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High End Luxury Cars

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  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Michael,
      The rankings for Jaguar seem to be inconsistent. Their numbers drop significantly with every new model introduction..Look at the latest JDP survey, they're at the bottom with MB. The latest XJ is a substantial technological improvement over the older car, but lacks the grace its predecessor. I'm not the only one who thinks this..Park the XJ next to the X-type and you'll see the similarity.

       Mercedes has had its' issues, but they still set the standard when it comes to innovation. The equipment list on the Lexus frequently borrows from the S Class. I'm sure Merc1 can vouch for this. All this precollision, ABS, Radar Cruise control have all come from the MB pipeline.

    I'm not knocking Lexus in anyway, but you've got to give MB the credit where it's due. They've had this keyless system that Lexus is currently touting for several years..Even the trunk opens fully, unlike the Lexus system. Sure they have their reliability issues, but if their designs were so bad, Lexus wouldn't steal them regularly. Now if MB could steal Lexus' production process....

    SV
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    Borrows is a strong word. I think MB still leads in innovation because they are still the pack leader or if not, they still think of thermselves that way. The moment somebody else starts beating you to the punch you lose your crown. BMW follows MB in the same way with most of these things. It's only when Lexus follows suit that people seem to get rankled though. But following what a leader introduces successfully is everyday business as far as I am concerned. Lexus is putting a lot into the hybrids and may well become class leader via the new engine. Time will tell.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Unless I'm mistaken, the RX is already the class leader, even without a hybrid engine. The RX in '97 was Toyota's idea, and it invented a new segment. The Germans copied them, and M-B is stuck with its outdated body on frame truck, getting KILLED by RX sales. The new ML will be unibody, again copying Lexus. The RX330 also had adaptive headlights first, and BMW and Audi copied that. Does M-B even offer that feature yet? I dont think that they do.
  • I pretty much agree with your comments...The Germans in general are innovators and Mercedes is a perfect example when it comes to Automobiles.

    The Japanese on the other hand are great at taking an innovation and working with it and making it better..Keyless entry, Radar cruise etc. all apeared in Mercedes years ago....BUT..When they do show up in a Lexus you know they will work almost without fail.

    As a customer..."Sure there are reliability issues" just doesn't cut it. It is not the Production Process as much as it is the culture that makes Lexus what it is...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think part of the placement differences of different GM brands has to do with Buick's much older customer base. This group isn't going to be concerned about little things that may or may not happen with a car, heck they may not even know unless the car is rendered unoperable. They might not hear that little noise or feel anything abnormal about the car, long as it rides good and is reasonably quiet.

    Plus if you look at Buick's lineup, they use the oldest hardware GM has in the majority of their cars. No Buick is not a American-designed GM cars like various Pontiacs, Chevys and Cadillacs. All of Buick's cars are the most home-grown products GM has to offer. The other GM divisions have cars from Daewoo, Suzuki, Toyota, plus some global-platform cars running around under various Chevy, Pontiac and Cadillac badges. This has to count for at the very least some of the reliability differences between the various GM divisions.

    When people buy a Mercedes-Benz they expect perfection and only that, thus when a Benz has a problem (however minor or slight) it gets dinged on these surveys.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Phew ! So much pics from Merc1 in an attempt to stage-manage this forum to his interests..."

    So I take it you aren't happy unless I'm disproving your various theories then huh?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "BMW follows MB in the same way with most of these things."

    Really? I'm curious to know how so? Lexus is only one that follows, usually feature for feature with Mercedes. BTW, I don't call this copying or borrowing, just business, but to say BMW does it the same way Lexus does is a way off.

    I'm also curious to know why you think the new GS is going to do anything more than the previous one did. One paper the new GS is hardly anything to write home about spec wise and looking at...well. The middle-weight class is going to be awfully crowded by next spring and the GS will sharing the spotlight with a new M35/45 from Infiniti (which is the car I see having the biggest market impact) and a new RL, STS, not to mention the two sales leaders the E and 5-Series. The 1998 GS made a splash too and wound up forgotten as the class moved on. Also, the E-Class and 5-Series aren't going to sit still either, they'll be respond to all the competition sometime next summer in the form of freshened 2006 models, especially the E-Class.

