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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    "Except these cars are sold world-wide with the US being just one market."

    Yes, I am quite aware of that fact, without your need to remind me.

    I was quoting the sales figures to illustrate trends in the U.S. market, and my take on it. I happen to live in the U.S., and I am more interested in how American buyers are perceiving these cars.

    Whatever you want to interpret from them, then that is up to you.

    If you're more interested in worldwide trends, then fine. No need to point out the obvious.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Yes, I am quite aware of that fact, without your need to remind me."

    I'm not even sure the US market is the largest market, although it is the most conspicous compsumption market. So taking a look at world-wide figures is an interesting thing.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    I'm also interested in only the US position. I live here not in Europe or Asia. The Lexus brand is 14 years old and is going worldwide in 2 years. Lexus has never made Europe a strategy but that will change shortly. Lexus equivalent sales in Asia are made as Toyota so they can't even be had. Thus any comparisons in other markets is useless. If strength is what is sought look no further than the financials of these companies. But if you look at those numbers Toyota will scare the daylights out of you.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    These are global corporations. It's myopic to discuss their US business only, if there's genuine interest in discussing business. But seemingly there's an agenda there.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    By the way, it is not accurate to claim Lexus does not have a European presence. Lexus has been in Germany -for example- for many years. They are just not successful.
  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    Why in the world are you hung up on German sales figure? They are nowhere near the largest automotive market in the world. North America is and will remain the largest market for the foreseeable future. Although China will probably surpass the US within 25 years. Lexus doesn't have to be successful in the German market to be a global leader. Germany is old Europe; a rotten, declining, economic and military power
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Except a number of interesting medical and technical/engineering innovations come from the Germans.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Someone posted sales figures in the United States because those were the numbers that were of interest to that particular poster.

    And we've gone from that to an issue about German medical and technical engineering innovations?

    While I'm sure that Germans have contributed greatly to the quality of our lives, I am just as sure that only the automotive aspects of that lifestyle enhancement are relevant here.

    We need to keep our focus on the cars without turning this into a political discussion way beyond the scope of the Town Hall's purpose, you know?

    Thanks.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    The point was that Lexus never made Europe or Germany an important focus not that it doesn't try to sell cars there. It throws a jab and that's it. Look at the difference with the US where a dealer network was easy to set up given Toyota's placement. Now they are having a lot more success with Toyota in Europe thus the Lexus follow-up with a truer strategy is around the corner - after the global launch. But andy71 is right - China is in Toyota/Lexus home territory and it's a much freer (you don't have to deal with european nationalism) as well as a more important market to win long-term. Say what you want about MB boss Jergen Schremp but he knew this. He was trying to be pre-emptive but has too many other problems on his hands and they didn't stay the course with him. I think for Daimler its a lose-lose situation. They had to right the MB quality issues, fix Chrysler and position themselves for China at the same time and can't seem to pull off any of those strategies - let alone all three. The pull back is probably a smart - and possibly the only - short term move they had. But long-term it will be seriously questioned.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I provided German market numbers. They compare rather favorably to the US numbers provided here, thus it is silly to claim it is an insignificant market. Nor can I imagine Lexus would keep a dealer network there if they were not interested in winning. That is excuse making.

    And again, the point I make is all this means nothing when it comes to the cars' merits. But the way the "business" discussion is carried seems somewhat peculiar.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Ljflx opined this: But if you look at those numbers Toyota will scare the daylights out of you

    In today's San Diego Union Tribune was an article titled: "Oh, What a Feeling". This article was about Toyota including their financials. For the fiscal year ending March 31, Toyota marked their second successive record year of profit, earning $10 Billion, representing a 55% YoY increase. That is after-tax earnings, folks ! And growth came from all markets - Europe, Asia and NAmerica. Is Toyota's financials not scary ??? Last year, Toyota became #2 worldwide auto company based on sales, and now controls 11% of the global auto market. Their goal is 15% by 2020, but that goal looks more likely to happen much earlier. Quoting the article: "So far, no one expects Toyota to stumble anytime soon." GM look-out !!! All one needs do is flip the coin and evaluate what's going on with Toyota's major competitors - Audi/VW, DCX/MB, Ford/Jag, BMW, etc.... Methinks these companies will be well served to take a leaf (or two) out of Toyota's branch and see how a successful auto company should be run. How many people believe MB will still be holding on to Chrysler in a few years from now ? Personally, I won't bet on it.... MB should cut its loss (as they did with Mitsu and Hyundai) from the *merger* and get back to basics of building worldclass cars/trucks built to a quality point not a price point, in order to be able to withstand the onslaught coming from Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus in the next few years.....

