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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Are they going to change the name to Banglarian Motor Works. It may be appropriate.
  • The branding theme will not change. It's never been and will not become a "car for the masses". It still does everything that it is supposed to do. Similar ideas about the product existed with the advent of the 2002 model in 1968. Millions and millions will miss out on what the brand delivers....the majority loses. It's not intended for everyone and more than any other car company, BMW leads.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    It's never been and will not become a "car for the masses" by this I suppose you are refering to the 1-series, yes ? Cos BMW cars and trucks are designed for the masses.

    Designman: Thanks for the warm, fuzzy welcome. I am no Rambo, I just play one on cyber space.... :) You can be anything you want to be on this faceless medium. As to work, it is such a pain these days. More M&A, more work and more stress for everyone. This is the 5th acquisition in 4 years. Ever gonna stop ? I guess not. If you cannot grow organically, then acquire. That's the American way !!! Sheesh... Makes talking/chatting/arguing about cars so much refreshing :):):)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    OAC - been there and done that M&A work too much. I was in charge most of the time and you make the money when you get acquired not the other way around. Sure you do real well acquiring but its not the same and the pressure is tremendous. Got tired of it and am now in business with two other guys buying something my old company passed on. Now my old company wants to buy my business and I told them its 2-3 years too early. It's great to get free from corporate America. Hang in there and look for that opening out like I did.

    BMW's not designed for the masses? Come-on now. 3-series leases are barely more than V6LE Camry leases and cheaper than some V6 XLE ones. That's mass territory. Make the BMW legend be whatever you want but its business is selling cars to as many people as possible. The "ultimate driving machine" niche they love to hype and people fall for is called marketing.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    20K to 25K units a month in just the US, and it's not a car for the masses? BMWs, Mercedes-Benz's, Audi's, Lexi, are all cars for the masses although to a lesser degree than Toyota's, Honda's, and such.
  • BMW North America does those silly $299 ads. I believe that BMW AG(munich) would rather see the ads promote the product for it's performance and quality even though a 'bimmer can be surprisingly affordable compared to some inferior makes.

    Certainly, there is a consciousness of volume but it is more of an outcome based on the vehicle's attributes than a contrived strategy to get more deals. BMW's branding is one that stands for balance, brakes, power-to-weight ratio and over-all road manners.

    Branding is an interesting issue in the segment and I think that BMW is more brand conscious and has done more to protect and elevate it's brand image than any other car company in the world.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I think you love to throw us bones to get reactions from us... It's working, btw, if you havent't noticed :)

    Here you go again: Branding is an interesting issue in the segment and I think that BMW is more brand conscious and has done more to protect and elevate it's brand image than any other car company in the world

    IMO, the highest mass-market car brand today is MB. Followed by everyone else. BMW appeals to more younger folks, but monied people go for the marque brand - Mercedes. Period... If you need a lecture on this, just read back several of Merc1's diatribe on MB and why they rule the world... blah blah blah....

    BTW, livingbmw, have you read the recent comments from Denny Clements, Lexus NA General Manager ? He claims Lexus is going after your market... If I were you, I'd be worried.
  • BMW is the premier performance make. Lexus is the premier luxury make.

    BMW people and Lexus people are totally different. If Toyota wanted to promote Lexus as a performance brand than they should have made Lexus as a Formula 1 competitor instead of Toyota. The IS300 is a great example of how toyota competes with BMW in the performance segment, total failure.

    I'll be worried when I see the Lexus dealer with a bunch of used 540's, 330's,M5's and M3's on the lot.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Report in the Detroit New Autoinsider section.

    Very low volume sales in the U.S. and high losses.

    Maybe Jaguar should merge with U.S. Air.
  • jaguar is laying off 1150 workers and pulling out of F1.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "The IS300 is a great example of how toyota competes with BMW in the performance segment, total failure."

    Good point. And accordingly I don't think the 06 GS will steal many 5-series buyers. The E39 5-series was a winner and the E60 5-series rides even better. E60 and the 06 GS are both ugly as sin so they're on the same playing field where this is concerned. We'll see where this goes.

    "The 'ultimate driving machine' niche they love to hype and people fall for is called marketing."

    Let's not forget the "bone-jarring" BMW ride and what this means. Luxury buyers hate it, sport enthusiasts seek it. Many BMW drivers drive aggressively and this may be difficult for luxury drivers to comprehend. There are also BMW buyers who feel safer because of it. There is the cushy ride and the hard ride. A car can't be considered a performance car without the latter so if Lexus wants to enter this arena it must sacrifice the obvious. Let's see if Lexus can lure the sport-sedan buyer by offering a variable suspension with which to toggle between extremes and if this buyer is willing to forget other important factors such as weight, balance, steering ratio, braking, camber/castor, suspension stiffness… all factors that affect sport dynamics. BMWs are very stable (aka safe) cars so their qualities are very consistent with the slogan "ultimate driving machine" a realm where the comfortable numb ride is out of character.

