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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That reply stream is just way to long...! :confuse:

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "..... Now you're quoting another post about sales figures for the past 6 years to say something about MB's growth when again this had nothing to do with your claim about MB not being the brand of choice for the high-end buyer...."

    My point was that many people in my circle do NOT want an MB, and it no longer holds the mystique it once held, at least for people I know. ANd the sales factoids backed up that assertion, hence I quoted these for you, just in case you don't believe me. It is crystal clear that less people buy MBs today than they buy the competition, especially Lexus. Yet you continually do not want to connect the dots between MB's downward sales trend relative to its competition (esp. Lexus) and its fall from grace showing it is NO longer the *must have* car for the high-end lux buyer.

    Look at it objectively. How can MB be the #1 brand when it sells way less than its competition ??? According to syswei, extrapolating from YTD numbers, Lexus will outsell MB by a whopping 40% by year end !!! Now, if MB were a niche player like Rolls Royce, or Ferrari or Porsche, then we can say sales does NOT matter, but being a mainstream seller and MORE buyers prefering other brands to MB shows clearly their falling stature. You may choose not to see what I see, and choose not to infer what I infer... that's your choice. My point is clear and backed up with those sales factoids either YTD or going back 6 years....

    'nuff said...
  • kgakga Posts: 23
    >>> Lexus has been in UK for three years, and only setting up shop across the continent
    >>> in the past year.

    I’m kinda tired of your misinterpretation of the facts.
    Where did you get your information??? I wonder...
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I’m kinda tired of your misinterpretation of the facts.

    I thought you loved different interpretations since you defined "a long time" as "as opposed to recetly." Talk about totalogical definitions.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    I'd say that in the MBZ vs. Lex war, that the folks from the East are, regrettably, winning the battle, if not the war.

    Now can we move on?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    To see Merc1's take of the IS in this Lexus get together and then later the S-class when it's seen in the flesh. Merc loves MB and defends them to death but through it all he's objective and honest when he really gets down to business of analyzing things at a micro level. We may get on each other but many of us have been posting for years and deeply respect Merc's auto knowledge . That's why Syswei is also interested to see his IS reaction as per his post.

    The new S seems to look better when you see it in pix from above rather than at ground level. It hides the wheel arches better and that may be why it looks better. I don't know if they purposely shoot the pix that way to better emphasize the style from a favored view (I note that every pix I've seen from an above angle also shows a dark car) or they are just trying to show the car from many angles. As Merc stated - if the car misses in brilliant silver than it misses the mark as an MB. Lastly I think MB did a good job - despite the fact that I'm not a fan of this new style in pix so far at least - of again hiding the true bulk this car has - despite the wheel arches.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    My point was that many people in my circle do NOT want an MB, and it no longer holds the mystique it once held, at least for people I know. ANd the sales factoids backed up that assertion, hence I quoted these for you, just in case you don't believe me. It is crystal clear that less people buy MBs today than they buy the competition, especially Lexus. Yet you continually do not want to connect the dots between MB's downward sales trend relative to its competition (esp. Lexus) and its fall from grace showing it is NO longer the *must have* car for the high-end lux buyer.

    Bingo! That is your circle, but the sales numbers still say that MB is the #1 choice for the high-end buyer any way you want to slice it. Whether or not you agree with it or not, whether or not it is deserved or not, it is what it is. It the same thing about my circle when I said most people I know see Lexus (except the RX) as being an old man's car, but actual proof was given showing that overall Lexus buyers are younger and MB's. My perception of the brand didn't equal the reality. Same thing with your statement about MB and high-end buyers. You stated that 50-80K is the proper price range and that is where MB rules and the numbers I gave earlier prove it. That doesn't even include the SL, CL, SLR and various high-end AMG products. You can't make the judgement about MB not being #1 in status or high-end sales if you're only going to look at some of what they sell. When Lexus comes out with similar high-end versions of the next LS, and that sports car you'll all of a see what I'm talking about. All of a sudden the price range that matters will become wherever Lexus tops out at, be it 100K or whatever. Or, put it this way...if Lexus comes out with a 85-90K version of the next LS it outsells the 750Li and S500 that won't matter because its over 80K? Or will you then stretch the price bracket to include that Lexus?

