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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Not all dealers are the same, but where I work, I view my clients as my employer. I LOVE it when a prospect comes through my door, spends hours of my time getting a very good education on the car, and grinds and grinds on the price, (which at these price points is so tacky) and then the famous words "I'll have to think about it," which is fine. I never lean on anybody. But then they never follow up with me, and become mysteriously unreachable. So a month or two later, I see them pull up on a saturday, when my service lane is closed, with a busted tire or wish to drop the car off for service, a car with a competitor's decal on it. "where's my loaner?" they ask, and I'll need my car back ASAP, they say. The techs and advisors will be back on monday morning, in the meantime (here's the good part), the guy who did nothing for you other than beat my NUMBER is who you'll have to call if you want anything special. Why on earth would I do anything special for someone who wasted my time and expertise, which is just as important as theirs, and wasn't willing to pay me for it?

    -shocking isn't it?
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    i understand this....there is not at this time an LS430 hybrid for sale. what will it cost? how dependable will it be? what will the resale value be? these are all determining factors for any "reasonably intelligent" buyer. isn't it great that the Lexus crowd love to debate the benefits of a vehicle that is not even in production!
    talk about logic. would it not be logical to at least see some of these vehicles on the road before we say how great they are :confuse: ?
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    what safety features are omitted from the S430???
    food for thought....it's spelled "brakes".
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Please keep your comments focused on the vehicles and not each other.

    What is it that goes on between a few of you? Lexus and Mercedes-Benz both make outstanding vehicles. Each offers some things the other does not. These things appeal to different audiences - that's what makes the automotive world interesting.

    Why this means grown men (I assume??) have to get into a mud-throwing one-upmanship match about which manufacturer is the single gift to the automotive world - to the total exclusion of the other - is beyond me. Each manufacturer has contributed greatly to our automotive world, past and present. Each has its flaws, each has its attributes. Those issues contrast between the manufacturers but do NOT mean either is some kind of pariah in our world ... why keep behaving as though something you don't like about "the other side" makes that manufacturer worthless??

    Are there not other "high end luxury marques" to discuss? Does this entire conversation have to be solely a few MB enthusiasts and a few Lexus enthusiasts throwing sarcasm and insults at each other?

    Can't it be about what is good about each brand instead of choosing off sides and denigrating the other? Or here is a thought - maybe we could have some thoughtful discussion about what improvements could and should be made on BOTH sides without all the chest-beating, mine-is-better-than-yours-because-I-say-so garbage?

    If there is no other territory to cover here, I'd say this discussion has run way past its purpose and it's time to say good night Gracie.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    -Does anyone else think it's ironic that as much bad press as I-drive has gotten, that audi has, and mercedes will have similar systems in their cars? Joe DeMatio of automobile mag equated it to eating a burger, drinking a beer, and talking on the phone while trying to drive, and I would tend to agree. Even if the succeeding versions of it become simpler and more reliable, it's still too much for a driver to deal with, IMO.

    -speaking of the four door Porsche, could it be that they will also someday broaden their product line to the point that they're trying to be all things to all people, like benz for example? I would love to see mercedes cut their offerings in half again...3 sedan sizes, a couple of sports cars and wagons, maybe one SUV/crossover, and that's about it. An S-class would cost $150k, and be so well developed and reliable that it would once again dust everything, from every angle possible.

    - 7-series update...better, worse, too little too late?

    -Does anyone care that Jaguar has one foot in the grave?

    -volkswagens' march upmarket is not going to work.
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    stroudman i have an 05 A8 and so far i really like the mmi. the system is no more distracting than a navigation system. for the items
    used most there are redundant controls on the steering wheel so as not to distract you from the road. with all of the electronics now in vehicles it seems to be
    almost a necessity to have such systems.

    as for the 7 too little too late. i liked the front end better before the update
    and the backend still looks the same to me. the interior materials of the 7
    are the bright spot of the car along with the new engine.

    as for Jaguar the question should probably be does anyone care about Ford.
    i do just like i care about GM. i have two GMC's in my driveway.
    it is important for everyone in the US to have an interest in seeing these companies flourish. even with the globalism argument and foreign manufacturers with plants in the US i am still biased towards the domestics.

