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High End Luxury Cars

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  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    ”Is this not the year you want to AVOID at all cost ? The 2002 745 was, well, a big phat dud reliability-wise....”

    You forgot to mention that if you have a low tolerance for risk, don’t buy volatile stocks. I thought this was common knowledge, and truluv_cars said he has been a reader of the boards for many years now. But hey, the Lexus buyer has a 15 amp circuit breaker for this stuff, so lets reset it until it just pops again, and then we’ll do it again and of course again.

    If reliability is priority then you’ll want to avoid all 7s “at all cost” even E60 5s. BMWs with iDrive are showing electronic gremlins and their reliability rating has suffered because of it.

    When iDrive first came out in 2002 the remedies lagged because the techies in service bays weren’t up to speed and the service bins weren’t amply stocked. Is it any different now three years later? I don’t know, it can’t be worse and it appears that the inherent problems with the 02 7 are no different in nature than current models. I could be wrong and welcome the opportunity to be educated.

    What I do know is that “true drivers”, as truluv_cars claims to be, often weigh the benefits against the risks and want performance cars AT ALL COST. I point now to Porsches which come with the distinct possibility of RMS and broken intermediate shaft problems, the latter of which requires complete engine replacement. The latest iteration of Porsches also has some electronic concerns. Guess what, people still buy them because nothing drives better than a Porsche at Porsche prices. For the umpteenth time, the same is said about BMWs in the sedan category.

    I guess we have to remind ourselves yet once again. Camp Lexus loves its white CR dots, savoring time not spent at the dealer. But the performance drivers—the true drivers—get on the roller coaster, climb the mountains, ride the surf, just as financial risk takers lay their money on volatile stocks. I’m wondering, are there ANY owners of 02 7s that climbed Mt. Everest and lived to tell about it? I’m sure the happy campers know the answer. They read about it from their chaise on the beach, at a certain calculated distance from the water so the sharks don’t jump out and get them.

    ;-)
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "New powerplant scheduled for Acura NSX replacement"

    source Automotive News
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Sure, now that the NSX actually has some home based competition, Honda is finally getting off their butts. They had 15 years to do this. The next NSX better be good, because the current car has long been forgotten.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    The NSX was/is a great car. But that’s what happens when a company is blind enough to price it some 28% and 100% above its competition which are icons. Heck, the S2000 is a great car and look how much cheaper it is than its competition. Where are the sales? Goes to show you what the Japanese are up against in the sports car segment. That said I totally look forward to a 10 cyl. Honda.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, the NSX was built by hand. That costs money. Chevy doesnt exactly do that with the Corvette. As for the S2000, its kind of a niche product, even among sports cars. The rev happy 4cyl is not exactly great for regular traffic, nor is it easy to drive fast. The 350Z on the other hand, you can just mash the pedal and it goes, which is what Americans like.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I guess we have to remind ourselves yet once again. Camp Lexus loves its white CR dots, savoring time not spent at the dealer. But the performance drivers—the true drivers—get on the roller coaster, climb the mountains, ride the surf, just as financial risk takers lay their money on volatile stocks. I’m wondering, are there ANY owners of 02 7s that climbed Mt. Everest and lived to tell about it? I’m sure the happy campers know the answer. They read about it from their chaise on the beach, at a certain calculated distance from the water so the sharks don’t jump out and get them.

    I am laughing so hard, Designman.... Gosh, you are good at words...

    There is this fallacy about Lexusophiles, that all we care about is our snoozemobiles... Au contraire. I know many Lexus owners with BMWs and other assortment of cars on their drive ways or in their garages. Even lowly me with my little sport-wagon - the Matrix. That car is real fun to drive. Yeah, it ain't no Porsche (cannot afford one now) but a nice handling car/wagon all the same. It zips and zaps, has tons of room, rides like its on rails, and generally puts a smile on my lips everytime. I love that car much as I like my LS, but for different purposes. But nothing compares to the LS in pure driving; by which I mean enjoying a ride around town in luxury and comfort. Supremely quiet, refined and plush. I don't need to feel all the ruts on the roads to tell me I am driving on the pavement. That, to me isn't driving. Driving is having a great ride, in absolute comfort, with my fav music on the CD player, completely oblivious to all the worries outside. Man, that is a nice feeling... Is there anything wrong with that ?