    Look at it objectively. How can MB be the #1 brand when it sells way less than its competition ??? According to syswei, extrapolating from YTD numbers, Lexus will outsell MB by a whopping 40% by year end !!!

    Easy, because overall sales aren't the end-all like you make them out to be. Sales is just one component of status or prestige, which is what I'm saying MB is #1 in, not total overall sales. You are switching up between who is number #1 in prestige vs who is just #1 in sales, and it isn't the same thing. You put sales as the #1 thing just because Lexus is #1 right now. Now if Cadillac passes Lexus in sales will that make them a more prestigious brand to you? Most likely not. Then you'll look at other aspects of the prestige question. You down play price like it doesn't matter. Mercedes sold over 13K SL's last year for at least 85K a pop. Now if you're going to get into a subjective thing like status then you have to look at everything and not just a simplistic look at who sells the most overall.

    You may choose not to see what I see, and choose not to infer what I infer... that's your choice. My point is clear and backed up with those sales factoids either YTD or going back 6 years....

    Problem is you haven't given any factoids about MB not being the #1 choice for the high-end buyer, only a bunch of irrelevant things about sales overall, which wasn't the issue, nor is what you've given the sole indicator of prestige or status. You also ignore that over those 6 years you keep talking about MB went from 100K to over 200K in sales, at higher prices overall than Lexus, but to you price doesn't matter. I mean all luxury brands should grow at the same rate no matter what their prices are? That is being "objective"?

    If you want to say that Lexus is #1 sales all day long, no one will disagree, but the majority of those sales are the ES and RX, both sub-50K vehicles. Those are not high-end products, which is where I disagree with you about MB not being the choice brand, not overall sales.

    Again, if you have the numbers to prove that MB isn't the #1 choice for the high-end buyer (which you estimated to be between 50-80K), and/or that someone else is, I'd love to see them.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    To see Merc1's take of the IS in this Lexus get together and then later the S-class when it's seen in the flesh. Merc loves MB and defends them to death but through it all he's objective and honest when he really gets down to business of analyzing things at a micro level. We may get on each other but many of us have been posting for years and deeply respect Merc's auto knowledge . That's why Syswei is also interested to see his IS reaction as per his post.

    Man you said a lot there, thanks. You know I'll call it like it see it, even with the new S-Class. I too have seen a lot of pics in which the wheel arches are better proportioned. I don't even have a problem with the front arches, its the rear wheel arch where it meets the rear doors is where I think they could have done a lot better. Mercedes house of styling has turned out some less than stellar efforts in the Maybach and 2003-2005 CLK, and I'm worried about the new CL. I don't see how those spy shots will result in a better looking car than the current one, which is perfection in my book.

    I've wanted to drive the IS350 every since I saw it has 306hp, a lot of power for a car of that size. It should be a real hoot. It has 4 more horses than the 1998-2000 C43 AMG!

    BTW, "Brilliant Silver" is being phased out. It is now "Iridium Silver". ;)

    M
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Perception does become reality when the perception is on the part of people who are indeed making the choices between brand new MB vs. Lexus. Perception on the part of teenagers who do not even have a drivers license does not matter, but perception on the part of would-be buyers of these specific vehicles does matter.

    There is a problem with counting numbers entirely on sales price. $57k buys a Lexus that is every bit as good as any MB south of $100k. $57k can't even buy a piece of crap stripper S class with V6, which starts at $60k. The reality is that MB is never gonna get that $60k because all those cars are leased with a la la land residue of $40k, but at auction time after lease turn-in the cars will be lucky to get $30k. In other words, MB is marking a sub-$50k car ($20+30k real residue) at $60k for MSRP knowing full well that the book will have to be reversed after lease. The market knows very well that MB's are not worth what the MSRP say they are; that's why most MB drivers lease. It's all a financial game that will come back to ruin MB when sales volume dips (ie. when the cooked income from the fake extra sale is no longer sufficient to offset the time-delayed book adjustment to fit reality when the finance department takes back a car that is worth substantially less than the projected residue).
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I'm worried about the new CL.