    VW will make it with the Phaeton imo as long as they continue with a second
    generation and try to keep the price point around 55-60k. that seems to me to be the natural next step in price from a loaded Passat. when it comes to the
    Phaeton try to keep in mind it is not just a US market vehicle. the T-reg has
    had good sales in the 50k area so it would seem reasonable that the Phaeton would also.
  • paldipaldi Posts: 210
    Hard to do that with the Phaeton. Loaded car is sticker-ed at $76,500. That includes the must have options including the comfort package, tech package and stereo upgrade. Personally, I can do without the seat massagers but want the A/C cooling in the seats. Need the power soft-close trunk but might do without the park sensors. DVD Navigation and a phone are both must haves now. I really want a solar sunroof - like you have in the A8! There's not a lot you can leave off and still be in this lux class! Nobody wants a base car...
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Stroudman, I'm not as up on the MB line as apparently I should be. Do you mean to say that they offer MORE than "3 sedan sizes, a couple of sports cars and wagons, and maybe one SUV/crossover"? Wow. Talk about line extension and dilution. No focus. Crazy.

    Jaguar's present condition surprises me. Unlike MB they have a focused line: three sedans, one with a wagon variant, and a two seater. The product is great, the XJ sedans are 10K-15K less than the problematic Germans, the new sports car looks great, the AWD sedan and now a touring wagon variant are ideal for the Northeast, etc. What's not to like? Yet they can't move the iron. Probably they are hobbled by reliability legacy issues, the lack of a macho, uber sedan image, and as a result low residuals which means higher lease payments in this predominantly lease driven market segment.

    Because of this, probably the best deal out there in the high end market is a year old (new alu design ) XJ sedan for maybe 49K or less. Think about it: no reliability problems, no image problems (i.e, the boss arriving in a MB at 9:00 AM), picnic trays in the back seat for those summer jaunts up to the Finger Lakes with Cindy, much better customer service at a much less crowded Service Advisors desk, and a ride that can't be beat. Ask Brock Yates of Car and Driver.
  • Stoudman:

    Because that person bought a car from you...He paid an excessive price for it, he likes good service...and diserves good service. Those are the reasons you should give him good service...If you want a repeat customer.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    I don't think Stroudman was referring to a customer. Rather he was referring to an arrogant sort who thought he could get the best of both worlds: a great price and free extraordinary customer service from someone else. Kind of like bringing your clothes purchased at Macy's into Gimbels for free alterations.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    The next Jaguar S-Type will likely use the new XJ's aluminum chassis and have styling cues from the 2001 Jaguar R Coupe and the 2003 Jaguar RD-6. I think the grille and headlights need some work, but it looks nice.

    image

    The Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe shows what the next XK might look like. The next XK will have to comply with new European pedestrian safety regulations. The next XK will use the new XJ's aluminum chassis which is 40 % lighter and 60 % stiffer than if it were steel. Some people complain how that Jaguar concept looks too much like an Aston Martin, which may be true, but at least the next Jaguar XK will have a new aluminum chassis. One thing I noticed between that Jaguar conept and new Astons is how the rear tappers off like the current XK8 vs. the crease around the rear trunk/window of new Astons. New Astons have a chassis that is NOT shared with Jaguars.

    Here is a link to pictures of it. There are also pictures of the Jaguar XKR of Rocketsports Racing that races in the Trans-Am Series which dominated last year. It has 4.5 liters and 650 hp and a 9,000 rpm reline. Its engine is based on Jaguar's 4.2 liter V-8. Jaguar's 4.2 liter V-8 is much better than the old 4.0 liter V-8 which came out with the 1997 XK8.

    Also, the link shows a 2005 XK8, but it says it is an XKR (which is false).

    http://www.fast-autos.net/features/05naias/jaguar/index.html

    Here is the new XJ's aluminum chassis:

    image

    image

    image

    The 2005 Jaguar Super V8 weighs over 800 pounds less than a BMW 760Li.

    image

    "The complete body with weighs 650 pounds compared with an estimated 1,058 pounds for the same car in steel, 952 pounds for a Mercedes-Benz S-class, and 955 pounds for a 7-series BMW."

