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High End Luxury Cars

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  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Does he even realize that Nadsaq, the Dow and the S&P are at the highest levels they've been at in 4 years?

    So is Purvey an idiot or genius for being worried while stock markets are humming along? In all honesty who knows, not even the Oracle of Omaha makes Index bets! But let us consider the following:

    The Dow Jones was hitting all time highs and the the Great Depression followed!

    The US stock indexes in the early 70s was doing wonderful primaily due to Nifty 50 stocks but was followed by a serious recession.

    And 2001 was a wonderful year to be in Nasdaq stocks and I guess you know the rest.

    OK since I made a promise on a prior post to focus on cars I have provided a link to a article on the luxury car market!

    Any luxury car executive who reads the the trends in the article should be worried!

    Worried You Bet!!!!
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Sorry Dewey - any exec who says hes surprised someone is buying his company's product is an idiot in my book. In a strong global economy he's an even bigger idiot. Stocks are trading at low multiples - your examples don't work in that situation. The S&P and nasdaq are trading at a fraction of the multiples they traded at in bubbles. They are actually too low which is why the rally has a lot of leg left in it.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Stocks are trading at low multiples - your examples don't work in that situation. The S&P and nasdaq are trading at a fraction of the multiples they traded at in bubbles. They are actually too low which is why the rally has a lot of leg left in it.

    I dont know what the markets will be in the future? In fact I dont really care! My daily focus is finding good individual stocks with a margin of safety and currently I am having the toughest time in my career finding such equities in the USA and Canada! IMO that to me does not indicate low markets in North America!

    I find your opinions interesting, but I guess we are both here to focus on car opinions.
  • Since when?

    Everyone in the world of car manufacturing knows that higher quality and reliability go hand-in-hand and REDUCE costs.

    For example, rare leather hides mis-sewn into seats are indeed expensive but are a low quality product. It cost a lot to make them poorly, and even more to fix them later. The same is true product line wide, C, E, S, etc.

    Mercedes is in CYA mode as they spend the next decade trying to get anywhere close to Lexus quality and reliability, they are going to be much more friendly in their stores to their 'passionate' customers that spend a lot of time there. Guess where the funding for that 'attitude' change is coming from? Yep, 7% here, 5% there in new car prices.

    They have a huge hill to climb and they are also merchandising themselves far beyond likely performance.

    Clock's ticking, methinks.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Totally agree with you lg. Especially about buying 3 yr old Jags, and not with the rubberband tires, which are impossible to keep going, in my experience.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    What distinctive feature? I know the Portfolio has that little side vent (which, by the way, has been on the Range Rover for years) but I havent heard anything else about any kind of major styling changes, or any changes at all to the X, S, or XJ. I do like the new XK quite a bit, and I definitely plan to take a long look at a '07... in '10.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Mercedes is in CYA mode as they spend the next decade trying to get anywhere close to Lexus quality and reliability....

    They have a huge hill to climb and they are also merchandising themselves far beyond likely performance.

    Clock's ticking, methinks.


    Sssssshhhhhh !!!!! Be careful here...Before long you'd be accused of predicting MB's demise at a time they are undergoing a resurgence and revival in fortunes... Ticking clock on MB's watch ???? Forgetaboutit....

    Time is an enemy sometimes....
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    So, Mercedes sells more cars with poor quality because they have a HISTORY of selling great cars. Jaguar, on the other hand, struggles to get past the old reputation of unreliable cars, yet their cars today, on average, are more reliable than Mercedes, by a significant margin!!! Mercedes is fortunate to have that history, even if the cars it builds today have problems, because it gives them another chance to meet customers EXPECTATIONS. Jaguar, in contrast, is slowly overcoming a big hurdle. I really hope they pull it off. Their cars are freakin' gorgeous compared to Mercedes or just about anything for that matter.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It takes a lot more than good looks to succeed in a brutal marketplace. The X-type is attractive, but its a lousy car. The public was not fooled into thinking that it is a "real" Jag. Ford is abandoning the plan to have Jag be a volume luxury car maker, and they are moving Volvo up into that space. They now want to position Jag against Bentley.. risky move.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    NEW DELHI -- The chairman of Toyota Motor Corp. Monday said companies in India and Thailand may soon overtake those in Japan because of their increasing focus on quality.

