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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • 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: 4,661
    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.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    I don't think MB is going to get run over by Lexus anytime soon.

    However, they gotta be pretty careful. As much as we like to talk about the high-end and AMG models, about 60% of their sales come from their bread and butter C-class and E-class.

    And this is where the competition is or will soon be the most fierce.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Just my opinion, but to me over-engineering means spending "too much" money for "too little" benefit. If Lexus engineered for reliability to the point where they had to raise prices to levels much higher than the competition, that would clearly be over-engineering, to my thinking. IMHO I don't think they have over-engineered.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Just to clarify: I think over-engineering for reliability is fantastic, and that it should rank as a number 1 priority with every high end car, way above the bells and whistles and gadgetry and 400HP+ outputs. Most people leasing won't care all that much. But it is a sign a company takes immense pride in its product, and manufactures it for longevity.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    Leasing or buying - one wants the same great reliability. Many of the problems reported on the MB's happen in the first year and in fact in the first few months of taking the car. That's why the residual percentages have dropped so low. With poor results in the first few years of the car's life it's hard to find buyers let alone buyers at the old standard high residual percentages MB used to command. And that high residual is what has supported the sky high purchase price of the cars when they are/were new. That's why the reliability game is so crucial. If the price doesn't hold well after three years the guy leasing the car will be forced to choose between getting hosed on the lease or going elsewhere. The people leasing these cars didn't get where they are by being hosed. So many of them will move on. The alternative to that is a price reduction but that's a profit killer and a status killer. But they survived the earlier price reductions in tact though they were still the most expensive cars around. Just shows you how ridiculously high prices used to be. That's why regardless of what anyone thinks about MB's heritage or its status - in my view it can crash a lot faster than most think - at least here in the US. Do I think that will happen? No - because I think they will stem the problem - at least to the point of turning things around. They don't need Lexus-like reliability but they need to show gains in the surveys that some people on the board disdain. If they don't - they really are at risk and probably sooner than most think. They are also about to face the stiffest competition and prices in the US that they have ever seen. It's not an easy road ahead for them. On the other hand - some success at Chrysler, a turn-around in quality and things will look much brighter.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Wow, this thread was hot this weekend. Merc's Monday morning missives should be a mile long. I'm going to set the alarm a half hour earlier and kick back with two-over-easy, bacon, and three cups of coffee.

    Love ya Merc... please don't disappoint!

    ;-)
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Excellent points, and indeed I do agree with all of them.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "The ES330 is no cheaper than a C-class. In fact, the majority of C-class sales come from the cheaper C240 and then you factor in the cheaper C230K and C230 hatch and the average price of a ES330 is much more than the average price of a C-class sold. Same with the RX330. The RX330 MSRPs right up there with the ML350 and the ML350 after discounts probably sells for alot less, yet the RX330 crushes the entire ML lineup in sales."

    Wow Max you're ignoring the E-Class costs more than the GS, the S-Class costs more than the LS, the SL costs more than the SC and so on. Do you realize how illogical it is to ignore the rest of this brand's lineup to make that most illogical point? Every single Mercedes, except the C and ML cost more, and in some cases way more than each competing Lexus. The only places where these two brands line up exactly is at the C vs. ES/IS, ML/RX and CLK/SC, in every other case the Benzes cost more. You don't see this and what affect that may have on sales? Recently you're post were...well you know...but I can't believe you think there is an even playing ground in prices here when you look at the both brand's entire linuep. Mercedes is selling cars (and some of them are "volume" models) are prices where there is no Lexus to speak of.

