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High End Luxury Cars

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  • michael i agree.
    even though i just purchased an Audi A8...Audi's brand awareness in the USA is not equal to the other German automakers. hopefully this version of the A8 will bridge the gap that now exists.

    as for going down market with cheaper models.... i believe it to be a necessity of the auto manufacturing business in todays market. every automaker needs to take advantage of cost savings to be competitive. i believe that all of the brands we see today will eventually be cut by a third within 20 years. Honda and Bmw ...i believe are the only independents left. most brands have merged or been purchased by their competitors. debates like the one that has been raging this past week will even be harder in the future. brand loyalty will be harder to come by.
  • absolutely....but at least GM has the decency to give you a larger engine and a different drive train.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    michael i agree

    Oh my !!! We finally get an agreement !!!!! Who said we can't get along ???

    :)
  • http://money.cnn.com/2005/02/16/pf/autos/lexus.reut/index.htm

    Is it just me, or is this little story perhaps getting a little bit more coverage because it involves Lexus?
  • Michael,

    You recapped what I was saying very succinctly. Thank you for stepping in here. I was getting a bit frustrated with Merc's insistence on accusing me of making a statement that I never made.
  • What does soft drink have to do with discussion here? Just a way to snipe at another poster, if you ask me.

    I have more than a passing knowledge of industrial metals. In case you did not know anything beyond your soft drink can (hey, your own choice of reference, it's only fair, right? ;-) I supplied a link in one of my earlier posts:

    http://ussautomotive.com/auto/steelvsal/mechproperties.htm

    It's quite an informative site.

    Obviously, the industrial insiders find it quite purposeful discussing the intrinsic metallurgical properties without referencing specific crash A/B tests; kinda makes sense, you don't need to build a full size cardboard A8 to prove cardboard is a bad choice.

    Now what's the relevence to Audi, you ask, well, one of the Audi fans brought up that Aluminum (space frame) was what differentiiats Audi from VW. I was merely pointing out that the actual benefit from Aluminum construction in a vehicle as heavy as A8 is very questionable. Apparently the industrial insiders at the site referenced above concur; if you follow the link for a few pages you will actually see an in-depth analysis of the 2002 Audi A8 Space Frame Aluminum Intensive structure and its disadvantages.

    I should also point out that aluminum construction only accounts for something like 3% of all Audis sold in 2004! That's hardly a marquee identity.

    Just because you are not knowledgeable on a specific subject, don't assume others are equally ignorant.
  • just think....10 different models. 15 total variations...not one re badged Chrysler among the bunch.

    No rebadged Chrysler necessary; Mercedes vehicles themselves are shoddy enough. I'd take a Toyota over any Mercedes, even at the same price point, much less Lexus. Look through your own list again. LS exceeds S by more than 50% in fleet representation. MB's volume leader is a sub-$30k compact (that's before the even more cheaply put together A/B class gets here; A/B class is the MB volume leader in practically every market that it has entered, at or below $20k base price), whereas Lexus' volume leader is a mid-sized vehicle close to $40k in base price. All the halo models only serve to spread the engineering resources extra thin. At about 35-40k units a year, Chevy sells more Corvettes than all the high performance models MB's combined, yet Chevy is not a high performance marquee due to its roster of low-end products. MB's claim to luxury marquee is likewise questionable when it has moved down market as fast as it has in the last decade.
  • IMHO, platform sharing has become a necessity in today's market. The last Civic platform revision cost $4 billion dollars to design and engineer. That's several boat loads of money ;-) Even at $400k per vehicle, it takes 10k vehicles to break even (assuming the car manufacturing itself cost negligible amount of money ;-). Either that or trim the engineering budget and let cars leave the factory with myriads of bugs due to a shoe-string engineering budget.