    "Thai and Indian companies are fast catching up. My fear is that Japan will soon be overcome by Thai and Indian companies," said Okuda Hiroshi...

    ...Indian firms are improving their standards. "I am aware of the excellent quality levels of Indian IT [information technology] and manufacturing companies. But, in the field of quality, Japan is standing still," said Mr. Hiroshi at an industry meeting.

    He said no Japanese company has recently won the Deming Prize, an award from the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers. Indian companies such as motorcycle and scooter maker TVS Motor Co. and Rane TRW Steering Systems Ltd. have won the prize.


    source WSJ online
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    I think many of you will find the below article interesting. For one thing, it shows the risk Toyota is facing as it ramps up worldwide production. But I also find it interesting to compare the Toyota execs' statements to the things said by MB execs when their reliability issues first started to get attention. As I recall, first it was denial, then blaming it simply on final inspection QC. It was quite a while before any mention was made of design or manufacturing defects.

    I don't even want to imagine a world in which Lexus quality falls to recent MB levels.... Maybe we will all be buying Korean (or Indian or Thai) luxo sedans.

    LA Times: Toyota Fretting Over Quality
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Arrogance and pride vs action steps and humility.
  • I remember when....

    IBM was 'so strong no other computer company can compete!'

    GM was 'driving all other car companies out of business!'

    Sears was 'pushing Main St stores into bankruptcy!'
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Yep, and now MB and Toyota are on the road to degradation. Next thing you know, Edmunds won’t appear on our computer screens and they’ll have to put us all in straight jackets, wheel us off to institutions to deal with our chat-room addiction and withdrawal. Maybe we’ll all meet at the same place and they'll observe us as we argue in circles. Hopefully most of us will finally be cured and on our merry ol’ way.

    You see, the world is a strange but good place, and things have a way of working out.

    ;-)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Things change when companies make serious mistakes. The downfall of IBM and GM rests squarely on the shoulders of the top brass. One of the recent big mistakes from IBM was their cover up of the failure rates for their "Deathstar" Deskstar hard drives. The drives failed at 10x the usual industry rate, and internal memos were leaked stating that failed drives should be put back out in the marketplace. That move eventually meant the sale of their entire hdd business to Hitachi a few years ago.

    Toyota obviously saw what happened to VW and M-B when they lost focus and let their quality drop off the map. You dont want to wait until your customers are leaving you in droves before you decide, hey, now might be a good time to maybe think about why our cars are falling apart.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Could it be that Toyota feels a cushion in relation to the competition and is becoming less stringent in order to squeeze profit in other ways?

    I suppose Ljflx will have a totally sober and rational answer to my query ;-)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Actually, IBM had no competition until the original and successful line of Compaq computers came along. Later, the "Deathstar" problem was serious enough, but IBM smartly moved into corporate servers, and then Sun, Dell, and even HP have taken share. It's COMPETITION that builds a better (or sometimes cheaper, or both) mousetrap that usually causes the downfall. GM has been a poor competitor. They just plain do not get it. I'll bet that TOYOTA does very well for a very long time. Their long range plans for quality vehicles that produce incredible performance and fuel economy is going to be hard to beat. Often, people will suck up vehicles that have much poorer quality issues than Toyota. For example, Land Rover has increased sales with attractive new body styles, but reliability still stinks. Toyota may have slipped a bit, but they are still king of the reliability hill by comparison to most of the others. Personally, I don't mind a few issues on a vehicle if I really love it. Mercedes folks have been proving that quite a bit recently.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    It's insignificant and they are taking steps to correct it immediately. The solution is simple - they know how to core an apple - the old fashioned way and the new way - even in front of TV land.

    Seriously - Growth for an emerging company is dangerous - witness People's Express. That's why they failed - too much too soon and a violation of their initial business plan. Growth for a large well established company like Toyota is quite manageable - but always comes with a hiccup or two. In the case of MB they actually violated their core business principles by going boutique to mass manufacturer with too many strategies at the same time. Issues were everywhere - from lowering price (and prestige) to big increases in production to trying to lead in electronics as opposed to their real strength in engineering to taking over a larger car builder, to trying to create a new super brand in the Maybach and then the ace of aces - backing Mitsubishi. Add in something we don't see on this side of the Atlantic - Smart - and you have a recipe for a big dip. I lose track of the pitfalls that they set up for themselves but they most certainly hit every one of them pretty hard. Simply put - they were experts at coring a small Apple but coring that big Apple needed better equipment.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Just traded out of my Sequoia and into an LX470.