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Yep, I agree with lexusguy. Lexus really did create a new segment with its car-based SUV (RX300).

    As far as electric and mechanical "gizmos" go, MB does seem to be a trend-setter.

    Who came up with Navi systems? I'm not sure, but Japanese Navi systems are for the most part superior to Euro Navi systems.

    Toyota/Lexus does seem to have a lot on their hybrid technology. It remains to be seen if they're all they're cracked up to be in mainstream cars.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "The Japanese on the other hand are great at taking an innovation and working with it and making it better..Keyless entry, Radar cruise etc. all apeared in Mercedes years ago....BUT..When they do show up in a Lexus you know they will work almost without fail."

    Really? If this was entirely true Lexus would be using a radar-based cruise control system like Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar. A laser based system has been proven not to be as accurate or effective. Please tell me how Lexus made keyless entry better than anyone else when their system works just all the others? Yes, Mercedes introduced Keyless Go in 2001 and it has a few problem at first, but it has long been since cleared up, that was three years ago, and Lexus adopted the feature for 2004. I'm really willing to listen as to how Lexus made this system better since Mercedes has long ago worked the bugs out of their system, like back in the beginning of 2002...so if there is something else Lexus has done beside improve on MB's initial introduction of the system (as far as reliability is concerned) I'd like to hear.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The Japanese were the first to introduce a Nav system in a production car. They were clearly ahead of the Europeans in this area, as most of them were still experimenting with the concept and thus have had to come late to the Nav party with an inferior design.

    Some of this has to do with the European dismissing them because they could just go to the same suppliers like Pioneer that Acura goes to and wala they'd have the same type of system.

    As far as Hybrids go I'm really curious to see what happens with them. I personally don't see the point of a 400+ hp Lexus when this group detest the mere mention of a hi-po car as being something to aspire to. Secondly to worry about fuel economy with a 400-500hp car is just well to much to me. I'll be the first one to admit Lexus is worth something if the produce a 500hp car than can perform with the best and still get 50 MPG, I personally don't see it happening.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "The RX330 also had adaptive headlights first, and BMW and Audi copied that. Does M-B even offer that feature yet? I dont think that they do."

    This is incorrect my friend. For MY 2004 both Lexus (RX330) and BMW (3 and 5-Series) both offer/ed these lights. Mercedes offers them also for the 2004 MY on the E-Class.

    Now if you mean that Lexus was actually the first one to have this feature to go on sale (last summer) then you'd be right because the 2004 3, 5 and E didn't go on sale until a few months later.

    In either case BMW had the feature on sale in Europe either before or at the same time Lexus did over here.

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The Japanese probably get all the cool stuff before we get them here in the states. I bet the Celsiors in Japan get the gizmos before we get them here in the LS. Happens with all the electronics... the latest plasmas, fanciest DVD players, etc.

    ------
    They don't need to build a 500hp/50mpg car. I don't think they've even said that's possible. If they can build a 400hp/30mpg car, they'll be on to something. That's still twice the gas mileage of any other 300-400 hp car out there.

    Makes sense in Asia/Europe, where gas is $6 to $8 per gallon.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    My point about a 400hp Lexus is that here whenever high-performance is mentinoned in the same breath with BMW or Mercedes it is seen as a meaningless waste and on this board it has even been called "dangerous" because of the performance attainable, yet if Lexus does it it will be seen as the second coming of the automobile and because of the MPG gains more useful. This new found fuel economy doesn't negate the first criticism. Four-hundred hp is still four-hundred hp and if it a BMW M5 is pointless then a 400hp Lexus is too, because the Lexi-based theory teaches that neither would be usable in the real world of driving on real roads. Far too much power than anyone needs and is far to dangerous.

    M
  • brightnessbrightness Posts: 40
    The real innovators are actually the parts/sub-system guys. I doubt there's any paid engineer at MB or Lexus that worked on inventing either keyless entry or laser/radar cruise. It's the sub-system/auto-parts companies that come up with new ideas and new products and try to convince carmakers to integrate them. Even system as major as Vehicle Dynamic Control was invented/refined by Continental-Teves, Delphi and etc.; BMW happened to be the first one to integrate it into their cars.

