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High End Luxury Cars

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  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    After reading through all the usual doom and gloom about Mercedes, which has become the norm here...

    Trouble is I certainly didn't say anything ontowards about MB in my post. I was talking about BMW, but maybe you see MB in everything....

    .... Mercedes isn't the car for high end lux car buyers? Based on what? If Mercedes isn't then who is? It certainly isn't Lexus....

    Talking about MB, it is a highly prestigious brand, no doubt, but what I was saying is that buyers today have more choices when buying high end lux cars than in the past, say decades ago. And the increased wealth in the US certainly provides the fodder for many to afford all sorts of luxury cars. WIth Audi, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, VW, etc... MB can no longer dominate the lux space as int he past. And if MB doesn't fix its problems - real and perceived - then it will further have its market share eroded by the likes of BMW, Lexus, Audi, etc..

    I do not like the new S design. I prefer the current design, and think it is a far more stately and beautiful design than the MY'07 style. This is imo. And I infer that judging from the way MB sales have been these past few years, a new S style which IMO is a step backwards (to the Maybach) rather than revolutionary may not help its sales that much. OTOH, the next LS will certainly be better styled than current, and looking at the trajectory of its sales these past few years, it portends even higher sales at the expense of its biggest competitor - MB.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Do you know just what mecedes and bmw reliability problems have been? After trading the Mercedes for a bmw stationwagon, and as I previously told you--the Mercedes clk was trouble free except for one window switch one time, --I sort of think the Mercedes problems are a little overblown....

    Overall it has been electronics and the intergration of it. BMW and Mercedes both introduced a lot of things over the last 4-5 years and some of these features weren't up to snuff for joe customer to start using them. Comand for Mercedes and Idrive for BMW, both have been headaches. I'm not sure about BMW, but Mercedes changed suppliers back in 2003, from Bosch to Alpine, even though the head-unit looks the same. I haven't seen any more about Comand since they made that change. Mercedes' doing worse than BMW has to do with e-brakes on one of their biggest sellers, the E-Class. I think that on these surveys, the actual complaints about feel is what is doing so much damage, not just an actual malfunction. These brakes have been recalled several times for fixes and they don't seem to be a problem on the nearly identical underneath CLS. The SL is a small volume car so you won't hear to much about it, but the E is where the work needs to be done and has been for the most part. There was a volt-meter problem on certain MB models too, and MB recalled these before it because a widespread issue.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Talking about MB, it is a highly prestigious brand, no doubt, but what I was saying is that buyers today have more choices when buying high end lux cars than in the past, say decades ago. And the increased wealth in the US certainly provides the fodder for many to afford all sorts of luxury cars. WIth Audi, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, VW, etc... MB can no longer dominate the lux space as int he past.

    Decades ago? Whats the point? This is common knowledge that from decades ago that MB isn't the only choice in town, they never were, only the most popular one for the high end buyer, which was the point of your original post. Lexus wasn't even around "decades ago"? MB is still the most prestigious out of the mainstream luxury brands either way you want to word it. BMW and Audi have always been around so I really don't get what you're trying to say here, and Mercedes has held prestige over them every since. BMW can't sell anything past the 7-Series in price and they've tried twice in the last 15 years with the Z8 and 850i, both came up short. You say that Mercedes can no longer dominate the luxury space? Then who does? Or we need to determine what is the luxury space? Is it 30K on up or it where the real luxury cars are, imo somewhere around 60K and up. Between that point of where the mid-size luxury cars taper off, around 60K or so to somewhere over 100K Mercedes is dominant. Audi and Infiniti have big time trouble selling anything over 60K, especially Infiniti. Lexus has but one sedan and a coupe that sell for over 60K, and the SC430 doesn't break 70K like the LS430 does. BMW does a lot better above that point and Mercedes is the clear leader there so I don't see any basis for your point, it seems like reaching for something that simply isn't there, at least right now.

    For the high-end buyer some type of Mercedes is still "the car" whether that ranking is deserved or not. Between the CLS, SL, CL, S, and other various AMG models Mercedes moves more high-dollar hardware both here and around the world than anyone else in the mainstream luxury sector. Sure when you talk about Aston-Martin, Bentley, Ferrari and others Mercedes is not as prestigious and can't command the same prices. The 450K SLR is a rare thing.