    BTW, truluv_cars loves the 7 series, but WANTS an LS. Hmmmmmm ! Isn't that strange music to the ears of the *driving enthusiasts* ? Maybe he values his time more than the jarring ride ? Maybe....Its certainly not about the money cos he can get an '02 LS430 for about the same as an '02 745i. So.....??
  • bobcatmanbobcatman Posts: 51
    Just like Honda. Work secretly and then BAM! Whack the competition again. The current NSX while dated in design ain't no slouch. Far from it. The full factory backed Comptech supercharger option puts out close to 400hp and makes the NSX go bye-bye in 4.0.. A guy at work has a 98 bought from a doctor who paid close to 130K optioned out. The car costs well over $100k to actually build just like the S2000 costs over 40K to build. Gotta love hand buiilt 50/50 balanced cars that drive like race cars. The Z8 a had much shorter shelf life I recall. Just think the new Lexi V-10 supercar and all new NSX will be the baddest, fastest ever conceived from Japan. At Infinti land Carlos Ghosn is pushing his engineers to bench the 911 turbo performace for the upcoming Skyline GTR AWD supercar in 07. Merc1 you information overloaded yet LOL...
  • Designman:

    Lexus gets full Red DoTs on virtually everything...At least the LS430 does.

    It seems to me if you love BMW because you want a drivers car...Then Buy a BMW you can Afford...A nice 5 series...or older 7 series...It will cost you some money to keep it up but you will have a car you love.

    If you want solid luxury...Lots of toys...Great Ride..GPS...a Great Mark Levinson sound system....and REAL reliability that you can count on...it is LEXUS

    If you want a great ride and big prestige...with the knowledge that you will not get all the bells and whistles of the Lexus and a not very reliable car, then by all means get the Mercedes S430

    Life if hell if you don't have unlimited wealth...I DON"T...But I am Very happy I streached to get the Car I really wanted and just LOVE.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    OAC - well said. I guess it's hard for some people to realize that you can love the pampered luxury of a car like the LS430 with "it's just enough sure footed handling" and still love or want a high performance car. Somehow the old aged Cadillac driver is what people want to paint as LS430 owners. Perhaps that may be true to a high degree in Florida but then that would be true of virtually all high end lux sedans down there anyway. Around my neck of the woods most LS430 drivers are aggressive drivers and in their 40's to low 50's and can afford almost any car they want. I drove a 280Z, ZX and a Porsche 944 in my pre-LS days.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Thank you. I agree totally. As for me, my "other car" is an XKR. After three Jags, I'm considering a new Boxster S to hold me over until the all new '07 XKR comes down to affordable levels. I'll probably keep my LS until 150K miles or more, and not worry about it. My '96 never made an unscheduled service visit in 150K miles. My '98 XK on the other hand, made about 10 within 30K miles. Good thing I dont depend on it to get me to work.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    I took a look at buying a late model 7 Series about a year ago and I heard several, conflicting things. Maybe the forum could straighten it out.

    Reprogramming. The BMW sales guys all acknowledged that the '02 model had many problems but if a car was brought in to be plugged into the dealership's service computer overnight it could be reprogrammed. The process took about 12 hours and was so costly (maybe the dealer's hourly labor rate times 12?) that only a CPO 7 Series would have had it done. (Yes, I know, this is a blatant attempt to steer anyone away from a private sale on a 7 Series.) Others said that the '02 had so many problems that they just couldn't be corrected and so if you wanted a used 7 Series, look at an '03 or later that had been plugged in to reprogam and then CPO'd.

    Extended warranty. I kept hearing about unnannounced factory warrantys out to as long as 150K on 7 Series. I never heard the details though in any reliable way. What is the story? Is there a secret factory 150K warranty?

