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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "These people don't wnat to understand the business side. They are purists and purists are always a tiny minority that doesn't understand the greater needs of the buying public.

    Yet European cars have a huge following. There is nothing tiny about it. To say European car makers doesn't understand the needs of the greater buying public is to imply they don't know their market. Totally false. Beside Suvs and hybrids, all relatively new things, they've hit every other market segment they've entered. If there is anything most German car companies know it is their respective markets, well except VW which seems confused about its status.

    But your first sentence does illustrate why this debate will never be settled. Each side has different criteria, and I think I touched on that in my post #7919. This is really pointless because each side has it set in their mind what makes the brand, though I still strongly disagree that any buyers care about the "business" side of a car company. Sales numbers don't agree with this notion, because if they did certain companies including Mercedes, VW and Audi wouldn't be able to sell anything. People don't care about no business side when they go to buy a car.

    "Toyota spends $6bln a year on R&D but these folks think that they are doing nothing.

    You turned it around. Nobody said they weren't doing anything, just that they didn't do what the original poster claimed. I just read where Toyota spends about half of that on hybrids, hence their dominace there. Dominace there, lacking little things to you elsewhere.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ok, fair enough. The score isn't 1 to 0 either, I agree. Its more like 10 to 3 or something like that. I'll even go you one more, Toyota's TPS system is very innovative. I've read quite a bit about it too.

    I think the fundamental difference here is what Lenn stated. Each side has their own criteria and the opposite side will probably never measure up in the repsective eyes.

    A older guy (about 90 or so) told me that:

    "Karl & "Gotleeb"(Daimler and Benz) invented it"

    "Ford (Henry)show'd the world how to build it"

    "Cadillac show'd em how to make'em quality"

    I laugh every time I think of they way he said it. You had to be there I guess.

    M
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi all,
    This is discussion is borderline childish..

    "Mercedes, Volvo, GM, BMW and others did all the work so your Lexus would be a safe vehicle. "

    Who cares who brought it first to market?? If any of you have taken a single business class you'll see First Mover Advantage isn't a guarantee of being the best..I'm willing to bet Toyota has made a fortune licensing their hybrid technology, more than Mercedes has being first to market with safety innovations.

    Last time I checked, these companies are in the business of making money..Prestige doesn't pay the workers or build factories, profits do..

    "Hybrids save lives? Fatalities due to polution? I'm surprised at that notion. Sounds awfully desperate to me. "

    Umm, yeah, pollution is a serious problem. Have you ever been to Delhi? I just read an article saying that emissions cause 20K deaths in LA alone. Here's the link:
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/02/22/diesel.pollution.ap/

    Granted this particular article focuses on diesel only but the argument follows to normal emissions. You're correct to say Air Bags are a great innovation by GM...But how many people actually care that their Toyota's airbag was originally designed by GM? I doubt they even realize it. Does anyone care who invented the seat belt? No...

    If you're going to try and argue MB is better why don't you try something tangible like Handling or original design? Your argument would be much stronger there. Those qualities is what almost made me buy the S Class instead of another LS.

    SV
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "Hybrids save lives? Fatalities due to polution? I'm surprised at that notion. Sounds awfully desperate to me. Projected lives saved vs. those at least thought to already to be saved?"

    How many lives did various MB safety innovations save in the very early years of their adoption cycle? Not as many as they have saved once the technologies became widely adopted. But that shouldn't diminsh the value of those innovations.

    Just as you should not diminish the value of hybrid as an innovation, merely because it is early in its adoption cycle.

    BTW, there might be EPA data that estimate the number of lives lost per unit of each pollutant (except for carbon dioxide, whose contribution to global warming is still debated by some), and in theory one could estimate the life-saving contribution of hybrid technology.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If nobody cares who first brought these thing to market then what makes you think people by the same token care about how much money Toyota has made? For a person that doesn't care about any of this, both facts are lost on them. However these innovations are in everyones cars today and probably wouldn't be if weren't for MB,BMW,GM and others. Or at least they wouldn't be as advanced as they are today. The same exact things will be written about Toyota and Hybrids in the future.