    Even I, as much as I like the Mercedes CL or SL, would take an Aston-Martin DB9 over either one of them.

    No one here has seen the new S in person or the LS at all so there is no way for anyone to know how the cars will match up in person. The S-Class sales of the last few years are supposed to drop, its a 7 year old car. Even still it outsells all the Euro competition in the U.S. and around the world, only the much cheaper LS outsells it, and in this country only. That to me says Mercedes' prestige or dominance isn't even in question. When the S-Class or the E-Class for that matter lose their positions both here and around the world then you may have a point.

    In the lower ranks its BMW who is red-hot obviously with everyone chasing the 3-Series, been that way for years. Mercedes was never the dominant choice when it came to their smaller cars.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    You say that Mercedes can no longer dominate the luxury space? Then who does if they don't is all I'm asking. Between that point of where the mid-size luxury cars taper off, around 60K or so to somewhere over 100K Mercedes is dominant...

    The argument of price you continue to throw around is old and worn. The high prices of MBs have been shown not to be solely about prestige, but more to do with their antiquated production system which is too costly. Thanks to Chrysler, MB can remain afloat for sometime....

    In the >90K price range, the number of MB car sales are so small as to be insignificant. The price range that counts is the $50 - $80K. That is the sweet spot in the market we are talking about here, and that is where Lexus outshines the others, as the market has spoken. If MB can produce their cars at Lexus expense would they be priced as a Lexus ? Nope....

    And Lexus will start to play in that stratosphere soon enough, but these will mostly be niche cars, just like the CL, SL, SLR cars from MB, or the 760iL from BMW.

    And BMW sales are boosted by incentives even on the brand spanking new e90, their bread-and-butter... The 5- and 7-series are not setting any sales records, though the 5- continue to sell well, but not kicking its competition to the curb (yet).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The argument of price you continue to throw around is old and worn. The high prices of MBs have been shown not to be solely about prestige, but more to do with their antiquated production system which is too costly. Thanks to Chrysler, MB can remain afloat for sometime....

    Whats old and worn is the diversion into irrelevant issues. You're bringing up why MB's prices are where they are instead of supporting your original point about MB not being the choice for the high-end buyer. No one said anything about why they're prices are what they are. You said that MB is no longer the choice for the high-end buyer and I see nothing to support that theory. Jumping around to what Lexus will do in the future or why Mercedes' prices are where they are has nothing to do with the fact that Mercedes remains the most popular choice for the high-end buyer. The day Lexus can sell a 450K car like the SLR I'll be too old to participate here.

    When Lexus is able to command SL, CL, SLR, and high end AMG like prices you won't think this point is "old and worn" I'm sure.

    The data says otherwise about the 7-Series. The current car has been the best selling 7-Series ever so it has set a "record" for BMW. It has beaten the best ever total for the previous car, and has done so for more than just one year. The 5-Series continues to be either first or second in its class, which is more than anyone can say for the GS. You always say I don't look at the total picture, but here you aren't either. You're judging the success of the 7-Series based on a month to month basis and/or relative to the much cheaper LS in sales, instead of the worldwide sales and overall sales of the car since 2002, which makes it a success for BMW, you know the people who actually get the money from it. The car has been panned in the press and the market did just the opposite.

    Please give evidence of incentives on the brand new 3-Series, I didn't know there were any.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Whats old and worn is the diversion into irrelevant issues. You're bringing up why MB's prices are where they are instead of supporting your original point about MB not being the choice for the high-end buyer. No one said anything about why they're prices are what they are. You said that MB is no longer the choice for the high-end buyer and I see nothing to support that theory.

    Sometimes it is a pain discussing with you Merc1... What about the fact that buyers TODAY have more choices of high-end lux cars than in the past, say a decade ago, that you don't understand ? Lexus and Infiniti are new entrants within the past 15 years, right ? Prior to 1990, its either MB or BMW... Now Lexus via its LS, and Infiniti via its G cars have provided much better competition to the dominance of the traditional leaders (MB and BMW).

