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High End Luxury Cars

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  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > .. With the Lexus entry WORLD WIDE ..

    They are world-wide. The major market they're not in is Japan itself. It is a commonly held misconception that Lexus does not exist in Europe - it does. Check out www.lexus.de or other European sites. The problem is that Lexus isn't as successful In Europe as it has been in the USA. The aggressive roadmap is in large part to capture a larger share of the European market.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    The impression I have is that Europeans are more conscious of brand and status than are Americans. Anyone else agree/disagree?

    If true, then Lexus will continue to have a harder time in Europe than in the U.S., and it may be quite a few decades, or never, before they catch the others, sales wise.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Disagree quite strongly - car brand is not that big a deal in Europe. That's why MB and BMW can go bring the A class or 1 series to market without "diluting" the brand, as their US operations fear. It's also why VW has been able to appeal upmarket (we're talking the Passat, which is seen as entry luxury in Europe), the Phaeton's downfall is simply that it's not original enough.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Disagree with you. He single handedly changed for the better the direction of one of the worlds most elite symbols. They went from a niche to more of a mass-market (which they needed to do).

    But we shall forever debate this as theorists debate how the universe was born.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Pablo - agree completely with you. The key issue in Europe will be to start building cars there and establish a separate distribution network from Toyota.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    KD - no more disputes on theory of the universe's birth - just the details of the before and immediate after. But if it were up to bangle he'd of put some eyelashes on the first atoms.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "But in one of the mags I got this week - can't remember which but I'll double check when I get home - they had the sports car shown with name and even a picture of the Italian designer involved.."

    Len: See post #8315, or this link

    http://www.automobear.com/WhatThe2006LexusISIsAndIsnt.html

    which shows the name AND face of the Italian designer implicated/speculated to have a hand in the L-Finesse direction.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Thx, Len, for confirming and/or firming-up some of the info on the roadmap....

    If you haven't noticed, let me confirm how excited I am about the new IS350 so much so that I am favoring it over my favorite 330i. And why the IS over a 330 ? simple answer, HP. Can't compare a 300+bhp IS350 against a 255hp 330i ! That is one purchase decision I didn't think I'd be doing for another couple of years, but it appears it may actually precede the '07 LS purchase for me. I am still shopping for the LX for the wife, but have differed that purchase to Sept this year.

    The idea is a total revamp of our current household lineups. Replace the '99 LS for the new LS, the '03 Matrix for the new IS350 or 330i, and the '01 Sequoia for the LX. My major beef is that I want the IS or 330i in stick, no auto slush-box for me. But I hear neither BMW or Lexus will bring a stick in their top-line entry-level lux car. That will be sad, really.... 'cos, my goal is to have that car SOLELY for me and keep the spouse from ever wanting to drive it being a manual tranny....

    I am going to be looking real hard at these cars/trucks for the next year to see where I go spend my $$$. Gonna be fun tho'.... Oh, I have not put MB or Audi on my shopping list for obvious reasons

    :)
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I'm not so sure its going to be over 300hp. I've seen somewhere, I can't remember where, speculation that it would be 280hp.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    There's a big article in Germany's largets car mag, www.autobild.de, on the Lexus product offensive with many pics of the new IS and GS as well as the concept cars. Very impressive, and I must say the new GS is quite an original looker compared to its peers - I like the near hatchback look. I wish someone made a 2 door luxury hatchback, because I'd be all ove such a format that combines sportiness with practicality and dares to look different. Of course Lexus would have to find the other 4 people who'd buy one in the USA. :-) I will be in the market for a mile-eating car in the near future - right now I am pocketing in the car allowance, but after the summer (which seems to have started in CA, ha ha) it will get old to drive and put miles in a convertible or the motorcycle, because it is noisy and at the end of a long day one does notice that it gets tiring. But I am quite clueless as to what to go for, honestly. I heard Audi was going for a lux hatchback, but not until '07 and for over $80k, and given Audi residuals that should make for the type of lease payment that makes you consider buying a tropical island as a conservative financial alternative...
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Tells me Lexus has Germany's ears and eyes, correct ? If you read this forum, you'd think Lexus is some company that Germany has no need to fear... Disparaging and dis-respecting your competition is one sure way to bankruptcy. MB has felt the Lexus sting before, I hope they don't repeat the same mistakes AGAIN. BMW may not feel Lexus can compete, but I'd like to see a GS430 go against a 545i without the sport package. WOuld the BMW clobber the new GS ? I guess we shall see soon enough.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    OAC - let me tell you a simple thing about an exclusive car for yourself - "it ain't gonna happen". I have fully lost control of my LS430. Wife has completely taken over. Unlike Bill Cosby who didn't know "how I lost it, when I lost it or if I ever had it" (ever see "Himself"), I know precisely when it happened. It all started when I saw the car seat come out of the GX and go into the LS. It went steadily down hill ever since. Full confirmation came a week later when my Walmart DVD system exited the GX and moved into the LS.

