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High End Luxury Cars

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  • Let's see, it's based on the E-class but bigger on the outside and, I'll bet, smaller on the inside. It's got sporty pretentions but it's got four doors and is heavy. Is the CLS supposed to be stylish alternative to the stodgy E-series and the pricey S-series?

    If so, then it's a completely unnecessary car -- style for style's sake -- and a complete refutation of everything Daimler Benz used to stand for.

    But then, Damiler-Benz are gone. Sometimes I see the three-pointed star and momentarily forget. When the star is attached to a CLS, however, I need no further reminders.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Reguardless of the transmissions the CLK and to a lesser extant the CL are competitors to the 6-Series, as are the Lexus SC430, and Jaguar XK8. All of these cars are aimed at folks who want a luxury/GT car and have no need for 4-doors.

    johncalifornia,

    Good points, but things have changed...they've discovered that "style" helps sell even more cars. But you're right this isn't the same old stodgy company it used to be.

    The car is on paper, pointless, but they'll probably sell every one that they bring over.

    M
  • "The car is on paper, pointless, but they'll probably sell every one that they bring over"

    Wanna bet ?

    I have to agree with john. Counting the CLS, how many trims/models does MB now have ?

    C/CL/CLK/CLS
    E
    S/SL/SLK

    All for what ? MB remained mired in 3rd place in lux car sales in the US, down from numero uno just a few years ago. Would the CLS push MB car sales higher ? GM's Cadillac is breathing down MB's neck for 3rd place, and may do it this year. I just don't get it with MB and umpteenth new models.

    See Lexus don't need no stinking gazillion trims to be #1 in less than 15 yrs. Lexus business model seems to be much better than MBs. Lexus will come up with a very refreshing redesign, add hybrid technology, improve safety features, and make electronics much better integrated. And retain their top selling position regardless of what MB, BMW, Audi/VW does.

    Unlike lenscap and ljflx, I dislike the CLS. It is unnecessary and a bloody waste of good money.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No, Lexus doesn't need "no stinking gazillion trims to be #1", all they need is 1 very popular car and one really popular SUV to get a number 1 sales title. Meanwhile the GS, IS and LX don't do squat for those impressive press releases about sales numbers. In fairness LS is the seller for its segment. However you should quit trying to mislead everyone into thinking that Lexus' sales might is based on an all-star lineup of high sellers because it isn't.

    The fact remains that Mercedes' sales are more spread out and they aren't as dependent on just few models for their sales numbers. The C, E, S, SL, and CLK all pull their weight. Lexus depends on the ES, RX and to a lesser extant the GX for all their sales glory. The IS, GS, LX don't do squat for the sales press releases.

    Are you ever going to understand the Mercedes' pricing may have just the slightest effect on them selling more cars than Lexus? Where is it written that sales = best cars? All this talk about sales sounds like GM type rhetoric to me. This isn't beneath the great Lexus?

    On these points all I can say is apply the correct quote.....from your post #4209.

    "Yada yada yada.... Really very boring stuff this.......Very boring indeed. Give it a rest will ya ?"

    About the CLS, whether or not you see the point or not is irrelevant, it will most likely be in hot demand as any newly introduced Benz has been in the last few years. The MB "business model" isn't as good a Lexus', but yet Lexus has expressed interest in offering more models to broaden their appeal. Hmmmmmm. Example: Lexus tries to cover the CLK and SL segment with one car, yet doesn't come close to comparing to the SL and is only competitive with the CLK. Wise marketing if you want to limit the appeal of the brand. Meanwhile Mercedes gets double the market presence (and sales since they're so important to you) in the convertible/GT segment. If Mercedes can't do anything else they know how to market their cars. They are a master of this.

    As far as seeing the point, I see no point for the IS300, as hardly anyone looking for performance is shopping Lexus, ditto the GS430. Witness their lack of sales. Yet a LS430 with a 4 second 0-60 time has a "point". Right. To you a Benz is a waste of money, period. Why would the CLS be any different?

    When Lexus comes up with a "refreshing" design, please let me know. All I see in their lineup right now is bland or ugly.