    The point the orignal poster was making (I think) is that Toyota/Lexus shouldn't be seen in same light because they haven't worked nearly as hard compared to the others.

    Buyers don't walk into a showroom asking how much money Toyota is going to make off a Hybrid.

    I agree pollution is a serious problem and its one Toyota couldn't even hope to build enough hybrids to offset the number of trucks, busses and other pollution spewing things of the world. I'm sorry but I find the argument of Toyota saving lives based on projections compared to live already saved by various safety innovations from various other carmakers, to be ridiculous and beyond reaching.

    Hybrids aren't on the road yet in sufficient numbers to do anything yet, but cars with all the above safety equipment is in your driveway and everyone else's on this thread..right now.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "How many lives did various MB safety innovations save in the very early years of their adoption cycle? Not as many as they have saved once the technologies became widely adopted. But that shouldn't diminsh the value of those innovations.

    Good point. Never thought of it that way, there is some real meat to that.

    "BTW, there might be EPA data that estimate the number of lives lost per unit of each pollutant (except for carbon dioxide, whose contribution to global warming is still debated by some), and in theory one could estimate the life-saving contribution of hybrid technology.

    True, but this is basically guesswork compared to hard data on ABS, Airbags etc. that we know have saved lives already. Not saying it isn't true, only that it hasn't been proven yet.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I wasn't referring to the car makers, I was referring to people on this board. I simply gave the NHL as an example as what can happen if purists don't expand their ideas to broader needs.

    I agree with your comment about sportier styled cars but not at all about sportier handling. Most people want adequate handling and nothing more. Cars that accent performance are seeking a niche crowd, always have been, always will be. I hardly think the American public is ready, willing and in many cases able to pay higher prices for performance cars or the high insurance costs they bring with them.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > ..Prestige doesn't pay the workers or build
    > factories, profits do..

    If you're talking luxury industry, prestige is everything. It is a paradox that you make more money by ignoring engineering-for-cost as the only priority, but that's the way it works with true luxury products. Prestife is crucial, and if one neglects to nourish that image very carefully at all levels it is going to become a huge problem for a luxury brand.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Just curious, since the existence of the A series in Europe is seen as such a blatant problem in MB's perception as a luxury brand, whether BMW's very successful introduction of the 1 series is seen as something that poses a threat to the BMW image. Personally, I don't think so. Luxury brands do possess more elasticity than people realize. The luxury image suffers when a product is garbage. But one can leverage the luxury brand name into a lower end market, provided the product commands a significant premium and measures extremely favorably against products in the same market niche.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    My 2 cents are that while going downmarket may not destroy a brand, it can dilute the brand image. Part of what a luxury brand offers is exclusivity. If the brand name is overdistributed by going downmarket then the exclusivity aspect and the associated prestige is diminished.
  • If you look at my original post, I never claimed that Lexus has out-innovated MB specifically in SAFETY since 1990. I did claim that, since 1990, Toyota/Lexus innovations IN TOTAL are at least as significant to the industry as MB innovations.

    Really? Would you please provide a list of Toyota/Lexus innovations, in total, since 1990 that make them "at least as significant" to MB innovations?

    For all of MB’s 120 years of safety innovations, does the S-class actually end up safer than the 15-year-young LS? Actually, not according to real-world data. Check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website...you’ll find that the LS has 16% LESS personal injury losses than the S (46 vs 55 based on 100 equaling average injury losses…both are very safe, but the LS is clearly SAFER).

    Wow, this is probably the most inaccurate and misleading post I have read in a long time. First of all, you can't compare numbers for cars in different classes. Notice how the S class is rated as a "very large" car and the LS is a "large" car. Secondly, the injury loss rate is of little to no value when determining the overall safety of a car, ESPECIALLY when the numbers are so close as is this case.

    Driver demographics, location demographics and a certain degree of randomness all affect these numbers. For example, I think it would be fair to assume that the LS is more likely to be driven by older, more experienced drivers. The S on the other hand, has greater appeal to hotshot young males with money, who like to drive fast and recklessly. Who would you expect to drive into a tree more often and with greater force?

