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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    If you are ever in the market for a Benz - David Michael are good people to deal with. I've never seen a Lexus and MB dealership side by side and BMW is right across the street in King Cadillac/BMW. But I'll shop down in Ocean and service on Rt 9. Catena is a fabulous dealership - whether you are shopping MB, Lexus or Jaguar.

    I wish they will build that HPX. I saw the MB version in Automobile and it is disappointing. It's concept also seemed to look much nicer than the final version - maybe too much platform sharing has hurt the concept design.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No, my point was that you said that people are waiting for LS' and yet when the same was said about a BMW or MB you didn't believe it. The E500 was indeed scarce when it first arrived, and your local paper doesn't prove anything different. I don't know why you think that just because a dealer has a certain car in stock it means that nobody else is waiting for one to come in, i.e. they may not want the one in stock.

    You're right about them testing the waters, but you're also forgetting that right now our diesel fuel is very dirty to put it simply and all the Euro makers are waiting for 2006 when low-sulfur diesel will be required by law. .

    lenscap,

    I'm in disbelief myself that you can look at the LF-S and the new GS and see the same roofline and rear end treatment, as they are totally different. You don't see how thick and ungainly the rear of the new GS is compared to the LF-S? My gawd you'll believe anything Lexus says or does. Even the people on the GS board don't see what you see. The fact is that if you look back at most European carmaker's concepts the production cars that follow are much closer to that concept than the GS is the LF-S. Even American carmakers get this. What is the point of showing a concept that has a roofline that isn't feasible for production and getting everyone's hopes up? Doesn't make sense. I think we will have to agree to disagree because either way the new GS is not a looker, imo.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Should have known that JDP is behind the hysteria/hype about European car sales dropping. A whopping 6.9 percent drop in the first 3 months of the year really does spell the end. They'll be leaving the U.S. market in a year's time. Mercedes will probably have to exit before the end of 2004 because of the staggering 5 percent drop they've had so far this year. BMW being down 2.3 percent this year is also their death knell.

    Yet the article doesn't mention that VW's entire lineup is old as all get out and that MB doesn't have a new product this year as at least possible reasons for sales dropping from last year, of which for MB was a record (best ever) year in the U.S.

    This type of one-fact hype is typical of JDP because they think that reliability is the sole factor in car buying. Forget the average price of a "domestic" car compared to these high-end European cars that don't have a trunk full of rebate cash. Let us ignore every other possible factor (for sales dropping) because we want to get the public and carmakers ready for our big reliability study that comes out next month. We need for the sales numbers to prove that reliaibility is king so the automakers will buy our results.

    M
  • profvhprofvh Posts: 31
    Merc1 is exactly right in his comments about the
    article on falling European sales. Powers is all
    about reliability studies and their comments
    reflect their own self interest. Also not mentioned is that European products are facing a
    badly slumping US dollar which is forcing them to
    raise prices or at least does not give them the
    pricing leeway that the Japanese have. MB has
    raised the price on the C Class about $950 since
    the US dollar has been dropping. The Bank of
    Japan has spent BILLIONS in the currency markets
    to keep the yen value from changing much so they
    can sell/discount their cars. The European
    central bank has not interfered in the currency
    markets or changed their interest rates to help
    their companies better compete. Also, Japan has
    changed their product mix to strongly favor SUV's
    not sedans. Europeans still strongly favor sedans
    in their product mix. What have Americans been
    buying regardless of country of origin?

    This simplistic article was written by an unsoph-
    icated writer who should know better.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Is CR hype? Are owner testimonials hype? The Japanese made their bones with reliability and bang for buck. Americans suffered for a long time due to lack of it. They still suffer. Don't get stuck in THAT whirlpool. Reliability as buying factor isn't going away any time soon, and it only becomes magnified with rising prices. I wonder if questionable styling and frivolous technology is also hype.

