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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Never in my life have I seen a company acquire as large a company as Chrysler (or one much smaller for that matter) only to divest of it within a year or two because it didn't know how to integrate it. I doubt that they will divest. I think they will share parts and technology but not platforms. Such a move would be prudent and not damage MB.

    I doubt Toyota would be interested in a German car company be it MB or BMW. You can't buy MB as a stand-alone anyway and why would they want the problems and debt the rest of Daimler brings. They are doing very well on their own. Besides do you know how difficult it is to take over a German company? - nearly impossible. But if it were possible I doubt that a bunch of guys in a Boardroom would care about your or my feelings.

    Last thing - they will protect MB as much as possible. But cash drains on other parts of the business will have an effect regardless. MB is too small to be spun out and auto companies bring low multiples.
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    The fact that Freightliner is having problems is part of the whole big truck market. Fuel prices have killed that market, they will all weather that storm.

    merc1, straight? I have no beef. Just havin' fun!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I really thought the whole thing was doomed from day one. I can't ever see it working out. I see nothing but trouble. A lot of long-time Mercedes fans just aren't going to accept a 50K and up Mercedes that shares too much with a Chrysler. A S-Class with Chrysler parts....I wouldn't want it I don't *think*. Technology I'm all for sharing, but basing the next E-Class on the same chassis as say the LH cars, no way.

    M
  • unless you can offer specifics about where I've misinterpreted information (or someone's opinion, for that matter), your criticism is meaningless. I think eveyone here (as well as in other topics in which you've participated) is well aware of your loyalty to the Mercedes marque, and I have never had any problem with that -- I feel the same way about Alfa Romeo. However, I do try to be objective and pleasant about my differences with you and others in this conference, and I hope you will show me the same respect I show you.

    As to whether it would be desirable for Toyota to buy any European brand, Toyota is as respected there as it is here, and if they were to buy out D/C I would imagine that they would try to keep the design team as independant as possible in order to preserve the quality and spirit they bought the company for in the first place - unlike Mercedes' treatment of Chrysler, which was ham-handed and short-sighted at best. Ford has done exceedingly well with their acquisitions because they respected the traditions of the brands they acquired -- Mercedes has not (but thankfully, with Zetsche, appears to be changing course).
  • of what kind happen when one compny acquires another, Ford tried to acquire Alfa Romeo about 20 years ago, but Fiat lobbied the Italian government not to let that happen. Once Fiat had acquired Alfa, they quickly dissipated Alfa's predominance in their chosen segments and watered down the quality of their products to Fiat levels. Eventually this led to their abandonment of the US market due to Americans' dissatisfaction with their weird styling (remember the Milano?) and unreliability. I was hoping at the time that Ford WOULD acquire Alfa, because I knew it would mean more and better products and a much improved dealer network for Alfa Romeo in the US (I bought my first Alfa in Chicago, when the mext closest dealer was 250 miles away, in Detroit). Unfortunately, that never happened, and it is only GM's acquisition of a big chunk of Fiat that gives us hope that Alfa will return to the US in a couple more years.

    Interestingly, the person who was responsible for the concept of the most successful car Alfa ever made -- the Giulietta Spider -- was Max Hoffman, the American distributor for a number of European marques in the fifties and sixties.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I did stop short of saying that you were a fountain of misinformation, but you alway try to paint a gloomy picture or some kind of picture that simply isn't there. Objective is always means that someone is in trouble to you. As far as Toyota's respect it isn't in question, what they would do with a European brand is. They couldn't begin to understand what would be at stake. Now the DCX merger is a mess, I'll agree on that, but as long as Mercedes isn't compromised I'm not really worried.

    M
  • I don't think the situation is hopeless -- far from it. As a matter of fact, I've posted a memo elsewhere about the article I read over the weekend about how well Zetsche is doing in winning the respect and confidence of his American managers. The last thing I want is for Chrysler to be discarded or polluted by its German masters. Here's hoping they get it right -- because gloomy-sounding or not, their survival DOES depend on it.

