Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





High End Luxury Cars

1227228230232233771

Comments

  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .. **...I have one, but it is my Service Loaner...**

     

                      Thats pretty sad .........

     

                                Terry.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,871
    If I buy a VW.. (say, a Jetta), could you get me a really crappy one.. that might be in the shop a lot?

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,672
    Merc- Automobile, which I just received, has a picture in this months issue. I know what you mean about the line and about the styling. The car is large so it will have to be seen in person for an honest appraisal. Back is very much a Maybach look and I don't know if that is good or bad. MB trying to capitalize on an ultra-brand?? Hope not - it is too soon for that and I would think they want and need exclusivity in the Maybach. Based on the pix - I prefer the current model but a look at the metal in person is needed for a real opinion.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well Terry those $40's are nice, but still a little beyond me at this point. I figure in a couple of years a nice 2004 or 2005 model will be just right in price.

     

    ljflx,

     

    Yeah I think its best to wait for that ever important first official photo from MB. The only think I want them to take from the Maybach is its stunning interior quality and features. I wouldn't want any of the Maybach's design, interior or exterior present on the S-Class. It does look like they are going for a variation of the Maybach's rear end on the S. We'll see.

     

    In other news I got an email from Maserati today, I'm going to be their guest again at the Chicago Auto Show next week. I'll get to experience the Masers up close and if I'm lucky maybe they'll open one of the Ferraris this year. Isn't life grand!

     

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,672
    From today's NY Times:

     

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/06/automobiles/06AUTO.html?oref=lo- - - - gin

     

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/06/automobiles/06GREMLINS.html

     

    What most surprises me is that BMW really expects people to go to school to learn about I-drive. Do they really think anyone has the time or patience to deal with something as inconsequential, needless to say useless, as I-drive. The MB dealerships comments to the MB owner come in second place. I would think that since Lexus passed on anything like I-drive for the new GS that they at least have common sense. Let's hope they keep it with the new LS. I see MB has fallen into the trap with the S-class. Don't they have enough electronic problems as it is? Seems the German mfrs. need to learn things the hard way these days.
  • Audi copied BMW with MMI, I don't personally know if MMI is better than iDrive, but the magazines say that it is. Mercedes has had 3 years to tear up both of these interfaces, and learn from what they do wrong. I should hope that what they come up with is better than both of these systems... I wouldn't say that this idea is bad. Acura put a similar design in the RL. Infiniti with the new M45. I wouldn't be surprised if Lexus came up with something similar in the new LS.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well what can I say about the New York Times. Nothing new or really worth reading about when it comes to cars, imo. The woman with the C230 obviously has a lemon and most definitely a lousy dealer. This can happen to any brand of car. We all know it happens more with Euros.

     

    Moving on.

     

    Yes, Acura and Infiniti have installed similar systems in their newest car, but they didn't go with a fancy name or tout it that much, hence they don't get knocked by the press as much. That and the fact they are easier to use is big, big plus. The RL in particular in my own brief experience really is easy to use, and it is a "controller" just like idrive. BMW really goofed by forcing you to use Idrive for nearly everything. Still can't stand it.

     

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,672
    I was actually more intrigued by the one stop electronic solution possibility using a tech company as a source. Would auto mfrs. ever go for such a universal solution like that? Differentiation may get lost and at some point the host tech company ends up leading or in too strong a position.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    one stop electronic solution possibility using a tech company as a source

     

    Its a trend in the software retail business today. Outsourcing to an ISV (independent software vendor) to do the sale, marketing, and support as a third-party channel. IBM is very successful at this and is doing its best to promote such as a viable avenue to organic growth, especially for companies with significant M&A activities.

     

    For autos, I'd find it a very difficult task indeed. Can't see the likes of Lexus and MB going for it, since it waters down their brand image. But who knows ? It may work ....
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I doubt it too. Too many different demands from different companies would probably make it too costly. I honestly have no idea though.

     

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Forgive me for being so late, but I'm reading other forums (still catching up on some of them) and I'm reading where you actually considered a S430 4Matic????? Then I scroll up and yes, you posted the same thing in this thread! I'd like to hear all about that experience. I had to make sure I was reading the user ID correctly...

     

    M
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi Merc,

      You read correctly. I bought my new 05 LS430 only after nearly closing on a new S430. I had a hell of a time in the winter with my 2002 LS so I thought the 4Matic was a good option to consider. Besides the design of my '02 LS had aged badly, I got tired of it unusually quickly..(I normally keep cars for 6 years at a minimum..Despite only having 25K on the clock, I decided to trade it in..Needless to say the wife wasn't pleased..(Bought her off with a new Dishwasher!!)