    The IS looks really great and should do some big sales numbers. I also love the styling of the GS as do many from what I've read and heard. Don't like the new 3 at all. To me it looks like a car that was designed to be big and was compacted down.

    I was rather surprised to hear the V10 with a hybrid will likely go into the big LS. I expected it to be a V8+battery. Apparently Lexus is going for big headlines and halo effects as that sports car looks like it's coming also. They will actually have a helluva line-up when all is said and done. I'm curious to see what the SC becomes in 2008. My bet is it will be the hatchback Pablo is talking about.
  • What in the heck are you talking about.
  • of the new IS. Think about it. Those that like German brands, by and large go for more conservative styling. The new IS (looks way too "boy racer" to me) is an edgy design for a young demographic.
    I would think it to be quite normal for there to be considerable differences of opinion as regards styling.
    As regards German styling, I follow Audi and can tell you that Audi has put out any number of concept cars over the last several years. Many of which HAVE been copied. For example: the dodge magnum station wagon is strikingly familiar in shape to an Audi styling exercise done ~5 years ago. Look at all of the machined aluminum look. It got much of its influence from the Audi TT concept car.
    I could go on...
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "The latest issue of C&D just tested the new 3er, w/6mt and ran 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, the 1/4 mile in 14.3 @98 mph. Not too shabby."

    Have you seen this? Maybe the new IS will be faster, but HP isn't everything.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    0-60 in 5.6s with a 255hp I6 ???? quarter-mile @ 98mph ??? That ain't shabby at all..... Geez, I better get my behind off to the BMW shop by April when the '06 Bimmer shows up. I want to put that car through its paces so badly now. I've always known BMW kinda deceives the public on their hp ratings. Their engines are so strong..... Gotta love it. But that exterior and interior styling of the new 3- is a turn-off, but how much I don't know until I see one in person. For now, I'd take an e39 over the e90 anyday.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "..let me tell you a simple thing about an exclusive car for yourself - "it ain't gonna happen". I have fully lost control of my LS430. Wife has completely taken over.."

    Hehehe....

    I hear you. It's slowly but surely happening to my LS as well. It takes a major effort to get my wife to drive the Sequoia. It's either the LS or Matrix. I suggested getting rid of the Seq., but she won't hear of it cos she loves SUVs, just that after driving my LS she feels more comfortable in a lux car than a basic Toyota truck. So I suspect if she gets a Lexus SUV she would let go of my LS and that'll work for both of us.

    At least that's the plan, for now :)
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi Guys,
    I feel your pain...Right after I bought my LS430, I had to come here (London) for an extended business trip..My car had 200 miles on it when I left. My wife proudly says there is 1,200 on it now. I should have taken the keys with me. She's paying me back for making her drive a 4 Cylinder Camry. (Hey I thought it would slow her speeding tickets down..)

    I think she knows full well what she's doing as I keep getting phone calls telling me how nice MY car is. I can't wait until I get back there next week, "NO Ma'am that's MY car!!!" Oddly enough she didn't take much interest in my Silver '02...I got yelled at for trading it with only 25K miles.."Men and their toys" she groused. Maybe it's the navy blue/white color combo on the new one..

    SV
  • cove148cove148 Posts: 117
    Still lucky, mine is scared to death of the smart key. I just show her the 4" owners manual and tell her "You ought to know what is in here before driving the car". Works so far.
  • paldipaldi Posts: 210
    Is it alive, dead, still breathing?
    image
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Ahhh..... but can history repeat itself ?