    Yes, 7-series may be selling well for a 7-series, but it remains a distant third to the LS. So I am looking at the bigger picture of the entire class, not the narrow picture of solely the 7-series sales record.... Do you stop to ask why the lux car market has expanded with new entrants like Lexus and Infiniti (and even VW) ? That's what I mean by choice. Going forward, there will be even more choices, and the battle will only get hotter, and better for buyers. Are you a buyer of these cars ? If you are, then you'd care about the choices; but if you are not, then all you can do is pontificate....
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What about the fact that buyers TODAY have more choices of high-end lux cars than in the past, say a decade ago, that you don't understand ? Lexus and Infiniti are new entrants within the past 15 years, right ? Prior to 1990, its either MB or BMW... Now Lexus via its LS, and Infiniti via its G cars have provided much better competition to the dominance of the traditional leaders (MB and BMW).

    I got that part long ago, its the relevence I'm trying to figure out. First it was MB isn't the choice for the high-end buyer, now it has shifted to there are more choices. We all know that. Anyone can see this. Sure the market has expanded and MB and BMW have expanded their sales with it. Back before Lexus and all the newcomers MB/BMW never broke 100K sales a year, now they're both over 200K a year.

    Prior to 1990, there was Jaguar, Audi, and Cadillac also, not just BMW and Mercedes. Were those others good choices? Thats open for debate for sure, but they were there sure enough.

    I never argued that buyers don't have more choices today, only that MB is still the main choice for the high-end buyer, which is what you started out with a few posts back. Infiniti's G35 has nothing to do with your original point about MB and the high-end buyer or the high-end luxury buyer period. The Q45 does however and its a dud of the highest order. Infiniti isn't even a player at the high-end of the market. Audi sells more A8s than Infiniti does Q45s.

    Of course there is more competition all around, I didn't debate that. I couldn't debate that with a 1/2 dozen newer and/or revised cars in the E's segment alone this year, for example.

    Yes, 7-series may be selling well for a 7-series, but it remains a distant third to the LS. So I am looking at the bigger picture of the entire class, not the narrow picture of solely the 7-series sales record...

    So what, the 7-Series costs more than the LS430 to begin with. Secondly how are you looking at the whole picture when the gist of your post is again about sales compared to the LS and not BMW's bottom line? You're only looking at sales relative to a much cheaper car and ignoring the fact that the current 7-Series has surpassed the record for any 7-Series before it.

    Why is it that the 7-Series has to outsell the LS for it to be a success in your eyes, but the GS doesn't have to outsell the 5-Series to be a hit? Major contradiction there. Sales, again aren't the sole indicator of whether or not a car is a success or not.

    I see you withdrew your post with that claim about who sells more cars between 50-80K so I'll delete mine that disproved it.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    In the >90K price range, the number of MB car sales are so small as to be insignificant. The price range that counts is the $50 - $80K. That is the sweet spot in the market we are talking about here, and that is where Lexus outshines the others, as the market has spoken.

    That maybe the case with the "others" but it certainly isn't the case when it comes to Mercedes-Benz. At the 50-80K "sweet spot" price point, that statement is incorrect if you're referring to Mercedes.

    Since 2005 isn't over yet, let’s look at 2004. Mercedes has roughly 4 models that sell in your noted price range of 50-80K, the G, E, CLK and most of the S-Class. Now between the E, S, CLK, and G-Class Mercedes sold 103,461 cars that cost roughly between 50-80K in 2004.

    Those numbers don't even reflect the CL, SL and SLR at 2683, 12,885 and 45 units respectively, all of which sell at prices way above any Lexus.

    In the >90K price range, the number of MB car sales are so small as to be insignificant.

    Sorry, but just because Lexus doesn't sell anything past 70K doesn't mean the 12K+ SL's Mercedes sold last year at 90K+ are "insignificant". Such a statement can't be taken seriously as no one else even comes close to such volume at that price point. Why is it that if Lexus doesn't do it, it is deemed insignificant?

    Anyway, back to your original statement about the 50-80K price bracket.

    Lexus has the LS430, GS430, LX470 and SC430 that sell between the 50-80K price points you mentioned. I couldn't find the total number for 2004 for the SC430, but the GS, LS, and LX sold 50,380 units. This is counting the GS as a whole because if you look at the just the GS430, which is the only 50K GS model the 8,262 units the "GS" sold last year would be a whole lot less. A whole lot less considering hardly nobody bought a GS430 last year. (Even with the new car the GS300 is by far the majority of GS sales, but thats another story.) Even if you add the 35,420 units the GX470 sold last year and add say 12K SC430 sales last year (which I don't think it sold that many), you still get 97,880 units which is still below the Mercedes total. The SC430 number is very generous imo as I seriously doubt it sold that many in 2004. If you take away the GS300, you'd most likely wind up with about 90K units for Lexus sold in that 50-80K price (which is very impressive I'll admit) range compared to roughly over 100K units for Mercedes.