    No one is immune from market conditions, the consequences of their own marketing decisions, and consumer perception/preferences. European cars are in somewhat of a pillory now, both in fact and mind. Euro fans had better live with it because it is going to get worse before it improves, if it improves, and there is no guarantee this will happen.

    Personally, I think those numbers that you make little of are going to get worse. In BMWs case they come on the heels of new products and redesigns. Is that 2.3% Group sales? I heard BMW Brand sales are down 8% YTD. Blame the Euro if you want but history has proven that the human love affair with the car rises above expense. People will spend. How they spend is another story.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Actually Merc and Profvh the article was published by the Detroit News, in one of their Autoinsider columns on Monday. I think their staff is very professional. They appear to get their information from a number of industry sources besides JDP.

    Edmunds was quoted in a another Detnews article today, pointing out that luxury car sales are surging, despite incentives on 'mass market' cars. Markets getting bigger and European makers are losing share for lots of reasons besides their poorer than expected quality and well-known reliability issues. Price is definitely another. They cost too much for what they deliver vs. the competition.

    Profvh, 95% of Toyota's vehicles sold in the U.S. are made in North America, including the Lexus RX330 SUV. So the yen isn't a very big issue. They already had significant price advantage in the luxury segment over the competition's less efficient manufacturing operations in Europe whether they build here or Japan.

    Plus, most global corporations use very sophisticated currency hedging to amerliorate fluctuations in the dollar-yen-euro ratios. There's nothing new in what the Japanese Central bank, the Fed and EUBank are doing to justify the European car company woes.

    If you look at the long term trend data the U.S. has been shifting from cars to trucks and SUVs for a long, long time. Sales of cars on an annual basis is now about 500,000 units lower than the fall of 1998, while the sale of light trucks and SUVs is about 1.3 million units higher.

    The growth segments in the U.S. are sporty cars, light trucks/SUVs and luxury cars. The sporty car segment is tiny compared to the other two and has little market impact anymore.

    So if you were a global car/truck company, where might you be spending your money to grow and prosper? 500 hp tire toasting, two passenger, ego boxes with flakey electronics and free service because it constantly needs it? Nope, not in this country.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Who published the article is irrelevant to me, it is JDP's harping about sales falling because of what they've found in their reliability surveys is what I find to be utter bs. A 6.9 percent sales drop isn't what I'd call "hitting the skids" but I'd sure trump it up as that if I want to tie that sales decline to my upcoming reliability survey results that are due either at the end of this month or early next month. I'd also ignore any other possibilities as to why certain carmakers sales might be down. There could be different reasons for each brand's decline, that would been seen if anyone at JDP had a clue about other things besides reliability. There are other factors in sales declines at various carmakers.

    All of a sudden mass markets expanding is the end of the over-priced European car, yet these brands (VW, BMW, MB, Audi, Jaguar) have been seen as overpriced by people who don't like them for years, yet the American public has decided this unanimously in the first three months of this year. That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while. A 500hp car with a price tag to match is going to make a difference on what sales chart? Right.

    The bottom line is that this article is more of the same hype that has been accepted as gospel on this board, and I'm not saying that reliability isn't hurting the European car brands. I'm saying that reliability isn't the sole factor, especially with VW which has made and sold lots of unreliable, over priced cars for years. JDP who supplied this information isn't looking at the whole picture because the whole picture is irrelevant to their organization.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    There was a big story in the NY Times (and WSJ as well I'm sure) about the hedging positions against the Euro's strength all these guys had. VW was only hedged to the tune of 70% (everyone else was in 90-100% range with MB and BMW quite safe from the strength of the Euro) and as a result was getting hammered. But it was a double whammy for them - sinking sales volume and sinking profit per car because they couldn't raise prices given the competitive positions of the automobile market. VW is all over the quality issue and is smart enough to realize that it is the main reason for its slumping sales. I read a story yesterday about how they have a whole team assigned to fixing every quality issue that arises in a certain time period. They are horrified by the reports of their quality problems and understand the dangers to the company a lot better than those on this board. The trouble is that team has been on it for a while (though its size was recently increased dramatically) and they can't seem to fix the problem - and that is scary.