    I'm not exactly sure what BMW marketing efforts entail but as far as advertising is concerned they seem to be one the lowest-profile advertisers around. I very rarely see TV or print ads and would venture to guess that their ad budgets are among the lowest. So a three-word slogan shouldn't qualify as hype, especially since it is merely a reflection of their biggest product benefit. Furthermore, reviews have supported this for the longest time. And now that the performance sedan is becoming a popular genre, living proof of who makes the "ultimate driving machine" can be found by looking at who everyone seems to be "going after " and what all sedans are measured against in manner of performance. It's BMW and the slogan doesn't say "ultimate luxury machine" so I think everyone knows where that's at. I have to believe that anyone who doesn't realize this either does not know or care about performance.

    As far as BLENDING luxury with performance BMW has pretty much satisfied the performance lover. It remains to be seen whether the challengers can do the same. That new Cadillac ad showing an irreverent STS swaggering to the music of Zeppelin, busting up the civilized BMW/Mercedes minuet, proclaiming the party is over—now that's hype! I'm wondering, which music will the GS boogie to?

    ;-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Designman - knowledge of advertising is my business and BMW is a big advertiser but not on a national level. Ever see a BMW national campaign in sports? They like to sponsor things and do a lot of local events. It's also well known that they divert money from advertising into lease subsidation particularly from the mid model year point on - hence all the $299 lease deals that you see on the 3 series and now on the X3. Nothing wrong with that and personally I think it's smart business. The purpose is the same - get folks into the showrooms and keep sales going.

    I find plenty of real conservative BMW drivers on the road. One guy really got on my nerves today in a 3 series and I had to shoot past him when a broken line finally showed up. Truth is I see plenty of aggressive drivers in Lexus and MB cars (I'm one of them though I am defensive) as well. The folks that drive me nuts are Corolla people, not all, but many.
  • Corolla people drive you nuts? Please, elaborate.

    Customers shopping for corollas drive me nuts. Over-intellectual, cheap, and no fun.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Slow drivers. The few people I know of that have corollas do indeed fit your description. Interesting.
  • I cut my teeth in the car business at a Toyota dealer in the early 90's and then I was the Certified Pre-Owned sales manager at another Toyota dealer for a long time. I had salespeople that used to run and hide when they saw customers with clipboards or legal pads out on the lot looking at corollas. Those people were tough. They would drive 200 miles to another dealer to save a hundred bucks.

    It's a lot more fun selling BMW's!
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Good piece.

    Have you taken an LS with the 18" option wheel and the sport suspension out for a spin yet ? You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much the outside fascia of the LS (boring, some would call it) is deceptive once you sit behind the wheels and turn the suspension to 'sport' on a car shodded with the 18" low profile tires. Make sure it's an '04 with the 6-speed, with manumatic shift.

    When you do this, come back and tell us if Lexus does NOT offer handling and performance almost equal to that of an optioned trim BMW with the same sport-tuned suspension.

    That's the problem. People judge Lexus based on the marketing of its cars as luxury first. Little do people realise that the last few releases have added more driveability and handling to your average atypical LS 430....

    WRT the 06 GS vs E60 BMW, the jury is out. One thing is obvious: more people have have actually seen the real 06 GS have liked it. I haven't met anyone who likes the E60 BMW yet. Our new Bus-Dev SVP has one, but I hate it the more I see it daily in the parking lot.

    Ljflx: I hear you. I am fairly aggressive as well, but drive very defensively. I am ideally suited to a car that on the outside is deceptive, but on the inside is a different animal.... That's why I laugh at Bimmer drivers that underestimate me in my old boring LS, until they see my rear-behind within seconds of take off from a stop light.
  • I've driven all the camry's that I care to, sir. I've got M3's and 545's here if I need performance. Plus, I get to drive my own 5 series everyday. HAPPY MOTORING!
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    So OK you sell BMWs and have a fleet at your disposal. Big deal. You do not represent the norm of the buying public. I am refering to designman who does not own a dealership, does not have a fleet of BMWs at his whim and disposal anytime, and can be far more objective as an independent buying public not a car salesman.

    Now if you can objectively evaluate an '04 LS with 18" wheels and sport-tuned suspension, against your vaunted 745i, or 540i, then come back here and let us know your finding on such tests.

    I suppose you don't need me to remind you of the Dec 2003 C&D test of BMW, MB, Jag, Audi, Phaeton and Lexus ??? And the ultimate winner ?? Right ???
  • Anyone who wants to buy a Jag, Audi, or Phaeton over a BMW is probably not making a real good decision. I wouldn't be so quick to say the same about one that chooses the Lexus or MB because it depends on what you want. Car and Driver got a lot of buzz over picking the BMW last, perhaps, even a few laughs. I suppose that if I would have went out and bought a Phaeton over a 7 series based on what C&D claimed than I would be cancelling my subscription.

    Additionally, I've driven the LS and it's a great car, but not quite the "ultimate".
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Oac… I’d like to try that LS with sport but wasn’t there talk around here that it’s almost impossible to get a test drive because they don’t have any in stock?