    - from The Inside Guide to the all-new aluminum Jaguar XJ by Automobile Magazine

    Here is an article from wardsauto.com about Jaguar and aluminum. (It mentions a 2010 XK but this article was written before Jaguar announced the X150, the code name for the next XK).

    Jaguar Cars’ Castle Bromwich assembly plant in the U.K. is preparing its case for more aluminum vehicles, having successfully validated the concept with the now-profitable aluminum XJ.

    The upfront investment is paying off, says Mark White, Jaguar senior body structures manager for Jaguar and Land Rover Vehicles for Ford Motor Co. The XJ is profitable, he says.

    The next step is the business case for future aluminum monocoque Jaguars. Following the brand’s cycle plan, the next-generation S-Type would be up for consideration first, as an ’06 or ’07 model, followed by the XK around 2010.

    Bromwich assembles the current S-Type and XK, but only the XJ has an aluminum body mated to a steel subframe.

    Ford has invested in a dedicated aluminum pressing facility at Bromwich for the XJ. The stamping facility, adjacent to the body assembly line, can handle aluminum versions of the S-Type and XK, should the auto maker go that route in the next-generation.

    “We have the ability to do all three (cars in) aluminum if the business case is there,” White says.

    “We know what it costs to do it for other models. But if they don’t meet the cost target, we won’t do it,” he says, noting he will have a series of deadlines to meet over the next three years.

    The technology is ever evolving, and that plays into the business case as well. “We want to develop the technology even further,” White says.

    The auto maker is identifying where costs are too high and working to reduce them. The goal is to further cut weight (aluminum currently reduces weight 40%-45% over steel); develop an even more efficient aluminum body structure; and improve manufacturing, such as rationalizing some of the 17 different riveting processes.

    The rivet process also can be improved from an awkward system of rivets in a long band of tape to a blow-feed operation where they are loaded into a hopper and shot out like a dart gun through an air tube to nearby rivet guns.

    Piloted on the long-wheelbase XJ, the process is being validated for future use as well. Switching from a tape feed to blow feed for the rivets will save $25 per vehicle, White says.

    Alcan Inc. has been a partner with Jaguar, coming up with adhesive bonding that dramatically increases stiffness, which allows for lower gauge (thinner) aluminum to be used and saving on material cost, says Mike Kelly, Alcan Automotive vice president-global program director.

    Alcan also does pre-treatment and pre-lubrication work. Additionally, the aluminum producer developed the just-in-time supply route for the 125 parts it sends to Bromwhich.

    Kelly explains the aluminum starts in smelters in Quebec, Canada. Facilities in Western Germany do hot-rolling, and plants in Eastern Germany produce cold-rolled aluminum.

    A finishing line does the pre-treatment and pre-lubrication. There is a laser-blank cut-to-length line in the U.K. and a storage facility feeding nearby Bromwich.

    In 2003, Alcan supplied Jaguar with 1 million laser blanks, Kelly says."

    Here is Mark White

    image

    I think Jaguar needs to drop the X-Type. I hope they make a new 2 seater aluminum sports car with styling from the Jaguar F-Type of a few years ago.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Please post a link to the article you are quoting so that we're not in any copyright hot water - thanks.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    As a big fan of Jaguar I can't help but be disappointed with their new XJ. It looks too much like the X-type. It lacks the flair of the old model. Ford hasn't shown alot of wisdom in building a downmarket car that bears a strong resemblance to the Ford Mondeo. No one has been fooled. They simply lack the current generation technology that the other marques have. Also they've had some very embarassing problems with Nikasil coated engines and water pumps that fail without warning. If you look at some Jag formus you'll see what I'm talking about. As a result residuals are terrible.

    You can pick up a 3yr old XJ for something in the mid $20K's. With the Select Edition Warranty, it's a good value, but do you want something that could possibly strand you? I've read enough Jag forums to know that they've had hoses suddenly fail and strand the driver. Another issue is upper tensioner chains. You'd think a mass produced car like the XJ wouldn't suffer from these problems.

