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High End Luxury Cars

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  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    The 300C kinda looks like the car Stephen King wish he had for "Christine"! Definitely an imposing sled...
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “Absolutely loved the SL in the 70's and 80's.”

    Precisely my sentiments. I still can’t stop ogling them when I see one parked with the top down. Actually, I love all of ‘em except the current one.

    Haven’t been able to watch Tony and the boys these past couple of weeks. The last one I saw was when Paulie hit the gardner in the head with a shovel, he dropped the rope, and his partner came flying out of the tree... chain saw and all.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    You hit the nail on the head with that one. I can see that grille imprinted on some character’s chest in a Stephen King adventure.

    I love nicknaming cars with dubious design. Think I’ll dub the 300C… The Waffle Iron.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    The JD Power survey is out. Hyundai passed Toyota by 1 in the IQS survey for 2004.

    Lexus is still #1 though, but Cadillac is closing the gap.
  • Here is a link to the press release:
    http://www.jdpa.com/presspass/pressrelease.asp?ID=2004037

    I wonder which Lexus models slipped in initial reliability...
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    I would imagine the GX hurt Lexus scores a bit. It has a well documented vibration issue reported on the GX board though my GX is flawless and everything I expected it to be. The GX was also only average in reliability in CR.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Here's last year's release for comparison:
    http://www.jdpa.com/presspass/pr/pressrelease.asp?ID=2003028

    MB has indeed made some strides, going from 15th place to 10th.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Cadillac may be getting high ratings, but I still say it is from an older demographic that can't hear noises, and tends not to complain as much about problems.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Older customers not hearing noises is possible, but not complaining as much about problems? I'm not as sure, and in fact imho it could be quite the opposite.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    Reliability ratings in CR were abysmal. Maybe that initial satisfaction is very fleeting.
  • il_62231il_62231 Posts: 2
    unintended acceleration, er...cruise control.. I watched that show and it brought back memories...What was interesting was doing a search for unintended acceleration, and toyota, lexus, audi and a few others showed up. Involving current and past cars. Scary.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I didn't exactly say they were useless. My position is that there are other things to evaluate a car on. I do take issue with some of the things JDP says because they really don't tell you much other than where a certain brand or car places. Not much detail.

    Secondly since this is the board for survey worshipers with a Toyota bias I just had to point out that about Hyundai, which by all accounts were sub-par just a few years ago.

    Mind you this is the initial quality survey and a lot of folks don't put to much emphasis on this one. The 3 year dependability study is the more important one. I agree with this.

    michael_mattox,

    You make it seem like it has been 20 years or something..lol. A turn around of any kind takes time. For whatever it is worth Mercedes did improve by twenty percent this year, per JDP. So actually they didn't get "shoved down" even further as you put it. I'm telling you now don't look for much or any improvement in the dependability study because for 2004 they'll be looking at 2001 cars. It will take a few more years for things to change on these types of surveys, reguarding Mercedes-Benz.
    ____________________________

    There is another thing in a carconnection.com article that says exactly what I've tried to tell certain people for years. You have to look at where the models place in these surveys. Porsche was the darling last year and oh how I had to hear about MB's cross-town neighbor is able to do it right and Mercedes couldn't but this year Porsche dropped down because of one model.

    Mercedes' main problem children have been that dang ML, C-Class and recently the initial run of 2003 E-Classes. I can't find the link where the S-Class was only second to the LS430 in initial quality in either 2002 or 2003?? Footie??

    Some people will now look at Porsche and say that they've lost something, yet the 911 and Boxster are more reliable than ever, it is just the Cayenne dropping their "nameplate" overall. You also have to look at which model might be carrying the weight for a certain namplate. BMW is the perfect example of this. They sell more 3-Series cars than X5s and 7-Series combined, so unless JDP has some type of system in place to make sure an even amount of BMW owners gets surveys, the biggest group (3-Series) of owners are more likely to get a survey. The X5 and now the 7-Series have been just as much trouble as any Mercedes-Benz, yet wasn't (?) BMW ahead of Mercedes until this year on this very same initial quality survey. I tried to explain why this could be in various News and Views topics, but no all I got was BMW is better, while actual 745i and X5 owners were pulling their hair out. Of course BMW will lead if the 3-Series carries most of the weight on the surveys (because that is what they sell the most of). The 3-Series has been around since 1999 so of course it is going to be very reliable now.