     

    I was set on a Desert Silver S430..They wanted around $73-74K for it.The list is 78K apparently. The car was quite solid and there was a noteable difference in handling ability. (Though I say this without ever driving my LS430 on it's normal 18" wheels, it's on snows right now..

     

    A few things bothered me: The Navigation System was not very user friendly and the screen was too low..I found the Starmark warranty extension too short for my liking as well..The JD Power Reliability rankings were also troubling, but I'd read the S Class has improved significantly after it's refresh in '02.The S430 has a nice presence to it..I was impressed by the rigid sheetmetal and general construction of the car..No doubt this car would fare very well in an accident.

     
     

    I was willing to let that all go, and pay the premium for the MB marque, but the dealer really put me off..They played "Used Car lot" number games with me. Basically they were significantly undervaluing my trade at 34K and not giving me much off the car itself.

     

    Also, they made up a lot of nonsense about the used S430 ('03 with 7K miles) I was looking at not being certified, when it actually was advertised as such in three different places..(This is a Herb Chambers dealer which also has a Lexus Dealer)..Had they not done that, I likely would have bought it.

     

     
    So finally after getting tired of the games, on Christmas Eve, I went down to Lexus of Norwood (The Herb Chambers one) and completed my deal in 25 minutes. I got 12% off MSRP and 1K less than Kelley Trade in Value for my old car. I couldn't complain with the deal..(I didn't even drive the car before I bought it!) So far my new LS has been perfect.

     

    I would however consider another Mercedes. The SLK looks pretty interesting to me, and seems well put together.

     

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks for the report, most interesting. I'm betting the next LS will have AWD because of situations like yours. I'm still stunned that you considered a S430.

     

    The SLK is a winner nothing but praise everywhere. The SLK and now the CLS are built better than any other current Mercedes. Anyone not believing go check them out. Mercedes has seemingly learned their lesson about trying to save a few bucks here and there on interior fittings. The SLK's doors even thunk close like a Mercedes should. I got a chance to throw the SLK350 and SL500 around a track back in Oct. The new SLK pulled a major transformation compared to the previous car. Gorgeous little car, pricey, but gorgeous.

     

    M
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Merc,

      Actually my new car has been fine with snow tires..I took it out during the nasty Boston weather two weeks ago. It was fine..My '92 LS is quite good with 4 Blizzak snow tires. AWD of course has its benefits, but I'll probably stick with RWD regardless of what nameplate I buy.

       

    I was a big fan of Mercedes back in the 80's..The only problem was that with the kids going through college I wasn't in a position to spend that much money..If Mercedes built and styled their cars today like the old SL and W126's I'd buy it in ten seconds. I sure wouldn't mind buying an old 500 SL that was nicely kept.

     

    Maybe it's just me, but I'm not too fond of the new MB look..(Then again, I'm not impressed with anything out there)..For some reason MB sent me a brochure on the new SLK..It's definitely a car that stirs up excitement. I'll watch the reliability on the SLK closely, and if it's as good as I think it is, I'll strongly consider getting one.

     

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah 80's and some 90's Mercedes were the last models to have that "look", stately, upright, squarish, big-square-headlights...that Mercedes had for so many years. Of course my favorite Mercedes of those years was the 1981-1991 S-Class, 1990-2002 SL and my all-time favorite E-Class..the 1986-1995 model. Of course I like the new swoopy models too, but I will admit while they are "prettier" they aren't as "distinctive". I take it you're talking about the 1971-1989 model SL, the old 380, 500 and later 560SL models? Those were a little before my time, but I do remember them. I think designman is a big fan of that model SL too.

     

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “The SLK is a winner nothing but praise everywhere.”

     

    Merc, don’t tell me you haven’t read the latest Road & Track. Dead last out of nine sports cars. However, this is my favorite segment so I take that comparo with a grain of salt because they are all very different cars. I like all nine with the exception of the Z4. The SLK although it has a great engine and is a lux favorite comes up short on performance.

     

    Athough the Vette barely nipped the Boxster S for top spot, the Boxster S was clearly the editor’s favorite, voted number one by 5 out of 9 editors. Folly on Porsche’s part for sending a loaded Boxster at $67K…. price weighed on the final tally.

