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High End Luxury Cars

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't see what the shock is about. I never said that reliablity surveys didn't have any effect on buyers. BTW, the part about all buyers have a copy of Consumer Reports in their back pocket was sarcasim. ;) Meaning that some here think that, and it is far from the truth for everyone. You really read too much into what I said.

    These are not the "dots" that needed connecting as none of that about reliability having an effect on sales was in debate. I can't believe that you actually think that I said that surveys have no effect on buyers. No its more like I said that they don't have as much of an effect like you always hype them up to.

    Your theory about MB not being the brand of choice for the high-end buyer was was what I took issue too and later disproved, not surveys/reliablity and the weight that some buyers place on such things. What I said was that for the people who can't buy without a survey in hand, MB needs an endorsement from CR or JDP to get them to buy since thats all they seem to know about when it comes to cars. Other buyers don't. Does this go for all MB buyers like you're trying to say that I'm suggesting, heck no. The fact that Mercedes and other brands still sell lots of cars without CR/JDP's endorsement should answer that question for you.

    M
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I also think it is important to point out that those widely accepted "reliability statistics" really represent "average defects in first 90 days of ownership". They are final assembly quality statistics more than anything else, and probably reflect overall quality control well. But how well (or even if at all) they correlate with long term reliability, longevity and maintenance friendliness is questionable. And when I buy a car for the long term, I am more interested in long term issues and maintenance than in niggles during the first 90 days of ownership, irritating as the latter ones may be. When I lease -which I'll probably do henceforth, abandoning my buy with cash policy- I indeed would consider the JDP 90 day quality stats more closely.

    When it comes to long term reliability, the German ADAC (a nationwide club most drivers belong to) has the best stats, since they pick up most drivers that lay stranded by the wayside and keep track of every incident with teutonic accuracy. In those, Mercedes does poorly, too, and Toyota (and Lexus) does very well. But BMW ranks nowhere near as highly as they do in the JDP stats. Audi does the best by a mile in the ADAC stats out of the premium German vendors.

    Of course, the problem with the ADAC statistics is that the whole equation then swings towards the quality of the service network over the long term, and away from exclusive car quality issues.

    The ideal statistics would involve average-trouble-free miles per purchase-plus-service-dollar for the different models, and not necessarily brands. Unfortunately, those do not exist.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    While it is encouraging that MB has done much better in the 90-day surveys lately, the real survey and the only survey the survey folks care about is the 3-year dependability survey. I too think that it gives a much better picture of how a car will hold up over time.

    My understanding of the ADAC is that everything from flat tires to running out of gas counts as a "breakdown" to them also, though those things are no fault of the car itself. I'm not entirely sure of what their criteria is.

    BMW doing so well in this country when it comes to the 3-year surveys is IMO because if you look back to 2002, they only had one new car, the 7-Series, which as an individual model has ranked below any Mercedes I've seen as far as reliability goes, depending on the source. CR puts both the E-Class and 7-Series pretty much in the same boat. I'll be shocked if BMW can maintain their standing once the new 3,5,6 and X3 come up in the 3-Year surveys. So far that X5 and 7-Series haven't been enough to matter in the grand scheme of things I guess.

    M
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    I had quite the day at the Lexus dealer today..I took my 92 in for some suspension work and got quite the bill. Initially they wanted $3700..I told them absolutely not...What really bothered me was the amount of time they took to get to me once I got to the dealer. I spent nearly 40 minutes just waiting for the mechanic to come talk to me. The Service Consultant seemed clueless. Her comment regarding my surprise to the bill, "Oh well we have people who spend 9-10K on these cars all the time...It depends how much you like the car.." That statement is beyond logic. Why would you spend that sort of money on a car with a max value of $6500?? Here is what is being replaced: Upper Control Arm (Right Side) Strut Rod Bushings, Power Steering Rack, Power Steering Pressure Hose, Rear Assembly Bushings..

    What is the point of shelling out $63K if the car starts to fall apart at 96K? My new LS430 will be my last Lexus. I am very disappointed in both the quality of service and the amount of issues that a babied LS has had...I only spent the money as it makes no sense to spend 30-40K trading it in on a new car. I'll just wait for the new E class Diesel that is supposed to come out next year. At least Mercedes has plenty of independant mechanics in my area..