    In the late 70's the Yen was around 300-1; today it is 115-120 (and got as low as 95 at one point). Think of the fact that Japanese car sales kept increasing (in some cases dramatically) through all that yen strengthening.

    Kid yourself all you want on the quality issue but it is very serious and as designman says it's worsening.

    I read another story yesterday - perhaps it was the same one (Newsweek or Time maybe) - of how Acura and Infiniti were well positioned to hurt BMW and that the TL was already doing a lot of damage. Even Automobile said the redesigned 3 series - given it's BMW's s volume seller - could put the company in trouble if it is not accepted well.

    merc1 - still don't know where I said anyone was waiting for an LS. I said I was afraid of waiting for the color combos I wanted so maybe you are citing that. But let's just let it rest.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    You are basically making excuses for the European brands and imho the excuses don't really hold water.

    1. dollar/yen/euro. The fact is that despite JCB intervention, the yen has appreciated more in the last 12 months vs the dollar than has the euro. It is about 14% for the yen vs $ YTY, and 12.5% for the euro/$. And until very recently (the 2004 RX330), Lexus had zero North American production, whereas MB (and I believe BMW but correct me if I'm wrong) have had some US production for years.

    2. While the SUV trend in the U.S. has indeed hurt the European brands, why don't you see it as those brands' fault that they don't have more competitive SUV lineups? Using SUVs as an excuse would be like me saying, "Well, if Lexus had better styling, their sales lead vs BMW and MB would be even wider." Fact is, the styling is not better, and Lexus has no one to blame but itself.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I agree with Merc1 on the general point that 3 months is only 3 months, and that reliability is only one factor that can impact sales trends.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    At least somebody does see that there could be more to a 6.9 percent drop in sales for a whole 3 months!

    Let me be clear about this..I most certainly do see reliability and quality perceptions via the surveys to be a problem. The problem here is that most on this board don't keep up with VW to even know anything else about them except for what that article says. VW has been at the bottom of the reliability surveys for years, yet after all those years at being on the bottom they've decided to do something about it in 2004. This is implying that VW has the sense to do something about their problems (after god knows how many years at the bottom of the surveys), but a company like Mercedes isn't doing anything and don't even think they have a problem. VW's older lineup of cars and lack of incentives (until now) couldn't possibly be part of the problem could it (along with the other two issues reliability and the Euro).

    Wow, Acura comes out with a hot car and all of a sudden it is doing untold (try unsubstantiated) "damage" to BMW. What hype. It is called competition not the end of a company. Now Time and Newsweek are automotive sources. I would think it is common sense to know that if a car company's volume seller doesn't do well it could mean trouble, but for some reason this takes on a much greater importance when speaking about BMW.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Why do you exaggerate things. I say something that is stated in a business article of a highly respected magazine and you push it to the point of the company going into bankruptcy. All I said is that they are positioned to hurt BMW and the TL is doing damage already. That spells bankruptcy or going out of business to you? I stated the Automobile point about the 3 series and simply said "in trouble". You have said yourself in the past (when the 7 redesign came out) that they would be in big time trouble if the 3 series and 5 series re-designs look the same and don't cut it. What's the big deal of me pointing out Automobile saying it? There are companies in trouble all over the world. It doesn't mean they are going out of business.

    As for Time and Newsweek - they are not auto experts at all but they understand business and business trends far better than any auto magazine.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The way I see it, BMW and MB are going to have to check their prices at some point.

    Entry-level luxury performance sedans:

    Only a couple years ago, the 3 was basically in a class by itself. The C has also sold very well. Now, the G35 and the TL are taking away some sales, and Lexus supposedly has serious intentions with the next IS.

    Luxury performance sedans:

    So far, the 5 and the E have dominated their segment. But the new RL, GS, and M will undoubtedly make a dent. The 5 and the E will still lead the segment in sales, but no doubt a dent will be made.