    Strong resale. It seems strange to me that despite the many well publicized problems with the 7 Series, resale is strong. Maybe it is the BMW halo effect? Certainly, you hear a lot of stories about unhappy 7 Series owners . (I even heard that a high school classmate I haven't seen in 40 years drove his 2 week old '05 7 Series in disgust into the showroom window of a central MA dealer and threw the keys at the sales desk.) Despite this, I don't think that 7 Series has taken a bath on resale. You won't find a late style 7 Series for much under 50K unless it has tremedously high mileage. Is there a non disclosed factory program to support resale on 7 Series through dealer incentives, "marketing assistance", etc.?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You havent seen M-B resale take a hit on their well publicized problems either. BMW and Mercedes resale comes from the badge effect, plain and simple. Expected reliability or future ownership costs have very little to do with it. If Acura had the kind of problems that BMW or Mercedes do, their fairly good residual values would drop like a rock.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Well one way to check is using Edmunds prices. These may vary by zip but heres a look at the resale of 2002's before you add in any options in my area, so it is simply base car to base car.

    BMW 745 LI values:

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/bmw/7series/100070588/options.html?tid=edmunds.u.prices.u- - - - - - tmv.vdpprice.13.BMW*

    I believe MSRP was about $76000 so that means a retained value of 52.9% on trade-in, 56.4% on private sale and 62.3% on dealer sale.

    LS430 values:

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/lexus/ls430/100003418/options.html?tid=edmunds.u.prices.u- - - - - - tmv.vdpprice.13.Lexus*

    MSRP for base car is about $56,000 so that translates to 54.8% on trade-in, 61.1% on private sale and 67.7% on dealer sale.

    S500 values:

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/mercedesbenz/sclass/100003445/options.html?tid=edmunds.u.- - - - - - prices.utmv.vdpprice.13.Mercedes-Benz*

    Using an $85K base (this is gonna hurt) it means residuals of 42.1% on trade-in, 44.6% on private sale and 48.8% on dealer sale.

    S430 values:

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/mercedesbenz/sclass/100003444/options.html?tid=edmunds.u.- - - - - - prices.utmv.vdpprice.13.Mercedes-Benz*

    That hurts too as the respective numbers are 42.3%, 44.9% and 49%.using a $77K original base price

    Then there is the A8 (hope there are only lessees on this one):

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/audi/a8/100003619/options.html?tid=edmunds.u.prices.utmv.- - - - - - vdpprice.13.Audi*

    This tranlates to 37.3%, 40.2% and 45.2% using a base price of $72K. Ouch! One has to wonder what a Phaeton will retain if this is what an Audi A8 scores. Maybe it will be better.

    The consumer ratings are also interesting:

    LS430 9.4 (45 reviews)
    A8 9.3 (7 reviews)
    7-series 8.5 (86 reviews)
    S-class 7.7 (47 reviews)

    That base S430 that listed for $19K more than an LS430 in 2002 has seen $18,400 of it go away on a trade-in. This is why the Germans (particularly MB and Audi) are going to have such a hard time holding up the new MSRP's. BMW and Lexus are reasonably close but reliability plays a bigger and bigger role in retained values. How else do you explain Lexus running away from the pack.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Audis have never had great residuals. They dont have the MB or BMW badge, and largely mediocre reliability, so they are in the same boat with companies like Jaguar or Cadillac.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Those MB S residuals are awful. It's not easy to sell a 3 year old MB S-class anymore - at least not where I live. I remember reading about a 55% residual on MB's in the Wall Street Journal a few years back (vs.mid- high 60's in the late 90's) so the slip is getting worse. MB's poor reliability is not able to withstand its brand name based on this.

    I went back and put in a fully loaded LS ultra to see how that would score and it did even better than the base car retaining 56% on dealer trade-in, 59.8% on private party sale, 67.3% on dealer sale and 72.8% as a certified vehicle using a $71K initial MSRP. This is really telling as an LS430 ultra is about equal to a stripped S430 in comparable features.

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/lexus/ls430/100003418/options.html?tmvaction=vdpresult&ti- - - d=edmunds.u.options.utmv.vdpoption.1.Lexus*
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Thanks for the presentation of the data. There really isn't much to add.

    I did see one curious statistic: the percent retained value of the S500 and an S430 were almost exactly the same. I would have expected that the higher MSRP on the S500 would have translated into a higher percent lost. (This is the line of reasoning usually trotted out to explain the often low resale on lux sedans.) Can anyone explain this?