    Its now BMW discounting Lexus' global ideas.

    http://europe.autonews.com/article.cms?articleId=55582

    "BMW's Krause said he will consider Lexus a true global rival when it has:
    Designs that appeal worldwide
    A consistent brand image in markets around the globe
    A factory in Europe that can provide tailor-made build-to-order cars, which European premium customers demand."


    Hmmmm...."designs that appeal worldwide" ? From a BMW exec ? You gotta be kidding me !!!

    Have we seen/heard this before, circa 1988/1989 ?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Hey OAC - I read thru the 3 series review in R&T and it's real clear where their predjudices lie. Last sentence of the article says it all - "for sure it is still the ultimate driving machine in its class". So you can bet the bank accopunt that the 3-series will win any road comparo with the IS or any other car in the class. They've already committed beforehand without tests of the IS or other cars. I'm sure it's a great car with a great feel but comments like that are what makes me so distrustful of these guys. Sounds like a weather forecaster who declares the first storm of the winter will be the biggest of the winter.

    It's clear they don't like the style though. The best they can say is that "the styling is not the least bit offensive". The more I see the 3, the more I think they have screwed this car up to. Frankly I think the IS is the class leader in style once it arrives.
  • Terrific post! You showed a wonderful evolution of MB's styling. Looking at your pictures, you make a powerful argument for the MB evolves their models but always remain true to their heritage.
    Your Japanese friends, on the other hand, started the Lexus brand by copying MB's iconic styling cues. What interests me is that their new models today (especially the E) are clearly German and MB but are at the leading edge of luxury car styling.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    "What interests me is that their new models today (especially the E) are clearly German and MB but are at the leading edge of luxury car styling."

    Aren't you hyping that a bit too much? MB is hardly on the leading edge in this regard. I'd give that title to Jaguar. I'd put MB somewhere in the middle, and Audi right after Jaguar. Also, VW did a nice job with the Phaeton. It's a sleek handsome car. I still think they should have marketed it as an Audi.

    As for Lexus' worldwide plans I don't anticipate them being as successful there. Europeans tend to favor their home brands more than Americans do. Some of it is nationalism. I sincerely doubt Lexus is going to make headway in a country like Germany, but has and will be successful in the UK. I see LS430's everywhere here in London. There are several Lexus dealers around the area. Plenty of GS's and RX's about too. As usual time will tell.

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I know you like to poke fun at everything a German luxury car CEO says, but seriously why would he think anything of Lexus when don't sell more than 30K cars a year in all of Europe. Until the new IS appeared they didn't even have a single diesel model to sell in Europe, a 40 percent plus diesel market.

    You're implying that he said that he thinks nothing of Lexus, quite the opposite, he also said that he welcomes them as competition. You only gap a snapshot of the article for specific purpose.

    Doesn't sound like 1989 to me. Nobody said anything about "welcoming" the Japanese back then. I'm sure Lexus will have some success in Lexus, but it seems to me BMW's guy was just stating the obvious and current Lexus situation, not what their future would be.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree totally that the Germans are the style leaders, well minus BMW, but the Dodge Magnum looks like an Audi concept? Which concept was that? The Avantissimo?

    To be fair the TT's interior has influenced a whole generation of interior designs.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Aren't you hyping that a bit too much? MB is hardly on the leading edge in this regard. I'd give that title to Jaguar. I'd put MB somewhere in the middle, and Audi right after Jaguar."

    I agree, MB isn't exactly cutting edge more like traditional turned up a bit, Audi is indeed cutting edge to me. Jaguar though is trapped by their past, the new XJ proves that. Not even Lexus gets knocked for the lack of change in redesigns like the press has done with XJ. Jaguar more and more to me seems bound by traditional styling cues a little too much. They need a fresh approach, BMW didn't.

    "Also, VW did a nice job with the Phaeton. It's a sleek handsome car. I still think they should have marketed it as an Audi."

    Well they more or less do, its called the Audi A8...lol!

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Paldi—you have good taste.

    The Phaeton sure does sit well with the nice home in the background. This car has the restraint, sophistication and quiet grandeur that I expect from a pure luxury car. It presents magnificently, better than every vehicle in this class IMO, perhaps even better than the XK which is getting long in the tooth. I give you credit for going with it and hope that it succeeds. Despite VW's image and problems I consider them to be one of the best at styling. And from that photo I can see you know a thing or two about styling.

    Ljflx—it's a little early for excuses.

