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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    When I'm on the highway with a phenomenal luxury car under me, basked in a luxurious interior, the best stereo I've ever heard in a car blaring away, trusting in bulletproof reliability backed up by experience and proof from worldwide surveys by first class companies the last thing in the world I care about is some brands racing heritage or the fact that it won some event in 1912. If I'm buying a car to race around an oval I'll give that stuff consideration. Get real.

    Whoever said Audi wasn't a lux brand? It's just last on the totem pole and many don't give it serious consideration. That's the way it is and that's why it sells so few A8's and most of its sales are skewed to A4's. Lexus will outsell it by 30K units with the RX alone and just from that vehicle will sell at a higher average sale price than Audi's whole car line in the US. That's the reality of the situation. Nothing wrong with loving an A8 but to have to justify buying it because of a racing heritage is way too far out for me.

    Posted this once before but even though the A8 got the most wanted label in Edmunds, it scored lower than the LS by Edmunds itself, as did all the other German marques. So much for racing heritage.

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/audi/index.html?tid=edmunds.n.maininde- x.content..0.*

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2005/lexus/ls430/index.html?tid=edmund- s.n.mmindex.content.num6.0.lexus*
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “Designman must be enjoying that rocker chair soaking all of these in, eh :)”

    Oac… Designman is doing what Japanese carmakers should be doing—designing! I’m also putting out a ton of fires… you know what it’s like. Eventually he will leave to go home, at which time he will make love to a Martini or two (or three), and if time permits (doubt it) he will read the details of this mess and add to it! This place is funny. It’s dormant for two months and then it explodes. Must have something to do with the return of the Prodigal Son Merc. He’s a legend in his own time.

    ;-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    That's a great looking MB you posted. Do you know why they killed the Mcclaren relationship?

    On the lease issue my point is there are LS430's that cost more to lease than an S430, a 7 or an A8 in some cases despite stickering 10-12K less. The point there is comparative prices is not having an effect and if anything people are passing up a lease sale of the German cars. The lease game is frought with variablility tied to residuals, interest rates and hidden subsidies. Secondly I think because of reliability issues people who go the European route are skewing more and more to leases. But the other thing is the business deductibility issues and the fact that often, if you do the math, it's barely more expensive to buy at lease-end rather than buy up front. So why not take a 3 year trial for a nominal fee? Me - I will always lease one car at least because of business. I'll probably go one more round on an SUV lease and then either buy a new one after that or buy that next one at lease end. I'm wed to SUV's for at least 7 more years because of family.
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    Question: how many variants of 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantom are out there?
    Answer: Exactly one.

    Question: Can you find two identical Rolls-Royce?
    Answer: Highly unlikely because every Rolls is uniquely made to order.

    So, I am pretty sure that you won't find two identical Rolls-Royce, even though there is only one 'version'.
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    It's also not true that the A8 has "everything an LS430 has and more"...for instance, a backup camera, or a Mark Levinson sound system that has seen rave reviews in true audiophile publications such as The Absolute Sound, or a little refrigerator for the rear passengers. Maybe a little over the top, by YOU are the one who started talking about luxury appointments.

    If you want to play that game then let's do it:
    Have you ever heard about 'S'? That's the internal special equipment division of Audi (like AMG for MB and M for BMW). They let you specify everything on your car. If you want to have Mark Levinson sound system (I don't really know why the Bose wouldn't be good enough) they'll put it in. Plus your little fridge...that's a piece of cake! And while you're at it why don't you order the leather in the same color of your wife's favorite dress...
    But I am sure Lexus will have that next year, so so...
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "luxury SUV's???MB created the segment. it didn't exist before the ML"

    I am so sorry if this comes as a shock to those who think the automotive world revolves around Germany, but MB DID NOT create the luxury SUV market. The ML was introduced in MY1998, and a number of others preceded it:

    1997 Infiniti QX4
    1996 LX450
    1996 Acura SLX
    1994 Land Rover Discovery
    1970 Land Rover Range Rover

    Now, maybe some of these don't qualify as "true luxury"...but then, does the ML?