    No need to worry; none of us here is buying the new CL. I'm considering a four-seat convertible for my wife, preferrably with a folding hard top. The choice seems to be either an SC430 or an IS350 if they ever make one. The thing is that she's already pregnant with our first baby; not sure if I want to keep a convertible after baby birth. If only MB and BMW made reliable cars . . .
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I'm considering a four-seat convertible for my wife

    What they put in the back of the SC don't even deserve to be called "seats". Just try to sit even a 8-year old back there.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I mean all luxury brands should grow at the same rate no matter what their prices are?

    Actually, why not? As long as the price gap between MB and Lexus is constant, why shouldn't MB grow as fast as Lexus? Now, if the average gap used to be 15% and then went to 50%, of course you'd expect slower growth from MB. But if the price gap has been fairly constant (and no one has shown otherwise), there is no reason to expect a different growth rate.

    Here's some evidence. We all know that the overall luxury vehicle market has grown quite alot faster than the total U.S. vehicle market, despite luxury vehicles obviously costing more than the average vehicle. Doesn't that suggest, that if price gaps are constant, price shouldn't constrain growth rates?

    The fact that Lexus has grown faster than MB in the past 6 years has little to do with price, because Lexus has always been cheaper. It has to do with people's view of the desireability of Lexus vs MB....and in recent years that has been impacted primarily, imho, by MB's quality issues.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "Brilliant Silver" is being phased out. It is now "Iridium Silver"

    What a stupid name. Outside of a few geologists and metallurgists, who even knows what Iridium looks like?

    Personally the association I make with iridium is the extinction of the dinosaurs....the 'iridium layer', thought to be from a meteor impact, is associated with that mass extinction. Not a smart marketing move to hook one's brand to the dinosaurs.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Lexus millenium silver at the turn of the century was real catchy. They changed it to mercury metallic now that we are distanced from that event date. That was crazy too because some people thought they actually stopped making the LS in silver. But you can't get a better adjective than brilliant in front of a word when describing a color. So whoever traded off the names should be canned on the spot and if MB really messed with the color itself I'd think it's a mistake. All lux mfrs must think we are stupid enough to fall for these silly adjectives. But in the case of MB their silver really has a jewel type brilliancy to it. That's why I'd think they'd be crazy to alter that tone.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Yeah I like their silver too, I think I prefer it to Lexus' silver. The only problem with silver is that so many people like it, especially on MBs, it is too common.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    What they put in the back of the SC don't even deserve to be called "seats". Just try to sit even a 8-year old back there.

    It will mostly be for the dog, and some bags and suit cases for the two of us. Wife wants a convertible some point in her life . . . we are both just past 30, and are about to have our first child . . . looks like it's either now or after a 20-yr wait till all the children are off to college. By then, we will be in our 50's, not to mention a really long wait.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The XK has similar seats, useful for bags and small suitcases and thats it. The XK at least has some trunk space though, the SC430 has enough for a cheese sandwich, or an orange, but not both at once. Its also an incredibly BORING car to drive. Frankly I think the LS430 with Eurosport suspension is a lot more fun than the SC. I'd suggest a Boxster S or SLK350 to start, and if you simply must have rear seats, then maybe an M3 Convertible or S4 Cabrio. Or, used XKRs are always fun, (I know, I drive one).
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    You`d better sping for a convertable now while you are young ...It`s different when you get older....You`l need the memories from this time in your life to give you something to aspire to regain later Tony
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  • stomp32stomp32 Posts: 38
    The SC's back seat is not fit for human occupancy (no leg room and the seat angle is too upright), but it does come in handy for carrying various items that do not fit in the miniscule trunk. But who buys this car for cargo capacity?

