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High End Luxury Cars

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    When a car company (any company) starts, the most important quality they should have is reliability. And then they can talk about performance and features.

    According to you that is. Plus that statement implies that Germans and in particular Mercedes' "quality" is so bad to the point where it renders every other positive aspect of the car pointless. That is the thinking here that I will always disagree with. If you're fine with having a car of supreme reliability but boring as all getout on other fronts so be it.

    Secondly Rolls didn't start out with lame designs and/or mimicing designs from other companies for the biggest and best cars. Big difference. Rolls was also an innovator, not a follower.

    M
  • According to you that is. Plus that statement implies that Germans and in particular Mercedes' "quality" is so bad to the point where it renders every other positive aspect of the car pointless. That is the thinking here that I will always disagree with. If you're fine with having a car of supreme reliability but boring as all getout on other fronts so be it.

    Secondly Rolls didn't start out with lame designs and/or mimicing designs from other companies for the biggest and best cars. Big difference. Rolls was also an innovator, not a follower.


    Rolls was reliable and was an innovator, 70 years ago.

    As for MB, in terms of reliablity, they are not in the same situation as in Rolls. At least the C and E class have about the industry average score. That's why they are still a volumn seller. And that's also why their sales ranks only 5th in the U.S.
  • BUT Lexus is not number one in terms of car sales and never were! Lexus sales is number one primarily because of SUV sales!

    Nothing wrong with that.
    Porsche is also known as Porsche the truck company.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "Hey, quite a few of us that bought a Lexus recently have gone on record here as really having wanted to be able to get an MB, and looking forward to being able to do so in the future when MB gets its reliability act together again. Of course, now some of us are also less than thrilled with the styling of the upcoming S."

    Yup - exactly!!

    Having agreed with the above - just got back from Simi Valley, CA., and you can't swing a dead cat there without hitting a Benz - mostly C-classes, probably for fuel efficiency, but still - they're EVERYWHERE!!!!!
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    "After all I'd buy a VW Phaeton if I had the means to do so. It is a very desireable car imo despite lacking status and reliability. "

    If it is so desireable, why is so few people buying it?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "When I look at sedans in the LS/S/7 class, the lower status of the LS doesn't come remotely close, for me, to offsetting the higher price and lower reliability of the S."

    Precisely my feelings about why I own an LS rather than the more attractive, and higher regarded S-Class. The next generations of both though - may change that whole status thing....
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "If it is so desireable, why is so few people buying it?"

    Because it's a VW. How many Jaguars do you think would be sold with a FORD Badge on 'em?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    The next generations of both though - may change that whole status thing....

    Agreed that Lexus' status vs MB is on an upward path. I think that's due to a combination of factors: quality/reliability, the passage of time, hybrid innovation, MB mis-steps with reliability. In time the price gap will close...only the degree and pace at which that will happen are unknown.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "I have predicted before that the Koreans will eventually be a force in luxury cars, and that 10 years from now some of the guys on this board will be defending Lexus against an onslaught of a new generation of Korean luxury car fans.

    Looks like the new Hyundai is already being compared to the Toyota Avalon, and even the Lexus ES330! Can the "Ultimate Driving Experience" be next?"

    EXACTLY!! BMW & MB had better starting worrying about their next assault, as should the Japanese. Korea is building some great product now - but their perception is still not so great. Those who have them though, are sold. That perception will coming along just like the Japanese perception did.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I was quite impressed by the Kia Amanti I rented about 4 months ago. The steering was too light and the suspension too soft, but for the price the features and quality especially of the interior (fake wood though) were a surprise to me.

    I wish the Japanese would copy the Koreans' 10 year warranty.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Remember, I'm not talking about sales numbers here. I'm talking about precision, ultra high quality manufacturing and design, what Japan was, and still is, known for. I dont think any electronic device requires more precision than a camera, and nobody builds cameras like the Canon EOS-1ds or Nikon D2X.

    Sure, everybody and their grandmother has an iPod, but are you seriously trying to convince me that iPods are built better than comparable devices from Japan? How many class action lawsuits for defective quality have their been against Apple iPod products? I think I lost count.

    Denon has the highest quality home electronics of any "mass market" company on the planet. Only botique shops like Linn, or Meridian are better.