    So exactly what category of SUV's did MB "create"??? Surely not the category of "luxury SUV" as was claimed. Maybe a category called "wannabe luxury SUV with shoddy reliability and cheapo interior"?
  • I hate to mention this but this morning's Financial Times has a front page article on how even the German cab drivers are mad at MB and have turned away from buying their cars for commercial use. Kind of like when a lobsterman won't eat the fish in a local restaurant.

    This board has got to be the liveliest, most informed and intellectual on Edmunds.
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    That's harsh! Somebody here probably has never heard of a car known as the 'G-class'! What would you classify that as? In my book it is a...well...I would have to say something like: 'the first luxury SUV'??? I admit it didn't start as one but it sure was one for, let's say, the last 10 or so years. I don't know what kind of cars Lexus made back then...
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Granted, the G has been around awhile....as a military vehicle. Maybe merc1 could enlighten us as to when it became something that could be called "luxurious". I rather doubt that it happened before the Range Rover came around in 1970, so the claim that MB invented the luxury SUV market is still false.
  • hey guys,

    i almost don't want to go to work...i miss too much!

    first i have a question. how many Lexus dealers are there in the USA?

    it's nice to see a poster [reality2] have the passion that he has. the German brands do have a long and rich racing heritage. my guess is Europeans expect more from an automobile than just top billing in reliability surveys. right now Lexus is non existent in Europe.... not because they haven't tried [approx.200 dealers] but because their offerings are just not being accepted by the buying public....which i am sure is for various reasons...styling, performance, brand awareness.

    right now Toyota is selling what they usually badged as Toyotas.... as Lexus's in Japan to build some brand awareness. this isn't a dig but isn't it really strange that Toyota didn't launch Lexus first in Japan? i understand the US market is huge but why not market the cars under the name you build them .....in the country you build them?

    Lexus's hold on the JD powers top rating is admirable. has anyone given any thought to the fact that the other car makers that are not "no.1" make pretty nice cars? and because they are not "no.1" does not instantly exclude them from being interesting and viable alternatives if not even better vehicles? when i look at purchasing a new vehicle jdpowers is not the one and only source of information nor is it the definitive answer on what is "best". i am perplexed that such emphasis is placed on a one part of a survey that clearly shows that many quality vehicles are manufactured worldwide today.

    a lot has been made of Audi selling many A4's. if Lexus sells 280000 cars a year in the US and only roughly 30000 of them are Ls's...isn't it like the pot calling the kettle black?

    what i feel differentiates Lexus from the German 3 is their lack of true upper end flagships, using re badged Toyota's to fill showrooms to inflate sales, no high performance models, and no brand identity in their design. now that i pissed everyone off i want to say this....Toyota corp. assembles automobiles terrificly. and every once in a while they even design an automobile that is a real attention getter(original LS400). the future looks great for Lexus(all that Toyota cash can't hurt!). ....but...i would really be surprised if they duplicate their success in Europe. i just don't see boring and bland designs selling that well there.

    also...while most of the Lexus faithful are rabidly enjoying any problems the Germans maybe having...they better look in their rear view mirror because Infiniti is on the move. my guess is that Infiniti will steal many more sales from Lexus than the Germans brands. reason....price point. just as Lexus has undercut the Germans i expect Infiniti to undercut Lexus. not by much.... but enough of a difference along with more sporting designs to give Lexus some fits on the soil that made it successful. they will have to fight to preserve market share in the US and at the same time try to convince rigid European buyers to give their product another chance. not an easy job.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Nice find, blockisland. For those who are interested, here is an excerpt "Visitors travelling by taxi to the DaimlerChrysler headquarters in Stuttgart used to have one choice of vehicle: Mercedes. The same was true throughout Germany. But on visits in the recent wintry months, the taxi rank has usually been headed by a Volkswagen, Opel or - worst of all - a Mazda."

    full text:
    http://news.ft.com/cms/s/62b860d0-808a-11d9-bd50-00000e2511c8.htm- l
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I guess I'm missing something. Why does someone who is such a fan of Audi keep harping on Lexus selling "rebadged Toyotas"? Isn't Audi mostly selling "rebadged VWs"?
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    Alright somebody has his facts a little wrong here: It is true that VW shares a lot of it's platforms among several cars. Drive them and you'll realize that they are completely different cars. Not even the Golf and the Beetle are similar in their driving experience!!! I can tell you that!