    You last comment, on the other hand, betrays your own bias ("As far as Toyota's respect it isn't in question, what they would do with a European brand is. They couldn't begin to understand what would be at stake. Now the DCX merger is a mess, I'll agree on that, but as long as Mercedes isn't compromised I'm not really worried.")

    First, what in the world makes you think you know what Toyota would do with a European brand, and what exactly in their history leads you to believe they wouldn't respect its tradition? Toyota engineers bailed out Porsche several years ago, they have visits and clinics for automakers from all over the world and they have produced cars cheek-by-jowl with GM for years. They are also the most respected car company in the world, (according to Fortune magazine. The Corolla is one of the world's most popular cars in ANY country (it's one of the standard three cars you will find at European rental outlets), and they have a strong racing presence in Europe as well. Remember, it was Mercedes' attempt to keep up with the Toyotas that caused the loss of three of their cars at Le Mans.

    As for your comment that you don't care what happens to Chrysler as long as Mercedes is okay, that's not only thoughtless -- there are a lot of people whose livelihoods are at stake here -- but short-sighted as well. Chrysler has produced some truly wonderful cars over the years, and to lose their heritage would be as tragic to me as if we lost Mercedes. I guess that's the biggest difference between you and me -- I'm not a one-brand guy, I love 'em all. But that doesn't mean ANY of them are perfect -- Toyota very much included.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think you're reading too much (again) into what I said. I don't care what happens to Chrysler as far as their cars go...the company on the other hand I hope does well. My point is that Mercedes shouldn't be pulled down by what Chrylser can/can't do. Nobody said anything about people loosing their jobs or anything like that. I simply stated that what happens to Chrysler is not my imediate concern. You read different posts from what I wrote. Amazing. Now about Toyota being the most respected car company in the world, you know I doubt that. Mercedes would be that. The Mercedes name is priceless. Mercedes' brand recognition is higher also, much higher. The VW Beetle is just as if not more popular than the Corolla, since you're counting back from the start. You can rent an Accord here in the U.S. so whats the significance of the Corolla being one of the many cars you can rent in Europe??? Big deal.
    Now what would lead me to believe Toyota wouldn't know what to do with or wouldn't respect a European brand? Try their total lack of "tradition" to begin with. Try their blatant copying of anything European that is succesful. It's so silly the length they'll go through to "be like" someone else. . All the Japanese do is copy. They ought to be tired of it by now. As far as that LeMans comment goes, what are you talking about? I know you don't think that because of a win by someone else Mercedes lost their cars because of they were trying to catch someone? Please tell me that isn't what you're saying. If that's the case everyone in racing has lost a car trying to "catch" someone else. Porsche needed help, you're right, but it was in the area of saving costs more than design, of which the Japanese know very little. GM needs Toyota's help more than anybody else. GM is dying very slowly. For the record I'm not a "one brand guy" either, I like them all too, but I have my favorites. I know you knew that.

    Fortune magazine is not an authority on who the most respected car company is. They can tell you that how much money the company has made and their business savy, but that doen't always translate into respect. Respect comes from other factors than just what a money/business magazine says about a car company. I agree that Toyota would be in the top 5, but not not number 1.

    M
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    This is getting real boring....please!!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Hey it's been a long time since I've seen you in here. How have you have been? Nope didn't get a car yet. I'm thinking I'll wait because the two cars I'm stuck on (330Ci Cabriolet & A6 4.2) are both due for a facelift for 2002. Though I am waiting to see what this W8 Passat will be like too. Now from this list I would get either an S55 or 750iL, but most likely the S55 AMG. Now about the A6, I think the 2.7t model is the best compromise of the 3. It can run with the V8 and is light on it's feet like the 2.8 model, but handles better. I just like the body of the V8 model more. Yes (sadly) the C320 is off my list unless some color/equipment issues are straightened out.