    The search took me almost a year. Why ? I found out that the LX is so hard to depreciate in value. This is a truck that has the smallest HP of the lot, it can barely sit 7 people, unlike its competition, it has been in the same skin, more or less for a decade, yet it still sells briskly, and it holds real strong in the resale market. So what's the point ? Lexus/Toyota's strong reputation of quality and reliability even when the car/truck isn't the most pleasing to the eye, the most powerful, or the biggest/baddest says a lot about the company. So it makes the most sense that when a chink appears in this strength, Toyota must deal with it promptly. As the adage goes: "A stitch in time saves nine", Toyota is addressing their problems head-on without hiding behind a facade of denials and head-buried-in-sand, unlike some other car brand we dare not mention.

    Reminds me of an article back in 2000 when GM proudly announced that they have plans for a hydrogen-powered car by 2010, while scoffing at a gas-hybrid vision from Toyota. Then, industry experts noted the challenge for GM/s ambitious H2-powered plan, and almost unanimously agreed that it would be impossible to achieve in that timeline.

    The first H2-powered street car in the US, a Honda Civic, is owned by a California dude. Cost of $1 million. Honda came out with one ahead of GM. Would the H2-powered car truly take hold ? A very difficult challenge indeed !!! In the interim, Toyota is enjoying a huge boom in business with visionary leadership in hybrid tech as gasoline demand soars globally, unlike the clowns that ran GM to oblivion.

    Sad...
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Actually the classic Toyota 4.7 engine has always been much faster than its numbers suggest, especially when it was rated at just 235hp (its something like 275 now). Not much horsepower, but boatloads of torque. The LX\TLC is not new, but its been rated many times as one of the best SUVs of any type on the market.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    After all those years, the LX470 is at the end of its cycle and will be replaced by a totally new version VERY soon. Perhaps they'll fix many of the shortcomings like low HP and FUNKY flip-flop rear seats that hang against the windows (even the idiots have figured out how to fold them to hide them away flat). It says a lot about the buyers that are willing to buy anything, even if it's DISFUNCTIONAL, as long as they BELIEVE that it's well made or has good resale. There are definately the intellectual pointy-headed buyers who do everything Consumer Reports tells them to do, and there are the less reational impulse buyers who will buy basically anything if it appeals to the right emotion at the right time. Then there are the last remaining folks who buy what they want no matter what the resale or reliability charts say, because F-U-N, NEW STYLE, PERFORMANCE, and HP still matter!!
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    It says a lot about the buyers that are willing to buy anything, even if it's DISFUNCTIONAL, as long as they BELIEVE that it's well made or has good resale. There are definately the intellectual pointy-headed buyers who do everything Consumer Reports tells them to do, and there are the less reational impulse buyers who will buy basically anything if it appeals to the right emotion at the right time. Then there are the last remaining folks who buy what they want no matter what the resale or reliability charts say, because F-U-N, NEW STYLE, PERFORMANCE, and HP still matter!!

    That's why there are as many viewpoints as there are people (7 billion) on this planet. It is nice to have those choices, and the means to make them. Another adage: "one person's meat is another's poison" applies aptly here...
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
  • ljflx, give me a one word answer: If the MB brand was a stock would you short it? I think that Jag's present plans to move up stream and diminish the volume is one that MB should take. Do fewer models, maybe just C, E, and S, emphasize the tradition, the large sedans, etc.

    OAC, yep, people do love those TLCs. Curiously enough these things aren't even assembled by Toyota but rather by a vendor!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The C230 coupe was definitely a big mistake, but I dont think M-B should cut its lineup nearly that drastically. If they did, BMW would roll right over them. The ML, SLK, CLK, CL, and SL classes have all been successful. Actually, the CL was one of the only coupes popular enough to survive the death of the "personal luxury coupe" segment in the late '90s. The R class probably should go; the thought of a Soccer Mom driving an R55 AMG is just laughable. I'm not sure that the new G class is really necessary either.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    No.

