those same friends I mentioned earlier are on their 4th LR Discovery. They keep buying them despite the awful experience they have had with them. He, in jest, always teases me about my "American piece of junk" Chevy Tahoe yet we are constantly taking it because it is so difficult to get into the mail-slot rear doors of his Disco. We'll see if his attitude changes when I get the LS. I have to admit my current vehicle (2001 Cadillac STS) is (soon to be was) a total piece of crap though.

    I've also noticed a certain "haughty aire" to BMW owners (in GENERAL) on the road.

    I know that my prejudice is only generalized by my experiences but I get a certain pleasure out of NOT giving in to my desire to own a "look-at-me" brand and choose my vehicles first and foremost on reliability.

    Although - I'm thinking of getting a '99 or '00 SL to have as a weekend car. I just started warming up to that body style as the new (read: UGLY) one's came out.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I've also noticed a certain "haughty aire" to BMW owners (in GENERAL) on the road."

    I tend to agree with you, I had to overcome the same stereotype about BMW drivers myself before I bought my first one. I'm a little different from most folks though in that while I like my luxury goodies, I still want a car with a good sporting capability AND a manual transmission. Unfortunately the number of cars on the market that meet my criteria these days are few and far between, hence my move to BMW.

    FWIW, even though I'm doing the "European Prestige" thing, I have all of my credit cards paid off, my home has an LTV of less than 50%, and even though my kids are only 10 and 7, their college funds are already capable of getting them through their undergraduate degrees. So, IMHO, it's time to play. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "I've also noticed a certain "haughty aire" to BMW owners (in GENERAL) on the road."

    I've also noticed that BMW owners put more miles on their cars than other marques. Could it be there is something to the "ultimate driving machine" other than fluff, image and arrogance?

    Besides, BMW is no longer a "look at me" brand and I'm not sure it ever was. There's some serious ugly going on there. Buyers are turning their backs on the look so it's all about function now—the ride. Any "prestige" that comes with it is icing on the cake.

    There are airs with all luxury marques BMW included, but for most BMW buyers it goes a little deeper and I would think that anyone who doesn't understand this never drove a BMW.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    You are thinking its like Beverly Hills or something. Nope. It's very private, very country like and you rarely see these people and when you do you respect their privacy. It's so private around here that many people don't even put up window treatments.

    Merc1 - The A8 just never cut it in the NYC and south of NYC area. But go northeast of NYC to Conneticut and you'll see a decent amount of them. When I looked at the A8 in 2001 the local dealership - which was an awful place - told me they get 4 A8's a month and they were discounting heavily without me negotiating. When I test drove the car a few months back nothing had changed. I'm sure a few are sprinkled around but with the local dealership (and it's a small one which also sells Range Rovers) selling so few it's easy to see why they are so rare around here.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    Since the Merc and Audi comes with AWD, and considering the weather in the Northeast and midwest for last couple of weeks wouldn't it be smart to pick the Merc and Audi over everything else? RWD LS or BMW 7 series doesn't help during major winter storms
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Anyone who can afford these cars likely has a car that has AWD or has an SUV particularly in the cold climates. If a need for a third occasional vehicle is there you can pick up a cheap suv or even lease a grand cheroee for under $300 a month. It's not mandatory at all. S-class AWD's are low sellers and A8 sales are typically 2000 a year in all of the US. A bit higher now because of the new model but it will revert right back. If I was an S-class buyer I'd stick with the base car and buy an extra suv that is cheap for the lease price difference. While I hope Lexus comes out with AWD I also hope it's optional.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,586
    Ya know, I'm really getting into this peaceful and harmonious discussion you are all having.

    There have been good points made on all sides without getting acrimonious. Thanks.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I think everyone is fighting enough battles with the snow and cold at the moment - at least for the northern tier of posters.

    My money is on Carolina Sunday. Anyone with me? Lack of a running game will hurt New England.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah I remember you telling me about that awful LR/Audi dealership before. I'm surprised it's still in operation. Audi has built entirely new dealerships in the Chicago area, all of them are new except for the oldest on the near North side of Chicago itself. That dealership should also be under pressure from Ford, which wants LR/Jaguar and Aston-Martin all together when possible. I'm sure they aren't happy about Land Rover sharing space with Audi. However, there is only so much the manufacturer can do at the dealership level.

    One thing however, S-Class 4Matics are not low sellers, they made up over 30 percent of all S-Class sales last year nationwide.

    M
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Put me down for Carolina also. We'll see what happens.
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