    M
  • I've never owned luxury (can't afford it), but I've dreamed of owning a 740iL with the Sport Package. That is, until I recently sat in a Lexus 430...Whoa! I love the look and feel of an MB, but find the interior, from the driver's position, to be sterile at best. My beloved 740 was an equal disappointment (did I miss cup holders in the rear seats)? I've never heard of some of the features of the new Lexus--power rear seats and rear radio and climate controls??? On a 4-door sedan??? I agree with a previous respondent...I love driving hard, but reserve that for the race track. Otherwise, give me straight-line acceleration; a sumptuous, logical, and warm interior; and rock-solid reliability. Make mine a black LS430, and hold the $20,000 prestige premium.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    That's the way just about every LS buyer feels - and the car handles better than most euro lovers on this board will have you believe.
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    The LS is as squsihy as a rotten tomato. My 750iL will run rings around it. The 750 also does have heated power rear seats and rear cupholders FYI.
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    The rings associated with a 750il are usually of the BURNT kind...get real. LS430 buyers would eliminate that competition early in the first round...then eliminate the S500 on price/interior.

    What's with this drag-racing mentality...
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Why do you have to put down the LS430? You accuse others of justifying their purchases yet you are the insecure one. I don't go running around putting down the S-500. I know a great car when I see one - apparently you don't. Handling isn't the sole reason why people buy cars. And the S-500 is better than the LS in that department - I'll give you that - but its not that much better; not the basic S anyway. And in most other places the S-500 falls short - but not by all that much either - except in two places; value and interior plushness where it falls far short.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I realize you've got a BMW 750 not an S-500. I didn't look at the 740 or 750 as I preferred the S-class looks over the BMW. I also know you like to have some fun here so don't over-react to my post the way I did to yours. But in all honesty you do weight performance far too heavily in your evaluation of these cars.
  • It's not very gracious for a BMW 7 Series owner to call the LS suspension "rotten tomato"!

    I found the LS400 suspension to be competent in a studied way (the whole car is like that). If the new LS if 1/2 as durable as the LS400, it will be a great car.

    merc1, forgive my flashing messages I post and delete at the speed of sound. I've been trying to figure out the new software as I haven't posted in a while.

    I wanted to say that Dante should have had a special circle of hell for people who can not afford cars they like (me), take years to decide, and want the next thing (always). My own view (and it is contary to convential wisdom I know) is that cars are getting worse and not better. It isn't just Mercedes that is making cars more cheaply- not at all. Volkswagen is no different than Daimler.
    The new A4 has 7 % more plastic. In fact, you can see some of it in interior pictures. They can not afford to build the current A6 and the next one will be decontented. The A6 doesn't need a facelift!

    Nothing is perfect for me or anyone else. While you've been insisting on one CD player and the right color combination, Mercedes has been hard at work making a car that looks like a cross between a CLK, a Ford Pinto, and AMC Gremlin !
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    How do you define a *better* car?

    To me, cars are getting better everyday. Cars are safer, more fuel efficient, more comfortable and they perform far better than ever before.

    The amount of plastic or the cost of production has little to do with how I personally evaluate a car. We do not live in the dark ages where one judges a car by the quality of the woodwork or leather alone.

    I feel that many of us has gotten so picky and spoiled that we are missing the big picture of the progression of automobiles.

    Advance passive and active safety, fuel efficiency, aerodynamcis, acceleration, braking and cornering performances, comfort level, ride, noise, convenience features, damages to the environment etc. are FAR more relevant and meaningful in my opinion.
  • We don't need to miss the big picture! The big picture is that there are huge holes in the Earth's atmosphere! The BEST car, thefore is the Toyota Prius. It is SULEV according too California law. Zero emissions vehicles are something of a (don't know what the right word is) because batteries equals power plants equals pollution. If you want to have an ideology of modern versus dark ages, the progression of mankind, etc. I'd suggest you've hit on it with your concern for the environment. If we want to pay more than lip service to those concerns, 5000 Prius' in the US and a five month waiting period from TOYOTA is not acceptable.

    However, you've thrown a lot into the mix! Cars are more safe (this does not do us much good in the US when 1/2 the passengers vehicles are SUVs and trucks, which again, is bad from an environmental point of view).