    Everybody I know that has a serious cell phone uses either a Treo 650 or a Blackberry.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "I wish the Japanese would copy the Koreans' 10 year warranty."

    Why? They don't need it. It's Ford and GM who need to copy that warranty, and FAST!!!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    No, they don't need it in a business sense, I just meant it would be a nice thing from the customer point of view.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "so effectively hides its mechanicals and the outside world that it can feel like it's a simulation of a wonderfully luxurious sedan"

    "body roll in a car without the optional active body control was excessive enough to make my passenger feel as if his inner ear had been kicked in the groin"

    Sounds more like an LS every day! ;)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "No, they don't need it in a business sense, I just meant it would be a nice thing from the customer point of view."

    Well, it wouldn't hurt, certainly, but customer's don't need it either really. Not much goes wrong with Toyotas & Hondas at least.
  • Very much in agreement, and I may add another reason for this development: the Chinese carmakers are coming soon; if the Korean's don't move up market, they'd be as dead as the domestic brands (only minus the shipping advantage). That's probably the reason why Toyota is moving itself upmarket, leaving Scion to compete with the Koreans and Chinese.

    Fundamentally, the worth of a high end marquee has to be built on reliability, just like MB once did, and Rolls-Royce before that. The coach building part of the exercise is easy to do once you have a following.
  • After all I'd buy a VW Phaeton if I had the means to do so. It is a very desireable car imo despite lacking status and reliability.

    Put yourself in the shoes of someone with the means, chances are that you'd think very different:
    the primary attraction of Phaeton is comparable luxury at a saving of $20k or so; if you care about saving that $20k, chances are that you are still a member of the "working rich," one who has to show up on time either at the office or at client meetings; one who works 60 hours a week, and don't necessarily have weekends off every week. That means you can't afford to call in for car troubles (or don't even have a boss to call in), and your time is worth way too much for getting aquainted with the service department on first name basis.

    It's the same reason why MB customer retention rate is dropping in recent years.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    The Japanese go back over 40 years in this industry and their standing as upper crust car makers is currently debated. Maybe we should let the Korean and Chinese car manufacturers pay their dues and establish themselves as high-end luxury marques before we start talking about them in this thread. I mean, this is for our great great great grand children to wrangle with.
  • The typical buyer of luxury sedans with prices north of $70k probably isn't going to be as stretched as the "working rich" and would be able to afford a $10-15k stretch to buy an M-B S class or a 750. There will be a few who opt for the VW on pirce, but, for better or for worse, the badge on the front has value for the mainstream luxury buyer. Coincidentally, it is also that mainstream buyer who determines which cars sell well and which don't. Still, I'd count on the Phaeton to steal some sales from E500 4matic shoppers who have issues with a $65k E-Class.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    As far as I know, the Phaeton has stolen sales from nobody. Its been a huge commercial failure, both here and in Europe. It was an answer to a question no one asked.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "As far as I know, the Phaeton has stolen sales from nobody. Its been a huge commercial failure, both here and in Europe. It was an answer to a question no one asked."

    I'm afraid, I have to agree completely.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    I dont think any electronic device requires more precision than a camera, and nobody builds cameras like the Canon EOS-1ds or Nikon D2X.

    Technology of digital cameras does not require more precison than other consumer electronic products ,chips, semiconductors,servers,data storage . Japanese companies strengths as innovators in the mentioned industries have declined relative to US and Korean firms.

    Now how did we get into this highly irrelevant discussion?

    It all started with a post suggesting that the Germans lack electonic expertise like the Japanese. My response is that in a global economy that is highly irrelevant.

    And even if it was relevant that would not change things since the key electronic complaints for BMWs and MBs are related to ipod and Command software issues! It is mainly a software issue versus a hardware issue.

    And guess which country has the second largest software firm in the world--after Microsoft? SAP from Germany! Software engineering is a strength in Germany and not a weakness! But BMW and MB are the ones with software problems! Why?

