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High End Luxury Cars

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  • jtbenzjtbenz Posts: 29
    Well I agree with you on almost everything. Wow, except for the BMW part. I like BMW's and wouldn't mind getting one, but there are a few things I don't like about them, especially the styling. Mercedes seem snazzier and seem to stand out more than the BMW's, but it is just my opinion.
    (And I am getting sick of seeing them, every one seems to have one, friends family neighbors, they are everywhere! And they all have the same look.)
    And I like the performance of my Benz and the interior seems a bit nicer than the BMW.
    And the only reason why I mention Lexus' performance is because that has been my point all along, but people jumped all over me when I mentioned it. It seemed like people were denying it I never denied that Lexus makes fine reliable cars. And I am not surprised why they are so popular.
    And I am not surprised by the 60 times, (I looked them up when people jumped all over the S) again I never really looked or studied the LS and for the S I would look at them at the car dealer when I was there or read about them once in a while but never studied them or the competition seriously because I haven't considered buying one. I do have an uncle who has one but never drove it myself and none of my friends own an S. I do admire the S for what it is,and it is Mercedes flagship car. I have never really paid too much attention to the LS, It has never been my cup of tea, they have never excited me, but I do have a new found respect for the LS now, but both cars are not my kind of cars and I don't want to own either. But both are fine autos and I can see why people who own them are proud of them.
  • kgakga Posts: 23
    Lexus is well known for overestimating its vehicles. I have looked at motortrend test data, and it shows:
    E500: 5.8 sec;
    LS: 6.4 sec;
    S430: 6.8 sec.

    But it’s not the point. My point is that Lexus LS competes with Mercedes S & E500. LS sales volume compared with S-class only does not really mean anything.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Thanks for the welcomes-back, folks. I can only sit back and watch the continuous volley, but not indulge it again. I will say this however-

    -The quality continues to improve for mercedes-benz

    -Schremp and Cordes are GONE, and can take their megalomania with them. Zieche should only be a huge catalist to the rise back up. So I'm optimistic...
  • jtbenzjtbenz Posts: 29
    Hmmm interesting stats. But hey thanks for the lively debate, I hate to leave the field with the battle still raging but it's Friday night and time to go out and have some fun. Have a nice weekend.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I have had to acquire a taste for the new S, but I can say I have gone from thinking it was o.k. to liking it pretty well. I've seen better photos more recently, and I guess seeing it in the flesh will determine my real opinion. Late jan early feb is what I'm hearing for availablity, plus the saks 5th ave., or whatever limited edition cars they're making only 40 or so of, that will be sold in october, if I remember correctly. The 450 is either mid model intro for '07, or maybe '08. I'm excited about the car, and we're starting to take orders for them, which is good to see. I'm not too proud to admit that I'm a little nervous about all the new tech going into this car...I hope it's not a repeat of the 220.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    You can keep making that argument but I think we all know better. The E is really the size of the ES and GS. I had a hard time fitting 5 comfortably in an E-class. It feels cramped and small to me and so does the GS. it's the nature of those cars and its why the LS competes at the S level and not the E level. Just look at the discussion topic for further confirnation.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    This is incorrect to compare Lexus LS sales volume with Mercedes S-class. The LS competes with E-class also (at least E500).

    Laughable stretch....Get real buddy. We are talking High End Luxury Marques here not E class, unless MB fans think an E qualifies in the same class as an S !
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    OK, I'll grant that it's better to use independent results, and that the LS slots in between the E500 and S430 in 0-60 times.

    I also agree that some people will cross shop the LS against the E. And when you look at cars, MB outsells Lexus...for now. But if you look back a few dozen posts, you'll see that Lexus is gaining market share in cars vs MB, having grown 45% to MB's 20% since 1999.
  • kgakga Posts: 23
    Lexus LS “key competitors”: MB E-Class, S-Class (source: Lexus web site). I think guys at Lexus know better their competitors, or you think they are incompetent? If someone does not fit (nothing personal) into smallish E500, it does not prove that E500 and LS don’t compete.
    Nevertheless, point regarding this board title is well taken.

    P.S. recently my friend asked my opinion regarding new car purchase. We took a look at: Audi A6, BMW 545, MB E500, Lexus LS (basically the same price range). The winner is E500 (though it was not my choice), because friend of mine values luxury feel more than anything else. But I guess it’s irrelevant now. I’m officially off.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    E500: 5.8 sec;
    LS: 6.4 sec;
    S430: 6.8 sec.