    The hardtop is so wonderful that my wife will never even consider another ragtop.

    The convertibles lexusguy recommended are nice, but the cockpits did feel a bit cramped. They do merit a good look though.

    Lastly, the SC is definitely NOT boring to drive, as long as you don't expect it to handle like a Porsche. The fact that you are considering it suggests that you value a softer ride. I would rather take the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Big Sur in California, on a beautiful sunny day, in the SC over just about any other car. That is what it was made for.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I get the idea, its just that the SC is too soft to be even a GT, such as the 645Ci, Jaguar, or Maserati. Its almost as much of a Buick as the Solara. I'm not suggest the Lotus Elise or Honda S2000, but the SC is about as far as you can go in the opposite direction.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Actually, why not? As long as the price gap between MB and Lexus is constant, why shouldn't MB grow as fast as Lexus? Now, if the average gap used to be 15% and then went to 50%, of course you'd expect slower growth from MB. But if the price gap has been fairly constant (and no one has shown otherwise), there is no reason to expect a different growth rate.

    Because at some point you get into the upper reaches of the market and there are fewer buyers, that is common sense to me. Also, has the price gap between MB and Lexus stayed the same model for model since 1998? I seriously doubt it. Despite Mercedes saying they've changed their price structure since the mid-nineties, their cars are just as expensive as ever. How you can ignore every MB priced above 70K (where Lexus tops out) and say it doesn't matter is beyond me, and I'm not talking about 4 or 5 models either.

    Mercedes has grown also, everyone knocking them seems to forget that. No credit is given for having gone from 122,265 in 1997 (first year they broke 100K BTW) to 221,610 in 2004. Does this match Lexus? Of course not. Did they grow, yes.

    The fact that Lexus has grown faster than MB in the past 6 years has little to do with price, because Lexus has always been cheaper. It has to do with people's view of the desireability of Lexus vs MB....and in recent years that has been impacted primarily, imho, by MB's quality issues.

    You say it has little to do with price, but how do you know this? I mean where do you draw the line between price or desirability being the cause of their growth relative to Lexus? You act as though everyone can just afford whatever. The other half of that is correct, it does have to do with desirability, the desirability of SUVs, which is over half of Lexus' volume now.

    I do agree though that at this point that their sales will be hindered until and they get reliability endorsements from the survey groups and their worshipers, but up until about 2000-2001 or so the word wasn't out like it is now about their reliability. Of course I think if they brought their prices down that would help just as much, but of course that would have no affect on sales in your view. A 75K SL500 wouldn't sell any better than 95K one does because everyone has a copy of Consumer Reports in their back pocket when they go shopping.

    Lexus sure isn't ahead because their cars are more desirable with previous duds like the IS and GS. They'd be at the end of the chart if they were more dependent on car sales like MB is.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    From today's WSJ: "Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand is going even higher. It is working on an eight-speed automatic transmission, industry executives say."

    Not a big deal, imho. But the first mention I've seen from a reliable source.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Thank you for your imput (and other's). Convertibles are not for ultimate performance (coupes structural rigidity will always be better). Plus, I doubt adrelinin rush will be good for my pregnant wife. A top-down cruiser that can also function like sedan over the winter is more like it.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Mercedes has grown also, everyone knocking them seems to forget that.

    Rising tide lifts all boats; remember all those dot-coms in their hey days? It's relative growth, market share and most importantly cash flow that ultimately will decide the success vs. failure of companies. It's astounding that Mercedes is losing money hand-over--fist in what's arguably the fastest growing years of the luxury auto market.

    How you can ignore every MB priced above 70K (where Lexus tops out) and say it doesn't matter is beyond me, and I'm not talking about 4 or 5 models either.

    The actual sales number of $70k+ class is relatively minor compared to the $30-50k segment, although the growth rate is significant. Also a MB with $70k MSRP actually sells for much less through lease subsidy (see below). What's also interesting is that, Lexus does not sell any car much over $70k; doesn't that mean, if it did, there would be more Lexus sales?