    Now if you have differing numbers I'd like to be corrected here, especially about the SC430 which I admit I'm guessing since I couldn't find a grand total for 2004 anywhere.

    Except for a huge number of SC430 sales way over what I gave, switching the price bracket doesn't change anything. Plus you're ignoring the extra 15,613 units Mercedes sold over your 80K price bracket. Either way you want to chop it, Mercedes is still the #1 choice for the mainstream, high-end luxury car buyer.

    The world of Bentley, Aston-Martin, Rolls-Royce and Maybach is quite different.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Let me just interject that you don't look at lux sales on pure absolute volume. I don't know the numbers and I'm not going to waste my time looking them up. But my guess is that the new 7 isn't anymore successful than the old 7 and may be worse off. Sure it's volume is up but the market has expanded. As I said - I don't know the numbers so this is only an example but if BMW was selling 16K cars in a 60K market that's a 27% share. If they are now selling 20K cars in an 85K market that's a 24% share. In that example you would measure the new car as less successful. My gut tells me the latter is the case.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Ljflx, your gut is right in the case of the 5-series. Someone in the Luxury Performance Sedans thread pointed out that the segment DOUBLED sales in one year from July 04 to July 05 but that the 5’s market share went from 23.7% to 18.8%. Don’t know how true it is but if so, no marketer can be happy about this. It’s kind of like an employee getting a $10K raise when everyone else in the company is getting $20K. Slap in the face. The boom in that segment was incredible (actually, sounds too incredible to believe) and there’s no way BMW should not have at least maintained market share.

    But every company in that position will take the figures and spin it to the public. “Record sales” in the case of the 7. Yeah, it sounds good on the surface, and it is in context of the company itself, but it’s specious in other regards as Ljflx mentioned. Also, around here the BMW campers play it like a cheap fiddle, when in fact BMW should be doing better and has to watch its step even though it is prospering.

    BMW Auto and Brand Sales are down. Kdshapiro, it’s not a blip. I can’t see how BMW auto sales are trending in the right direction.

    BMW Group USA July 2005 Sales:
    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2005/08/02/139184.html

    BMW Group First-Half Sales For 2005:
    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2005/07/01/136391.html
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    I really did not take the money into consideration for the initial thoughts....I first wanted a change from Lexus and something that drives sportingly..Also the ability to carry a little more cargo than the convertable....The wife went and test drove the bmw, and I could tell she really wanted that car, so I was blindsided in that way..I should have started another paragraph in my above post as the cost of the bmw and what followed was really just a side thought... Tony ps The reason I further posted to Merc was I would have sold the clk to him at a more reasonable price...I like him He has passion
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    From a post in the "High-End European Luxury Marquees" forum by rl81.

    I know quite something about BMW, since I have done some work for them last year. What most people here don't realize is that they are not as big of a company as most people think they are. From a business standpoint, they have been close to max capacity for like the last 5 years or so. First the E46 and then the Mini took off way more than they could have hoped for. Yes, at this point the people are slapping themselves on the back. The 7 series that so many people hate sells better than the old one, so it's a step ahead from their point of view. I believe that after the face lift, they went into the right direction from a design and engineering standpoint.

    So people, just think that BMW just a couple years ago sold more than a million vehicles per year. Their capacity is almost at 100% despite Bangle-design. In some ways a little drop in sales makes their life easier, because they can get their capacity under control. Yes, BMW wants to expand, but expansion can only happen so fast, and don't forget that most of their production is in Germany. They only started full production in Leipzig this year, where they build the E90. You'll see them be more agressive in the future.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Merc1: You always try to twist other people's words to make your point. My main points, for the umpteenth time are as follows:

    1) MB is no longer the de facto, *must have* lux brand. You may not agree, but the market has spoken. The market has expanded (no one argues this) and the many more players, and the many more quality brands have relegated MB to the mainstream of lux car brands, not one perched at the top as in the past. May be it is inevitable that no one stays at the top for ever...But with MB's quality issues (real and perceived), corporate issues (SEC troubles, CEO departure, management shake-up, etc), and production issues (way too many variants, huge costs, low profit margins, etc), and the competition gaining in strength, all contribute to nudging MB to its downward trend (see sales numbers below)...