    SV
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    You've got a 13-14 year old car. Even if has less than 100k miles on it, you can't really complain if you have some expensive repair bills on the way. Anything can break on a car that old. It's a piece a machiney and anything can happen to it. Some people can put 200k miles on a car and not have to replace those things. A little bit of luck can go either way. There's not many high-line 13-14 year old cars that wouldn't leave you in the same place that you are now.

    What do you expect a mechanic to do? Taking a half hour or 40 minutes for them to look at your car to find out the problem doesn't seem that bad.

    A lexus dealer is going to be the highest when it comes to repair and parts costs. Independent mechanics who work on Lexus' shouldn't be that hard to find. If you live anywhere near a major city, you should be able to find one.

    And if you think Mercedes will be any better 13 years after it's new.....get your checkbook ready.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Agree. I have a friend who tried to own an SL from the '80s. It wasnt pleasant. Believe it or not dealers wont have all the '92 spec parts they need, which will probably mean ordering from Japan, which costs a lot of money.

    I turned in my '96 LS in '01 with 156k on the odo. It needed around $1500 worth of service close to the 100K mark, and that was it. I also have to wonder why you are paying dealer prices for a car that ran out of warranty during Clinton's first term.

    If you think a Mercedes E is going to be more reliable than a Lexus LS, you're kidding yourself.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I'd suggest either:

    - call other Lexus service locations, and get them to give you an estimate for the work that the first dealer says you need

    or

    - take the car to another Lexus service location, tell them you weren't happy with what another dealer told you you needed, and ask them to evaluate the car and give an estimate...possibly they'll find it needs less work, or the same work could end up costing less.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I am surprised at the amount of structural work the car needs at 96k. With the electronics or the engine, I'd say sure, with a bit of bad luck it gets expensive. But control arms, bushings, steering rack?? Is it rust? If so, get rid of the car, it'll only get worse - when there's structural failure it'll probbaly keep coming, at least that would be my gutfeeling. As to Mercedes, I would not set my hopes too high: my wife's ML320 set us back $5k over the first 12 months immediately after the warranty ran out, but it was all electrical, AC and engine cooling stuff, nothing in the fundamental structure. I was disgusted, because to me it was obvious MB had skimped on the service and let us foot the bill for things that probably were probably close to failure on the last service or 2 under warranty, but she wants to keep the car - go figure. I told her one more high bill and I'll veto the car's entrance into the garage, and the next service is due in 1,000 miles.

    This whole thing about massive bills for cars that are older than 5 years is the reason why I think my attitude of buying cars cash is flawed given the direction the car industry has taken - they don't build them to last 20 years when you take good care of them, and to be maintenance friendly in the very long term. I am going to lease going forward, and not worry about this stuff. I'd love to try to keep a car for 10 years, but with a luxury car of recent vintage it's a quixotic thing to do, I think. They're build to be leased primarily, and to extract some money out of the people that get them second hand. Collectibles they aren't designed to be.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    That's why 4-5 year old Euopean cars are really a dime a dozen when they get even the hint of being out of warranty @ 50k miles. Repair bills can easily top 5 grand on some of these cars. And when a car gets 3X that age like that Lexus, a $3500 repair bill on a 13 year old car isn't surprising.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Quite frankly, considering the amount of work that the dealer says needs to be done, I think $3500 is pretty reasonable. A dent in the front of my Jag cost $4000 to fix. Fortunately I didnt have to pay for it as it wasnt my fault. A new oil seal and new rear shocks for my '96 LS cost $1500 from my Lexus dealer. If you want cars that last and are cheap to fix long term, you shouldnt be buying a luxury car, period. New parts for Acuras, Infinitis, Audis, BMWs, Mercedes, and Jaguars are just as much money. For example, the supercharger on my XKR failed. If it wasnt still under warranty at the time, I would be driving sans supercharger, as a new one would set me back almost $7000.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    I've owned these high end cars for a Very long time. To clarify, I had to wait TWO Days for a proper diagnosis and only after I telephoned the dealer twice...This much work on a car with this mileage is clearly unacceptable. Being left wandering around the service bays for 40 minutes is also unacceptable especially after I called in advance for an appointment. I don't spend $100/hr on service for charity purposes you know..$1500 for rear shocks sounds extremely excessive. I had that done on my '92 (Rear shocks only) for $335..There is a reason Lexus dealers are one of the most profitable in the industry.