    And you still haven't been able to explain away the following, since Lexus is such a safety conscious brand and all:

    -Lexus doesn't offer rear side airbags on ANY of its vehicles. (Standard across MB line)
    -Lexus doesn't offer rollover protection on its SC430 convertible. (Standard on the SL since 1989)
    -Lexus doesn't offer rear head airbags on the IS or GS. (Standard across entire MB line)
    -Lexus doesn't offer head protection airbags on its SC430 convertible. (SL does)
    -Lexus doesn't offer standard ESC on its IS300 (Standard across entire MB line since 1999).
    -Lexus doesn't off rear seatbelt ETDs or load limiters, except on the LS and ES. (Standard across entire MB line).
    -Lexus doesn't offer emergency telematics on any vehicle. (Available across entire MB)
    -Lexus doesn't offer battery disconnect/fuel shutoff. (Standard across entire BMW line).

    These are just a few of the safety features that Lexus lacks in comparison to MB vehicles. Not to mention the fact that the safety features that Lexus does have, were all introduced several years after MB.

    I have to disagree here. You seem to take fatalities as the measure of a carmaker’s worth to the world. What about fatalities due to pollution? Do you recognize that hybrid power trains, once more widely adopted (including by the Germans, once they “copy” the technology), will save many lives due to fuel savings and hence lower emissions?

    Well, I guess if a 56% reduction in single vehicle fatalities due ONE of Mercedes' countless innovations isn't impressive to you, I don't know what would be. I can't discredit Toyota/Lexus for their work with hybrid technology, but this technology is still in its infancy and isn’t even an economically sound alternative to regular fuel engines. I’m not sure that hybrid technology really qualifies as a “safety feature” more like an environmental feature. When the IIHS issues a report that hybrid technology accounts for a 56% reduction in fatalities, let me know.

    MB's U.S. product line actually starts LOWER in price than does Lexus'. If you eliminate all of MB's models at price points higher than Lexus' highest price point, Lexus still outsells MB in the U.S., only by a wider margin. MB product is available in the entire Lexus price range, and then some. Why can't MB outsell Lexus if price is the barrier?

    I’m not sure where you got your numbers from, but all I had to do was visit the Lexus and MB website to disprove this theory. Here are the following BASE prices for competing Lexus and MB cars:

    S430: $77,970
    LS430: $56,225

    SL500: $92,020
    SC430: $63,575

    E350: $50,770
    GS300: $38,875

    ML350: $38,670
    RX330: $36,025

    C230: $29,970
    IS300: $30,280

    With the exception of the IS, every Lexus vehicle is significantly less expensive than base Mercedes vehicles with no options. As soon as you upgrade the engine or add some options, the price difference soars exponentially. So essentially, yes there is a price barrier… a HUGE price barrier.

    Some value needs to be accorded MB's higher prestige. If a Timex watch were physically IDENTICAL to a Rolex, except for the brand name, don't you think Rolex could still price somewhat higher, but sell the same number of units as the physically same but lower-prestige Timex?

    No I don’t. First of all, Timex watches and Rolex watches aren’t identical, much the same as MB and Lexus aren’t identical. Second of all, even if Rolex did price its watches “somewhat” higher than a Timex, it still wouldn’t sell as many as the lower priced Timex. The greater the price, the less willing consumers are to buy any particular product, as is the case for watches or cars. I’ve already shown you that MB vehicles are much more expensive than Lexus, so this effect is only magnified.

    Since MB has more "content" in the form of prestige, it follows that consumers should be willing to pay a little more but still buy it in the same numbers as Lexus. But they don't.

    Again, consumers aren’t paying “a little more” they are paying on the order of 10k-30k more for BASE MB models compared to loaded Lexus models. Adding options and engines to MB models only exacerbates this difference.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I think this "innovation" argument is one of the more pointless and certainly one of the tiredest that goes on here.

    For the most part ... the *most* part ... most of you agree that the Germans have come up with more innovations and Toyota/Lexus has refined (copied, whatever) those innovations to be more reliable than the Germans presented in the first place. I don't see a general disagreement about that and am not sure that it makes any sense for anyone to be "keeping score" about who did what first. Why does anyone care?