    My whole point is that you have to do more than count where a nameplate places before making so many assumptions as so many people love to do on these boards. Sometimes it really does make a difference to see where the actual models place, not just the nameplate.

    ljflx,

    I see. What did you think of the 1990-2002 SL? That was my favorite car on the planet for like 10 years! Well if you're going to consider a CL you have from now until about spring of 2006 to get one. This particular CL I boldly predict will become a classic (long time from now because of the sales numbers) because of it's design. It may just be the best looking Mercedes I've seen since (1986) I've been paying attention to Mercedes.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    There are some geninue surprises in the model breakout.

    The Mercedes-Benz M-Class placed in the top 3 for initial quality! What in the world? Someone either has goofed with the numbers (JDP) or Mercedes actually bothered to address the many complaints about this vehicle. I'll be watching the 2007 dependability survey to see if it holds up. Doubt it.

    Cadillac's brand new XLR made it into the top three for it's segment. Interesting seeing as though they only sell about 300 a month, a very small sample of data I'm sure.

    I see GM's older, low-tech cars/trucks made the cut: Buick Century, Chevy/Cadillac SUV twins. No surprise there. The CTS made the cut also, impressive.

    ljflx - despite all the problems I read about on the SUV board concerning the GX470 it still placed in the top 3. Also interesting.

    Ford's brand new F150 placed in the top three. A minor miracle for Ford. Their new product intros are usually followed by recall after recall, problem after problem.

    So much to see and think about with these surveys.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Unlike CR, JDP is a "push" type of survey. So if a car like the XLR sells in few units, JDP can sample a largish fraction of the owners. So the survey sample for the XLR probably isn't that small, even compared to, for example, the Camry. Anecdotally, I have repeatedly gotten JDP surveys in the mail for my LX, but not my RX.

    The GX being in the top 3. The segment it competes in (premium luxury SUVs) doesn't have that many competitors (my guess would be 5-8), so the GX could still be below average within the Lexus nameplate, but finish second out of group of 5-8.

    That ML result is impressive. Maybe we'll be replacing the LX with a R someday...but not in its first year for sure, I can't just assume first-year quality with an MB (unlike with Lexus).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Fair enough I guess.

    Replace you LX with an "R"? You mean an RX or Mercedes' upcoming R-Class (don't yell at me if I'm slow here and I dare suggest that you'd consider a MB product).

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I meant the R-class. My wife likes variety, isn't so keen on 2 Lexi in the family. I ususally drive the RX, which I'm 90% sure I'll replace with a 2007 LS hybrid. The LX could be replaced by the R, it depends on whether the seating is sufficient for her (sometimes she wants to haul around alot of kids, and all the pics I've seen show 6 seats max) and whether the cargo space is sufficient (with the seats up). Plus it's not clear when it will ship in a hybrid version.

    I actually do keep a somewhat open mind about these choices.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    Loved that gen as well and like very much the current car. There has never been anything but great SL's in my book.

    S-class - I would expect that initial quality scores of the S-class to be sky high. In all honesty who wouldn't be happy with this car during the inital period measured? I think the problems that hurt it are a little down the road - 6-12+ months out. The LS keeps going in the near perfection of the first 3-6 months thus the sky high satisfaction and reliability indexes of CR. MB has to work out the bugs in the S-class that develop a bit later on and as I said, from my reading and personal acquaintances they are mainly electrical. Personally - I don't put much stock in the initial quality index. I've never had a new car I didn't like. Initialy quality reminds me so much of winter storm wishes I had when I was in school and prayed for snow days. Most of those storms started out as snow, many of them turned to rain - and off to school I went. Initial quality of the storms were great though.
  • When you are right you are right, Mercedes did jump from 15? to 10...Lookin good.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    It's posts like ejerod's on the S-class board that scare the daylights out of me on MB. He was in seventh heaven if you remember with the 2001 S - initially. When you come from 9+ years of Lexus perfection its hard to opt for anything that will be less. Isn't that why people became so loyal to MB over the years. They built bulletproof cars that people raved about and had enormous confidence in. I still remember so well the movie "The Four Seasons" with Alan Alda. The Benz in that movie should have been listed as an actor in the credits it played such a key role. The owner, who was played by an actor whose name escapes me (but he's played many character roles including a key role in "Wait unti Dark") was ready to die for the car toward the end of the movie. If you are a Benz lover - you have to see that movie plus the movie is really good anyway though the follow-up TV series failed. It was early 80's if I remember right. MB never really made flashy handling cars until recently. That's also why the AMG business was born outside of MB. Problem for me is I know a number of people like ejerod who fret over their experience - some have moved on, some are still hoping. Personally I don't know anyone whose had a flawless Benz right now and I don't know anyone who hasn't had a flawless Lexus. Hence my belief in the CR surveys.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    When you look at it, the MB nameplate is just 1 notch below Toyota, which isn't bad at all!