    2) BMW sales of the 7-series may have improved with the '02 release, but it has not gained an iota of market share in the lux space. Rather, the biggest gainer remains the Lexus LS which came out of nowhere to become the best selling lux sedan in the NA market.

    3) In the $50-80K price range, the LS ($55 - 70K) sells more than the S430 ($70 - 85K) and 745 ($68 - 80K). Feel free to add the E500/55 to the list, just to make the point. But here on this forum, we acknowledge that the LS competes more against the S than against the E.

    Designman provided BMW sales numbers, so I won't go into it here. But see MB numbers (YTD)

    Mercedes-Benz (YTD as of July '05)

    Car: 83,708 vs. 90,390, down 7 percent
    Truck: 14,926 vs. 12,778, up 18 percent
    TOTAL: 98,634 vs. 103,168, down 4 percent

    Source: http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0507/02/autos-234803.htm

    Do you see the trend here ? MB growing their SUV sales while car sales are declining ? I guess its not just Lexus that pads its sales with SUVs, right ?

    Lexus numbers (YTD, as of July '05)

    Car: 81,849 vs 79,630, up 3.9 percent
    Truck: 168,568 vs 163,292, up 4.4 percent
    TOTAL: 250,417 vs 242,922, up 3.1 percent

    Source: http://www.toyota.com/about/news/corporate/2005/08/02-1-sales.html

    Do these numbers mean anything ? Lexus is clearly outselling MB overall, and about equal in car sales, despite the zillions of MB variants. Like Len (ljflx) often states, too many variants are a weakness NOT a strength. Could be one chief reason MB is not profitable....
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "2) BMW sales of the 7-series may have improved with the '02 release, but it has not gained an iota of market share in the lux space. Rather, the biggest gainer remains the Lexus LS which came out of nowhere to become the best selling lux sedan in the NA market."

    According to the above post by rl81, they don't have to...as they are selling all they are making anyway and their factories are at capacity. An enviable situation for any manufacturer.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    they are selling all they are making anyway and their factories are at capacity. An enviable situation for any manufacturer.

    If they really are capacity constrained, it means that customers are paying more than they should for the cars. So...enviable in some ways for the company, but not so enviable for the customer.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Please give evidence of incentives on the brand new 3-Series, I didn't know there were any.

    You can get a new e90 for well under MSRP. That is not a sign of a hot car. When the new GS came out, you could not get one for under MSRP. I'll bet you that when the new IS twins come out, they'll sell for MSRP (+ in some markets like CA) and not a nickel less, at least through this calendar year.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    But they are not. BMW lease deals are quite cheap and have been for a long time now. A company struggling to manufacture cars to a market that can't wait to buy them can charge a huge premium over everyone else. So why don't we see this - because it's not happening. Even in April 2004 I could have had a 745LI lease at the same cost of a $12K lower priced Lexus, so could anyone else in NJ, and I'm sure in much of the US.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Thanks for the concise post. I'm not thrilled by the outcome (I couldn't imagine ever owning a Lexus) but clearly the trend is the trend.

    As a small side note, notice the non-proliferation of the Lexus dealerships. All are very profitable with no one canibalizing sales from someone one town over. This is the business model of a successful, self confident brand. Look at Caterpillar. They are increasingly giving dealers ever larger territories to better support the customers.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    1) MB is no longer the de facto, *must have* lux brand. You may not agree, but the market has spoken. The market has expanded (no one argues this) and the many more players, and the many more quality brands have relegated MB to the mainstream of lux car brands, not one perched at the top as in the past. May be it is inevitable that no one stays at the top for ever...But with MB's quality issues (real and perceived), corporate issues (SEC troubles, CEO departure, management shake-up, etc), and production issues (way too many variants, huge costs, low profit margins, etc), and the competition gaining in strength, all contribute to nudging MB to its downward trend (see sales numbers below)...