    And I sure don't see the point of doing all the stretching that some of you do to continue to argue about some aspect or another of this concept.

    It's all good, don't you think? Every time some new innovation comes along from someone, it's a step forward even if it involves tripping over a log every now and then. Every time someone else figures out how to get rid of the log, that's another step forward.

    Isn't that a good thing all around?
  • It is true..Lexus takes innovations from Mercedes and Volvo and others...They work with them to make them better and more reliable BEFORE they put them in their car....

    Oh really? I'm not sure I have ever seen a study that suggests that Lexus ESC is better or more reliable than Mercedes ESC, or that Lexus ABS is better than Mercedes ABS. What I do know, is that Lexus offers fewer safety features than MB and that MB builds its cars to withstand not only crash tests, but also the infinite number of untested, realworld accidents. MB even has its own accident investigation team (so does Volvo) that analyzes real world accidents to make their cars safer.

    What is the value of a safety feature if you don't know for certain that it will work when you need it...Mercedes rushes their innovations into production, Lexus perfects them first...I like the Lexus approach..You will say you like the Mercedes approach...Different strokes.

    So how did Lexus perfect the ESC system that MB introduced 4 years before Lexus? How did Lexus perfect the side airbag that Volvo introduced 3 years before Lexus? How did Lexus perfect the head protection airbag system that BMW introduced 2 years before Lexus? Lucky for me, BMW's pioneering head protection system didn't have any problems working properly when my '98 528i was broadsided by a drunk in a speeding mustang.

    In the end, Lexus takes a reactive approach to safety whereas MB/Volvo/BMW takes a proactive approach. If Lexus thinks its sales will dip because MB model X has a safety feature that Lexus model Y doesn't, it may or may not decide to introduce said feature several years later. If MB sees an opportunity to enhance the safety of its vehicles, and ultimately all vehicles, it will. This has been proved time and time again going back to the early 20th century.
  • Offer some proof in the form of percent fatalities per crash..Last time I checked the LS430 gets the same crash ratings as any other Lux car. If the LS430 were less safe you can bet the press would jump all over it.

    Unfortunately, no such statistics exist. However, knowing that MB is always on the forefront of safety gives me more reason to believe that an MB vehicle will protect me in a real world crash than a slacker like Lexus with a non-existent reputation for safety. Pretend you had no knowledge of either the Lexus or MB badge, and only knew about company history. Would you feel safer in the sedan from company A, who not only has more safety features, but has introduced cutting edge safety advancements for over a century, or the sedan from company B, who has fewer safety features, hasn't introduced any features, and is consistently several years behind in adopting new technology? ... Yeah that's what I thought.

    Get over it already. Do you think anyone cares who built it first?? This is a real desperate attempt to slam Lexus..

    Well considering the fact that how much interest a company shows in autosafety is probably a good indication of how safe it engineers its cars, yes, I think everyone should care. You may think this is a desperate attempt, I would call it a revelation of truth, the truth that Lexus tries to hide.

    Lexus prices for less, because their COSTS are less. No one can deny the superiority of the TPS system. It's not Lexus' fault that the German marques can't match their efficiency. As for who is the better car, read the Car mags. I always see the LS430 either first or in the top three..Not bad for an "unsafe" car...

    The inside economics of Lexus pricing doesn't matter in the least. The only thing that matters is the bottom line. People can buy Lexus for less money than they can buy Mercedes for, thus more Lexus is sold. This is a simple principle of economics.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    More nonsense from the German fans in here..

    First of all if you've look at the demographics of High end Lux car buyers, you'll see we're Middle Executives in our late 40's-50's earning in excess of 175K per year...The young hotshot probably represents the minority buyer..I don't think MB specially designs their cars for juvenile deliquents who don't know how to drive. That's got to be one of the most absurd things I've heard.

    NO prestige does not sell cars solely. If that were the case Toyota wouldn't be the most profitable car company in the world, Rolls Royce would be. I don't know what planet you all live on, but the board of any company demands profits bottom line. I think DCX would trade some of that prestige for $12Billion in Toyota Revenues..