    Wait a minute. Plastic is bad from an environmental point of view- do you know what you have to put in the air to produce it?

    You would not want to say that cars were better and better period, because if you did you would
    be saying what advertising is saying- of course the car companies want you to think that everything that is new is better.

    What else have you put in the mix? Ride and noise. On this I must diagree. Ford Escort, Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Corolla are examples of cars that VIBRATE and are LOUD and CRUDE compared to what they were pre-2000. You CAN MAKE a car cheap to the point that is has no quality. Why would you do that? To save yourself money and to increase your profit.

    Now who said anything about judging a car based on wood and leather alone? The cars on this list and German luxury cars (and Japanese and American) are
    not about "saving the environment", are they?
    They are about going AS FAST AS YOU CAN TOXIC EXHAUST PIPE EMISSION BE (can't say it, can't abbreviate it ;).

    I have seen cars from the early 70's to now. Guess what- they are very different, and they change all the time. Fans of Mercedes-Benz know what I am talking about. If you are considering
    the cars on this list, or similar cars, you get to judge the car by absolute standards- does it vibrate, how does it handle, how fast does it go,
    anything you want, anything at all. By these standards, plastic in cars, in engines, in bodies, in interiors, is not necessarily a good thing!

    Cars are better, over-all. It would be a miserable world if every car belched out what American cars did in the early 70's. Cars are more safe (head airbags are a miracle if you know what a head injury can do to a human being).
    I'm sorry, I only meant in a sense (in the sense relevant to luxury cars), I think the cars of NOW have value in a way that the cars of the near future will not.
  • The LS430 is an ULEV, as is the MB S500. Curiously, the MB S430 is only an LEV.
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    <<You would not want to say that cars were better and better period, because if you did you would be saying what advertising is saying- of course the car companies want you to think that everything that is new is better.>>

    This is interesting logic but I truly prefer newer cars as an overall package, safer, faster and more comfortable.

    You are lucky if you have different views as the used luxury cars are usually cheaper than the new ones..
  • ejerodejerod Posts: 86
    I drove the LS430 3 times. I looked at the BMW 740il and rode in my brother in law's 2000 740 il. I bought the 2001 S500 with most of the options and I'm happier than a pig in slop. No one ever says to the Bently owner "you spent what ? You could have had 4 LS430's or 3 S600's for that!!!" And Bently only comes with a 3 year warranty. To make a long story short. I love my S500 and have absolutely no regrets. All the other cars are fine, but the integrated systems of the MB are superior to everything else currently on the market.... and again. I love my car.. so there.. lol
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The bottom line is just about everyone feels that way with the cars they selected because you really can't go wrong at this level - it just comes down to what you want.

    By the way I've done at least 30 acquisitions in my career and put over $100mln. in some peoples pockets and none of them drive a Bentley. One guy does have a few MB's, a few Lexi and one BMW. He also has about 3 homes, one of which has been in Architectual Digest. Needless to say I'd never question how he spends his money.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...the "you spend what??" question as an argument pro or con with luxury vehicles. I think if you're looking at a luxury car, you're sybaritically indulging and wasting money as it is, and questioning someone else's decision to buy a more or less expesnive car is silly. When I bought my Jag XJR, the $ consideration of "value over the XJ8" was not even remotely present in my head. $10,000 more or less - I don't give a damn once I have decided I am burning over $60k on a car anyway. And if someone goes and spends over $100k, fine.

    It utterly amazes me when people say whether a Lex is a "better buy" than some German lux-mobile. Once you start that, hey, a Toyota Camry is an even better buy, you know.

    The concept of luxury is get what friggin' simply sybaritically appeals to you, and more or less damn the cost. Heck, you can blow over $100k on a wristwatch if you want to. Easy. Try explaining *that* to people who are stunned by luxury car prices...