    Says who? You keep saying that the market has spoken, yet you ignore the proof in my previous post blows out that theory about Lexus selling more cars in your given price range of 50-80K. Secondly, you say that Mercedes isn't the "de facto, *must have* lux brand", yet I can't get an answer as to who is? It certainly isn't Lexus. Lexus doesn't have a single car (at least until the IS gets here) that causes a person who is even mildly into cars (not charts, surveys, earnings and who the CEO is) feel like they "must have" one. Lexus is the most boring brand in the luxury car field and certainly the most boring one of the 3 luxury Japanese brands. So if IYO Mercedes isn't the "de facto, *must have* lux brand" I'd sure like to know who is. BMW?

    The numbers prove that are just that, the "one perched at the top" for the high-end buyer. They were never the only choice or the most popular choice overall, just the most popular for the high-end buyer.

    Prestige and clout isn't measured alone by sales numbers either. Lexus doesn't even have a performance orientated car yet and nothing with anything larger than a V8, so how anyone could think they're on the same plane with MB/BMW in desirability is beyond me. All they have is sedans and suvs and a coupe that drives like a sedan. Mercedes has cars that comparable with Acura/Lexus/Infiniti at the bottom/mid level and at the very least comparable to Bentleys/Ferraris at the top end. That is something Lexus can only dream about. You don't see anyone mentioning Lexus or comparing them to anything but other mainstream brands. They aren't nearly on the same level of desirability to people who know cars as MB is. Lexus is the ultimate consumer brand. Which focuses on how nice the dealership is, reliability surveys, and what type of loaner car is given out.

    All that irrelevant stuff about CEOs and what not doesn't enter the mind of most people when they see a car driving down the road, and to suggest that it does is really realistic at all. FYI: Mercedes was always one of the mainstream luxury brand every since the late 70s' or early 80s' when they started offering more and more choices. They haven't been "up there" with the likes of Bentley and such since the , 1920s, 1930's or 1950's. Lexus has nothing to do with this so again I don't see what your point is here.

    3) In the $50-80K price range, the LS ($55 - 70K) sells more than the S430 ($70 - 85K) and 745 ($68 - 80K). Feel free to add the E500/55 to the list, just to make the point. But here on this forum, we acknowledge that the LS competes more against the S than against the E.

    What does that have to do with anything? You're using one example of one car here, not the total sales numbers of all Lexus and MB models that sell between your original price spread of 50-80K. You stated that Lexus sells more cars in the 50-80K bracket than "all the others" and they simply don't when it comes to Mercedes. The E-Class is a 50K car from the start the GS isn't and you can't count the GS300, only the much slower selling GS430. The LS430 might outsell the S430, but the E-Class crushes the GS and that still puts Mercedes in the lead in 50-80K sales. Check the numbers in my previous post if you don't believe me.

    Do these numbers mean anything ? Lexus is clearly outselling MB overall, and about equal in car sales, despite the zillions of MB variants. Like Len (ljflx) often states, too many variants are a weakness NOT a strength. Could be one chief reason MB is not profitable....

    No they don't because you originally stated that Lexus sells more cars in a certain price range than MB. Now you're spun it around to say that Lexus outsells Mercedes overall....well...hello we all knew that. You changed your position mid-stream because original statement about Lexus selling more cars from 50-80K than Mercedes isn't provable. Thats only "twisting" I see here. You also stated that Mercedes is no longer the car of choice for the high-end buyers, which is where you came up with that 50-80K price bracket, which I really think is short by 20K on the top end. Then I gave you the numbers that proved Mercedes is still the #1 choice for the high-end buyer, even using your price bracket, not the actual one that should be up to 100K. Nevertheless I stand by my earlier post that disproves that Lexus sells more cars between 50-80K than Mercedes. Now if you have different numbers, and not for just one car, then by all means I'd love to see them. This is the only thing you stated I took issue with. No one here ever debated that Lexus outsells Mercedes. Not once.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks for the concise post. I'm not thrilled by the outcome (I couldn't imagine ever owning a Lexus) but clearly the trend is the trend.

    The trend is that Lexus has finally decided to update their previous sales duds, the IS and GS so yeah they're going to finally start selling more cars than SUVS, at least in theory they should. While Mercedes has a 7 year old S-Class, and a middle aged C-Class along with an E-Class that is heading towards middle age, though the E is still a sales leader. Yet this is seen as some negative "trend" at MB, but when the GS didn't even sell 10K units last year, this was seen as normal.