    As for the safety argument...You have NO real world data to back up your claims..Number patents is great, but the Lexus hasn't lost a SINGLE crash test rating to the Germans..It always earns top marks in any crash test I've read.

    Lexus isn't hiding anything, in fact they're laughing all the way to the bank.. You offer opinions, I offer facts. I've taken a nasty 35 MPH side impact in my LS400 and the car barely moved. I heard a faint thump..That's about it..

    If you did any research you'll see that you can't even get a LS430 base model anywhere. The typical car is the $62,700 model. The S430 I was thinking of buying was $78K. The LS beat the S430 in all the last few Car and Driver and Road and Track comparisons.

    We've been through this..Lexus sells more cars at a higher price point than Mercedes does. Go read the last few pages of posts..Here's a basic lesson in economics: If a producer sells a product for 15K more than their competitor how come they make less money on the same car than their competitor? Why is it that Lexus makes more money on each LS430 than Mercedes does on their S430? Here's another another fact from Econ 1a: The most efficient Producer is the most profitable producer....Gee, I think we know who wins the profit game.

    Following your logic, I shouldn't feel safer in an Airbus A340-600 than a 747 because they a) haven't been in the business long, b) Haven't introduced as many safety features as Boeing, c) They price it lower than the 747...Yet Airbus is wiping Boeing's nose in the dirt in the marketplace..Why? Basic economics. To this day, no one has proved that the Airbus is not as safe as the 747...The same logic applies to Lexus. I use this analogy because I've worked in Aircraft Related industries for over 30 yrs and hear the same sort of nonsense all the time..Boeing's attitude towards Airbus was strikingly similar to what MB was towards Lexus..Who's laughing now?

    SV

    You can argue this snob attitude all you want, but profits are the telling story. It's like I tell my kids, no one cares how smart you think you are, it's the grades that count..The attitude on this board is of the English style Country Club thumbing their noses at the young upstart.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Great points on Economics 101. Efficiency v Productivity. Ugh.... who would have thunked that ?
  • First of all if you've look at the demographics of High end Lux car buyers, you'll see we're Middle Executives in our late 40's-50's earning in excess of 175K per year...The young hotshot probably represents the minority buyer..I don't think MB specially designs their cars for juvenile deliquents who don't know how to drive. That's got to be one of the most absurd things I've heard.

    Well again, your point regarding the IIHS injury claim data is completely moot anyway because the cars are in different classes of measurement. But I’ll go ahead and humor your false assumption. You said yourself that MB has more prestige than Lexus. Who is going to be more concerned with prestige, a 70yr old grandmother or a 28yr .com yuppie? The fact of the matter is, no matter how much of a minority this type of buyer represents, it still influences the numbers.

    NO prestige does not sell cars solely. If that were the case Toyota wouldn't be the most profitable car company in the world, Rolls Royce would be. I don't know what planet you all live on, but the board of any company demands profits bottom line. I think DCX would trade some of that prestige for $12Billion in Toyota Revenues.

    I never said it did. What are you talking about?

    As for the safety argument...You have NO real world data to back up your claims..Number patents is great, but the Lexus hasn't lost a SINGLE crash test rating to the Germans..It always earns top marks in any crash test I've read.

    Yeah except for the following where Lexus lost to the Germans:

    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/96031.htm
    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/99006.htm
    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/98022.htm
    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/98022.htm
    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/0129.htm

    Oh and lets not forget the countless Toyota vehicles that have performed poorly.

    Lexus isn't hiding anything, in fact they're laughing all the way to the bank.. You offer opinions, I offer facts. I've taken a nasty 35 MPH side impact in my LS400 and the car barely moved. I heard a faint thump..That's about it.

    You have offered absolutely no facts, mostly just side stepping and rambling on about profit margins. On the other-hand I have provided valid points which you have been unable to disprove. You want to talk facts? What about the fact that Lexus refuses to offer the most basic side impact airbag for rear seat passengers on its flagship sedan? What about the fact that it’s $65k SC430 luxury convertible doesn’t offer the rollover protection system that’s been available on the SL since 1989? What about the fact that Lexus is always LAST to market with new safety features relative to the European competition? What about the fact that Lexus is perhaps the least safety conscious high end brand as shown by their inability to innovate? What about those facts?