    M
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My comments regarding the 6-Series were made in fun. If and when the time comes for me to buy a car in that class, I will definitely be considering all options. Well, maybe not all of the options, to tell the truth, there is nothing that Lexus has produced in the last ten years that has left me anything other than cold.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    No escaping it. Style and looks sell. You think Julia Roberts is the best paid actress because she's a great Shakespearean actress?

    CLS's gonna be the biggest thing in the luxury market in years, outdistancing that whale lookalike 6 by miles. There's a gorgeous photo in autospies.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Doubt very much that either car will sell anything but small volumes of cars so it's probably a who cares thing anyway. It looks great in photos (way better than the 6) but likely is an impractical car for most buyers in the segment. MB is targeting a niche (they hardly want to cannibalizer their own sales) and that's it. With that said I do think MB is stretching itself too far with so many models and model variations. From a marketing an image perspective though it is what a class leader (in any business) thinks it has to do. But you can only fight a war on so many fronts before you wound yourself. It's also a costly approach to business and anybody who buys an ordinary E, S, M or C class car is partially paying for all those variations and niche cars. Same with BMW. I hate paying for something I don't get no matter how much I can afford.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > In fairness LS is the seller for its segment ..

    In the US. Not in Europe.

    > anybody who buys an ordinary E, S, M or C
    > class car is partially paying for all those
    > variations and niche cars. I hate paying for
    > something I don't get no matter how much I can
    > afford.

    You feel better when the company you buy from makes $8B in *profits*? I actually prefer to see more money going into R&D, and it could be argued the Merc model is more customer-oriented, doing everything possible to give people *exactly* the car they want. But at the end of the day as long as companies don't use the money unethically the only thing that should mater to us is whether we're happy or not with the product we got and the transaction in general.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    They're in business to make money so it doesn't bother me at all. We all use Microsoft and it makes more money than anyone plus its' products have helped my personal business immensely. Actually it can be argued that the more successful a company is the better its future products will be. Toyota pours tons of cash into R&D and at the same time gives you the biggest bang for your buck and a world class car with the LS. It also put a lot of investment money into efficient production techniques which resulted in keeping their prices low and forcing the competition to remain low. The automotive industry is far too competitive on a global scale for any company to get overly greedy.

    But ultimately you are correct - all that matters is customer satisfaction.
  • It seems that you are saying that LS430 is so good that it outsells all those billions of Mercedes models all by itself.

    Hmmmmmmmmm....
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > They're in business to make money so it
    > doesn't bother me at all

    Absolutely, but so is MB. All I am saying is that the $8B in profits could also be construed by someone as an argument to show they overcharge their customers and don't pass on the efficiency and productivity gain they achieve with their customers' money back. Which incidentally would also lead me to counter that ultimately it doesn't matter.

    Be it a Benz or a Lexus, we buy them for perceived value, and not for actual production cost considerations. Thus, whether they stuff profits under their mattresses -the Lexus model-, or whether they chose to invest into a slew of new product lines -the MB model- does not really matter.
  • Mercedes lags behind Lexus in the all important North American market is because of the black circles CR gives them in Reliability Surverys. Nobody wants to spend 80G's on a piece of crap.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Last time I checked, we were supposed to be having fun here. That said, with comments like:

    "CLS's gonna be the biggest thing in the luxury market in years, outdistancing that whale lookalike 6 by miles."

    and:

    "Nobody wants to spend 80G's on a piece of crap."

    It seems that this topic has gotten entirely too personal. As such, it's time to go have some fun elsewhere. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Mariner, if my dog looked like Juila Roberts I'd shave its butt and make it walk backwards.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    I don't know what you mean, but laugh anyway.

    motown, I'm pretty sure MB sells more 80+ cars than everybody, combined. So there must be a lot of wealthy junk-loving people out there.
  • Only goes to show money doesn't equate to intelligence; aka; Paris Hilton
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "Thus, whether they stuff profits under their mattresses -the Lexus model-, or whether they chose to invest into a slew of new product lines -the MB model- does not really matter"