    Ultra luxury sedans:

    The only Japanese challenger here is the LS. But just that one challenger can make things difficult for the 7 and the S, as evidenced by the segment-leading sales performance of the LS.

    Luxury SUV's:

    The Japanese already lead here.

    Luxury coupes and convertibles:

    MB and BMW hold a firm lead here, with the exception of the success of the G35 coupe.

    Currently, the premium for a similarly equipped MB or BMW over a Japanese vehicle is about 15% to 20%. IMO, that will have to change, whether by rising Japanese prices or stagnating MB/BMW prices.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "The way I see it, BMW and MB are going to have to check their prices at some point."

    I think they already have if only in the form of discounting. I paid $8k under MSRP for my 03 530. $14.5k under MSRP for my leftover 02 Boxster S. Not even a year ago THIS WAS UNHEARD OF with both BMW and Porsche. You were lucky to get $500 off either brand as a token gesture from the dealers.

    Porsche swears they will cut production and not do this again. We'll see. New model year BMWs were discounted right off the bat back in October and the discounts are getting better as the year wears on. I think we could see big price cuts over the summer with BMW... in the ilk of last year's $3.5-$4.5k hidden dealer incentive on top of the standard discounting.
  • profvhprofvh Posts: 31
    Based on some of the recent chatter on this website we can conclude that publicity on reliability studies are the prime drivers on car
    sales, both up and down. If that is so, the Germans/European (which must be making junk vehicles) are losing market share the past several
    months. Maybe they are getting their "just desserts" for not helping the US look for weapons of mass destruction.

    If bad publicity is true, we can expect the push-
    rod engined Buick Century to be rocketing upward in sales. CU, as I recall, said the Buick ranks
    higher in reliability than the Toyota Camry. After all, their 3.8 litre engine is basically the same engine introduced around 1962 as I recall. Made of such long tested parts, the
    uncomplicated Buick should be a best seller.

    While working in my office today I heard on the TV news that Honda-Acura is recalling 600,000
    SUVs and Minivans as their transmissions may fail. Based on this bad publicity we can expect
    Honda sales to drop and these customers to move
    to Buick and Toyota.

    As a long-term Asian car owner, I have owned 5
    Honda Accords. Their reliability ranked from good to mediocre. My last Accord was towed in
    with a blown head gasket. It was replaced in 2002 with a new VW Passat. I have been driving
    it for 28 months with only one repair, a burned out headlight. It has 26,500 miles on it. It
    is as tight as new and is as enjoyable to drive
    as ever.

    The German haters out there will no doubt warn me that the Passat will fall apart within a short
    time. Apparently CU does not agree as it is well
    rated as a "tie" with the newer generation Accord.
    Until my car disintegrates I am really interested
    in only one survey: mine. I like the Passat alot.
  • There is an exception to every rule....

    I congradulate you on your good luck.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    For the record:

    CR - on the Century - says it feels like a vintage 1970's car, the engine lacks refinement, bumpy roads easily upset its composure but at least it has a spacious trunk, a roomy interior and has above average reliability. It does NOT recommend the car and shows survey results as poor (all black circle) in satisfaction and high depreciation. great endorsement - huh!

    CR - on the Camry - says its a top rated family car with the Accord and Passat. The 4 liter engine is outstanding. The V6 is smooth quiet and responsive. I could go on but I'll limit it to the fact that the car is recommended, reliability is as high as you can go (full red circle - just about every Toyota is like that) and satisfaction is above average (half red circle).

    sales figures - I don't think anyone is saying sales will fall off dramatically. But I do think people are saying the trend is that reliability is more important now than a year ago and will be more important a year from now than it is today. Thus if you continue to lag in reliability than your sales will continue to lag. As for 3 months of sales pointing to anything - the answer to that is simple - a quarter does not a year make. You need a lot more data than three months to see if something is building. The more important figure would be if it trailed budgets. Sometimes one budgets sales down for a variety of reasons including production related factory changes which could very well be the case with Mercedes. But if the budget were for an increase and an unexpected decrease started to occur than there are a bunch of executives who will take action and probably are not sleeping well right now. For all we know sales will bounce up in Q2 and this will simply be one of those classic "timing" issues.