    This is why I think it is so pointless to looks at the sales from a few months, as opposed to a whole year and draw all these conclusions, when these conclusions are fleeting at best. It is the exact same thing every year it seems. MB and BMW are having some type or "crisis", yet when Jan rolls around they both manage to top the previous year's sales.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Also, in your YTD numbers you use the Jan-July numbers for Lexus and the Jan-June numbers for MB. The press releases you linked are dated exactly one month apart. In short you gave Lexus and extra month in your previous post. Probably just a harmless mistake. ;)

    When you look at Mercedes' numbers for the same time period that you give for Lexus it looks more like:

    YTD: MB Cars - 100881 vs Lexus Cars - 81849, so Lexus isn't "about equal" with Mercedes in car sales unless you call -19K+ units for Lexus being almost "equal".

    Something told me that Lexus' car sales couldn't possibly be within 1800 units of Mercedes' car sales (according to your post) so I had to check that again. Turns out my hunch was right.

    As always whenever you look at Lexus and Mercedes-Benz's overall sales, MB is weaker on the SUV side and Lexus is weaker on the car side. That status hasn't changed this year because of the GS like your previous (incorrect) post implies.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    "Lexus doesn't have a single car (at least until the IS gets here) that causes a person who is even mildly into cars (not charts, surveys, earnings and who the CEO is) feel like they "must have" one. Lexus is the most boring brand in the luxury car field and certainly the most boring one of the 3 luxury Japanese brands."

    These or similar words are your mantra but they are meaningless when it comes to MB as far as I'm concerned. I know a lot, and I mean a lot of people who owned MB's over the years and not one of them was even remotely close to me in car enthusiasm. You paint this issue as if MB was Porsche, loaded with a majority of people who are car nuts. It's not - far from it. People historically bought MB because it was money in the bank on quality, reliability and retention value. In all three of those things Lexus has taken that spot. That is what OAC is talking about and also Blcklislandguy. The 15K or so AMG cars that are bought - rougly 1.5% of MB sales will hold a high degree of accuracy on your point but even there I am sure that there are plenty of people who are not car nuts.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    If MB is as good as you claim, how do you explain that people who own or owned both Lexus and MB all say that Lexus makes a better car, ie. reliabilty and quality, etc.?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    first-generation IS...attracted young buyers with a median age of 29 vs. 39 for a median 3-Series buyer. In fact, only one other vehicle, the tC from Toyota's youth-oriented Scion division, has younger buyers than the IS, Colon said. It also attracted new people to Lexus showrooms -- 90 percent of IS 300 buyers were first-time Lexus owners.

    source http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/mercurynews/classifieds/automotive/12309512.htm
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Good eye on the links. So MB continues to outpace Lexus in car sales, that's good for MB. Hope they continue to do well.

    But more broadly on the theme of my original post, I don't know about your circle of friends or family, but only a small minority of people I know aspire/own an MB. Two friends own an MB - E320 and an S500 - that's it. The majority are BMW, Lexus and Infiniti buyers. I am 42, and my circle don't consider MB as a car to have. We look at MB as the car brand of the past, that our parents/grandparents lusted after. The status symbol of old money.... This is our time and our generation. In fact, one of my good friends, an attorney recently traded in her E320 for a G35 and a GX470. She claimed that she wanted more *fun* out of driving, hence she got rid of her MB.... I have more friends driving a BMW than a Lexus. That influenced my desire to own one, a 3-series. Loved the e46, but deathly afraid of repair costs on a used Bimmer. MB is a good brand but highly overated and over priced, for what you get. To get best value, buy a used MB with an extended warranty (CPO-ed). How can such a brand (MB) be the *must have* lux brand when it is plagued by so many *issues* ??? And these are catching up to the reputation and mystique of MB as a brand... hence the departure of Mr Schrempf. If you don't see the correlation of the MB brand decline with the CEO departure, then you are more fanatic than I thought....
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    "To improve Mercedes quality, Zetsche will have to promote techniques developed by companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. aimed at finding and correcting the root causes of defects -- an approach at odds with the more traditional method of inspecting and repairing defective vehicles before they leave the plant."

    It comes from this column:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000039&sid=atdD41EpoiC8&refer=columnist_levin

    If I dropped $85K on a car I wouldn't be happy reading that comment.