    Ljflx's point on MB spreading itself too thin is quite important here. Let us assume that you are correct that MB is *investing* their R&D money in a slew of new products, how come they cannot invest more into quality and more reliable vehicle ? Do you see that they are doing this *investing* to improve their image or to improve their bottom line ? Methinks their image is suffering big time right now, with all those black circles from CR, and ditto their bottomline. Now contrast that with Lexus, they spend money on R&D (how else would they put together such world-class cars like the LS, GX, LX, etc ?) It takes spending money to make money, but gotta be spent in the right place ! So Lexus spends its money *wisely*, improving and refining quality output, new technologies, new designs, and setting standards in customer service, while MB spends its money (some would say, unwisely) churning out kadzillion models, with poor customer service. Maybe MB thinks that they can blindfold the buying public's eye against their lack-luster reliability records. The more MB cars become less reliable, the more new models they churn out. That, IMO, is their business model. Only time will tell if this approach will work in the long run. Guess we'll see, won't we ?
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
      Ah yes, the typical MB argument. Any Industrial Organization class will tell you that the consumer prefers variety. MB offers a car for practically anyone. It's good marketing on their part. If they can attract an owner at the C class Entry point and give them a good experience, the owner will likely move up the MB chain as income increases. All these predictions of doom for MB are grossly overstated. Every car company has it's bad times.

    I have to agree with Merc on his comments about the Blandness of the Lexus line. They came out in 1990 with excellent and cutting edge cars. (LS, ES, SC) Today, they don't offer anything especially appealing. The IS has little or no fit, the GS is lackluster, and the LS430 has become the More reliable knockoff of the S Class. Don't even get me started on the ES or SC.

    People will pay a premium for exclusiveness and "perceived prestige." The Lexus maybe better in areas of reliablity, service, etc, but MB still has originality and prestige on their side.

    Until Lexus gets a grip on producing original designs, they're always going to be knocked in this department.

    I've seen the pictures of the CLS, interesting concept, but I didn't think it was anything special in looks. Just pure subjective opinion here. To be honest, the only car I liked was the old XJ8. Say what you want about Jaguar, but their designs provoked a real response from people. (except for the X-Type..Yeck!)

    SV
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Exactly what I think. MB's on the offensive to cover a weak defense right now. So the new model variations and poweful engines are really a way of supporting a weakening brand name. Remember you still hear MB execs who are in denial about the quality decline. I read one comment last week from one of their top guys who said their cars are as good as ever. Even MB's most loyal fans know better than that. I just watched the HBO show about the US upset of the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics. Comments like that remind me of the Soviet feeling that no one could stay close to them in a game let alone beat them in the 1980 Olympics.

    As for all that variety - I honestly can't keep track of all their cars. It's a bit like having 300 satellite stations. I have Dish Network and they added some new stations a while back and I just realized it today.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "Until Lexus gets a grip on producing original designs, they're always going to be knocked in this department."

    IMHO, "originality" is not the problem...only the LS lacks originality. IMHO they could use more "appealing" exterior styling.

    Still, it is pretty impressive that they've had such success as a company despite the bland styling, less-diverse product line, and relative lack of prestige.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Something caught my eye in Merc1's recent post

    "However you should quit trying to mislead everyone into thinking that Lexus' sales might is based on an all-star lineup of high sellers because it isn't."

    No all star line-ups, you say ? Let's see:

    ES330 beats C-Class COMBINED in sales
    LS430 beats S-class in sales
    RX330 beats M-class in sales
    GX470 beats.... oopss there is no MB competition
    LX470 beats.... oopss there is no MB competition (G55 is worth a honorable mention)

    The largest MB sales comes from the pedestrian C-class. The C230/240/280/320 clones.... Without the bottom dregs, where would MB be today ? So where exactly does MB have a lead against Lexus. Only in the E_vs_GS. And the long-tooth of the GS is not helping, not bcos the GS430 is not competitive. Au contraire ! The E320/500 are good-looking designs, I agree, hopefully the new 2006 GS will help, especially if it comes with the rumored hybrid engine and AWD. Just imagine what a GS430H with 400+bhp can do against the E500 ? No contest, IMO.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    To my eye, lexus has been getting too much chrome on the front of the car.