    Of course I think if they brought their prices down that would help just as much, but of course that would have no affect on sales in your view. A 75K SL500 wouldn't sell any better than 95K one does because everyone has a copy of Consumer Reports in their back pocket when they go shopping.

    If you actually shopped in this segment, you'd have noticed that the true market price/value of SL500 is only $75k or less: the MB financial lease residue on SL500 is $60-65k, but in reality local dealers are having difficulty selling those lease returns at $40k! That means MB is booking the $95k up front only to have $20+k coming out the finance arm three years later, making the car really worth $75k or less. It also means that MB's financial sheets will look bad for at least years to come.

    What's more interesting is that, Lexus prices have been going up throughout the last decade, significantly on some models. Whereas MB prices have been going down, both in terms of MSRP and the growing lease subsidy. If all else were equal, say, hypothetically the two company operated in two entirely different markets with equal growth rate and unchanging products, you'd think the company that raises prices should have lower sales growth than the one that reduces prices. Yet, the exact opposite has been happening! That is indicative of the dilusion of marquee value that has been happening at MB.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    If you do decide on an SC, I would definitely suggest ditching the fun-flats for regular tires. Unless they've improved since I last drove one a few years ago, the ride is harsh, combined with generally lousy handling. Its lose-lose.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I will probably do that. That's one of the things holding me back (not having space for a spare); the other being the rumored new IS350 hard top convertible with equal number of horses and the butt-cooling seat. It's astounding that none of the convertibles on the market today has butt-cooling seats. It's literally a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] to sit on those leather seats after they are baked in the sun.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Thats why I stopped buying cars with black leather - youch! The other problem I have with the SC (aside from the lack of cargo space, the exterior styling, and the overly cushy handling) is those awful wheels. Supposedly they were attempting to emulate Bugatti with their first 18" wheel. I've never seen Bugatti wheels that ugly in my life. They now offer a plastic cap to make the wheels look like 5-spokes instead of those dinner plate things, but its only a very slight improvement. I'd suggest getting a set of '06 GS 18" take off wheels from Ebay if you want Lexus OEMs.

    The IS350 convertible is going to be a cool car, but I wouldnt expect it any time soon. Apparently they are still working on wether to do a soft or retractable hard top. By the time it actually comes out, there will probably be a brand new SC that will be a lot better.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I do agree though that at this point that their sales will be hindered until and they get reliability endorsements from the survey groups and their worshipers, but up until about 2000-2001 or so the word wasn't out like it is now about their reliability. Of course I think if they brought their prices down that would help just as much, but of course that would have no affect on sales in your view. A 75K SL500 wouldn't sell any better than 95K one does because everyone has a copy of Consumer Reports in their back pocket when they go shopping.

    Merc1: This admission that reliability is hurting MB sales is kinda refreshing. So MB sales is in decline in part bcos it is less reliable than the competition ? Hmmmm !!! And buyers have CR in their back pockets when they go purchase a high-priced MB ??? Double hmmmm.... But to top it off, you state that MB needs to get reliability endorsements from the survey groups.... WOW !!! Were u suggesting that MB buyers now care about JDP and CR before buying an MB ???? To think that all these years you have slammed Lexus and its owners for being *CR and JDP worshippers*....

    So you finally can connect the dots.....

    You can only sell on your image for so long, u know ! BTW, MB prices are high not because they are worth their list prices, but bcos of the many issues well highlighted to you in previous posts - such as high production costs, inefficiency, labor costs, etc...All of these being passed down to unlucky MB-mystified buyers.... As brightness stated, MB lease prices are inflated, and true residuals are hidden. When the roost comes home to MB, it will be a huge problem. I am sure an SEC and charges of potential insider trading investigation would not help MB in the short-term...
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's skip the personal comments - it seems like you are agreeing and there's no need for the "piling it on" routine here.
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