    Ljflx… aggressive but defensive? Tell it to the judge… license please ;-)

    Forget which mag it was but even though they reviewed the LS favorably, they knocked it on intrusive stability control. They said it kicks in too soon and is not good if you corner aggressively, getting automatic braking when you don’t want or need it.
  • I drove the LS at a ride and drive event in arlington (chicago). True, on the stability control being a bit intrusive but it offered the nicest combination of luxury, fit and finish and performance was good. It feels a little more like a big car but isn't nearly as clumsy as the mercedes.

    The same ride and drive event had a 330 versus competitive sedans, the acura, infiniti and IS300. Also had the 4.4 X5, the Tourag and MB (no cayenne, that would have been fun).

    I've been to ride and drives from several different manufacturers (toyota, chevrolet, volvo). BMW has the most neutral presentation and best professional drivers for sure (John Paul, Al Unser, among others). Sometimes it's just propaganda and talking points but the BMW events would be a blast for the average joe off the street.
  • Last month I attended the Lexus Taste of Luxury event at Raceway Park in NJ. One of the four courses was a series of cars following a lead vehicle through a banked, winding track. I was able run the course with back to back drives in a 745i with 19" wheels, an S430 Sport, an LS with the Sport Suspension & 18" wheels and an E320 with the base suspension. The 745i really was the best handling of those four. The LS with the Sport supsension really didn't feel anything like the BMW in my opinion. I wanted to test the "base" LS right after getting out of the "sport" LS, but I ran out of time.

    Check to see if the event is running in a city near you. I also attended the Mercedes C-spot, the GM Autoshow in Motion and next month I will be attending the Love Mercedes event. So far, the Lexus event was the most impressive. These manufacturer events are in my opinion the greatest way to "test them all" and see which ones fit you best.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Thanks. Finally someone with real-world test of these high-end lux-sport cars.

    Can you add a little more information on your test drives ? How would you rank these cars in
    - handling
    - performance
    - driveability
    - luxury ride
    - NVH
    - comfortability
    - overall "must-have-one" feeling !

    Will appreciate your thoughts on these.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    How did I miss that one? I live within a (long) stones throw away.
  • Here are the registration sites for the events I mentioned. At the very least, you can sign up to be notified when next year's dates are announced.

    There are still a few cities left for the Lexus Taste of Luxury and the Love Mercedes Tour is just now underway.

    https://www1.travelhq.com/registration/lexustasteofluxury/intro.h- tm

    http://www.lovemercedestour.com/

    http://autoshowinmotion.com/index.asp?flash=False&s=%7BF858D1- 2E%2D5F4F%2D4072%2DA4E4%2D576CE2D0041B%7D
  • tiny1tiny1 Posts: 26
    Looking to buy a big car that would fit my 6'6" frame along with my tall kids. I like performance as much as luxury and will be driving in Denver winter conditions. I probably can only afford a pre-owned 2000 Audi, BMW or MB in the 30ish K range (low for MB). Which has the best track record as far as reliability? How do these German cars compare? Is it crazy to own one of these cars without a warranty?
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    I'm 6 ft 3 inches and with seat on the bottom, I can put my doubled up fist on top of my head in the Lexus LS430. I think you would find the Lexus ES300/330 a tight fit. As for ice & snow, the LS 430 is a rear wheel drive like the BMWs and MBs. You would need to get the top of the line snow tires. I believe the Lexus has the best reliability record. I would stretch the purchase to a 2001 if possible, NADA Trade in Value at 50,000 miles at 37K and Dealer Retail at 42K. I note the 2000 LS 430 at 60,000 miles is 25K and 29K. Quite a difference but the car is the upgrade year 2001 if I recall correctly. Also take a look at post 6390 & 6391 in the Lexus LS forum (this web site). As for warranty, you can only buy the Lexus Factory Extended Warranty up to 36 months and/or 36K miles, whichever comes first. I'm sure there are some after market policies out there. Good luck.
  • tiny1tiny1 Posts: 26
    Thank-you very much. I've not sat in a Lexus yet. I'll check one out soon. I initially was drawn to the German cars because I sat in a A8L and could bearly touch the steering wheel when the seat was back. And my 5'11" daughter could sit behind me with comfort. Obviously the ride was great also. I agree from what I've read that the Lexus would be more reliable.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi tiny1 - if you haven't already, you should look up our individual discussions on all of those vehicles. You'll find lots of helpful information. The "Browse by Vehicle" search on the left side of the page will help you find them.

    Also, the Used Car blue tab at the top of the page will take you to reviews, specs, etc. of all the vehicles you find interesting.

    Hope this helps... good luck!
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    I'm not sure when Lexus LS430 started putting in the driver's seat with the extending bottom cushion. I usually drive with the seat all the way back and the seat bottom about 4 inches forward to support the back of my legs. I have not seen any other car (haven't really looked) that has this feature. All LS430's come with sun or moon roofs, if that was not installed you might get another two inches of headroom. I drove a GMC Yukon before the Lexus and found the headroom to be about equal. Again, good luck.
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