    It should therefore not be surprising that MB may proceed Lexus in integrating certain new systems both because they are more willing to pay the price-premium to be the early adopter (there could be an exclusive deal for 12 months, for example), and because Lexus is more likely to wait and make sure the system works before adopting it (e.g. BMW's adoption of i-Drive, which is a Microsoft "innovation"). MB fans used to proudly proclaim that Germans were reluctant to integrate new gagetry because they wanted to wait till it can be sure that the gadgets work; those were the days when MB was known for quality automobiles. Somehow nowadays in the eyes of the MB fans, Lexus's use of proven electronics are called gadgetry-happy, while MB and BMW's adoption of non-performing or subpar new technology are called innovative. Go figure.
  • brightnessbrightness Posts: 40
    MB may actually have been the first one to announce the turning head lights; however, it was the last to bring actual car to the market. All three of them just integrate some third party turning headlights. MB's long delay between announcement to actual car on the lot is indicative its problems. In most industries, the nonperformers are most likely to show off vaporwares for months ahead of actual product launch, simply as a stop-gap measure to slow down customers going to rivals in droves.
  • brightnessbrightness Posts: 40
    When people buy a Mercedes-Benz they expect perfection and only that, thus when a Benz has a problem (however minor or slight) it gets dinged on these surveys.

    That is not the reason why they get bad results in those surveys. The JDP survey is based on the count of number of problems per thousand vehicles, not silly questions like "are you happy with your new car?" both JDP and CR give out detailed questionaires in categories as to where the problems are. It's not about whether their leather has a blotch or panel gap size or any such subjective measures; a transmission/engine/electronics problem is a problem regardless what car they are dealing with, unless of course if you think a new MB is for looking pretty sitting in front of the house or the dealer's mechanical shop.
  • lsclsc Posts: 210
    Neither BMW, Lexus nor MB invented the idea. The idea was invented by Tucker, an American decades ago.

    MB has always been the leader in safety technology.

    Lexus is the leader in ergonomics.

    The Germans was content with high prices and austere interior with stiff leather seats until Lexus came around.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    ". All three of them just integrate some third party turning headlights. MB's long delay between announcement to actual car on the lot is indicative its problems."

    What delay are you talking about? All three companies brought this tech out for the 2004 MY.

    "The JDP survey is based on the count of number of problems per thousand vehicles, not silly questions like "are you happy with your new car?" both JDP and CR give out detailed questionaires in categories as to where the problems are. It's not about whether their leather has a blotch or panel gap size or any such subjective measures; a transmission/engine/electronics problem is a problem regardless what car they are dealing with...."

    I believe that is what I stated. I wasn't speaking about the Mini - cupholders and Hummer - gas mileage stuff. The dependability survey is where the real meat is.

    It is true that nowadays most of the electrical innovation comes from suppliers, but when Mercedes did the really basic innovating they became famous for they did most of it them themselves, like in the area of safety. Mercedes and Bosch today usually work 50/50 on things, both sending some of their engineers to each other's companies to work on an idea so it isn't all supplier based in the least. Not sure what Toyota does.

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    "When people buy a Mercedes-Benz they expect perfection and only that, thus when a Benz has a problem (however minor or slight) it gets dinged on these surveys."

    I really don't agree with this either, that somehow MB owners are more sensitive to problems.

    In fact, if there were a bias (which I really don't think there is), it would be AGAINST Lexus. Sure, MB is still king of the hill, but when it comes to reliability, Lexus is the generally known king. And it is becoming more generally known that MB's have reliability problems. Many people buy Lexus's because of their reputation as trouble-free cars. Hence, a Lexus owner may be even more prone to reporting something minor as a "problem". In any case, I don't think this bias is enough to make a statistical difference.

    "Far too much power than anyone needs and is far to dangerous."

    Well, I don't know about anyone else in this board, but nothing about luxury cars has anything to do with "need." Why draw the line at 400hp? Why not 250hp? Are our lives so much better because we can go 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds, rather than 6.5 seconds? I have no problems with MB and BMW making 400hp cars, and I got no problems with Lexus making them either.