    I'll give you that the RX crushes the ML. I've always hated the thing (ML) and it has never lived up to the MB standard. Syswei's theory about sales indicating which product meets buyer's demands better is correct here because the price difference is negligible.

    footie,

    Did you actually read my post before posting? Your assumptions about sales are ridiculous....like everyone who bought an LS looked at the S-Class first and decided on the LS. Like I said before plenty of unattractive cars sell. Yes everyone says the LS is a great car, but you seem to miss it when this same group of people, whether it be press or even some buyers, talk about the car's styling, which was my point...not the greatness of the car.

    ljflx,

    I don't doubt any of Lexus' plans but no where in your cheering do you account for the fact that nearly every luxury car maker has a huge product offensive planned for the next 2-3 years. Mercedes and Lexus (how ironic) are probably the brands with the biggest product offensives planned. Every luxury brand's dealership body has had to expand, from Mercedes to BMW to Audi to Jaguar. Audi for example has rebuilt every dealership here (except 1) over the last 2-3 years. They're all bigger and brighter and pretty good looking too. Motorwerks in Barrington IL has done the same thing - a satellite dealership in Hoffman Estates because of increase in sales and the upcoming product offensive. Lexus is far from being the only luxury brand with lots of things (product) planned.

    Have you ever read about what Audi is saying about their future in the U.S.? They saying they'll being doing 200K cars a year by 2008. I personally don't see that, but this what they're saying. They have at least 4-5 new models coming during that time frame. I think the brands to watch as far as new product is concerned are Lexus, Mercedes, Audi, Infiniti and Cadillac. BMW will probably taper off after the facelifted 7-Series and new 3-Series for 2006, even still remember the 3-Series is a 100K+ unit car in this country alone.

    I understand what you're saying about Lexus prices, and it is luxury car pricing for sure, but no matter how you spin the prices for Lexus' vehicles they still don't come anywhere near certain Mercedes models. The action at Lexus is mainly between 33-55K, Mercedes has more models past that price point that are at least trying to be "volume" sellers. Lexus' most expensive car fully dressed costs the same as the base S-Class. Anyone who thinks this has no bearing on sales is dreaming.

    " Now you have a whole bunch of niche MB's that I haven't counted because I have no idea of
    those sales figs. But they are niche and can't be all that great."


    Sort of my point. They have a lot of these so-called niche models that cost more $$ yet some think they're supposed to outsell a company that has nearly all mainstream 33-55K models.

    Always the most logical Lexus supporter...like in post #5009.

    pablo_l,

    I wouldn't waste any more time responding like you did in post #4968, they're lost to put it mildly. They theory changes with each and every post, once the previous theory has been shown to be flawed (to say the least). Sales, models etc. one incorrect statement after another all in the name of hype.

    syswei,

    I was about to say you're ignoring price, but then I see you listed the E as outselling the GS. So you're saying the E-Class meets the needs of the American buyer better than the GS?

    designman,

    When I logged in tonight I saw 57 new posts on this board. I was like WTH! I knew I had my "work" cut out for me. Well there you go.......lol.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Now that is rather surprising. I'm not a fan of the CTS, but its a lot more fun to drive than the GTO by far. Yes, it does have trouble with hard launches, but it handles the corners very well, which the GTO just does not. The GTO is a big, heavy car, and it drives like a big, heavy car. The front end plows under hard braking, and the steering feels slow and reluctant to get into anything exciting. The only thing it really does better than the CTS is the interior, apparently Austrialians like high quality materials. Pick up a 330Ci instead.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    merc1,

    What did your last post say? You basically said that Lexus sells more cars because they are cheaper. Correct? The LS I didn't include because well, it obviously does sell better than the S-class this year. Now that could be because it is cheaper or it could not be. Do you really have any concrete proof it sells in bigger volumes because it is cheaper?

    I gave the RX330 vs. ML and C-class vs. ES330 as examples of where your *theory* is quite simply incorrect.

    Why was your *theory* incorrect? I stated it before-If as you state Lexus cars sell solely on the basis of price advantage vs. Mercedes, then the ES330 or the RX330 shouldn't be outselling the C-class and ML-class, since the prices of the C-class vs. ES330 and ML320 vs. RX330 are quite similar.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Yes I'm saying the E meets American buyers' needs better than the GS. I'm going to speculate that styling is a big part of this, I think the current GS is the least attractive in the Lexus lineup.
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