    I'm no fan of Lexus, but as their sales slide, D-C is going to have to subsidize their leases to compensate for the poor resale.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Or drop MSRP's which is starting to look inevitable. Auditors will only let you BS them on future retention values for so long. Sooner or later they will make you take the cost provision up front on sale rather than at lease end. Then you get a double whammy - the car sold years earlier and the car being sold now (sorry I'm a CFO and ex-auditor by trade). They've actually been subsidizing leases for years now. When I was shopping in 2001 the residual buyout on an $86K S500 after 3 years and 36K miles was $59K (69%). When I checked prices in 2004 at the time I renewed my LS430 lease those 2001s were around $47K (54%).Personally I was mad the other way as the LS430 I leased in 2001 retained a lot more value than the lease retention amount. Whoever financed those 2001 MB leases got killed. I'm sure plenty went to MB Finance and is a solid part of the reason why MB is down to break-even financial results. The E-class I was initially pricing also had a 68% retained value in the lease and 55% in the real world 3 years later. This is also why you need to be real careful with forecasted retention values if your buying rather than leasing. They are based on leases currently being written and not past history. The aggressive risk taking lease writer will always be the highest retention value keeper - in the future prediction world. It's funny how a risky financial move can reward you with great marketing. In the end leasing an MB S or an Audi A8 is the way to go. Let the bank or the Mfr take the risk on future value.

    The hope MB must have is that quality is restored in the public's mind to avoid price cuts. That's why they are pushing the line that the quality is already back. But it takes years to prove that one. I'm sure there are many MB execs losing sleep these days.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    All this resale talk....I mean really.

    Seriously though it is no secret that the 2000 S-Class is going to take a huge hit in that area due to poor quality of the first half of the production run, the 2000-2002 models were seriously lacking to put it mildly in areas of build compared to previous S-Classes. Then the suspension/comand problems started. I doubt if the re-sale will improve for the 2003+ models, or will the whole line suffer because of the new S-Class, which at least in its physical build is much better, relaibility we'll have to see about.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    A6: consumer rating on 70 reviews 8.5

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/audi/a6/100003618/options.html

    E430: Consumer rating on 29 reviews 8.9

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/mercedesbenz/eclass/100003436/options.html

    GS430: Consumer rating on 16 reviews 9.4

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/lexus/gs430/100003416/options.html

    540i consumer rating on 108 reviews 9.1

    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2002/bmw/5series/100003675/options.html

    E-430 retention values are also terrible. I'll bet just about the whole MB line is suffering except the AMG's and other specialty cars. I've never seen MB three year retention values this bad. The sky high MSRP's always held because the retention values were sky high or head and shoulders over everyone else. Now you have one without the other. Something's gotta give because it can't stay this way. Either MSRP comes down or retention values have to climb alot.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    This is why I've always said you can only go by these charts and graphs so much because I haven't seen a 2002 E430 for those prices anywhere around here. In the real world a 2002 E430 goes for more than the links you've posted, at least around here they do. The only ones I've seen that are close to those number are the A6 and GS.

    You're right the CLK, SL and other "specialty" cars from MB aren't as bad as the common sedans.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    That's just the car without any options and it's my area. I see offered prices on all these cars that are higher than the link shows as well but that doesn't mean they are selling at those prices. Per Edmunds these are prices the cars sell at, not asking prices I can tell you around here even MB die-hards don't want to buy a used MB. But I'm sure the price problems are pretty widespread. The Wall Street Journal reported resale values of 55% after 3 years and 36K miles on MB as the national average. That was a few years ago before a spate of more bad news on quality. So the price pressures make plenty of sense. Anyway I had no idea prices got this bad as I haven't checked in since my lease was up a year and a half ago . I just posted it in response to someone wondering about retention values anyway and nothing more than that.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well it doesn't surprise me you'd paint the worst picture possible. Mercedes' have traditionally been at that WSJ figure.

    M
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    From an ex-econometrician to an ex-auditor, I'm not surprised that an optioned up version of a particular series (the E-430 vs. a basic E) would lose more percentage wise in resale. They typically do. Afterall the biggest home in the neighborhood tends to revert to the mean price, too. (Although I am still surprised why a S430 and an S500 have the same percent resale.)