    I remember the first LS400 had 250hp. Now, 250hp is what many midsize family sedans have. If 400hp is going to be the norm among ultra lux cars, then by all means...
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    400hp seems paltry compared to the 612hp/738 torque S65. I can't even imagine what the power delivery feels like in that beast. Not that I'll ever get to drive one. =)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Totally disagree with that. On price alone certain Benz's owners would expect perfection and surely Mercedes has been seen as the top brand longer than anyone else. Mercedes sells more 50K+ cars than anyone else and some of those buyers expectations are probably higher than a person that just worked their way up to an ES330. I also think Lexus' service practices alone would make a Lexus owner less apt to report a problem that a dealership snubbed in a timely fashion with very little if any inconvience to the owner. All types of things weigh in when people fill out these things. I'd guess we'd have to conduct another live survey to see which theory is right??

    That said, a bias againt Lexus on a reliability survey? That is far to surreal to me to even entertain that thought. They're they survey king and have by far (on these boards) the most survey chasers of any brand ever devised. This group lives to fill out surveys.

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Your notions sound more surreal to me.

    Yes, I believe that someone who buys an ES330 has more expectations when it comes to RELIABILITY, than someone who buys a C-class or E-class (which make up the bulk of MB sales), BECAUSE of Lexus's greater reputation for reliability than MB.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I say the same thing so we'll just have to agree to disagree. There is no way I'll buy any bias against Lexus on a survey when the majority of these buyers live for surveys. If the bulk of MB buyers survey responses came from C and E Class buyers then the S and SL wouldn't be mentioned, but they are, especially the S. I think these buyers expectations are higher than the RX and ES buyers, and are on par with the LS.

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Same with someone buying an LS or an S class. I'd guess that someone buying an LS is more discriminating about reliability than someone buying an S class. Even though the S costs more, the LS has a higher reputation, and hence higher expectations, when it comes to reliability.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Even if that were completely true in every case of each buyer, where does the service factor come in? I mean isn't a Lexus buyer used to fast and convient service more apt to overlook a minor problem than a Benz buyer with the same minor problem who's dealer ticked him off by not handling it properly the first time or in a timely manner? This type of scenario doesn't make a difference? I think it does.

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    "There is no way I'll buy any bias against Lexus on a survey when the majority of these buyers live for surveys."

    Ahh... I can picture them now. All those Lexus owners waiting by their mailboxes to see when the the JDpower or CR survey would come.

    Yep, we'll just have to agree to disagree. As I said, I don't think any such bias will be statistically significant anyway.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I can indeed picture some of the survey worshipers on Edmunds awaiting them for real.

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    "Even if that were completely true in every case of each buyer, where does the service factor come in? I mean isn't a Lexus buyer used to fast and convient service more apt to overlook a minor problem than a Benz buyer with the same minor problem who's dealer ticked him off by not handling it properly the first time or in a timely manner? This type of scenario doesn't make a difference? I think it does."

    Well, hard to say how much of an effect this has. Are MB dealers that bad?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Well, hard to say how much of an effect this has."

    That is my point.

    "Are MB dealers that bad?"

    Of course all of them aren't (just making a point in contrast to Lexus') and most are pretty good at customer relations, but I still see where a few vary greatly according to MB owners. The problem with Mercedes is that some of their dealers here go back 40 years plus and they are used to doing things "their" way. Lexus on the other hand has far greater control over their dealers since they all had to agree to certain things to get the franchise. Advantage: Lexus. Don't get me wrong this isn't Lexus' fault or problem its BMWs, VWs and Mercedes.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "But following what a leader introduces successfully is everyday business as far as I am concerned."

    Excellent point. It actually transcends "everyday business", it's the manifest destiny of technology. Innovation cannot be held hostage. If the whole world doesn't hitchhike onto "innovation", then it's not innovative. The world would be nowhere if Henry Ford's accomplishments were somehow held hostage by FMC. As the players in the auto industry sometimes grope to stay on the leading edge of technology, the Japanese are great at separating the wheat from the chaff.
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