    Just my humble opinion.....
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    No one disputes that Toyota corporation is very successful. But I fail to see how that adds to the LS430 appeal. Plus if then is one thing one can safely predict is that eventually Toyota corporation will face a hickup again. And that will not make the LS430 a lesser can, either.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    "So taking a look at world-wide figures is an interesting thing."

    I do agree with you; world-wide figures is an interesting thing. I'm just personally more interested in the US market.
    -----------------------------

    About the German market, you gotta remember that that is MB, BMW, and Audi's home turf. This greatly contributes to the fact that Lexus doesn't do as well there. I'm sure the Celsior (LS430) handily outsells its German counterparts in Japan. The unique thing about the US market is that it is a "third-party" market and a huge market at the same time.

    I'm not knocking the S-class at all. I think the current iteration is the most beautiful sedan of all time. The design of the current LS430, on the other hand, does nothing for me. It sure has a quality interior though.
  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    Good point, Oac , although Pablo would like you to believe that since Lexus can't compete in Germany they are not a world class auto manufacturer.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Andy - I have never claimed the like, don't lie as blatantly.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Pablo never said any such thing and in fact has argued that the merits of the cars are more important and interesting to discuss than the sales figures.

    Pablo - personally I find you quite objective.
  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    Your posts are filled with so much contradiction it is hard how else to interpret it. In one post you claim that the number of Lexus sold in Germany is just as important as the number of Lexus sold in the US. You seem to ignore a critical fact that the North American market is bigger than Germany, France, UK, Italy, and Spain put together. In the very next line you claim that the number of car Lexus sells has nothing to do with its merits. And for your information Lexus LS greatly outsells the MB S class in East Asia where it is sold as the Toyota Celsior. Europe is not the place where the automotive market is growing, East Asia is. Maybe you can post your message more coherently before resorting to name calling
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I call it what it is, it is your responsibility to represent yourself intellectually capable and factually accurate, both areas where you are failing badly.
  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    Obviously we are not going to solve anything by posting vitriolic post and counterpost. It is time to end this. I guess there are more than one way of looking at things.
  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    I don't know what you are trying accomplish by posting the same message twice. Firstly, I neither have time nor the patience to search the internet on which car is selling well or poorly in any particular country. I guess you do. Then you keep saying how Lexus not selling well is Germany is such a big deal. The reason is pride and nationalism. For the very same reason Toyota Tundra will never outsell the Ford F150 in this country, or the Volkswagen Jetta will out sell the Toyota Corolla in Japan. I thought you were intelligent enough to see that. I go by the facts and figures that I read in magazines and newspapers which states that Daimler Chrysler is sinking like the Titanic while Toyota-Lexus is surging.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    Toyota and Lexus brand nameplates' quality reputations have been the biggest reason for their sales increases over the last several years. That's a fact. People will sacrifice some of that European style and flair for a vehicle that is considered to be rock solid in the reliability department. Whether this is true or just conceived doesn't really matter to most buyers. Most people base their purchasing decisions on reputation, and the Damiler-Chrysler(MB) quality reputation has been severely damaged as of late.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    As far as I can see, andy71 sort of offered a "truce" by saying "It is time to end this. I guess there are more than one way of looking at things."

    There is nothing "intellectually capable" about pablo posting the exact same thing he did a few hours ago. Hope it was a computer glitch.

    Anyways, I'm really interested how the battle between the next LS and the next S will shape up. I think the next LS will be a 2007 model, and the next S will be a 2006 model. Is that correct?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Per Consumers Guide the next LS is in 2006 with a super LS a bit later - probably in 2007. See the news paragraph of the link. At the same time Motor Trend reported the next LS is in 2007 and had knockout sketches of it in the latest issue.

    http://auto.consumerguide.com/auto/new/reviews/full/index.cfm/id/- - - - 37672
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    No one disputes that Toyota corporation is very successful. But I fail to see how that adds to the LS430 appeal. Plus if then is one thing one can safely predict is that eventually Toyota corporation will face a hickup again. And that will not make the LS430 a lesser can, either