    On the other hand the body lines of the car are traditional.. I think it is a loss for us all that bmw made such a radical departure..I personally like bmw and feel that we` the buyers or leasors` of this type of car are better off with bmw strongly in the game. Lexus has done a great job with Mercedes and Mercedes has had to re evaluate to compete. Maybe in years to come bmw will turn out to be right, but right now I am afraid they have stumbled..Why carry the change over to the five series?? Tony ps I own Ls , but would have liked to have had the option the next go around, to have considerd bmw.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I'd just like to point out that it's not like I am a fan of MB's strategy. While it's true that offering lots of variations for everyone is a marketing strategy 101, it is a strategy that typically doesn't work well with luxury goods. Luxury goods suffer from overexposure. Luxury buyers don't like to see their brand name of choice pitched as aggressively as 7up. I do think MB has been diluting their brand name for a while, and that it is a miracle the image of exclusivity still sticks - perhaps they are doing something extremely smart in managing it, but most likely they got lucky because public perception in matters of cars seems to have a lot of inertia. Don't get me wrong, I think the aggressive claims about lack of quality are somewhat over-stated, and in part stem from comparison with the old expectation that a Merc is built like the proverbial vault, which clearly is no longer the case. MB started building cars to a cost point, and no longer to a standard - oddly enough, it seems Lexus has actually picked up the fastidious habit of overengineering for reliability and a somewhat stodgy an boring image. Which incidentally is the image that MB had in Germany in the late 70s to early 90s: it was the bourgeois choice, and hip young professionals did the Beemer and Audi thing, while their parents bought Mercedes. Truly, it is a fact that's the history in Germany. This is a very different Mercedes from the company that established the brand name. But it's also a different BMW, so we'll see how it pans out.

    I just find it interesting that many of the arguments I hear used against Lexus in here are arguments that made the round in Germany by BMW and Audi owners to attack Mercedes about 2 product generations ago.

    And - those who know my posting history know I am no irrational Lexus fan. Their designs are indeed stodgy and boring to my eye. And yet their value proposition is exactly what Mercedes stood for originally to a certain degree, and I think it admirable that they seem to swim against the stream and make cars known to basically have the potential to outlive their owners (which was the claim that made Rolls Royce great initially in turn - cars that could be inherited from genration to generation, a wise albeit initially stiff investment).
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    I feel like I'm at an automobile anonymous meeting. So with that said I would like to say " I like the way the Bangled 745i looks, I like the way it drives and I even like idrive( at least the '04 version)!" Fine there I said it.. Has anyone considered the possibility that people have different tastes and tolerances for new technology. Most of the posts read like like authoratative reviews yet I suspect few posters on this thread are anything more than well studied but opinionated consumers. I have in the last 6 months driven many luxury sedans including the LS430, A8L, 745i, 745iL, RS6, E55, S500, S55, XJ-8, XJR... I am overwhelmingly convinced that most automotive reviews are biased either by preconceived notions of the reviewers or financial interests of advertising clientele. The 745i has gotten a bad rap making it one of the best luxury vehicles to buy or lease right now IMO( which since I am a consumer you can take with a grain of salt). I can give anecdotes of people trading in their MB's and LS430's and loving the new BMW just like anyone else can post the opposite. Each car brand and model have their strengths and weaknesses. But the fact that so many are trashing the 745i is great. As a result I've gotten the best buying experience ever in dealing with the 745i. Way better than I have been treated in Lexus or MB dealerships, past or present.
    IMO the LS 430 is utterly and completely boring no matter how reliably it performs. MB is simple not worth the premium it demands and its numerous buttons are no easier or more reasonable than idrive. And as long as I'm on the subject of idrive, it can be mastered in a short period of time. It really can, unless taking a few hours with your new vehicle is out of the question. You don't need to be a computer programmer or German. There are actually a lot of people out there that like idrive. They're just not posting on this board or complaining.
    So I don't mind the Lexus lovefest...I'm happy you all are so pleased. You can even continue the MB vs. Lexus banter. Just keep some objectivity,flexibility, and I dare say humility when it comes to real change and innovation even if in your honest opinions it's seems to be in the wrong direction.
  • ksury said: "And as long as I'm on the subject of idrive, it can be mastered in a short period of time. It really can, unless taking a few hours with your new vehicle is out of the question."