    I do agree with ljflx and merc1 that long-term reliability matters more than initial quality, though.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    ljflx, imdb.com is a really great site for looking up movie trivia
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    Thanks - I forgot about that website. The actor was Jack Weston. Great movie.

    MB - Perception is still high which could account for the ranking.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    It will take a lot to knock Mercedes off the perception perch. If the previous-generation boxcar designs couldn’t do it, followed by the current American-looking varieties with funny lights and cheap wheels, nothing will. They’ll have to collapse in puffs of smoke a la slapstick silent movie cars before people stop buying them. Even then, there will be vultures picking up the badges to use as paper weights and hang on their walls.
  • Designman, I had to laugh when I read your post. When I was a kid, I loved Cadillacs. I collected sales brochures and advertisements. In college, I found a hood ornament from an Eldorado, and was so thrilled.

    When I started buying new cars, I no longer really wanted a Cadillac. In the past 20 years, I have only owned one Caddy--an Allante. Hopefully, the upcoming STS will be a winner.

    Perhaps Cadillac will be on top of that "perception" perch soon with Mercedes, and I can wear the hood ornament on a gold chain. :-D
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    I don't agree designman. It's not as difficult as you state and it can happen a lot quicker than you'd expect. But if the quality isn't there than the resale values fall. Indeed that is happening right now. If the resale values fall the high upfront prices that generate the profits don't hold. If that happens it comes tumbling down as they will have to lower prices to move the cars. Perception and status is a house of cards tied to the high prices right now because the car quality doesn't support it. If it did the resale prices would have stayed at historic MB levels - above everyone else. If the prices don't hold the public perception and status will fall quickly. It's like so many bad things that happen in business. The signs are there, they are hard to believe and then a lot of things turn against you at the same time. Then people wonder what happened. They have to restore quality and confidence and do it pretty soon. They are addressing it because they fully understand the danger lurking in the near future. I think they will succeed at least to the point of turning things around. The difficulty was getting themselves to believe there really was a problem. They were in denial.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Well I agree with you―how do you like dem apples? There probably isn’t a single person or business in existence that doesn’t take life and everything in it for granted to some extent. It could all be over in a finger snap. And we see major corps failing all the time. Yet some never seem to learn. Indeed, I exaggerated a bit in my last post to make a point.

    But what I am saying is that MB is on the highest of pedestals when it comes to image. To this day, even though Cadillac has seen the dregs, the image still holds for many and it held even during the raunchy years. I think MB would have to go clearly out of business before people let go, and even then, they’d be wishing it back from the dead. From the upper reaches of corporatia to the lower-east-side pimps, it’s one of the ultimate status symbols, and to people who have built emotional equity in status, I have to believe reliability is a concept with which they have little familiarity. And with hefty price hits, there will be plenty of these people turning it into their opportunity.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    To a certain extent that's why I'd almost rather see them scale back and just build cars the way they used to. They are not going to be able to match the Toyota prowess of mass car building. On the other hand they can build very high quality cars with a lot of options and customizing and still produce say 150k+ cars a year for the US market. Sometimes smaller is better. Then they'd maintain that classy image forever. I think I'm starting to see merc1's light on his favorite brand.

    I have seen several people now in the $1mln+ per year comp range walk from MB over to Lexus. My old company's former CEO just did and I was shocked to find out the other day. He was one of those people that I thought would never move from MB. Swapped out of an S600 and into an LS430 ultra and loves it. We met for dinner, never talked about cars but had parked at the same NYC garage. Then we walked off together and both asked for the same car. It was a funny moment. I was glad to tell him I only had a custom lux. He had a host of problems with his S600.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    That was the post I meant. Ejerod really loved his car - initially - and then the replacement initially again - and thought the world of Benz, so that makes it scarier still.
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