    As much as I love the old XJ, I'm inclined to stick with my LS cars. While the LS lacks the allure of the XJ, it does give you a piece of mind. I've maintained that if Lexus could design cars with a Jaguar flair, they'd sell like hot cakes. I do hope they pull through however, as there is nothing like a Jaguar.

    SV
  • I do know what he is talking about and Personally I expect quality service....The same service as every other customer gets from LEXUS...and they give it to me. And that is the way it should be.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    As a former huge jaguar fan and customer, I echo your sentiments. When I bought my first Jag in '97, it was my dream car. Customer service was the best I have ever experienced. When I bought my second in '00, they had rolled out the S, and were ready to roll out the X, and customer commitment went down from there. And since there were issues with my XJR, and it is inexcusable to swindle $3k out of customers that just spent $70k on a car -in my humble opinion- they lost me as a customer. I am not *that* emotional about any car or brand. Their ongoing design fiascos -faux classic Brit- show they are headed towards obliteration, sadly. What was once my favorite car brand holds no remote resemblance of desirability for me anymore...
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    The new Jaguar XJ's 4.2 liter V-8 does NOT have the Nikasil coated engines and water pumps problems of the old 4.0 liter V-8.

    The new XJ has a curve in its rear doors that starts at the end, like old Jaguars. The previous XJ didn't have that curve.

    The new XJ's outer headlights are bigger than the inner headlights, like the original XJ.

    The new XJ's wheels are pushed out to the corners, like the original XJ.

    The new Porsche 911 looks good and its styling hasn't changed much over the 40 years.

    Here is a 2004 XJR in "Zircon" with the optional 20 inch BBS wheels.

    image

    Here is another 2004 XJR.

    image

    The new aluminum XJ was tested extensively at Germany's demanding Nurburgring race track.

    As to the new XJ's technology.

    As I've said before, the 2005 Jaguar Super V8 weighs over 800 pounds less than a BMW 760Li thanks to its advanced aluminum chassis and use of relevant technology.

    The new XJR and Super V8 come standard with Brembo brakes which include four-piston calipers.

    The new XJ has a ZF 6 speed automatic transmission which I found to be quite responsive when I drove one (a 2004 XJR).

    The new XJR has optional 20 inch BBS wheels which are high quality.

    The new XJ will be available with Bluetooth next month.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    more pictures of the new XJ's aluminum chassis which is 40 % lighter and 60 % stiffer than if it were steel. The new XJ uses magnesium in its seat frames.

    image

    image

    image
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I sure appreciate the new angle to this forum, and welcome it whole-heartedly. But I am no Jag fan and think Jaguar is well past its glory days with Ford at the helm of affairs. But that new XK concept is a real beaut if they build it "as-is". Saw it at the SD auto show in January, and it got featured in the April MT issue. Real positive styling direction imo.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    is past their glory days, as is just about every other car maker (except for perhaps Aston Martin). The new 1995-1997 Jaguar XJ is a reliable luxury car. The new XJ has also been much more reliable than the previous XJ while having more quality. That article I posted about Jaguar and aluminum pointed out that the HUGE investment for aluminum Jaguars is continuingly being developed. The next XK will use the new XJ's aluminum chassis which will spread costs. The next S-Type would further spread costs if it used the new XJ's aluminum chassis.

    I'm not to sure about the styling of new BMWs. They had record sales last year along with record recalls and service actions. Here is a 2004 BMW 5 series and a second generation M5 which was handbuilt (so was 1st generation) unlike the new V-8 and V-10-powered M5s. All second generation M5s had forged aluminum wheels.

    image

    image

    (BMW also built an M5 Touring from 92-95)

    Here is a BMW 850CSi (big, fast BMW coupe for the 90s)

    image

    Here is a new 6 series

    image

    Here is the revised 7 series

    image

    Here is the new M6

    image
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    read this article

    Car & Driver picked up their long-term 2004 XJR in the summer of 2004, which was shorty after production of the new aluminum XJ began.