    Time will tell.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    But more importantly, time is the enemy here ! People like Merc1 who doesn't own a luxury car or a truly sporty car can make statements which shows poor judgement and assessment of today's reality. Go on Merc1, I hope MB is NOT listening to you....

    The truth of the matter is that troubles often start small.... Little by little it creeps up on you, and before you know it, wham bam.... you are standing in the middle of an empty building, and wondering what happened. Granted it is not doomsday for the Euro cars, BUT, it will be foolhardy to ignore the obvious trends. Barely 5 years ago, MB was the undisputed sales leader in lux car sales in the US. Today, it is Japan's Lexus brand. Why ? MB is not just out of first place, it is dangerously close to becoming 4th behind Cadillac. What trend is this ?

    BMW releases much anticipated new redos of its flagship 7-series. Tank job ! They make unprecendent move to redo a redo within 2 years of release. Not much change in its fortunes. Spell trouble to BMW ? Not to Merc1's thinking. And then came the new 5-series. Tank job x2. Buyers were scrambling for the 2003 5-series rather than the new 2004 design. For the savvy buyers (like designman), buying the '03 before the '04 came out turned out to be a great move. Today, you see BMW's sales declining and someone is suggesting it's no big deal. How many upper-class auto companies come out with redos only to lose sales ??? Typical trend is the opposite. Recall how much the 4th-gen 2001 LS sales was compared to the 2000 year ? It flat out was a huge sale success.... Even the slight tinker in the 2004 has been an unquestionable sale success. Germany will need to learn a lot from Japan, especially the recent successes of Infiniti and Acura, with Lexus threatening to run away with the lux car division if unchalleneged.

    As we march into the future, Japan's Lexus will once again prove to Germany that if you can't accuratel predict future car trends, there is no other direction to go but down. Watch Lexus' lead in hybrid technology, and incorporation into all of their top end cars within the next 3 years. MB and to a lesser extent BMW still doesn't get it. They are planning for diesel ! Yeah, right. Guess we'll see whose plan works out best.

    Time will certainly tell..... and time is a real enemy for inertia.
  • steven2steven2 Posts: 37
    You can go into statistics and numbers, what you think will happen, blah blah blah. But the fact is, BMW and Mercedes cannot and will not fail. Believe it or not, they actually have a reputation as terrific cars. The C-Class is not a great car, everyone buys it though. People want BMW's and Mercedes' and will keep wanting them if they can afford them. Prices may be high, but coming off of a record year, I'd think MB knows what they're doing, and I'd count on the same for BMW. People in their right minds would never choose an Acura RL over an E-Class or a 5-Series. BMW and Mercedes have been successful forver. People want to own them more than they want to drive Infinitis or Acuras, whatever the desparities may be in dealerships, reliability, quality, etc. Mercedes and BMW will be top sellers for the next 10 years at least, they are smart enough to fix what they have broken. Usually, they won't slip up to start, though.

    Somehow, Buick came into this discussion. The day Buick Century's (the "reliable" ones) outsell Bimmers or Benzs is the day i die.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Sorry, but Newsweek and Time mean nothing to me automotive, business or otherwise. There are others like Automotive News or Wards that I'd rather get the business (more accurate) information from. It is so easy to make claims like Acura and Infiniti are "damaging" BMW without backing it up with anything factual when you're a NON automotive magazine. What did they base this statement on?