    If you did any research you'll see that you can't even get a LS430 base model anywhere. The typical car is the $62,700 model. The S430 I was thinking of buying was $78K. The LS beat the S430 in all the last few Car and Driver and Road and Track comparisons.

    Nor can you get a base S430 anywhere. Even if this were true, the loaded LS430 still costs less than the base S430… thank you for proving my point :) Oh and the funny part about that Car and Driver comparison you refer to is that the LS430 scored DEAD LAST for skid-pad, road-holding, braking distance, and other driving dynamics. It only won because it was the best value… but don’t assume best value means best overall.

    We've been through this..Lexus sells more cars at a higher price point than Mercedes does. Go read the last few pages of posts.
    BUZZZZZ. Wrong, every Lexus vehicle (except the IS300) sells for a significantly lower price point than comparable Mercedes vehicles, as I already proved. Looks like you need to do some more research.

    Here's a basic lesson in economics: If a producer sells a product for 15K more than their competitor how come they make less money on the same car than their competitor? Why is it that Lexus makes more money on each LS430 than Mercedes does on their S430? Here's another another fact from Econ 1a: The most efficient Producer is the most profitable producer....Gee, I think we know who wins the profit game.

    And profit margins matter why? You aren’t very good at trying to twist the facts. I never said MB made more money that Lexus and I could care less if they did. All I said, and proved to you, was that Lexus sells vehicles for less money than Mercedes and thus sells more vehicles.

    Following your logic, I shouldn't feel safer in an Airbus A340-600 than a 747 because they a) haven't been in the business long, b) Haven't introduced as many safety features as Boeing, c) They price it lower than the 747...Yet Airbus is wiping Boeing's nose in the dirt in the marketplace..Why? Basic economics. To this day, no one has proved that the Airbus is not as safe as the 747...The same logic applies to Lexus. I use this analogy because I've worked in Aircraft Related industries for over 30 yrs and hear the same sort of nonsense all the time..Boeing's attitude towards Airbus was strikingly similar to what MB was towards Lexus..Who's laughing now?

    Again, you resort to vague logic and economic theory to attempt to prove your point. What does the “Airbus wiping Boeing’s nose in the dirt in the marketplace” have to do with the safety of each respective aircraft? And for what its worth, aircraft safety designs are inherently similar, so the difference between an Airbus and a Boeing safety wise isn’t measurable by features or test results.

    Just admit it, when it comes to safety MB offers more features, offers new features earlier, and offers more comprehensive crash protection than does Lexus. I can admit that Lexus build a more reliable car, and I can also admit that Toyota/Lexus is on the forefront of hybrid tech. I can admit both of these things because they are obvious. The question is, how come Lexus fanboys can’t admit when their precious Lexus lags behind the automotive market in safety, hasn’t innovated a single safety feature, and refuses to provide basic safety features on its models?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Ok - you win. Only problem is MB comes in 31st out of 32 brands in Germany in relaibility and can't even get a poor rating in CR's figures. They get full black circle everytime on every car. Translation - abysmal. I'll take a very safe car and no.1 reliability rating over your sick statistics any day of the week.

    Your price issue is absurd. Lexus allows you to opt for the things MB forces down your throat. Opt for them all and you're in the low 70's. Try to keep price affordable and you are high 50's. No LS is built at the MSRP without any options so throwing up a mid 50's price is pure BS. But I thought choice was good not bad. I guess when it comes to options and pricing its bad but when it comes to derivatives of cars its great.

    By the way with MB's horrendous integration of electronics I hope all the safety iems work when someone needs them.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    BTW, did you change your moniker to tiag_m5 today to distance yourself from the incorrect claim that airbags were an MB innovation?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "Would you please provide a list of Toyota/Lexus innovations, in total, since 1990 that make them "at least as significant" to MB innovations?"