    One way to increase unit sales for a niche vehicle is prolonging the product cycle, but then the mfr ends up having an obsolete product line. MB seems to be trying some marketting trick with the Chrysler purchase: using the latter as some sort of life cycle extension program for obsolete MB platforms, so more unit sales can be generated. Exterior design is cheap, getting everything working together well inside takes real engineering budget, so it is a cheap trick to extend a platform's shelf life; every brand does that sort of thing with mid-cycle refreshes, but MB is trying to double the shelf life by giving Chrysler hand-me-downs. I wonder how quickly people are going to realize those hand-me-down "MB technology" on re-skinned Chryslers are little more than twice warmed left-overs. I will give it perhaps one year, before 300C piling up in the supply channel to multi-month proportions just like Crossfire has.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    has substance that the Crossfire lacks. The 300C is the 300 to get while the 300C SRT-8 is awesome.

    Information and pictures of the 300C SRT-8:

    http://seriouswheels.com/top-2005-Chrysler-300C-SRT-8.htm

    Information on the Chrysler/Dodge LX cars (the big rwd cars):

    http://www.allpar.com/cars/lx/index.html

    The Magnum is perhaps the first cool American station wagon that has sold very well (55-57 Chevy Nomad didn't sell well).
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    Here is the 1998 Chrysler Chronos concept car:

    http://conceptcars.free.fr/images/Chronos_image1.jpg

    http://www.allpar.com/cars/concepts/chronos.html

    2005 Chrysler 300C SRT-8:

    http://fast-autos.net/chrysler/srt8.jpg

    http://www.allpar.com/cars/lx/srt8-chrysler.html

    Now the 1957 Chrysler 300C:

    http://www.allpar.com/cars/chrysler-300c.html

    The grilles of both Chryslers (57 and 05) look similar.

    Notice the lines in the middle of the 57 and 05 Chrysler's hoods.

    Also notice the rectangular taillights of both cars.

    The front end styling of the new Chrysler 300 is almost IDENTICAL to the front end styling of the 1998 Chrysler Chronos concept except for the slant of the new one.

    The Bentley Arnage...

    "Named for one of the most challenging corners on the Le Mans racing circuit, the Arnage was fittingly introduced at the French circuit in April of 1998." from autos.msn.com
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    I'd like a new aluminum Jaguar XJ8. The new XJR's aluminum chassis is 60 % stiffer than its predecessor and 40 per cent lighter than that of an equivalent steel body.

    http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/jk/images/04jagxjbody.jpg

    http://www.jagweb.com/aj6eng/v8_performance.html

    (the new aluminum XJR has a 4.2 V-8)

    p.s. The 2005 Jaguar Super V8 is the flagship XJ and it weighs over 800 pounds less than the BMW 760Li.
  • complete nonsense and spin.
  • Almost any daring retro design can be popular for a few months (or even longer, witness the New Beetle craze a few years ago). Ultimately however, it's the internals that matters. Crossfire was very sought after (Chrysler's first sold-at-MSRP car for nearly a decade), but now has months of supply queued up in the supply chain.

    "Cool" is in the eyes of behold. Magnum sales can not compare to Taurus wagon in its hey days, nor Focus wagon today.
  • complete nonsense and spin.

    That's certainly a very intelligent rebuttal. I will take it as you are unable to make any counter-argument to the points I made. Namely:

    (1) Lexus has higher significantly higher price of admission than MB does, even in the US (the difference is far greater in Europe)
    (2) Lexus average selling price is higher than that of MB, in the US and worldwide.

    What does that say about which is the higher end luxury marquee??

    (3) Halo cars sold in relatively small numbers compared to the rest of the lineup do not make a high end maruqee.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "industrial insiders at the site referenced above concur; if you follow the link for a few pages you will actually see an in-depth analysis of the 2002 Audi A8 Space Frame Aluminum Intensive structure and its disadvantages"

    Errrr...American engineers don't know what they're talking about. Only German engineers do. Don't you know that? hehehe.
  • more nonsense and spin....

    you post a link to US Steel!!!
    now there is an unbiased promotion!!!!
    is this the best you could do?

    i read all of it. and guess what....they
    complain that the last version A8 is
    heavier than the "steel" LS430!!duh...it
    has AWD? did it ever occur to you that any weight savings made by using aluminum afford an automaker the ability to ad more equipment that other wise might make the automobile too heavy?

