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High End Luxury Cars

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  • I've been an MB buyer, a BMW buyer and a Lexus buyer so the twain have met:)
    I had a 330i which I loved and was very dependable. My needs changed (a much longer commute) and I decided I wanted a luxury car. That's when I went on the LS, Audi 8, BMW 745 and MB S class odessy. Finally went with the LS430 for what I think is better quality at a lower price. I respect each car for what they bring to the table, sport, luxo, technical goodies etc. But in the end for 60K plus you better get quality and reliability along with the attributes you loved in the car. I would have gone with the S Class if I thought only a few minor issues would come up. But the thought of major repeating problems at that price were enough to turn me away. I don't need every car company to be equal to Lexus in reliability but they should be close at those prices.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    Agree with you on BMW. It's not the BMW guys that get me. I wouldn't argue your BMW point for a second. Most MB's are hardly performance cars and whenever MB handling is cited it is in the very samll percentage of performance cars they make not the mainstream cars. That's why Lexus and MB will always be cross shopped the majority of the time. BMW shoppers should cross shop with Audi and probably more and more often with Infiniti and Acura in the future. We all know what BMW does to Audi. We'll have to see if the Japanese start cutting into them.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Denali:

    "i think most posters on this forum would have a big problem if Mercedes Benz sold re badged Chrysler products. this is a big sticking point with me because in my eyes i see a massive difference between MB and Lexus"

    Have you been to Europe ever ? Have you seen the kadzillion stripped-down MBs that litter the Taxi ranks on the streets and airports of Europe ? These cars are as spartan as a Kia ! Vinyly seats, no A/C, no sun/moonroof, steel rim wheels with covers, etc.... have ridden in many many MBs in Europe on business trips, so I know what I am talking about.... These cars are what adds a lot of units sold to MBs worldwide sales. Only here in the US and parts of Asia does MB categorically positions itself as a pure luxury brand.

    I'd like to see you in one of these stripped MBs before you start castigating Lexus as re-badged Toyotas. Besides, how can MB be a pure lux brand when it sells the A-class, Smart, and that God-awful G-class ???

    Finally, do you recall MBs of the 70's and 80's ? Tell me what luxury features you can point to ? They were not the nicest looking cars on the road. Their claims to fame were their rock-solid build, quality of engineering, safety, and the three-pointed star. Now, the most striking thing about MBs is their exterior styling.... That does not make a luxury car, imo.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I join Len to not take issues with your post on BMW. You owners are just on a different planet than the rest of us :)

    "The Lexus buyer is a Lexus buyer. The BMW buyer is a BMW buyer. Never the twain shall meet. And then there is Oac ;-)"

    You humor me, my dear Designman. And I thank you for this....
  • hfanghfang Posts: 31
    Just visited london and paris in the last two years, and there are all kinds of crappy MB's out there, especially the budget A class, Smart cars, and the scads of cheap, stripped down C and E classes out there used as fleet vehicles and taxicabs-

    and syswei is right on as well- Denali- why does it matter what the badge says- isn't it what's underneath that counts? Would the LS be an inferior car if it were called a Toyota? Would your A8 be a lesser car if it were a VW? Still great cars with or without the badge-
  • Oh so true about MB in Europe. They sell E class looking cars as cabs, but they have absolutely nothing in them. It was kind of a shock for me when I was in England, because the MBs weren'y luxury. Also, good point about the G-class. I dispise that car, and I think that MB is a dumb bunny for selling that. Maybe if they wait another 20 years, then everyone will forget what it looks like.... (shiver)

    Anyway, that's a good point about badging. And the A8 is rebadged into a VW, the Phaeton (which doesn't make sense to me). That doesn't make it a worse car at all. Lexus has the LX470 (and soon a JX470 based off of the Sequoia) that is based off of the old Land Cruiser. But it's been changed enough in the smaller dynamics to be a Lexus. And the Maybachs are just rebadged S-Classes stretched, but does that make them bad? bad point, chris. Bad point. Anyway, that's the way GMC works (as far as I can see) From what I've driven of GMC, they seem a lot like Chevys.

    OK I'm out
    Chris
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Status. Well, for me personally, I used to think I didn't care too much. But I've realized now that's wrong, I do care. I started thinking about my wife's next car, which is maybe a 18 months away, (she is currently in an LX) and in many ways a Sienna AWD would be a great choice...but the minivan configuration combined with the Toyota badge probably will rule it out for us. So it may be an MDX instead, but even there I'm not 100% sure it projects the "right" image.

    For me personally, Lexus lacks MB's prestige, but Lexus has "enough" prestige. And I don't think I would buy a R or next-generation G at least in their first year of production, because to me reliability needs to be proven for MB, and this outweighs MB's incremental prestige.