    "I read thru the 3 series review in R&T and it's real clear where their predjudices lie. Last sentence of the article says it all - "for sure it is still the ultimate driving machine in its class". So you can bet the bank accopunt that the 3-series will win any road comparo with the IS or any other car in the class."

    Which prejudices would they be? The IS was barely shown. Didn't the outgoing IS garner favorable performance reviews? There's no false indictment here. Face it, the 3 came through where it is expected. The reviews seem to be unanimous about its desirable driving qualities and you can get it without the BS that plagues the 5, that is iDrive and active steering.

    Now that the forecasted IS 300hp engine (or whatever it is) will be a pricey deal, the car has its work cut out. Not sure how many buyers are going to want to fork over the rumored $45K for this vehicle—this price commands a bigger car for everyone but the sport enthusiast. The smaller engine is not going to cut it and there is also a rumor that the 350 will not have a 3-pedal option—a crime if it's true.

    Styling notwithstanding the IS needs to be baggage-free and may have to compete on the 3's terms. Now that it may be the first Japanese car to be priced on the same level as a German competitor, it had better be more than a dumb blonde. The playing field is level now and I am quite sure the IS will get its day in court so don't blame the reviewers. You know who the culprit is if it doesn't turn out right.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "I know you like to poke fun at everything a German luxury car CEO says..."

    Au contraire, Monsieur Merc1 ! To me, the auto business is like Football, you don't call out your opponent. If you do, it becomes bulletin board material and every member of the opposition comes out swinging for you.

    Lexus is doing their business in the traditional Japanese way - quiet effectiveness. First is the obsessiveness for quality and excellent customer service. Success. And with that comes reliability, which translated to name brand recognition, at least here in the NA market. And Lexus became the #1 lux plate here in only 15 yrs in the market. Outstanding accomplishment !

    Second phase begins, where Lexus goes its own way, starting with its own styling. For good or worse, no one can pin the new GS and new IS into any derivative style. Its the Lexus way. They will compete with BMW not by being the best handling and balanced car, but by being a good handling and performance car in the Lexus way - quiet, smooth, refined, well-built and luxurious in and out. That is: be like BMW yet remain a Lexus true-and-true.

    Let's not forget that Toyota is #2 in worldwide sales with 7.5M cars and trucks sold in FY2004, and threatens GM's 9.1M worldwide sales. There is no DCX or BMW close to Toyota in WORLDWIDE brand recognition. Should we mention market cap, since Toyota is higher than its competition combined. If I were BMW or MB, would I be calling out a company that strong in every facet of the car business ???? Just arrogance, IMO.

    Add to the fact that BMW's highest sales comes from non-luxury cars.... tons of diesel-/gas-powered stripped 3-series in Europe. Ditto MB, where they find most work as "sherpas". Here in the NA market where they are considered *luxury* marques, they are way back of sales to Lexus. Granted Lexus sells more SUVs, but doesn't MB and BMW sell more low-end (suspect) lux cars here in the US anyway ? The 3- and C-class being sales leaders for BMW and MB, respectively.

    So when we talk GLOBAL, BMW should not be throwing stones at Lexus. Lexus was Toyota and we all know who is more global between BMW and Toyota, don't we ?

    Now I get off the soap box and head for the golf course....
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Toyota has been doing 'build to order' for all of their cars in Japan for a couple of decades. Folks there don't buy them off the lot, they order at the dealership or the salesguy comes to their home. Toyota started moving the processes to make that work in North America in 2004.

    There's a good assessment of Toyota's overall experience thus far in moving to build-to-order in North America at:

    http://www.forbes.com/global/2004/0705/022_print.html

    The net-net is typically Toyota, they found a way to change the best manufacturing process in the world to be more efficient, they saved money by reducing factory cost while improving options and choices for their dealers and customers. The story about the paint robots using changeable cartridges is classic!

    They are now doing 10% of their NA production as build-to-order, where a dealer goes on-line, finds a vehicle in the manufacturing plan/pipeline and submits changes to it. The dealer gets confirmation the next day and the vehicle arrives in 14 days.

    There are some other details in the article that are interesting about how they manage production, delivery and distribution - like building orders that are grouped for a distant location sequentially to insure that shipment is coordinated.

    I don't think they will have any trouble providing a very successful build-to-order business in Europe.
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