    Wow, a 5L V8 motor vs a 4.3L V8 motor with different time to 60mph .... and the point was ????? Simply ridiculous !!! Methinks this line of debate is well worn and time to move on.....
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    What's the big deal about AMG? What tiny fraction of MB output is AMG anyway? MB makes far more gutless four-bangers than AMG cars, like 10-to-1 if not 100-to-1. AMG was literally founded by a couple gearheads in a garage, with no special blessing from MB throughout the decades that MB reigned the luxury automobile world. MB bought AMG in the late 90's only when BMW became a real threat to MB dominance. In other words, MB bought it to make money; no devotion to performance required.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Lets compare the LS with a Benz with a similar price the C55 AMG. At a cost of about $55K . . .

    And a $15k Yamaha motorcycle will trump any AMG car in 0-60. What's the point of such apples-to-orange comparison? C class is not high end luxury at all.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Lexus is only ahead of MB and BMW because they caught the SUV wave, not because of their cars. If the portion of Lexus' volume based on SUVs was taken out they'd still be behind Mercedes. Lexus is the best seller because of SUVs, not because all their cars are some sort of best-selling allstars.

    The best selling Lexus, the RX, is a wagon. Lexus hardly offers any other wagon (IS SportCross sales is miniscule thanks to the old IS platform lack of luxury for the price). If wagon numbers are similarly taken out of MB sales, it's not entirely clear MB sedan sales alone outnumbers Lexus sedan sales.

    Lexus is ahead based on SUVS and a the popular ES330, a car no other foreign car company even considers competition.

    The ES is more luxuriously appointed than almost all C class cars (and the majority of E class for that matter) out there.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    the ES330, which I can't see any European luxury car brand seeing as competition.

    The majority of Audi, Volvo and Saabs out there are FWD, too, and often not as luxuriously appointed as the ES. The majority of MB's and BMW's on the road and sold today are not as luxuriously appointed as the ES.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    And the fact also remains that Lexus sells at cheaper price points overall model for model (in almost every case) compared to MB.

    Not true at all. C class starts at a price point significantly lower than that of ES; as we know, the low end is where the volume is.

    There's also the funny business about leasing: say a $50k MB gets leased at 0% interest rate (for the sake of simplicity), generates $20k lease payment in 3 years; then gets auctioned off for $20k instead of the $30k farcical "residue." How much is the car really worth in the market place? $40k not $50k. Most MB's are leased nowadays thanks to MB' policy of factory subsidy of lease residue. It's nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Pau (booking the extra $10k sales in an early year only to have loss show up in the credit finance department 3 yrs later); the financial balance sheet will look even worse when the chickens come back to roost. The unwary first-time MB lessees will also be royally upset if and when they need to get out of a lease early or over-mileage.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Do you just make stuff up because it sounds good? I have never heard that rear driven cars have a significant disadvantage in cabin noise when compared to front drive cars. The drivetrain takes some interior cabin space away but noise is not a common weakness. To illustrate my point, just try to find any car over $50K with front drive.

    DeVille DTS is $52k. Your illustration is off. What's so hard to understand that moving mechnical parts make noise? Of course a $50k RWD is going to have sound deadening material wrapped around the moving parts. RWD however has nothing to do with refinement like you wre making it up on the fly.

    And uniformed one, let me try to explain this again, rear drive cars can place its front wheels farther to the front of the car than front drive cars. Front drive cars have to have the front axle positioned under the engine

    Uninformed one, have you ever heard of Mini or A class? both have very little over hang in the front; far less than S class, for example. "Do you just make stuff up because it sounds good?" back at you, "uninformed one" (is that someone who wears uniform ;-)

    And you are mistaken about the condition of my 190 if you think a base ford focus can beat my 190 on an autocross course.

    Autocross performance has zero to do with ride quality. Is this "luxury" forum or boy-racer forum? it's pretty sad that you have to pick "base ford focus" on autocross as you know damn well that the old beater can not hold a candle to a modern econobox in ride quality like I said.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    the C55 and the LS are close in cabin size

    Are you serious?? Do you also dream that your econobox C class is close in cabin size to the flagship S600?
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Well not only don't they have anything comparable to the AMG, they really are the slowest lux car line. Admit it.