    As I said in my last post, I don't count myself as a true enthusiast. And I still don't see why a true enthusiast should care about the badge.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Sounds great on paper but in the American real world, that's not how human nature operates. If the Lexus LS was originally marketed as a Toyota, do you think it would have been as successful in the American market? Same car. Different perception.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > .. German lovers base best car emphasis on
    > performance dynamics even though it can't be
    > used 99% of the time ..

    I'd change that to say "performance car lovers", and it happens to be that a large portion of the luxury car market is performance and "sports" oriented (though I've never understood the latter acronym, it's not like anyone gets any fitter driving a "sports sedan" than a Taurus). The car market *is* irrational. It does appeal to emotion, no matter how much people try to rationalize it away.

    The motorcycle market is a nice case study in the irrationality of motor vehicle. Not even the best riders in the world can exploit a 100HP+ sports motorcycle capabilities to the fullest on the road and expect to live. However, the average weekend rider likes to project the image that *he* can. And would never want to admit he can't (and shouldn't if he wants to live) and buy a more rational package based on that fact. Ergo, sharper and sharper packages with 140HP+ and ridiculously radical seating positions dominate the market. And if, like me, you go buy a BMW, which is an utterly satisfying and capable motorcycle (not even remotely a performance leader, though), the other riders just *know* you're boring and slow. No matter if you just trounced them coming up the canyon road when a couple of turns came up...

    Same with cars. For some reason people want to project the image they exploit all those horses of the traffic light, and that they know to exploit the limits of the car's cornering capabilities...

    Don't get me wrong - I do like some tautness in cars, since excessive roll angles and boat like floating over any ondulation of the surface is a bit too much. But there aren't many cars like that driving around these days. Responsiveness is good. Cart-like connection to every road imperfection is not, though. Engine responsiveness is good, and some decent power needs to be present for that. But bizarre power engineering that needs tobe contunuously reeled in by dynamic aids to protect the integrity of the mechanicals as well as the rider's is a bizarre trend... but the odd thing is, many buyers are intensely irrational and go for it.

    I do think Lexus is a balanced, conservative approach to building luxury cars. Load them to the gills, don't go overboard with power or sporty dynamics. Which incidentally used to initially be the Mercedes differentiator against BMW when they first crossed swords, long before Lexus entered the scene. So one could argue that Lexus out-Benzed Mercedes in their traditional approach, emphasizing balance and an overall softer approach combined with a "built to last" label. It's interesting how the new Mercedes has increasingly lost itself in exhuberance, trying to crank out new models as it feels it loses a grip on their traditional bread and butter market segments. I am mesmerized they don't have a "back to basics" initiative going. That they have this paranoid tendency to emphasize tradition and heritage in their advertising while all the while they try their hardest to be a radically different, far more exhuberant and irrational company than they were in those times...

    I like quite a few cars in the Mercedes line-up a lot, especially the CL to me has always been among the classiest grand tourers around, and I love GTs. The CLK convertible has a lot of appeal. But I would not buy ther cars these days, I may however consider leasing them. With Lexus, while the design doesn't blow me away, the balance and vault-like solidness of the package impresses, and that is a car I would buy cash. BMW? They've lost their way design wise, their shapes don't do it at all for me, with an odd mix of overly angular and aggressively dynamic and then droopy, sagging shapes thrown in. I also have to admit I like Audis a lot, but than new grille doesn't do it with me. Audi and chrome - who would have thought. Jaguar also has taken a wrong design turn, with all their cars now having become charicatures of traditional British car design, as opposed to pioneering new ground. Remember the XKE. Try something new, but they may have ridden themselves too far into the geriatric choice. One of my favorite brands 10 years ago winds up being the one I'd be least ikely to buy again... strange.
  • iancariancar Posts: 31
    Lexus and Mercedes are building their cars with totally different philosophies. Lexus' focus is building a car that emphasize reliability, tranquility and comfort rather than styles, performance and handling. In fact, Lexus's cars and light trucks performances are comparable with German counterpart but the first rush of thrust is replaced by gradual acceleration. For example, when I am looking for a replacement for my 2002 LS, the first car comes up to my mind is 2005 CLS. The CLS is the most beautiful sedan i had seen in years and the attraction is growing on me by days. I had test drive it and its driving experience and style just fit with one word, fantastic. But when i look at the Brochure, CLS looks slick but its coefficient of drag is 0.30, comparing to 0.25 with LS, and its acceleration is only 6.1 0-60, comparing to 6.3. Therefore, even the statistic is comparable, Lexus' cars just don't feel as fast as its German competitors. Lexus is also lack in performance department for high-tech sport tuners like AMG and BMW-M to raise its brand image and boost profit further. I believe this is the main reason why Lexus is losing sales battle with SC and GS. Furthermore, Lexus is also fell behind for its limited range of engines and length selection for LS. Fortunately, Lexus regains those lost by expanded with its 3 SUV lineup during this SUV crazed period. In the end of the story, I walked out from the mercedes and asked my friends and neighbors who owned mercedes in their garages, and the answers r unisonous, "Benz needs a lot of fixes and repaire". Due to its flaws, I dont believe Lexus will dominate the luxury market but it may attract most of the frustrating customers who wants trade for a more reliable ride. For me, I think i will stick to my good old lexus and replace it with 2007 LS.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > .. Lexus' focus is building a car that
    > emphasize reliability, tranquility and comfort
    > rather than styles, performance and handling ..