    There is a little thing called competition which is what BMW has in the 3-Series area, more than every before. However when you speak of damaging a company Acura and Infiniti will need to do more than compete they'll need to dominate BMW at every turn and not just here, but worldwide. Infiniti isn't even a spec in Europe or anywhere else outside of the U.S. and Japan. Acura will never be a threat to BMW on the worldwide scene with just 3 cars all in the lower and one in the middle segment (that has been a flop since 1996, the RL).

    oac,

    So much incorrect information, I don't know where to start. After the usual: "I don't own a luxury car so therefore I'm not allowed to comment on anything", you go way left on the facts. Why oh why do we get so caught up on sales numbers and when they dip for MB and BMW there is a crisis, but for everyone else when they have a sales dip it is nothing major? Your posts sound just like that rather (way off-base) article which ignores any and all other factors behind sales trends. Will you ever get it that with a lineup that costs what MB's does they aren't even supposed to sell as many cars as they do? Nope because that would be too much like right (thinking beyond the hype). Tell me who has more cars that base for 50K or more than MB and sells as many above that price point? Yet because Lexus has an fwd car, a crossover thingy and a SUV that sell well they're all that, let us ignore the sales duds in their lineup.

    "BMW releases much anticipated new redos of its flagship 7-series. Tank job ! They make unprecedented move to redo a redo within 2 years of release. Not much change in its fortunes. Spell trouble to BMW ? Not to Merc1's thinking. And then came the new 5-series. Tank job x2. Buyers were scrambling for the 2003 5-series rather than the new 2004 design."

    Sales numbers please. Otherwise this is hot air. The 5-Series is a tank job? Says who? Facts please. If the 5 and 7-Series are tank jobs then the GS and IS are also. Guess what Lexus is way down this year also, the SC430. Is that a tank job too? Of course not. I'll await the article that shows where BMW is in trouble. Link please. Please tell me what re-do of the 7-Series happened after just 2 years after the car was released in 2002. Funny thing, I drove the 745i back in 2002 and then again a 2004 760Li model last fall, wow I must have missed the changes. Because their haven't been any, yet. The only change was with idrive. No engine or body (the 2nd most criticized aspect of the car) changes have happened yet. The actual face-lift that you incorrectly speak of will likely happen with the 2005 model.

    " How many upper-class auto companies come out with redos only to lose sales ???".

    Yeah how many? If you're talking about the 5 and 7-Series BMWs please provide the facts (you know like sales numbers that show where the new cars sold less than the previous generation from the start). Otherwise this is more hot air.

    This board lives for unsubstantiated hype when it comes to German cars, yet we pretend everything is all smiles and sales galore for every Japanese luxury car on the road, yet some of them can't be given away. You know the ones from that threatening brand Infiniti, with 2 big fat high-priced duds at the top of their lineup. Lexus sells every GS430 (69 of them last month) and IS300 they can ship over. Right. It seems like to me the RL, M45, Q45 and GS are the "tank jobs" since we're judging this based on sales numbers. The cars I just mentioned never sold worth a darn from day one of their introduction, except for the GS but even that one died a quick death in the market place, yet nobody said that they were tank jobs. The Double Standard meets the hype.
     
    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    After really looking at the sales numbers for BMW and Mercedes-Benz for the first three months you really have to ask what in the world is all the hype based on.

    Mercedes-Benz is down 5 percent for the first three months. For 2004 they don't have an all-new car to continue the fast pace of 2003, you know the year the S-Class was face lifted, the new CLK Cabriolet went on sale. Most important of all a new E-Class was introduced, which is very big deal at Mercedes-Benz. For 2004 there are no new models in which to stimulate that kind of sales growth again, yet sales dropping 5 percent is totally because of what JDP says about reliability. Right. All of a sudden in just three months the public has decided that reliability is a bigger problem than it already was. Ok. The C-Class is going through a model changeover; you know how production slows down in anticipation for the 2005 model that goes on sale in May. The E-Class has done the impossible and actually posted an ever so slight YTD gain from last year's hot introduction. The CLK, SL and even the ice cream truck G-Class are up YTD so far compared to last year.

    Of course the older models in the lineup are going to slow down, this happens with every car maker, Lexus included. Please see the SC430, GS430, GS300 and IS300 YTD totals compared to last year if you don't believe this. All are down YTD from last year.