    Lexus peddles its product on quality. Clearly this is not the case. I don't know what everyone is thinking here but High End Marque and Long term durability should NOT be mutually exclusive. Having driven for over 30 years I have never encountered something like this...Even my Buick Park Avenue did not cause these many issues. Frankly rust was not the problem here. The car is flawless otherwise.

    Between my three brothers and I we've owned every High End marque ever made including Rolls Royce, Jaguar, BMW, MB, and of course Lexus. My brother's 1988 420 SE never needed any of this work done. ..I live in the Boston area and it is real hard to get any independent mechanic to work on the car. Half the time they say "Dealer only.." I've been going to the same dealer for over 15 yrs..

    Part of my frustration also comes from my experience with the 2005 as well. The car's Nav system is clearly flawed and the A/C squeaks every time you turn it on..Not exactly impressive for a car with 3700 miles on it...

    SV
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I have friends with MBs, Audis and the like with cars that would sit at the dealer for weeks. A good friend of mine has an '04 Audi A8 that needed a completely new engine. It was at the dealer a lot longer than two days.

    I'm rather surprised at the problems with your '05, my '01 has been flawless, just as my '96 was. I dont know anybody with an S, 7, or A8 that didnt have at least one major problem, and I've had zero in 10 years of driving a Lexus LS. The dealer shouldnt give you any trouble about fixing them though. If they do, find another dealer. My wife's RX300 had one or two relatively minor issues, and Rahal took care of them without a problem.

    Speaking from personal experience, I left M-B for Lexus in '96 because I was tired of the constant repairs, and my Benz was not 14 years old. My current XK is a heck of a lot more reliable than my XJS was, but its still had its share of problems, the supercharger I mentioned before, an airbag warning that took 2 dealer trips to fix, and it also stalled on the highway for no particular reason. All that and its a weekend car, with less than 30K on it.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    (Let me choose my words carefully): I think your reaction to both the way that the dealer personnel acted and their quote for normal suspension work on a car that has spent 14+ years driving over New England pot holes while completely unjustified is not surprising.

    IMHO your reaction is a result of your acceptance of the Lexus marketing idea that if you drive a Lexus , 1) they are built so well that they run forever, and 2) that the Lexus service people are not hired from the same labor pool as MB's and don't have to do the same diagnostic tests that normal techs do because (see item 1) the cars are built so well.

    PS If your brother's l988 MB has been driven in Boston (as your Lexus has) for the last 17 years (at 15K per year, say 220,000 miles +) without this work being done I wouldn't want to even sit in it let alone ride in it. This whole thing is nutty.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Can I make a suggestion and ask that participants in this forum take a moment and add some information to their Forum Profile-- it's helpful in understanding people's perspectives to know, for example, what part of the country (or world) they live in, and what kind of car(s) they have chosen to own themselves. In some cases, I have noticed from postings that people have purchased new cars since they wrote their Profile, so it needs to be updated.

    Adding information to your Profile is very easy and doesn't have any real impact on your privacy. Just click on any of the links at the top or right side of the page that mention Profile, Preferences, or My Account, and follow the directions.