    I can't think of a single Lexus car model as slow as C230, C240, or E320, the top three sellers in the Mercedes line up in the US over the past few years, combined accounting for over 60% of all MB cars sold! Think about it, over 60% of all MB cars sold in the US are slower than the slowest Lexus! The worldwide picture gets even worse, with all the gutless A-class and E220 taxcabs.
  • MY Point

    If you compair a LS430 ULTRA...With ANY Mercedes S class under $100,000 the LS wins in almost any catagory you care to mention.

    The fact you need to Bend The criteria of LS vrs S....Speaks Volumes.

    When LS comes out with a 4 or 500 hp Hybrid...Does your comments mean you will walk over the S to Buy one because it will now be the fastest.

    If the new S is a Technological Marvel ....They better Double their service bays...
  • jtbenz:

    I have already, shown you a Lexus that is faster then the comperable Benz, the Mercedes S under 100,000 is slower then LS...

    0-60 in about 5.9 sec for the LS and 6.1 for the S with 40 more Horses...That of course, assumes the S is in full operating order...We must be fair.
  • Rotflmao if your friend chose an E over an LS because he likes a Luxury feel...
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Did any of you folks catch the cover story on MB ("Dark Days at Daimler") in the 8/15 issue of BusinessWeek? It's now available online at www.businessweek.com (search for "Mercedes" and you'll see the article; online registration is required but is free).

    The article pretty clearly "connects the dots" as oac would say. Here's some salient quotes:

    "Beset with humbling quality problems, a money-losing small car business, and high production costs, Mercedes has gone from being the global benchmark for quality and one of the most profitable auto makers in the world to a money-losing shambles. For the first half of 2005, the premium carmaker lost $1.1 billion. Clearly, Zetsche will have his work cut out turning Mercedes around."

    "Worse, the quality fiasco has taken a heavy toll both in Europe, which accounts for 76% of sales, and in the U.S., where the auto maker sells 21% of its vehicles. Mercedes' European market share slipped to 4.2% in the first half of 2005, down from 4.5% for the same period in 2004."

    "Wooing back customers will also mean putting some zing in the model lineup. New models are in the pipeline, including the vaunted S-Class sedan, which will be unveiled in September, and the new M-Class sport utility vehicle -- and not a moment too soon: Sales of two of the company's key profit engines, the E-Class and C-Class, have plunged 30% to 35% this year, buffeted by reports of quality problems."

    Boy, does Zetsche have a big job cut out for him. The question is will Cordes stick around to be part of the solution.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Yet you read this board and it seems impossible for some to accept the evidence. MB has focused on performance for the last 10 years while its bread and butter cars have fallen apart. The sexy performance gets the headlines in the car rags, who by the way never seem to point out how badly or how far the mainstream buisness has fallen off. It also leads to some bragging here, bragging that is meaningless and is all about cars that make up less than 1.5% of sales. I guess its great that MB has high performance cars that people can buy. But I think 99% of its past buyers wished they'd focus on building quality stock cars instead. But that' means they get boring again. Boring and profitable again - if they do it right. But I don't see them ever being in the enviable position they occupied for so long. Everything is much more sophisticated now and there's simply too much competition, too much quality and too much of a dependency on something the Germans don't execute well - electronics.

    I doubt you'll see Cordes back. He's a cost cutter more than a visionary from what I've read and I'd expect that Ford or GM will snap him up. His work is cut out for him at Benz if he came back or the other two if they offer him a job. Better to accept the top job at a bigger company than a secondary one at a smaller one that just passed him over.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    bragging here, bragging that is meaningless and is all about cars that make up less than 1.5% of sales. I guess its great that MB has high performance cars that people can buy. But I think 99% of its past buyers wished they'd focus on building quality stock cars instead.

    Very well put. MB is "better" than Lexus for the 1.5% of people that buy AMG vehicles, where Lexus doesn't compete. But is it better in mainstream luxury vehicles?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    "Sales of two of the company's key profit engines, the E-Class and C-Class, have plunged 30% to 35% this year, buffeted by reports of quality problems."

    This is another interesting tidbit as it refutes another point some on the board make, that being German car buyers will put up with problems and make reliability a lesser issue. Again this is certainly true at Porsche and to a large extent BMW. But MB has never really attracted the performance buyer. So a blanket statement like that is hardly accurate.