    The odd thing is that that was exactly the Mercedes sedan philosophy... until BMW started swaying too many yuppie buyers away from them with sportier dynamics. As BMW rose and rose, Mercedes got lured into increasingly going for the same value proposition. At some point in time, they had abandoned their traditional value proposition so much that there was a market void. Whether it was genius to identify the need and fill it, or whether that was the only philosophy that would have worked for Lexus anyhow and thus they just met a receptive market one will never know. But to me there is little doubt that Lexus did benefit from Mercedes having been lured away from their traditional approach by the more dynamic, flashier BMW challenge.

    > .. CLS is the most beautiful sedan ..

    They won't sell you one if you call it a sedan in the Merc dealership. They call them "coupes". :-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    No but remember the intent was to redefine the way lux cars are sold. The Lexus branding is a lot more than what many on this board seem to understand. The LS was totally engineered for the US market which is another reason why that Celsior argument is so weird and foolish. Anyone who thinks the Celsior was the model that the LS became knows nothing about Toyotas grand plans in the 1980's. The profits they make now are pure proof the plan was an immense success.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Whatever they call it, hope to have one by August.
  • like i said in my post....MB is not rebadging
    vehicles and creating a new brand. it seems to me that when anyone speaks of Lexus automobiles and the brand Lexus they mention the LS430. well guys the LS is a very nice car....but one car does not make a luxury brand. most Lexus automobiles sold in the US are re badged Toyotas. maybe they should be called Lexota's? how's that for "castigating"?

    so stripped down E classes are used as taxi cabs. that is nothing new. please explain to me
    how this diminishes MB's luxury brand appeal?

    as for the A class and smart. what really is the point? why not mention S65, Maybach? for our purposes in this discussion it is what's in the middle that seems to matter most.

    you know guys i cross shopped the LS430. so it's not like i hate Lexus! i just find it completely unbelievable that anyone could think
    Lexus to be a more substantial and luxury automobile brand than Mercedes Benz.
  • i had two K1200RS's. it seems the times are changing at BMW motorcycles. more power...more speed...less wolf in sheeps clothing!
  • it seems to me that many Mercedes Benz owners are being accused of purchasing their cars out of some need for status. maybe...maybe not. on the other hand it seems to me that some Lexus owners feel the need to identify themselves with Toyota motor companies business success. it seems that peoples needs are met in a variety of ways...even if..... some of them are completely irrational.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    "so stripped down E classes are used as taxi cabs. that is nothing new. please explain to me
    how this diminishes MB's luxury brand appeal? "

    How does the LS430 being a Celsior diminish the LS430's luxury appeal?? AT least the LS430 or Celsior both come decked out with Leather, alloy wheels, power seats, etc.
  • You stated that the Phaeton was a rebadged A8. You need to do your research. The A8's chassis is completely different in both structure and materials (i.e. the Audi is all aluminum, the Phaeton is a very heavy all steel car).
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    Consider me unbeliavble then. I cross shopped to and drove the S many times.

    Your slip is showing. I think many of us buy cars not brand. The latter is what Syswei's whole status issue is about. I find the LS430 a better luxurious car than the S500. The branding is irrelevant to me and on a scale of 1-100, they are both very close to the 100 benchmark. so how can you go wrong if luxury is your choice in either car. So you buy what you think suits you better and/or you have more confidence in. It's really that simple. If pure value was the cause I would never have wasted my time looking into the s-class.

    By the way - you are the one who loves the sales count exclusion. Do the taxi cabs count as lux car sales in your view?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    I think the whole world knows the two cars are essentially the same with one tweaked for sport and the other for a softer ride. VW itself made that pretty clear.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    "True prestige is valuable. This is partially why MB can sell cars at a higher price than Lexus. MB makes its profits by selling fewer cars for more money. Lexus makes its profits by selling more cars for less money. Which economic strategy is better is irrelevant because we’re only talking about why Lexus sells more cars than MB."

    Then why, oh why is MB doing so poorly profit-wise? Maybe because it's costs are about equal to it's prestige?