    For most people, it is out of the question. I owned an previous-generation 740i at the same time as an engineer friend of mine owned his, and I pointed out to him that because he didn't bother to study the manual, he was never aware of half of what his car could do: the details of its trip computer, sound system, climate control, and so on.

    He happily admitted I was right. If he didn't know about it, a feature wasn't important to him. He just liked the way the car drove.

    iDrive does not afford today's 7-series owner the luxury of mental laziness. If you don't do your homework, you're not going to enjoy this car. Period.

    BMW is painfully finding out what today's high school teachers already know: Western society is dumbed down almost beyond recognition. At a time when half of American university freshmen require remedial English because they are unable to comprehend first-year texts, iDrive and related technology is "too much like work" to bother absorbing.

    All of which is bad news for those of us who are willing to read the docs and reap the benefits of advanced technology.

    What irritates me most about the iDrive fiasco is how the automotive press, who should know better, collectively dumped on it.

    Did they not realize most iDrive settings are made during a single dedicated setup session, so the car is "programmed" to the owner's most detailed specifications? Apparently not. They gave the impression the driver is supposed to fiddle with the iDrive system's multiple levels while actually driving.

    Thus misunderstood, BMW's revolutionary user interface probably didn't stand a chance. More's the pity for the rest of us, because any incentive for the manufacturers to experiment with advanced interfaces has just been killed.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Just my opinion, but I think brand dilution comes more from reaching for lower, more 'mass market' price points than from proliferating versions. If all the variations are at high price points I don't think it hurts the brand, at least not much.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I liked your post. You are right, some here can be too dogmatic or arrogantly authoritative at times, and sometimes without much in the way of actual experience to back up their views.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "BMW is painfully finding out what today's high school teachers already know: Western society is dumbed down almost beyond recognition."

    Maybe that is why I like the 7-series. I love and embrace technology. If I had the money there would be a 760il alongside of my 745il. No questions asked. Boom. Forget Lexus, forget MB.

    In the world's race to be the leader America is in a precarious situation. It develops some of the best tech stuff in the world, yet the population is unable to use it. In the long run, we won't be able to develop the hi-tech stuff if the population doesn't use or understand it.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    >> Has anyone considered the possibility that people have different tastes and tolerances ... Just keep some objectivity,flexibility, and I dare say humility when it comes to real change and innovation even if in your honest opinions it's seems to be in the wrong direction.

    Excellent points that should be the slogan for this particular discussion. There is no need for the "turf wars" to take over this discussion. They are plentiful enough elsewhere.

    To me, the nature of this particular discussion should be that we all recognize that all these cars have their positives and their negatives. And it's all GOOD. We're here to have some honest and genuinely thoughtful exchanges about what the manufacturers do well and what things they should rethink.

    This isn't the place to take personal offense when someone expresses an opinion that differs with yours.

    Respect each other and respect the cars - we'll have a much more productive discussion that way.

    :-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Excellent post. But it really is simple people reaction to technology when you think about it. When you sit behind the wheel of the car most people are ready to drive, not fiddle with computer technology, which should be passive and in the background. The moment computer technology enters the drivers seat as anything more than passive, a mistake has been made - imo. Even the nav system is annoying - to put in an address - but at least it occurs before you drive and it then remembers your locations for future use. When you sit on the sofa you are ready to be entertained - by a book, a TV show or your stereo. When you sit at a computer your ready to be active and technology challenged if the case presents itself.

    Driving is a responsibility so the more you focus on the road the safer it is for everyone. Cell phones are bad enough but fiddling with i-drive to do something to your radio when your cell phone rings would probably drive some people crazy and take their focus off the road and the number 1 responsibility they have while driving.

    Ksurg - alos excellent post and as Pat says - different strokes for different folks. Its why I am as far away from a 7-series as you are from an LS430.
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