    But here's what I've been trying to put across to Merc1. You read a story like that and you still have no hesitation to drop $60-100K on one of their cars? Merc's point is historic MB buyers will not be influenced or may not even know. How? It's everywhere. But let's just say you are one that has been hit by the recalls, the repair bills and the inconveniences of seeing dealer serrvice too often or know a few too many people who have that experience. Still no hesitation? I doubt it because the capital requirement is far too heavy. I think a hidden problem in all this is that MB has lost some core customers at the top end and gained some entry level lux customers who always aspired to own a Benz at that low end. But now its not the quality brand of its past legacy. Proof - I have none but I'd bet a lot of money on it.

    Syswei - this is why I made the statement last year or last winter that MB would lose its throne status position in the future. I still think both BMW and Lexus will pass them in a few years. I said at the time I thought the problems would get much worse. I think they are heading for worse times still. You'll likely see some hairdressing in the next two quarters - usually played out with adjustments in intercompany charges and things like that - to make the new CEO look good. I know as I've been there and done that and it happens with all internal charges to prop up an ailing divisions profits. But that is not sustainable and the business will have to break through at some point.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    MB would lose its throne status position in the future. I still think both BMW and Lexus will pass them in a few years.

    Well certainly in pure unit sales they've already been dethroned. As far as prestige, well I agree that it could happen, but imho it will take more than a few years. Brand equity built over a 120 year period imho would probably take more than 10 years to be destroyed. There is still time for MB to get its act together.
  • stomp32stomp32 Posts: 38
    I am a businessman and I think it is underestimated by most people what a feat it was for Toyota to enter the luxury segment, where they were not even an afterthought, and gain this level of market penetration in a relatively short time. I can only think of Rolex as one other example that comes close.

    But now that Lexus is one of the Big Boys, I think the road ahead will be much more difficult. When you are the benchmark in many people's eyes, mistakes are not forgiven easily. You are expected to lead, not follow (not saying that they are following in everything, but we all must admit they followed MB for years just to get established).

    Lexus is flush with cash, but that is not always a good thing when it comes to innovation and customer service. It seems to me that the fat cats always forget what got them there and find a way to somehow blow it.

    The competition between the luxury makes have resulted in some truly wonderful automobiles in just the past few years. I hope this trend continues 'cause we consumers surely benefit from it.
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    Don't confuse the Lexus ES300 with the Lexus LS430. The performance of the LS430 with 295HP (2005) and six speed transmission is far from being a laggard. All Lexus models are thot to be luxury cars; however, the LS430 is a car in it's own class and should not be compared to the other Lexus cars.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    BTW, after catching up on my reading in the Luxury Performance Sedans forum, I just discovered that this article had been mentioned by others, citing a reprint of the Business Week article on MSNBC.msn.com that doesn't require a registration to read:

    Dog Days at Daimler

    I was truly interested in Merc1's impression of the article, but he had already responded to it there-- sorry, Merc1, but I'll leave it to you whether you want to say something different here or just repost your previous response on LPS here for those who don't follow the other forum.
  • Stomp:

    As a LEXUS owner...I don't expect LEXUS to lead in anything but quality... l like the idea that they study new innovations..Perfect them and THEN put them in their cars..

    In those cases where they do HAPPEN to lead I expect NO loss of quality...Hybrids are a good example...if they make a Hybrid LS...It better be perfect...

    As to the looks of the car...I don't want a space ship...I don't want Ugly...I want a nice conservative timeless design that I would get tired of looking at in a couple of years.

    The Cars Attribute..I bought an LS...I want luxury...A great sound system, A nice comfortable smooth and quiet ride...All the proven safety features...and Electronics that are easy to use and understand...LIKE THE LEXUS GPS system, and the radar/laser cruse control. I don't need a race car but it has to handle well and lexus definately does, Without sacrafice to that Smooth Quiet Ride. I want an attractive comfortable interior...I like wood and leather...Don't like Crome or Aluminum or stainless steel, it is too cool feeling...I want to be at home in my car Comfortable and pampered in every way....AND LEXUS DELIVERS...

    If Lexus ever gets caught up in the Rush technology to the market race they will sacrafice quality...and without the quality they might as well be a lowly Mercedes.
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