    Of course, to read any poster's Profile info, you can just click on the blue underlined name in the title line of any post. I find it adds to my enjoyment of the forum to know even just a little bit about the folks with whom we share our opinions and feelings.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi,
    Thanks for your reply...You hit the nail right on the head with your post..I guess my expectations were sky high due to all that marketing...My car "only" has 96,000 miles on it. You made an excellent point about the Boston roads, that's enough to do it to a Hummer let alone a passenger car. Still the failure of the Power Steering Rack is troubling to some degree. Perhaps I have overreacted. But two issues are still bothering me: 1) The lack of professionalism of the Service Dept at Lexus..I've never had anyone accuse me of being cheap for questioning the bill.."Well we have people who spend 9,000 all the time, but you can do what you want..." The second is the issues I'm having with my new 2005 LS..I don't understand how a Navigation System could give me wrong directions to Massachusetts General Hospital, one of America's oldest hospitals. (1811)...I ended up in some satellite office. We'll see how it works out..

    But anyway thanks for listening,
    SV
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    Sorry for your problems....around twelve years ago, or there abouts, when I purchased the first Lexus, the dealer was located around twenty miles away...He still is and the facilities are the same...Although we know the advisers well, and consider them friends, they are so rushed with the countless thousands of cars that have been sold over the years that it now takes four or more service advisors to handle the load....That may be the problem with your having to wait around so long.......I find that there has been a general decline in considerations for us lowly customers from almost every business I have done business with over the last few years, and find now to be the worse time of all....Maybe our economy is running flat out and will correct this problem with a coming slow down....In smaller communities they have a bit more time for us, but forget about the large cities...It is incredible Charleston South Carolina Tony
  • Pablo

    I think that the JDP surveys for both early reliability and long term ownership issues are much more relevant to the U.S. than anything from Europe.

    I also don't know how you can draw any conclusions about the kind of problems when saying stuff like "They are final assembly quality statistics more than anything else, and probably reflect overall quality control well."

    How in the world would you know that. What is 'final assembly' quality statistics these days? Is that when Mercedes stuffs the engine in the engine bay or something.

    Mercedes, Audi and most European car companies do very poorly in both short term and long term quality and reliability ratings for many, many reasons - not the least of which are outdated manufacturing technologies and processes, ineffective sourcing and supply chain management and partnerships and a pervasive 'screw the customer' attitude.

    Your suggestion of some kind of metric that measures the full dimension of the cost of ownership in terms of things like 'out of pocket time' is an interesting idea though that deserves a forum on its own.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The service at my Jaguar dealer has been lousy. However, I have been impressed over the last ten years with Rahal Toyota\Scion\Lexus in Carlisle. They are a BIG dealer, a one stop TMC shop, which I understand is pretty unusual. When it comes time for the scheduled visit to the shop, they come and get my car, so it doesnt really matter to me how long it takes them to find the time to fit my car in. On the very rare occasion where something needs to be fixed, they've always been quick to call me and tell me what the problem is and how long it will be before the car is back in my driveway. I dont think you can ask for much more than that.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Lexusguy,
    I completely understand your point of view. My surprise stems from the fact that Lexus of Watertown has been nothing short of excellent over 13 years. I have all of my Lexus cars serviced there. Lexus of Watertown is a pretty big dealer (one of those newly renovated ones)..But ever since the expansion it feels like the quality of service has fallen. Only 18 months ago they were absolutely excellent in handling the insurance company while my 92 was being repaired. My experience this time has been the exact opposite of yours, they don't call, and I have to press them to tell me when it will be done. At least they gave me a RX330 loaner, which rides surprisingly smooth. I was quite disappointed with the amount of rattles a 1 yr old car has though..Are these RX's built in Canada these days?

    SV
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yes, the RX and GX come from Canada. I know Lexus had a few problems with the first model year of the GX470, but as far as I know the '04 and '05 cars from those plants are excellent. Not as good as the cars still built in Japan.. but better than everyone else.

    I am surprised at the level of service you are getting from your dealer. Definitely complain, and let them know they may be losing a customer. I think they'll change their tune in a hurry.

    Lexus has one of, if not the highest retention rate in the industry, so perhaps some dealers take for granted that everybody is going to come back for a new Lexus.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Tony:

    Real sorry to hear about your issues with the '92 LS. Seems like you were more disappointed with the dealer service than a 14-yr-old car's repair needs. My '99 now has 105K miles, and I have not had to do anything to it other than regular scheduled maintainance. The last one at 100K miles set me back $1300 - water pump, seals, belts, plugs, etc... scheduled service at 100K miles. My dealer is OK, no biggie. If I don't like his work or his service, I look elsewhere... There has to be other dealers out there willing to win your business and provide you a stellar service. Let us know how it all ends....