    BMW is down an even more dangerous 2.3 percent YTD compared with last year. The 5-Series (the tank job) is up YTD over the 2003 car that everyone was "scrambling" to get. So much for that theory, at least for this point in the year. The other tank job 7-Series is off by 707 cars YTD from last year. Yep this model is finished. Wanna bet when the actual facelift does happen sales won't increase? Right.

    There is an article at the carconncetion.com on VW titled "VW Plays The Incentive Game" that explains their situation a little more throughly compared to that JDP let us tout our upcoming surveys article.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Not saying that reliablity and the survey results are hype, just that article trying to say that reliability is the sole factor in certain brand's sales decline. The reliability problem is real for MB, Audi, BMW, VW, Jaguar and whoever else has one.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Oac… that E39 scrambling last year was fun. Everyone was checking in with their deals, looking for advice, giving advice. Also, with all the opinions on the Bangle designs, the BMW threads were lit up with great posts. They are slow these days.

    Merc1… I understand your point and agree that everyone turns up the hype volume on their agenda... corporate nature, human nature. Obviously, reliability is not the only factor that influences buying. I point to the fact that BMW's less-than-favorable sales come at a time when they are enjoying a stellar reliability ranking. I have to believe if the new models were knockouts, buyers would be stepping on each other to get to them. Personally, reliability has always been high among my priorities. I have always been torn between this and pure passion. My conservative side usually wins.

    BTW, with regard to the outgoing RL. I know it is a sales nightmare, but it's one helluva bargain. It's a good reliable family/client limo. And I absolutely love the Acura interior touches. People don't know what they are missing. There's a lot of crowd following in car buying. "It's not selling well, must be something wrong with it." If you want a luxury sedan and want to save a buck, this is the one. By today's standards the price is low to begin with. Add to this the discounting due to lack of demand... it's a catch in my book. I know what the next question is and am prepared to answer it. I just don't feel like blabbering on about this if it isn't necessary.

    :-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Let's see what the second quarter brings and drop all this sales stuff. A quarter is too short a time frame. But there's a lot of bad press about German cars right now. I still am hearing and reading a lot about the CR reports and now the major press media are also jumping in. None of that will help sales and none of that will help confidence and if anyone thinks that doesn't have anything to do with it then they fail to understand what affects purchase decisions. Many people are like designman and choose the conservative approach. Reliability is something you expect when you lay out the big bucks. Passion is the overstated hype here and like most things in life it rarely lives up to expectations anyway.

    merc1 - it will be interesting to see where you go when you buy. If you don't buy German than all your rants and raves about them will be nearly meaningless. Many of the Lexus buyers have been buying the cars over and over - in some cases for 10-15 years. You haven't stepped up yet. It will be interesting to see if you are willing to spend $35k - $50k on an MB, BMW or Audi (certainly they will offer some car model in your price range) when an Acura or Infiniti can be had for less, deliver equal or near equal performance (maybe better in some cases) and also delivers more car and much better reliability. That is what upcoming buyers will face and all the article I read said is that Acura and Infiniti were poised to take some of those sales because of the way they have repositioned themselves. They weren't positioned to do that before as they were too focused on Lexus and probably to a certain extent the Japanes market. The article even quoted some BMW former buyers who raved about the cars and said they were done with BMW.

    As for Wards - many everyday people don't even know it exists. Find me a person who doesn't know about Time or Newseek.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    http://ww.autobild.de/projektor/projektor.php?artikel_id=6053&amp- ;pos=1

    Porsche (please pronounce the German E) has not het 100% decided to go for it, even though they plan to extend their model line to 5 different model families by 2010.
  • As I read the posts by the folks that favor the German cars ...Especially Mercedes I am struck by this thought.

    Mercedes has everything...It is better looking then Lexus (Most Lexus people agree) It has more Luxury car models ....It has a a big reputation...It has that Ohhhhh it is a Mercedes factor. It rides almost as well/or as well..It is almost as quiet/or as quiet some models are faster, most are as fast.