    Of course I agree with you on these points you made here. BUT, you miss my point: That Toyota's growth is coming at the expense of its competition, and it doesn't help to see that the competition seemed to be floundering just when Toyota/Lexus seems to be gathering steam.... And squarely in Lexus sight is MB. I believe that for MB to compete effectively against Lexus in the next few years, they'd need to ditch the Chrysler brand and focus exclusively on their core brand, or else.....
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I think MB has to go back to it's roots, building over-engineered cars, that used to be bullet-proof until 500K miles.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    It was a computer glitch, I have no idea why the same post showed up twice. Doesn't change my opinion on Andy either willingly misconstructing or unable to grasp my point.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    It may be hard for Mercedes to go back to its roots. For one, Lexus has taken over as the brand that overengineers its cars with fastidious thoroughness - both that and the criticism of "boring design" used to be stated in conjuction with Mercedes over 10 years ago. Also, Mercedes did embark on a very aggressive push for growth as a company, and it's near impossible to reverse that without letting go the majority of the management team, which investors oddly enough do not seem inclined to do.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Pablo

    I don't think that Lexus has taken over as the company that "over engineers". The BMW "iDrive" system is a classic example of 'overengineering' a solution to a problem that didn't need solving. So is MB's 7 speed automatic transmissions. Both companies struggle to get them right and their customers suffer.

    Instead Lexus only designs what they can build with incredibly low defect rates. I also think that they have a good handle on durability science and fitness for use - both traditional measures of 'quality'.

    I also think that Mercedes' 'dirty little secret' even 10 years ago was that - sure the car will last 200K miles - but you get to pay for it once when you buy it for the 1st 100K, and then pay for it again for each 100K after that in service and maintenance charges. The high up front cost and service charges is a marketing 'barrier to exit' for owners.

    I think the 'investors' with respect to DCX in Germany include a huge ownership by Deutsche Bank which owns over 13% of the company. Their board also includes 50% membership by union reps.

    So MB is pretty stuck on a strategy they can't execute or win.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    So it looks like the import luxury sedan classes are pretty much set:

    MB: C E S
    BMW: 3 5 7
    Audi: A4 A6 A8
    Lexus: ES/IS GS LS
    Infiniti: G M Q
    Acura: TL RL ?

    Aside from sedans, the Japanese have a significant lead in the SUV department. The Germans have a huge lead in the coupe/roadster/convertible/wagon/high-performance class. This is where the Japanese still have lot of catching up to do. These aren't high volume areas, but it adds up, and also adds to a brand's cachet.

    It looks like the next IS will be available in coupe/convertible/wagon/AWD variations, and Infiniti intends on making an M45 coupe/convertible to go against the 645Ci and the CLK500, so it's a start.

    It's also probably a matter of time before Lexus and Infiniti start offering AMG/M/RS equivalents as well. Might get exciting.

    I also wonder if MB/BMW/Audi will ever offer big, lumbering, 8 passenger SUVs to go against the QX56 and the next-generation Sequoia based VX470.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > I don't think that Lexus has taken over as the company that "over
    > engineers". ...

    I did not sufficiently qualify that, but the point Ihave already made in the past is that Lexus "over-engineers" for reliability -just as Mercedes used to do when they built tanks to a standard. Incidentally, at that time time Mercedes was often accused of overly conservative and boring designs in their sedans.

    > ... "iDrive" system is a classic example of 'overengineering' ...

    Gadgetry to me is not over-engineering.

    > .. Lexus only designs what they can build with incredibly low
    > defect rates. I also think that they have a good handle on
    > durability science and fitness for use - both traditional measures
    > of 'quality'.

    I don't think anyone has ever disputed that, certainly not me.

    > I also think that Mercedes' 'dirty little secret' even 10 years ...

    I disagree. My mother has an ancient turbo diesel that has never had anything go wrong in 15 years. Dirt cheap in maintenance, too. That is classic Mercedes, and today's company is quite lucky that such attributes are as "sticky' in collective memory. But perhaps in a world of leasing such longevity is not really what customers are after? I do buy my cars. So it matters to me.

    > ... Their board also includes 50% membership by union reps.

    That is always the case in Germany.

    > So MB is pretty stuck on a strategy they can't execute or win.

    Let's not call the game before it's over. Sure Mercedes has issues, but they're a safe candidate to continue among the leading car brands. That said, their current management belongs run out of town.
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