     

    All said, I like the new SLK. What a shame you can’t get the AMG version with manual. But for all around performance and every day driveability you can’t beat the Porsches. Can’t wait for the Z06 Vette to hit the streets and see what kind of havoc it will wreak at 63K. Even some 911 hardcores are drooling.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes it seems I forgot about that article....

     

    I really don't think the SLK had a chance in a test with 911s, Vipers and Corvettes. Not a chance. The cars I'm surprised it didn't beat was the Z4 and 350Z. The SLK350 doesn't come up that short in performace because it outperformed the 350Z in a lot of categories. Must have been "feel" because the numbers should have at least put the SLK over the 350Z.

     

    For its market segment and all around versatility I don't think the SLK can be beat. The Boxster is sportier yes, but then again it should be considering its a Porsche. Even in the C&D comparo the Boxster couldn't manage more than 1 mph faster around the track over the SLK.

     

    Neither mags could really say anything bad about the new SLK, especially compared to the old one. The SLK55 AMG should have been included in both tests, especially the R&T one.

     

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "Must have been "feel" because the numbers should have at least put the SLK over the 350Z."

     

    SLK and 350Z were at the bottom of the performance categories. SLK nudged it by less than a point here. Even so, they were kind with their comments. Speed doesn't handicap it, it's just soft in comparison to the others... more of a touring sports car. Hey, comfort counts for something IMO. Ain't too many people driving an Elise to work everyday.

     

    "The SLK55 AMG should have been included in both tests, especially the R&T one."

     

    Indeed. But it's not available yet.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A reporter would like to interview someone who recently bought a large sedan such as a Mercedes E-Class, Lexus LS 430, Mercury Crown Victoria or any large Cadillac or Lincoln.

     

    Please send your daytime contact info to jfallon@edmunds.com by Friday, February 11, 2005.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,672
    Merc1 - all those quality problems we talked about over the years have come back to hit home and are crushing them now. MB made E$20mln last year in operating profit. That means they are really losing money, probably a lot at the net income line. I'll also bet that $20mln was propped up with reduced allocations from corporate and heavy capitalization of questionable items that probably should be an expense on the P&L rather than an asset on the Balance sheet. If your a finance exec, you know the drill and you know how these things are done. I will also bet that we will soon hear about one time write-offs tied to MB credit taking a huge hit on leases from several years ago because the vaunted selling prices at the front-end are camouflaged by residuals that were far too high and didn't hold up in the real world. For anyone who bought - they take the hit, for those who leased - MB or the bank does. One of the last things in the world I'd buy today is an MB. It's like buying a stock you know is going to drop in price. I'm afraid that the slide is going to get much worse - that's my business assessment. I'll bet you in 3 years MB is 3rd to BMW and Lexus in status. I'll also bet that all these derivative cars that the auto mags love are making the business problems even worse. They are trying to be a botique shop and mass producer at the same time and the business case says do one or the other, doing both is suicide. As hard as it is to believe - Chrysler is holding up Daimler right now.

     

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/11/business/worldbusiness/11auto.html?
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Len:

     

    What a scenario you paint here for MB's future ? Can it be that dire for them that as you stated ?

     

    "I'll bet you in 3 years MB is 3rd to BMW and Lexus in status"

     

    3 years for MB's fall from grace ? That is going to be a tough prediction to meet since 3 years is only around the corner from today. And Chrysler propping MB is really a bad sign for DCX; a case of the dog wagging the tail....
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I don't entirely agree with you that "in 3 years MB is 3rd to BMW and Lexus in status." While the quality issues are impacting sales volumes and profitability, I don't see them impacting status as much. Look at high end watches...they are generally unreliable (compared to a quartz watch), but that doesn't seem to hurt their status. In cars, Ferrari is notoriously unreliable compared to say an Acura NSX, but we all know which has more status.

     