    Now to MB: They always had the C-class (last 20-30 years or so). They started the A and will introduce the B because they want to capture a younger market. They had problems in the past with they customers getting older and this was a logical move (strategically).

    Please DO NOT compare Mini with Scion!!! The Mini is a great car (driving+looks+image), but Scion gets 'the ugliest car in the world' -award!!!

    RR, Maybach, and Bentley are the top of the line, however remember that Bugatti is coming and topping everythign that has been there before!!!
  • ok...the infiniti....aka...pathfinder
    lx450.....aka....landcruiser
    slx.....aka.....trooper
    the other 2...heck i don't know.
    MB created the mid size luxury suv category.
    from scratch....from the ground up.
    if i wanted a Toyota or a Nissan or an Isuzu....guess what....i would buy one because they are the exact same vehicle!!!! and guess what...i would save some money! why would a person purchase a true "Wannabe" re badged vehicle. what's the upside.....saying i have an Infiniti or Lexus when actually i have a Nissan or Toyota. to me that's "wannabe"!
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    The A-class, A3, and the 1 series are not supposed to be luxury, they are 'premium-compacts'. I don't know about you but I can live with that.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Designman:

    Although this is the wrong forum for it but I'll carefully mention to you that on CL, their are rave reviews of the new 2006 GS300. Looks like the initial coolness and reservations to the exterior skin of this new Lex sport-sedan is giving way to a lot of excitement about the car. Many of these are from hard core tuners and performance-inclined drivers. Turned out that seeing the car in person is a whole lotta different than all of these pics flying around. Me: I have seen it in person and do like the GS, although it ddn't move me like, say an e39/e59. But I am waiting to actually sit in the car and get it on a freeway.

    Side-view (with the 18" wheels):
    image

    Rear-side:

    image
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    true end high luxury marquee as you state would only apply to Rolls, Bently, etc. if you use your logic. Again, you fail to see my point. A true luxury marquee must have a world presence. Why is Lexus now turning to design and performance aspects because it sees it cannot shove mindless cars down European's throats as it does in America. World-wide, Lexus is a poser and that is it. Come back in ten years and then start your discussion.

    I have to agree with you even though I think you are a little harsh in your form of expression. Lexus makes solid cars, no question about that, but what many people here fail to understand is that world-wide it doesn't come close to 'the Germans'. And people who want to tell me that Japanese design is cutting edge really need a reality check. Japan is not avant-garde in anything that requires good looks. If I am wrong please give me an example I would be happy to change my mind. German car design is cutting edege...if you like it or not!!!
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Any thoughts on the M6 ? I saw a pic in this month's Automobile magazine. Let me reserve my comment until I hear yours....

    Eeeeeoooooooowwwwww !!!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Ok, I guess we've made a little progress: you've gone from "luxury SUV's???MB created the segment. it didn't exist before the ML" to the current claim "MB created [only] the mid size luxury suv category". Well, even that is wrong. EPA doesn't have size classifications for SUVs, but if we go by Edmund's classifications, the Range Rover, Discovery, and ML are ALL considered midsize, and the ML was the last of the three to be introduced, far from "creating" the category.
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    Wow...you seem to want to be like an ostrich and put your head in the ground (America=World therefore we don't care about the rest. In order to get an unbiased picture here you can't take out the other countries. Consider this: what is the popularity of Japanese cars in the Emirates??? (a region of the world where the average middle class person laughs about the income of most people in the forum...no offense...and NO I am not from there) I can tell you: not as high as German cars, Italian sports cars... But this is just an example. AND...this is a market for luxury cars where price is not an issue.
  • Range Rover...yes they did exist. the ML, RX, X5, FX45, Cadillacs..SRX? , Disco, MDX, are the vehicles i was thinking of. and i stand by my statement that the ML created this particular catagory.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    The car is beautiful in person, much nicer than the pix. If this takes off and I think it will, add in the hybrids and it might be lights out sooner than I think.