    even after reading all of the article which is
    clearly biased....the
    A8 is obviously one of the most advanced
    automobile designs in the world. what a joke!!
    tell you what...i will go to ALCOA.... find an article about "how aluminum is better than steel"
    and post a link. don't you think it might be a bit biased? duh!!!

    both steel and aluminum manufacturers are fighting neck and neck to supply the auto
    industry. i read an article in USA today
    about a year ago that was quite interesting.
    i will try to find it. hopefully it will
    have less spin and sales pitch.
  • did it ever occur to you that any weight savings made by using aluminum afford an automaker the ability to ad more equipment that other wise might make the automobile too heavy?

    Or trying to make up for inadequate engineering.

    the
    A8 is obviously one of the most advanced
    automobile designs in the world. what a joke!!


    The joke is on you. Obviously, each one of LS, 7, S and A8 is "one of the most advanced automobile designs in th world." Dah! You'd think after spending that much money it ought to be.

    Biased or not, the steel side certainly has the material expertise and have a long list of disadvantages for aluminum. As far as I can tell, the only counter-argument the aluminum side expert witness can provide is weight savings, which in the case of A8 is quite removed from the spirit of the vehicle.

    More to the point, A8 only makes up 3% of Audi sales. How can you argue that differentiates Audi from VW? "Nonsens and spin"?
  • http://www.autoaluminum.org/sp1.htm

    here is a link to an article from Reuters about aluminum in automobiles. it is on a biased site that promotes aluminum but the article is interesting. there is also a sub article that discusses the previous generation A8....how it received 5 stars in crash tests.

    for any person to believe that an ALL ALUMINUM A8 is not different than a an ALL STEEL Phaeton...."talking to you is like a martian trying to have a discussion with a fungo"{Bull Durham).

    many auto manufacturers are using aluminum today to save weight in their vehicles. the current E class has an aluminum hood, trunk and i believe front fenders. only the Audi has taken it to the advanced technical level of a completely all aluminum vehicle. whether you like Audi or not what they accomplished is very advanced.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    I don't see the benefits of aluminum unless the car weighs significantly less..The point about the Audi is that even with AWD, it shouldn't weigh more..Even Jaguar's offering weighs less than it's counterpart...It's comparable to Boeing's composite 787 jetliner weighing more than the aluminum 767 it is replacing. Another problem with aluminum is the hassle in getting the thing repaired..It might make a great marketing tool, but I wouldn't want the hassle..I'll stick to steel until Mercedes or Lexus goes that way.

    What I find interesting is that the world leader, Mercedes, in safety hasn't adopted this technology. I don't feel unsafe in my LS430 (Especially after taking quite a hit in my LS400), but I feel MB is first to the market with alot of safety innovations..One of the things I was most impressed with in the S Class was it's obvious sturdiness. I wouldn't be too worried about surviving a crash in that car. The Mercedes salesman mentioned something about the frame being made from one metal block rather than being welded like other cars...Is there any real significance to that?

    As for Jaguar..The latest XJ is a nice car, but the Jaguar purists are not happy due to it's design..Ford attempts at preserving the look haven't worked thus far..The concepts for the new XK look good..Only time will tell...

    SV
  • kc56kc56 Posts: 1
    I keep reading all these stories about How bad Mercedes-Benz is doing and yet they only changed one guy at the top. This Cordes guy. He seems pretty sharp and apparently has done a good job before. Yet in the US, it seems they have weak management who have devasted the product and taken away the scheduled maintenance and are losing money and it seems really don't understand the US market. Why not make a change here also?
    When Chrysler neeeded help they brought in Zietche and Eberhardt who both knew the US Market, at Mercedes in the US, they took a company doing very well going in the right direction and brought in what has turned out to be sub-par manangement, who had never been in the US before and they have now managed to run in it into the ground and our stock will take the hit.
    Maybe Kirkorian should run it.
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