    Merc1 may not like all this talk about resale values and lease subsidization but it tells a lot about a brand. I don't think it is good for a brand to have a high percentage of "sales" to people who lease. They are the "hot money" of the car industry and would change brands for the sake of maybe $75 a month on a lease payment. The MB reputation was built based on people buying and driving them for 150K. One of my neighbors until a year or so ago commuted in an impeccable Olive Drab 240D. The Porsche brand is very strong , despite some glitches, in part because they don't push leases. The wrong people then don't "buy" (i.e., lease) them for the wrong reasons. Is anyone else on this board old enough to remember what happened to Izod Lacoste in the early '60s? They had a brand that was as prominent as Rolex/MB/Polo are today.

    Resale values also tell us about the true cost of ownership. Remember the cost of owning something is not what you paid for it, but rather the difference between what you paid for it and what you sold it for later.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Point well taken and I think there is a 50-50 relationship on lease vs buy in most lux cars. Remember a lot of people take that lease deduction for business. I think there are a couple of points made here that really explain some resale issues. Designman has said a number of times now that performance buyers put reliability lower on the totem pole. I see his point and buy into it. So BMW reliability can slip but resale values will hold up because BMW's legend is built on performance and even used car buyers are buying into that performance. It's still delivering on its legacy. MB's legend is built on high level reliabilty that was always the highest in the land. Bulletproof and MB often went together in the same sentence throughout the 60-'s 70's and 80's. That reliability has slipped terribly in the last 10 years and its resale values have slipped with it. MB is no longer delivering on its legacy. The public gave them a 3-5 year grace period hence the high resale values in 2001 that I was getting on a lease deal. The MB retention values after three years supported those lease residuals at that time as I checked them closely in 2001. I do this everytime a lease is up and a renewal is at hand. But that grace period is over. Lexus is built on the same principles as MB and is delivering spectacularluy. Hence its resale values are rising as is its brand strength. Audi - need to look to Europe. I don't ever see Audi being big here and I don't ever see them getting out of BMW's shadow anywhere. But my view may be slanted by the US take on Audi. Infiniti is up and coming in the performance segment and because it is not yet a global player it has a lot more maneuvering room than Audi in its strategies. Audi, unfortunately has to also deal with a sick VW strategy that is further undermining it. Anyway that's my business view of this. Merc likes to look at the real cars from a purist standpoint and what real car folk are saying and I respect that. But the business goings on have a large future impact that is subtle at first and overwhelming over time. Nuff said.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    To me, one of the most interesting things that has happened in auto residual values lately is the "Ghosn effect" on Infiniti vehicles. Previous easily forgotten Infinitis such as the I, J, and Q have all had awful residual value. Then comes G35, and all of a sudden, it retains value better than the Lexus IS300. The Infiniti M also retains value better than the RL and GS. The turn around has been startling.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    This would all be good except the flagship Q45 is even worse than the bottom dwelling A8 in brand recognition and sales. Infiniti is building its brand from the bottom up G35, while Lexus built it top down from the LS400. Until the so-called *Ghosn effect* extend beyond the G/M to the Q, I see Infiniti remaining in Lexus' shadow, IMO.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    the true cost of ownership. Remember the cost of owning something is not what you paid for it, but rather the difference between what you paid for it and what you sold it for later.

    I would add maintenance costs to the total cost of ownership. Combine MB's reliability issues with their abandoning their free maintenance program and TCO looks pretty bad.
  • stevesteinstevestein Posts: 263
    "This is really telling as an LS430 ultra is about equal to a stripped S430 in comparable features."

    When I comparison shopped the LS430 Mod Lux (not Ultra) had more features than the S500. I don't see the comparison in features between an Ultra and the S430 as being anywhere near equal.

    Many thousands of dollars of extras including parking sensors, HID, front and rear seat packages and many others are necessary to bring the S430 close to the LS.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Remember the S500 has a costly air suspension only available on an ultra. I thought I remember the S430 and S500 having a few things that an ultra didn't have as well but I'm not sure anymore. But in 2001 I had added the CD player, the xenons, heated seats and one or two other things that the ultra had but the S430 lacked. When all was said and done the Ultra was $71K and the S430 was $77K. Didn't matter as the biggest thing the S430 lacked was the power output of the LS430. That's why I dropped it almost immediately for an S500 in a real world comparison. The S500 did have most or all of those S430 options as standard equipment. I'm not sure about the CD player though. I vividly remember thinking how stupid that a 6 unit CD player wasn't standard on a lux car like the S430 or the E430.
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