    Today I was driving down the Garden State Pkwy in NJ and there in the right lane barely ahead of me were a GS (current model, of course), the new 5 and new E. I had never seen the three lined up in sequence before on a road. It was in heavy traffic so they were close together as well. But the 5 just stood out because it is just such a plodding odd looking car. I just looked at it and wondered what Bangle could have been thinking with such a mis-proportioned car. My second thought was how could my cyber buddy - You - possibly start to like this thing. The E was by far the best looking car of the group - until this new GS comes out. It's a winner.

    I'm starting to get a kick out of our German car lovers posts. It's amazing how they can't handle Lexus ruining the German party. If I was a German cvar lover I'd thank God every day Lexus was around. Ten years ago an MB S500 cost $10-12k more than it does now. If Lexus doesn't come to the party the $85K you now pay would have been over $110K. There's your damage measurement to MB's bottom line and the gain for those who depise Lexus for causing it. Sometimes people don't know who their friends are.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Maybe the germancarfans should thank Lexus for keeping the Germans honest on price, as you say. But the reliability decline could be attributed to the German's competitive response to Japan, i.e., adding the gadgetry that has caused problems. Oh, I forgot...reliability just isn't important, the only thing that counts is handling and racetrack performance of V12s that hardly anyone buys.
  • are you sure you didn't see a Maxima?
  • rl81rl81 Posts: 53
    You had some great arguments!!!

    I don't know the sales of Lexus/Lexus sold as Toyota in Japan, however I remember seeing a documentary about Luxury cars in Japan and most people intervied said that they like European cars, because they are 'different' and NOT-Japanese...kinda makes sense to me.

    In my opinion, why Lexus can undercut MB, BMW, etc. is one, definitely because of their production (that is what they are really good in), and two their financial situation. Totyota makes a lot of money and Lexus can just break even without being hurt financially. The same is true for Acura and Infinity.

    MB and BMW are not really set up to do that because they have to operate at higher margins in the upper classes. That was one VERY important reason for the merger with Chrysler, who was the most profitable car company in the world in profit per car. BMW can't do that because the closest to a volume model was the last 3 Series. I can't prove that, but I don't think, due to the corporate governance, that Audi recieves financial support from VW.

    It changes the picture dramatically if you HAVE to make a profit compared to just needing to break even (or maybe less).
    The result: Japanese Cars are cheaper than German cars. FACT! Americans, even in the higher market segment buy their cars depending on price! The problem I see with this is that most people read quality and 'being better' into those higher sales.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Ouch. MB's getting killed everywhere.

    That's my whole prestige issue in a nutshell. Paying a big price for high quality is, and always will be prestigious. Story of MB until about a dozen years ago. Paying a big price for poor quality that even cab drivers won't put up with is downright embarrassing. That's why their hold on the top prestige spot isn't going to last much longer.
  • the part that is interesting to me is.... how is Lexus going to keep Acura, Infiniti, and Cadillac from eating away at the 40k to 50k segment. in my opinion Infiniti is the wild card. they seem to sense that the car buyer in this segment wants a little more power along with better handling characteristics. Lexus is introducing a revised GS...Infiniti a revised M45....Cadillac STS. it will be interesting to see which car prevails. not only in higher sales....but which prevails in the automotive media. while both of these cars fight it out "Z" Germans will be introducing even more efficient and more powerful V8 engines.

    this idea that the Germans will be forever fighting uphill in the jdpower quality surveys is a false and misleading sense of comfort. to think that they will roll over and die is ridiculous. the next 5 years will be very telling...not only for the Germans but Lexus as well.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    But Lexus is quite profitable and has been for 10 years now. The only time they lost money was in the early 90's. The moment the LS started going into the 40's and on up to $60k the profits skyrocketed. The RX put them through the roof. They only have 250 dealers in the US so distribution costs are quite low, they have incredibly efficient production and low personnel costs because they used robots to build cars since day one. Toyota just knows what they are doing in this business better than anyone around. Even the Scion will be in the black sooner than anyone thinks.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Infiniti and Acura tried very hard to make their cars Lexus-like and were at a cheaper price. Result - total failure with Infiniti almost going out of business and Acura losing all its momentum. That battle is long over and was about as close as the Oklahoma/USC National championship game. That's why both are going the performance route and gunning for BMW and Audi. Neither brand, nor Cadillac is even remotely a threat. Lexus is cross-shopped with MB more than anything else. Again - you can imagine whatever you want but reality is very different.
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