    Car & Driver's long-term 2004 Jaguar XJR

    Also, the 2005 Jaguar Super V8, the flagship XJ, gets better fuel economy than the BMW 760Li.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Those links are not working - I think the ellipsis in the middle of them is the problem. I hope the software here didn't insert it. We've had some issues with links lately ...
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    My service dept. and tech's are as good as they come. Our CSI rating stays consistently in the top 10 in our region, which is 6 states. So from that perspective, most folks are happy.

    ....but, membership has it's privileges.

    As I've said before, if you're shopping in this pricepoint, for any brand, that means somewhere, someone is paying you a significant profit, and life is VERY good. If you take up my time and expertise, then take your business elsewhere over the few dollars in net profit Benz places on their vehicle, then you get from me what you paid for. If you're putting more importance on the moment of glory at point of sale, than on the years ahead, then that is what you bought yourself. Again, why in the world would I stay late, provide free transportation, overnight a part or accessory, do anything for a person who put money in someone else's coffers?
  • I would think the price of membership is simply buying the high priced car in the first place....

    It is not the buyers privledge to use the service dept ..it is his right...Quality Service is critical in the high end market...as is Friendly, Accomodating, knowledgable staff from the receptionist to sales to service to management should be the norm and not a Privdledge handed out to a few "Special" customers...Those that can afford your product are all Special.

    When those of us who own Lexus talk about the company and the Car ...the service is one of the big reasons we become repeat customers not just the outstanding quality and value of the machine itself.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “If you take up my time and expertise, then take your business elsewhere over the few dollars in net profit Benz places on their vehicle, then you get from me what you paid for.”

    I don’t understand. When I take my BMW in for service I deal with the service department not salesperson. Haven't had a problem. They also go out of their way to get me the type of loaner car I ask for. I attribute this to the good business practices of the specific dealer. Are you telling us that your service department sucks and clients have to come back to you for support? You expect customers to pay you for this arrangement? I am all for the salesperson making a living, but it sounds like there could be something rotten in Denmark at your dealership and among your competing dealerships. Your gripe should be with MB and the dealership, not the clients.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Michael, I think you may be missing Stroudman's point. It's certainly true that anyone can use the service dept of any dealer and deserves to be treated courteously and fairly; I am sure Stroudman would agree on that. But if you want to have a personal advocate in the sales dept. on your side asking for your car to be moved up in the waiting line, or for a free loaner in circumstances in which it is not technically required under the manufacturer's warranty to be provided, etc., then you need to be a customer of the sales dept. That just makes sense. The sales dept. is not paid a salary by the manufacturer-- the salespeople feed their families based on the customers who do business with them; they (usually) are not stockholders of the manufacturer!

    In my personal experience, I have had salespeople befriend me even though I hadn't bought a car from them (like when I moved to a new town, etc.), likely with the hope that I would buy my next car from them. But if you shop the car with a salesperson, then go buy it somewhere else, and then come back to the local salesperson and ask for some extra favors, human nature is such that you are likely to note at least a hint of displeasure from the salesperson.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Thank you, gary, that's all I was trying to say...
  • garyh:

    I understand fully...If I shop with Several Sales people in my area...

    1) I am likely to go back to the Dealer I bought from.

    2) If I bought from out of the Area and am using the local dealer for service that is potentually considerable income to them...If I dealt with the Sales guy there but bought somewhere else...HE NEEDS to understand I will buy another car someday, My wife and my Daughter will need cars someday....The fact that he or his dealership could not be competitive and provide me the support I needed to get a good price from them the first time around SHOULD NOT MATTER...I will be a buyer again and they are getting another chance TO EARN MY BUSINESS.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Folks, let's talk about the cars and the manufacturers here, okay? We've got an entire board dedicated to best (and worst) sales practices at this link: Smart Shopper. Browse through the list of discussions there and continue in any one that seems appropriate.

    Thanks!
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I just took a good look at a CLS that is parked where I work. The interior looks nice although small. MB did another horrible job with lamp design... the same ol' cheese wedges in the back, and a feeble ripoff of the old Porsche L assembly in the front. The exterior shape and surface topography remind me of a banana. This alone is overwhelming. Enough said. I dub this vehicle... The Banana.
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