    Oh, so we should do this by number of innovations rather than their importance to the industry? OK, let's play it your way. Just visit the USPTO site and see how many patents have been issued to Toyota vs MB since 1990. Answer: Toyota 4906, MB 1998. (The search strings I used were "AN/(mercedes or daimler or benz) and ISD/1/1/1990->2/24/2005" and "AN/toyota and ISD/1/1/1990->2/24/2005". There is a limit on message length on this board, so I can't list all 4906, but you can get details on each at
    http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/search-adv.htm

    "First of all, you can't compare numbers for cars in different classes. Notice how the S class is rated as a "very large" car and the LS is a "large" car."

    In fact, larger size should help not hurt MB's S injury rates...as can be seen in the data, where the average "very large" car does better than the average "large" one.

    "For example, I think it would be fair to assume that the LS is more likely to be driven by older, more experienced drivers. The S on the other hand, has greater appeal to hotshot young males with money, who like to drive fast and recklessly."

    Don't you think that "hotshot young males...who like to drive fast and recklessly" are more likely to end up in a BMW, SL, CL, E55, SLK, CLK, etc, rather than an S?

    Your statement might be true if the average age of an S driver were 22 and the average for Lexus were 40, but I think you know better than that. You can't come up with hard numbers and neither can I. My guess is that average for both cars would be in the area of 45-58. IF it is higher for Lexus, do you realize that this would imply a greater number of people over, say 65, who may drive slower but also have slower reaction times and hence might be more accident-prone?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Pricing.

    1. MB starts at 29,970, Lexus at 30,280. MB's product line BRACKETS Lexus' in price. If Lexus ran 30-70k and MB 50-140k you would have a valid point on price. But MB starts slightly lower.

    2. "10k-30k more for BASE MB models compared to loaded Lexus models"

    a. The prices given on the Lexus website are for base, not loaded, vehicles.

    b. The 10-30k premium you suggest is only true for some comparisons. But even there, if you look at lease rates the gap is narrower, or even non-existent.

    c. Your vehicle-by-vehicle matchups don’t make sense:

    S vs LS. LS is often cross-shopped with the E, not solely with the S. You can find examples on these very boards.

    SL500 vs SC430. What about the CLK and SLK?

    3. “The greater the price, the less willing consumers are to buy any particular product.” You forgot to add the qualifier “all else being equal”. Because if there is suitably higher content to go along with a higher price, the higher priced product need not sell in lower units.

    For instance, I don’t have numbers but it wouldn’t be surprising if diamond engagement rings outsold sapphire ones, despite being higher priced. Why? Because of the prestige and tradition that go with diamond. Higher content.

    Prestige is valuable, and, other things equal, if one product has more prestige it can command a higher price. PRESTIGE IS JUST LIKE ANY OTHER “FEATURE” OF A PRODUCT, such as larger engine, better styling, etc…insomuch as people are willing to pay extra for it.

    Suppose there is a housing developer who is building new homes on a large tract of land. Suppose that he offers only two models, “m4” which has 4000 sq ft on 1 acre, and “m5” which has 5000 sf on 1.25 acres. You are saying “The greater the price, the less willing consumers are to buy any particular product.”…meaning that it is impossible to sell in the same quantities if one is priced higher. I submit that if m5 is priced only slightly higher than m4, say 5%, then it will not only sell more units (directly opposite what you suggest), but it will probably sell MULTIPLE TIMES as many units as m4. Similarly if the developer tries to price too much for the extra content, say 45%, then m4 will outsell m5 by multiple times. If follows that there is a some price premium between 5% and 45% where the two will sell in EQUAL numbers, DESPITE m5 being priced higher. I don’t know if that premium will be 20% or some other number, but the important point is that if a product has higher content, be it size or prestige, it can outsell even a lower-priced product.

    We can see this principle in operation in the real world, even WITHIN THE MB PRODUCT LINE. Did you know that in some years the S500 outsells the S430? How could that be, if “The greater the price, the less willing consumers are to buy any particular product”??? Answer: sufficiently higher content, including prestige. So you can’t use price as an excuse for MB’s US sales performance, because there is an offsetting factor at work: prestige.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "the funny part about that Car and Driver comparison you refer to is that the LS430 scored DEAD LAST for skid-pad, road-holding, braking distance, and other driving dynamics."