    The world is full of thoroughly enjoyable stuff that would seem crazily overpriced to the middle-class minded person. Think a $200k Bentley is expensive? Well, how about spending $8,000 on one Brioni suit? $150k on an IWC Grande Complication wristwatch (and there's more expensive ones out there, some might regard that a "reasonable buy")? $600 on Lorenzo Banfi shoes? $6,000 on a Namiki or Montegrappa ink pen? Heck, there's a million ways to spend a lot of money, and they're far less visible than cars. As Adam Smith, the father of market economy, established, the price of something has nothing to do with its true cost - merely with its perceived value.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    How about $10mln on a house? The question is do you buy to please yourself or to impress others. I'm in the first group and don't care what others think.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...that is impossible to tell without knowing the person. Money spent on "impressing others" is always wasted, because it's simply neber enough. Money spent on pleasing oneself is always perfectly spent, as far as I am concerned. Whether it is a $10m home or something else, who am I to tell without knowing the person? It's presumptuous to judge others on appearances. And if they're trying to impress, they invariably are pathetic noveau rich folk condemned to fail.
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    I think you should buy what most appeals to you within your budget (self-imposed or otherwise). If price or other quantifiable creteria were the only consideration, no one in their right mind would ever buy a Rolls, would they?

    Fact is, when magazines do comparison tests they try to find competing models as close to the same purchase price as possible -- a fair process, I think -- and when compared against the V8 versions of the S and 7, the LS430 fares extremely well. The fact that it's less expensive is either a bonus or, in the case of less well-heeled customers, is what makes it affordable in the first place. There are persistent rumors of a V12 version of the Lexus, and if they actually bring one to market I'm sure everyone will have to revisit their assessments.
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    I agree with the previous posts about buying what pleases you and respect the different decisions. But, as denniswade says, when comparing vehicles in the LS's luxury segment of the market, a $15,000 differential in price is a meaningful point of contention...notwithstanding anyone's right or ability to throw money away.

    All of the "so-called" independent reviews of this segement come to the same basic conclusion...the LS430 is a bonfide, serious alternative to the Europeans. As a previous owner of both BMW and MB, I just bought my first Lexus...because it was the better vehicle in most areas...not all. The performance handling crown may still belong to Europe, but my decision to buy an LS had this issue ranked lower in terms of importance. (secretly, if I really want performance and a quickening pulse, I'd cram myself into a Porsche and be on my merry way!!)

    Bottomline, the serenity of the interior, build quality, plenty of performance for my taste, reliability, price edge, etc. just seem to make an overwhelming case for the LS430.
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    It seems to me this "money no object" theme is getting way off the point. The car mag comparo analogy used by denniswade is much more accurate IMO. The idea is to compare apples to apples and keeping it all in perspective. It's an overall comparison of similar price/features/style/value, etc. That's why Bentley and Rolls and Lamborghini are not in the title of the group. While MB fans tout their heritage and handling, BMW fans talk of their aggressive driving and handling and Lexus fans talk of their luxury and reliability. Obviously, these different features are what attracted each person to begin with. There is, of course, some blending of all these things in each car. What got this off course is the defensive reaction to "value" comments made by the Lexus owners (which I admit, I am one). As an LS430 owner, I not only love my car, I can also appreciate its value compared to the others properly mentioned in this group. I agree with ljflx, all are fine cars. I heavily researched all of them and chose the Lexus for reasons of my own. While I didn't buy it just because it is a better value, I am not ashamed that it is. I do not understand the occasional defensive attitude, esp. from the MB folks, when value is mentioned. It doesn't lessen the quality of my car. It is, in my opinion, an added benefit. I gave up very little to get that added value. I only yield to MB and BMW in aggressive handling, but as someone said, how often do you really drive that aggressively. And if you do, then choose something else. On the other hand, my Lexus is far and away superior in terms of luxury, fit and finish, general quality and at least equal in features. Of course, the style police are waiting to pounce and I can only add that while I agree the MB is styled somewhat better, I do not find the Lexus styling all that bad. To me, it is a total package decision and there are just too many pluses for the Lexus and too many negatives for the others. I would have spent the extra money for something extra. Value was not my first priority, but I am not unhappy that it was included "free of charge".
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