    BTW, I had my dealer upgrade the Nav on my '99 (Sept '98 version) to the 2003 (Sept) version and it works almost flawlessly. I am sure your dealer would be OK to replace your Nav unit to solve the routing problem. Have you asked ?
  • Well...You could look at it another way...The LS is built so well that the Service people (like the maytag repair man) just don't get enough practice fixing them...

    Who knows..You could look at it that way..The Glass is half something?
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    I want to know how often you will be at the MB dealerships or shops even before your MB is even over 14 years old.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > I think that the JDP surveys for both early reliability and long term ownership
    > issues are much more relevant to the U.S. than anything from Europe.

    That defies logic. The cars are the same here and there. And the JDP statistics on "problems in the first 90 days of ownership" do not sound like a long term reliability study at all.

    > How in the world would you know that.

    It is quite obvious that the number of issues arising in the first 90 days of onwership is pretty good data as far as quality control goes. Any issue that arises as quickly is a quality issue, or permit me to perceive it as such when coughing up up more than $50k for a car.

    > Mercedes, Audi and most European car companies do very poorly in both short
    > term and long term quality and reliability ratings

    I can't recall disputing that. But I'd say that Toyota-Lexus seem to be playing in a different league, and everybody else follows with less of a margin among themselves.

    > Your suggestion of some kind of metric that measures the full dimension of the
    > cost of ownership in terms of things like 'out of pocket time' is an interesting
    > idea though that deserves a forum on its own.

    I doubt it would gain much support from manufacturers. :-)
  • JDP has two very different surveys: IQS which looks at the problems in the first 90 days and then the long term reliability survey. Go spend some time at their site and get informed.

    Plus, if you think the cars are the same between the US and Europe, you should go take a trip to the continent and drive around a bit.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    I'm not trying to continue the MB vs. Lexus debate. I'm really not. But it strikes me that despite all of MBs faults--and there are many, at least you are buying a vehicle with some heritage. With Lexus, one is buying a very dependable almost synthetic vehicle complete with overboosted steering, overly done road isolation, etc. Truly, these are different concepts that will appeal to different people. Kind of like do you wear 100% cotton dress shirts or one with permanent press (i.e., polyester) in the cotton.

    On a somewhat related note, many have commented about the over extension of the MB line with many, many models. An ad in this morning's WSJ trumpets 8, count'em 8, different Lexus vehicles. Gee, talk about line extension. I think that Lexus has three AWD SUV or cross over vehicles alone.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "I think that Lexus has three AWD SUV or cross over vehicles alone."

    I'm not sure where you are going with this. Mercedes has M, R, and G and MLK on the way. Thats four. The old guy went nuts trying to throw Mercedes everywhere, in places it shouldnt be. (See: C-class coupe). Thats partly why he's out and Dieter is in. There's not going to be another C coupe.

    Lexus has 5 cars and 3 trucks. Only GS, IS, and RX offer more than one engine choice. Thats not exactly a lot. Mercedes already has 8 cars and 3 trucks, dozens of engine choices, and the MLK on the way, plus the B-class which may or may not show up.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    On a somewhat related note, many have commented about the over extension of the MB line with many, many models. An ad in this morning's WSJ trumpets 8, count'em 8, different Lexus vehicles....

    Let's count them:

    MBs - C, E, S, CL, CLS, SL, SLK, ML, MLK, Maybach, R, G (12)

    Lexus - IS, ES, GS, RX, GX, LX, SC, LS (8)

    Lexus = 8
    MB = 12

    Who is the proliferator ?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You forgot the CLK class. Counting Mayback, thats 13.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > Plus, if you think the cars are the same between the US and Europe, you
    > should go take a trip to the continent and drive around a bit.

    The cars relevant to this discussion are. I lived in Europe for over 20 years before moving here, thus I am pretty confident to be far better informed about the car culture over there than almost anyone in this forum, thank you very much.
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