    This is "Social Security System Is a Disaster" class math.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    MB is so advertising.

    "Like No Other", which really means not only can we not build two alike, we don't really know what all is wrong with the one you bought. Sort of like the British cars of the 1970's.

    The hype about MB reminds me of tuning into one of those 'infomercials' on Channel 362 and a guy in a white apron is lobbing rib roasts at a coffin sized cooker while the paid audience claps and rants "Set it and forget it".

    Fortunately for the stove buyers, their electronics work.
  • lets hope the "whole world" doesn't agree with you. the differences are vast. the A8 is completely made of aluminum while the Phaeton is all steel. what in the automotive world could be any more different than that?

    as for the E class taxi cabs....good for MB.
    the more MB's on the road the better for MB.
    what's the issue? not gussied up enough for
    you guys? so all we need now is leather to be a luxury car!!! i guess this means my pickup has
    just stepped up the ladder a couple of notches!!well i would be surprised if every
    Celsior is optioned with leather in Japan.
  • many things affect an automobile manufacturers profitability.....not just car sales.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    MB is so advertising.

    A little annecdote that perhaps speaks to the snob appeal that the MB dealers try to cultivate: locally at least the salespeople refer to the E wagon as "The Station"...I guess not so subtly trying to remind people that if you can afford to drive an E wagon then you've really "arrived at your station in life".

    Reminds me of the late 80s when Apple management (in the days of John Scully) would keep refering to Macs as "Macintosh" but never ever using the word "the" in front of Macintosh. Kind of like how people refer to God, never using "the". It was as though they hoped that using the English language in that way would improve people's perceptions of the Mac. That's what you get from a marketing-driven CEO...Scully's background was Pepsi...marketing sugar-water to people.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Well, with an MB, folks learn to hope that they've arrived at the 'Station'. More often than not, they learn that they've arrived at the Service Window.

    Scully would have done great with MB, sugar water is their forté.
  • I understood you quite well...You like MB..You saw them testing or pictures of them testing...YOU ASSUMED they are the only company in the world that tests...and being MB they must have the most rigid tests...

    I think my orginal answer was to the point
  • So ljflx:

    Celsior is actually a rebadged LS...Hmmmm
  • hfanghfang Posts: 31
    Denali- your arguments are going under faster than the titanic. Look at maxhonda's response to your comment-

    Denali- "so stripped down E classes are used as taxi cabs. that is nothing new. please explain to me
    how this diminishes MB's luxury brand appeal? "

    Maxhonda- How does the LS430 being a Celsior diminish the LS430's luxury appeal?? AT least the LS430 or Celsior both come decked out with Leather, alloy wheels, power seats, etc.

    Denali never responds to these queries and can't really see through the smoke and mirrors that is marketing, "image", and prestige. You put down the LS as a rebadged Celsior, but shouldn't you say that a juiced-up american version of the E class isn't just a "rebadged" european taxicab? And if you say more taxicabs are good for MB, then how can you diminish the value of Lexus's best seller, the RX300/RX330? And you're the type of person who would be the first to criticize Lexus if they produced an inexpensive $20K car, and then praise MB for making the A class and Smart cars. Can you really not see the contradictions in your own arguments?

    You still didn't answer my other question earlier- would your A8 be diminished somehow as a luxury sports sedan if it said VW on the hood instead of Audi? To me, there's not that much difference between Audi and Lexus. Their cars are generally based, in construction/engines/suspensions/etc, on VW's and Toyotas. The A8 deviates the most from this due to it's aluminum construction. But consider the electronics, transmission, suspension, engines, I believe it is still based in large part on the Phaeton. In any case, imho, aluminum or not, the A8 is still a beautiful, but heavy car with a brittle ride, mediocre steering, and questionable reliability, that costs about $15K more than the L430. I respect that you purchased the A8- it's a fine car- but don't start justifying it to yourself and everyone else by criticizing the LS430, because for every argument you make praising Audi and MB, there's several more that make Lexus look like a far more rational and intelligent, if not as emotional buy-
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "You put down the LS as a rebadged Celsior, but shouldn't you say that a juiced-up american version of the E class isn't just a "rebadged" european taxicab? And if you say more taxicabs are good for MB, then how can you diminish the value of Lexus's best seller, the RX300/RX330? And you're the type of person who would be the first to criticize Lexus if they produced an inexpensive $20K car, and then praise MB for making the A class and Smart cars. Can you really not see the contradictions in your own arguments?"

    Well said, indeed !

    Since we are talking of re-badged cars, the NA market C, E and S-class MBs are simply Euro Taxicabs decked out with nice amenities and then re-badged as luxury cars !!! Hehehehehehe....
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