    Somehow all of this is hardly the mark of a leader and it's way too much in the news. Has MB ever gone through turmoil, loss of quality and loss of profitability like this? Certainly not in my memory. They are Damliers big problem right now. The more I read about it the more I realize MB is losing it faster than even I think. Of course Merc will read bankruptcy into this but all it means is a loss of face, a loss of pride, a loss of capital/profitability and a business plan that canot afford another big mistake. Somehow I think putting Maybach styling into the new MB designs is the beginning of a big mistake. The Maybach is a flop so why emulate it?? Maybe the design was put together when Maybach was planning on selling 1500-2000 cars rather than the 500 they sold. Perhaps iit was too late in the game to change the design. Who knows - but at one point there were some questionmarks about the timing of the debut of the new S. Maybe the factions in the company were in disagreement.

    The other funny part of the column is the industry researcher who says MB was standing still. Seems to be quite a counter to Merc's posts that they will never stand still.

    Lastly - this bribery investigation line in the story by the US government is the first I've heard of it. As wel it seems like Cordes is highly desired to stay on but that he has no interest.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    We've had some discussion about resale figures of high end sedans. I've got one question that I've never seen addressed. Does the resale value of a car decline constantly every month as it ages? Or is there a step function whereby on say, September 1, every used car has a birthday and then it plummets a year's worth of depreciation all in one day? The answer to this question is important because it could help someone time a buying decision.

    Here are two examples based on the idea that seemingly the yearly depreciation of a car is calculated on one day once every year. First, car rental companies appear to load up on new cars as early as possible in the MY for a variety of reasons to include marketing ( to offer new MY cars for as long as possible to their customers), factory incentives (the factories must give some incentives to get the initial production run scheduled) but also to minimize depreciation.

    Another example is an ad Jaguar is now running (See www.Jaguarusa.com for complete details) for '05 XJL sedans. The ad offers a good deal: a 24 month lease for $795 per month with no cash down, no security deposit, etc. My thinking is they can offer this because in about 30 days this '05 will be a one year "old" model year car and worth far less. In other words, they will face a tremendous hit on Jaguar depreciation but if they can move it now with some price concessions they may save some of this.

    I realize that the idea that every year every car in the world has a birthday on the same day in September and loses 10 -30% in value sounds far fetched. But how else would it work? Is a 2005 MY car bought in December, 04 really worth "less" than one bought later in March, '05?
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Speaking of being "way too much in the news" the MB fiasco in the cover article is this week's issue of Business Week and the Fianancial Times seemingly daily has articles on the bribery allegations, Juergan's personal life, etc.

    But forget about all this. Have they ever found his limo? The up-armoured version with GPS? That has got to be as insulting and demeaning as say, somone stealing Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's vehicle while he stepped out to talk with some troops.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Pablo was following the Limo story in a German mag. Maybe he knows what became of the S-class limo. That was the armored one with who knows what on it - supposedly a $400K+ vehicle. It would probably have been part of his separation package. You know I worked for a European company and that cut off of comp without paying out an existing contract is unheard of in Europe. They must have really had the goods on Juergen's "activities".
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I know a lot, and I mean a lot of people who owned MB's over the years and not one of them was even remotely close to me in car enthusiasm. You paint this issue as if MB was Porsche, loaded with a majority of people who are car nuts. It's not - far from it. People historically bought MB because it was money in the bank on quality, reliability and retention value. In all three of those things Lexus has taken that spot. That is what OAC is talking about and also Blcklislandguy.

    My point is that MB isn't the same boring type of company that Lexus is, not that they are BMW or Porsche, or that MBs are only bought by car nuts. My point is that MB has gotten a lot younger in styling and in the driving experience over the last 10 years. On this board MB is judged by their sedans because that is where they line up with Lexus, but MB offers way more than just sedans and suvs. They have coupes, roadsters, sports cars, wagons etc., and I'm not even talking about their AMG models. That seems to be totally lost here. Models like the CL, SLK, SL, CLK, CLS, and SLR is where the bulk of the excitement within the MB brand is (not just the E/S models talked about here). Lexus has virtually nothing to counter this, unless you count the SC430 which has been panned in any and every comparo for driving and looking like a Buick. Mercedes isn't soley about the S and E-Class and their resale values that you love to point out so much. MB is so much more than just the two sedans you looked at or that your circle of friends have/had.

    Just because your circle isn't into cars as much as you are doesn't mean that goes for everyone that had or has an MB. This doesn't go for everyone's connection to MB, not at all.

    M
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