    You should check your facts. C&D tested the LS with all-season tires and the S with summer tires. Somehow I think that might have had some impact on the relative "skid-pad, road-holding, braking distance, and other driving dynamics"...don't you?

    Put another way, if summer tires don't have performance advantages over all-seasons, why does anyone make them or buy them?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "Just admit it, when it comes to safety MB offers more features, offers new features earlier, and offers more comprehensive crash protection than does Lexus."

    As I tried to make clear earlier, I don't dispute MB's 120 years of SAFETY innovations, and I don't think others here have either, so why keep pounding away on the safety issue?

    Where we differ on innovation is the relative merits of post-1990 TOTAL innovation (not just safety) by the respective companies. As I posted earlier, Toyota has 2.5 TIMES the number of issued patents.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Forget which mag it was but the description never left me. They described the LS handling as "greasy". That goes way beyond tires. Do you know how a picture is worth a thousand words? Well that one word is almost worth a thousand test drives.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I'll grant that outfitted with 18" summers instead of 17" all-seasons, the LS still isn't going to be a BMW in disguise.

    But Mr. tiag_m5/jovialanus somehow left out part of the C&D comparo: the LS's "Acceleration is brisk: second best to 60 mph; third in the quarter, at 95 mph, as it showed taillights to three of the four Germans. Yet its fuel economy on our trip tied the Jag's at 21 mpg, topped the Audi's, BMW's, and Benz's by 2 mpg"
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Phew !!! Long post.... tiag_m5, are you related to Denaliinpa, by any chance ?

    "Lexus lags behind the automotive market in safety, hasn’t innovated a single safety feature, and refuses to provide basic safety features on its models?"

    What a tall statement to make ? So what does these things you state so emphatically translate to ? Poorer product ? Less safe product ? What ?
  • Merc.

    Aren't you the one who talks about Lexus stealing all those Mercedes Innovations...

    I simply agreed with you...

    The prof that lexus makes them better is the Lexus Dependability compared to Mercedes..Lexus has most of the same innovations..just put them in a couple of years after Mercedes...Yet ours work flawlessly...and You wish yours did.
  • Tiag:

    My 01 Ultra has Curtin side airbags in the back and side airbags in the front.

    Since this is the High end Luxury Board I will stick to responding to The LS.

    I am not sure what emergency telematrics is..I have to ask is that the thing where if you get into a crash or your air bag inflates a 911 call goes out automatically with the location of your car...I have that...Plus an Emergency button that I can Push...It all works through the GPS system

    So both Lexus and Mercedes don't offer Battery disconnect on fuel shot off...I don't know if my Lexus does or not and I am not going to wade through Hundreds of pages of Manual to try and find out.

    The Price Barrier is a Testement to Lexus construction Techniques...The fact Mercedes is Overpriced is a Bad thing...for them RIGHT?

    WHAT IS THIS INNOVATION..That results in 56% lower fatalities?.. Whatever it is I am sure My Lexus has it....Is it Airbags, Seatbelts, Crumple zones, VSC, ABS, ?...What pray tell are you talking about?
  • Tiag:

    So you are saying Mercedes Uses their Upscale Buyers like Ginney pigs to test their Innovations and then put those innovations in all their cars later when they are sure they work? AND they upscale buyer gets to pay for the privledge of being a Ginney pig.

    It has already been acknowledged that Mercedes and sometimes BMW will often engineer innovations that LEXUS will not have for a couple of years.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    Shut the door of any current Benz (except the G class) and is just doesn't feel as solid as MBs from ten years ago. The interior materials feel cheaper.

    BMWs also don't have the same build quality. The current M3 has had TWO "service actions" for its engine because of rod bearings.

    Porsche has had an RMS leak (rear main seal) in some Porsche 996s and 997s and Boxsters. They know they have a problem but won't fix it. The 911 Turbo and GT3 have a different engine and don't suffer this problem.

    Is a 7 speed transmision an innovation? I guess, but who cares? Give me a car with stuff that works over "innovations" that don't.
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