    Besides, I think MB is finally getting serious about quality, and while imho they won't catch Lexus in quality, they should be able to make some improvements in the next few years.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,672
    Just my opinion from all my business experience and partly from personal experience of knowing people who won't even look at a Benz today. Plus these are people that are historical Benz buyers. But look at it this way - would you buy a car for 90K that will lose 50% of its value in 3 years when there are equal or better cars that are cheaper and retain over 60% of their value. Now you might lease it as long as some financial company is risking the loss in 3 years but how long will financial companies be foolish. There are only so long that people behave foolishly also. When the marquee name falls a lot falls with it. The new MB guy coming in knows better - which is why he is alluding to being brutal in cost cuts. He knows he has to be brutal on cost cuts because he has to cut the prices of MB cars in the future. But right now those prices are the link to its status. This type of exec cares about profits first and status second (or third or even lower in priority). I said a long time ago MB will not be able to sustain its MSRP's. I also said, many times, profitability was the issue not share of wallet tied to sales prices. The residuals not holding are the proof that MSRP's have to come down. I also said MB would put itself in this position a few years ago. It was a business argument but everyone thought I would be wrong and came back at me with the sexy cars and high HP and model elasticity as counterpoints to show their strength. What I always realized was that was MB's strategy to camouflage the real problems. They were trying to buy time to fix the reliabilty issue. But the latter has gone even more downhill. Combine some real bad management (read it - somewhere in there it still says they have righted things for 2005 - the pride and denial is still there), a very strong exchange rate vs the dollar, perception that is now rapidly catching up to reality, competition from powerful agressive companies that mint money and are very well run and already well established (BMW and Lexus), the growing acceptance in Europe of Asian brands, being way behind in hybrids etc. It's a bleak picture and these things have a way of crashing before you think. I don't think they will. I just think they will become just another lux brand who once was number 1 but has fallen. The business world has them everywhere you look. Lastly the story you read in the press ALWAYS has the Goldilocks spin. You don't want to know what is really going on. Trust me on that one.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    I, my wife, my father-in-law, and my uncle owned MBs before. We no longer buy MBs anymore due to its poor quality and reliability. We also feel that the MB status is slipping toward Chrysler since they are the same company. One of my colleague (also a doctor) used to own MB, he bought 2 Chrysler 300 instead and feels the quality of Chrysler is even better than MB!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Your points are well taken but we just differ as to degree. I absolutely believe that MB will continue to lose market share to Lexus (though not every single year, due to differing product cycles). But I don't think MB will be viewed as having lower status than Lexus, 3 years hence. We'll see.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I think Chrysler is rising in status more than MB is falling in status. I rented a 300C over the holidays and IT is the poor man's MB, not the LS!
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    When I look at MB, I can't stopped thinking that it is made by Daimler-Chrysler. MB E class is the same as Chrysler 300 but cost twice as much. So MB lost sales to Chsyler too, not just to Lexus.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,672
    Remember what's coming from Lexus - a $100K+ sports car, a $100K+ LS (you can bet the bank they are building that one), A V12 equivalent GS hybrid, a tuning arm, hybrid suvs, a larger LX that will be as top notch as it gets in SUV land and probably the HPX. Lexus is about to take everything up a few gears at a time when MB will be falling and has already played its cards. Toyotas $12bln+ a year profit wields so much power that even I feel sorry for their competition. I could be wrong but I wasn't about MB's huge profit fall and I doubt I'll be wrong about the status fall from grace. If the new LS styling is a big hit it may even happen sooner. On a post a few months ago I said when you bring in the cost cutter you've run out of tricks and it's time to face the grim reality. The cost cutter is always the last resort. The fact that the guy doesn't have a plan yet means there is still a war going on in MB about what he wants to do. Believe me, he has a plan - Jurgen and others probably just can't accept it. If this guy ever walks it'll be because of management discordance. If that happens MB is really in bad shape.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Merc1 will respond as follows:

     

    Do you suppose MB is sitting pat and doing nothing to challenge Lexus and others ? How 'bout a new S-class in MY2006, a new R-class, A-class, Smart, new ML, new CLS, a new slick SLK, etc... etc... Geez ! Can Lexus or BMW match the breadth of the MB offerings ???

     

    So what does Lexus have to counter these barrage of new offerings from MB ? Hybrids, new LS, new GS, new IS, new sports car, and a new tuning arm.... May not be enough to counter MBs offerings.

     

    Did I not speculate that we can see a sort of a Barron's Bank episode with MB ? Maybe not quite the grand scale, but a fall by any name you call it. When a worldwide 118+-yr-old marque company makes $20M in earnings, then its time to head for the door....Lets see how these all shakes out.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,672
    The A class and Smart will accelerate the decline in status. Truth is all of MB's moves have brought them to this profit point, so what they should do is scale back and make better cars. I said it before, Lexus makes more profit on a $62K LS than MB makes on an $87K S-class. MB has the highest, by far the highest build costs in the industry. When I say they've played their cards I mean what else are they going to add. They have the derivative cars, a tuning arm (I'll bet that is where the profits are - AMG, everything else is probably in the red), V12's etc. The only real trick they have to play is a non-sexy one - SUV's. But that train left the station a long time ago.

     

    Merc1 always felt they should have stayed a boutique shop - and he's right.
Sign In or Register to comment.