    Mercedes has all the goodies that the LS has and more and they usually have them first....

    SO WHY DO THEIR SALES FIGURES KEEP SLIPPING TO LEXUS?

    There are some people who feel uncomfortable with people going Ohhhhh, when they drive by...BUT THIS FACTOR CAN'T POSSIBLY OVERCOME ALL THE ADVANTAGES THAT MERCEDES HAS...

    There can only be one primary Reason....THE LEXUS REPUTATION FOR FIT AND FINISH AND RELABILITY.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    On BMW:

    Designmand stated:

    "I point to the fact that BMW's less-than-favorable sales come at a time when they are enjoying a stellar reliability ranking. I have to believe if the new models were knockouts, buyers would be stepping on each other to get to them."

    Couldn't agree with you more. This point states two things: reliability is NOT the be-all, and redos that fall way off-mark. Of course, there are those who choose to bury their heads in the proverbial sand and refuse to acknowledge the obvious. More power to them. I am sure BMW execs are doing something to address this indication of a wrong direction. Two new designs and sales are down ? Not good at all.

    On MB:

    Merc1 touts MB's higher prices as an excuse why MB sales should not be an issue. I point out that MB sales in the US are down at a time when there are far more affluent buyers than ever before. In California today, 1-in-500 earns $1M or higher per year. That is a huge market for so-called marque brands like MBs. So why is MB sales in decline despite the apparent higher purchasing power of more affluent buyers ? Go figure that out Merc1. And besides, since when does a business entity like MB not care about their sales ? Oh, I get it, MB simply needs to acquire more interest in failures like Chrysler and now Mitsu. The latter is a miserable failure and DCX may have given up on pure organic growths and looking rather into acquisitions to grow. Guess, we'll see how this new direction pans out ! An article in USA Today's (04/14/2004) talked about how MB s now *marketing* their Maybachs. Use them as hotel limos. Great way to sell a $350K car. Assume people who rides in these limos will go out and buy one. Makes so much sense to me :)

    On Lexus:

    GS, SC and IS sales are not where Lexus would like. The GS has had no redo in years, the SC still sells pretty well, and the IS was not appropriately positioned in the market. Lexus is addressing both the GS and IS. Now, we'll have to see what happens if the coming redos of these two models will effect sales and improve Lexus' bottomline. I predict that BOTH will be successful, at least much better than the market perception for the new BMW redos of the 7 and 5 brands.

    Closing point: Lexus built a brand in 15 years to surpass an MB brand of 110+ yrs within the US in sales. Barron's Bank, a 116-yr-old bank went under in a very short time due to a rogue employee. If anyone believes any company is immune from liquidation, they don't have a clue about the 21st Century global economic realities. Competition today is fierce in every area, and no longer do companies have much time to correct ills; the competition would eat them for lunch. The sooner BMW, MB, VW, Audi, etc addresses their reliability issues, the quicker they can turn things around. Look at how GM is making a huge turnaround with their Cadillac brand. They may not be all the way back yet, but they have made a remarkable turnaround that should be acknowledged.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Wow, this is the one many of us have been waiting for. And it's almost exactly as I had imagined. I like the sketch in button #6 because of the broken roof line at the rear, but will take what appears to be the fully developed concept model any day. They're damn near perfect. Both resemble the current 996 911, the prettiest one ever made IMO. Can anyone translate the German? What' being said? Is this actually on the Porsche drawing board or just Photoshopped concepts by some dreamer?
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    I remember when Mercedes E300 (E300D) came only with "Diesel Engines" in the 1980s. They did not offer gas engines for a few years because they could not meet the US Govt standard of 27 MPG. People did not stop buying Mercedes, they just accepted the diesels and drove them happily with excellent gas mileage.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Indeed, I am fluent in German. Picture 6 is actually a 1993 project that was released to the press but never completed. The new 4 door plans has been officially released to the press with Some of the pictures, and Autobild actually typically gets it very right.
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