    Back to my original point: In a global economy it does not matter where technology is located. What is relevant is how well a auto firm incorporates that technology in their products.
  • The critical European failure is in system integration. It hardly matters whether SAP is larger than any Japanese software company (BTW, SAP database sucks pretty bad) when NAV systems on Toyota and Honda are lightly years ahead of those used on the MB and BMW. The system integration failure can come down to something as trivial as light bulb enclosure heat dissipation. All the European cars that I have owned I had/have to replace rear lights or front lights every few months; that kind of thing just does not happen with Honda and Toyota. The German failure is lacking attention to detail, the proverbial RR engineers that would go out of his way to make the damn clock quiet.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    At least the C and E class have about the industry average score. That's why they are still a volumn seller. And that's also why their sales ranks only 5th in the U.S.

    Doesn't quite make sense to me. Their sales have a lot more to do with just their reliability standings. Age of design, competition, price a whole lot of things have to do with sales than just reliability. Brands like Land Rover prove that reliability isn't everything and probably isn't such the big killer issue some people here make it out to be. The S-Class is in its 7th model year and still is a "volume" seller in its class without the precious CR recommendation.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If it is so desireable, why is so few people buying it?

    I think we've been over this before here, but there are many, many reasons why the VW Phaeton flopped. Price for a VW, that it is a VW, literally no promotion, a dealer body that is virtually clueless about customers who buy 70K cars, VW's bad reliability reputation etc. etc.

    The car itself is fine enough (except for maybe reliability) but everything else around it is wrong and/or unfit for it to thrive in this market.

    The Phaeton, like this new Bugatti were the vision of a bright, but market mad Mr. Piech. Gladly he isn't running the VW show anymore.

    His efforts would have have been much better spent on making the Passat and Jetta more affordable. The new Passat is an awesome car but out of reach for the average family car buyer, when fully loaded that is. Though the car absolutely creams others cars in the class.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No argument from me there. People that get burned by any brand nowadays are less likely to buy the same brand again with so many different (and good) choices around today.

    Still though the big Veedub's biggest problem is that it is a grand answer to a question no one asked.

    That said I still wouldn't mind having one one day. I think it will make hell of a used car buy in a few years, if you have the money and time to deal with it.

    M
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    All the European cars that I have owned I had/have to replace rear lights or front lights every few months

    That is news to me. Never heard of such an extreme complaint before. Sounds like your abusing your German cars with water torture ;)
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    (BTW, SAP database sucks pretty bad) when NAV systems on Toyota and Honda are lightly years

    Hmmm, maybe that is because database is not SAP's primary business? :P

    "The critical European failure is in system integration"

    You re-worded my prior post from yesterday where I wrote the following:

    The key fault of German auto firms is incorporating technology in their cars.

    My whole point was not whose software/electronic industry is better or worse! I repeat my point is it is irrelevent if you are a car manufacturer in a world where software/electronics is globalized.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I don't disagree with you at all. I would just add that the compulsion is different between cultures, which produces a different result - ie; The European compulsion is to make a refined, performing machine that will last mechanically forever, and go really fast all day long. The Aisans compulsion is Zero-Defects. The Europeans expect some maintenance issues during the life of the car, but it must go fast and mechanically be sound. Light bulbs are minor issues to them, as are many other things. Comand, being one. The Aisans are shamed when that light bulb fails, so every component must be excellent, but how fast the car goes - not important.

    That's why they're different, and then there's the American culture, which has been shaped by years of dominance, which has been - get it out there as cheaply and as fast as you can, and it should last 2-3 years, after that, it's on the used market and who cares? Now, that has been changed in the past decade or so, but only because of necessity through competition from abroad, especially from the Aisans.

    Bottom line? Depends on what your priority is. If you hate maintenance, for whatever reason, you need an Asian car. If you like driving pleasure and excitement, then a European car is likely for you. If you don't care about either, buy American. (Just kidding!) The American car is evolving quickly into the best of both, in some models. But that's for another discussion.
  • There is no poorly built car, but only poorly priced ones. Even the Cavaliers are sold in quantities, because they are cheap.

    The problem with VW Phaeton is that it is overpriced. Remeber the 1st gen Lexus LS? How much it undercut the S-class? Heck, the earliest LS was cheaper than E500!

    For a car as unestablished as the Phaeton. It has to be substantially cheaper than benchmarks such as the S-class, 7-series and LS430. The price may go up, if it proves to be a hit.

    IMO, $50k(10k under LS) is about the right price for Phaeton. If VW cannot make money at that price range, then just don't build it. At $70k(10k over LS), I am indeed surprised the Phaeton sold 4-figures per year.
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