    The only thing I would short is something I knew was way overpriced. Even then you pick your moments - usually just before news is coming out. The old buy on the rumor, sell on the news is a "short" dream. I'm not a short player anyway. But I can imagine how many Google shorters have gotten killed. Nevertheless Google is overpriced. But don't go shorting it.

    MB's name - in my opinion - has really fallen far with the 45+ crowd but still resonates with the younger crowd. I'm not sure what I would do if I were them. They need quality to restore faith in the 45+ arena which is where the real expensive buyers are so that speaks a Jag strategy. But if they do that then they are walking from some of the folks that are currently supporting their name. Jag has a much easier decision in this arena than MB does. MB has to downsize models for a simple reason - anyone who has tried to be every answer to everything has failed. If you think about it a much better way of making the lower cost cars (and SUV's) that MB sells would have been to price them more competitive to Camry's, Accords (and say highend Highlanders) under a different brand name like Toyota's Scion. Keeping them a lot simpler rather than interweaving them with all the things/options that MB does in the higher arena would have been smarter - IMO. Of course at this juncture that's Monday morning quarterbacking.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi all,
    I think Mercedes will always have the "prestige" label going for it. But, they still are leaders in design and safety. Even with their quality issues, I stil think a S500 is probably one of the safest cars out there. The only reason the media is all over them is because Mercedes was known for bullet proof quality.

    I think the amount of models MB offers is killing them. It sounds similar to GM's problem..It's hard to design so many cars to a world class Standard. I saw an A-Class Mercedes in London a few months ago and was horrified..Who came out with that idea? Why cheapen the Mercedes name like that? When I think Mercedes I think S/SL Class.

    I don't like the new S, but the E320 CDI is probably one of the most practical cars Mercedes builds. I saw one in a parking lot the other day. It isn't lumped with all these useless electronics, and gives 35 MPG to boot. At $55K it's reasonably priced..I'm wondering whether the last production runs of these cars will be more reliable than what the E is known for...

    SV
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    MB is smart to go with the flow, but IMHO, has gone too far with a few too many choices. Sure, a third row seat makes sense for many families, but either go with the new G class or the R class, but not both. If it were me, I'd kill the R soon, and put my marbles in the G. The marketplace may prove that anyway. Too many C models, for sure. The new '07 S-Class is gorgeous, but the Mercedes tactics of adding on expensive options and packages quickly escalates the prices beyond fair value. The E is about to get a TOTAL makeover, and it needs it. It's just too plain and boring for 50K++. Also, the models need to look different from each other, instead of just smaller or larger versions of the same thing. It's not good for the C-class to look like a wanna-be S-class. The '07 S-class will soon distinguish itself a little more, but again, it will be too expensive. The XJ and XK Jag's are classics (not the X-type!) Most gorgeous cars for the price. And not over-produced for the masses!
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Bad month overall but Toyota stayed strong and grew solidly (+10% cars, +1% SUV's). Somewhere else I read that Lexus had a huge gain over last November but huge wasn't defined. I assume Lexus probably has its best sales month in November given shipments to dealers in advance of the Dec. to Remember event (I'm sick of that jingle already and we have another 30 days to keep hearing it on local news broadcasts). But in this context a huge growth over prior year is completely relative as the Dec to Remember event occurs every year.

    http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/markets/natworden/10255338.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&c- m_ite=NA
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Somewhere else I read that Lexus had a huge gain over last November but huge wasn't defined...

    According to Toyota's press release:

    "Lexus passenger cars posted best-ever November sales with 14,001 units, an increase of 31.6 percent. Sales momentum remained strong with best-ever November sales of the GS 300 and GS 430 models, which posted combined sales of 2,619 units. The GS 300 recorded best-ever November sales of 2,223 units and an increase of 424.3 percent, while the GS 430 posted sales of 396 units, an increase of 317.8 percent. The IS luxury sport sedans, which debuted in October, enjoyed a best-ever overall sales month of 4,447 units, an increase of 633.5 percent over the same period last year. The IS 250 reported sales of 2,899 units, while the IS 300 and IS 350 enjoyed combined sales of 1,548 units. "

    Source: link title

    Can we just say Toyota/Lexus is doing real well ? May be an understatement...
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