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High End Luxury Cars



  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    You always exaggerate what I say about MB. Everything I said has come true so far and I said these things 2-4 years ago. Reliability and quality would slip and it would be embarassing to them, sales will fall off and profits would drop to the point that they may go in the red. Well officially the first two occurred and are continuing and the latter is a miss by all of $20mln at the operating income line. Unofficially - you can bet your life they are in the red at the net income line and that the operating income is a propped up number. Trust me - this is my area of expertise at a very high level and I could write a college textbook chapter on teaching an auditor what to look for.

    Now the currency problem - it effected every importer of every good to the US. MB had 70% profit coverage for the dollar in 2004. That is reflected in their figures. The other 30% is not but overall this is by and large an immaterial amount. That's why it's spin on his part. The results would have been unacceptable no matter what is a non-spin statement.

    Gloom and doom - never said they would go bankrupt or any other crazy statement like that. Said they would slip precipitously and it would show up financially and it has. Said the quality would continue to decline and it has. I also said they'd eventually correct things but never return to their glory days of pre-1990. Their days of grand master supreme by a wide margin are over. Their days of being a top auto maker and among the finest in the world have a long run still in front of them.

    CEO spin - It's part of the job qualifications and all of them do it very well.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well the quality and reliability part really isn't anythin new and sales haven't dropped either. They were off a few percent last year compared to 2003 worldwide. The exageration is just about every post about MB on this board. Like I said before they're still selling cars are a premium and will continue to do so. Their pre-1990 days are gone and so are BMWs and anyone else in the luxury car market. Nothing that wasn't easily predicted has happened.

  • michael,

    the post numbers are 7767 and 7801.
    the inference was made that the aluminum
    skin of the Audi A8 had inherent flaws
    that made it more dangerous and less sturdy
    in case of an accident.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    oac, drop me an email when you have a chance, please - pat AT edmunds DOT com. Thanks.
  • here is a link to an article
    ranking the top CPO'd brands. n
  • Merc:

    It would seem to me the quality of a car and it's appointments, state of the art features, comfort, Safty and dependability, make for a Luxury car..NOT PRICE..

    Yes the S Class is far more expensive then an LS Ultra, but is it Better....
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    I must have missed all those predictions and imagined all the MB fans, you included, that said it would never happen.
  • Merc:

    I have carefully read the two posts and the link provided...He does not state that The Audi is less safe then Lexus...In fact he doesn't mention Lexus in either post...The question is advantages or dis advantages of aluminum frames and the Link seems to disprove any advantages for aluminum...

    Here once again is the link...I will ask you once again to please stop this misrepresentation of the posters words and meaning....They are clear to me...and he has clairified his intent in later messages just to be perfectly certain he was not misunderstood.
  • I "carefully" read his posts as well.. and I inferred that he was denigrating the safety of the Audi, by implying that aluminum body panels would be less safe than steel..

    It is disingenuous to assume his intention was anything else, regardless of further posts..

    And, if that isn't the case.. then what was the point?

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I think it's kinda silly for several people to be arguing over what another person may or may not have meant.

    Why don't we drop this particular exchange?
  • I don't drive an Audi or a Lexus, but I am highly amused by the belief that the US Steel information on steel versus aluminum is not just a bit of biased advertising. How about looking at the biased aluminum side of things.

    Oh my, aluminum is better in a crash than steel.

    Or how about a paper by some MIT engineers, who studied the two materials.

    You can go on and on about this issue. Aluminum has advantages and so does steel. I won't bother to try to interpret the engineering data that one can easily find in abundance. Just don't try to give a totally one sided view of something based on just one side of the story.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Nope I've never disagreed with you about the business end. I've said from day one that you were correct about the aspect of this discussion as you continue to be. The only thing I disagreed with was the theory about the average buyer caring about such business dealing or that Mercedes would lose their ability to sell cars because of their corporate problems. They haven't lost the ability to sell cars for a premium over Lexus or anyone else. That is where I disagreed and still do. There has been no big sales drop or even a drop at all in the U.S. market. The car you said would be the start of the end, the S-Class is still more popular in its class than everything else, except the much cheaper LS. The new S-Class will be hugely popular so they haven't lost any selling ability like you predicted. That is where I disagree totally. The SL, CL, SLR and Maybach all still sell. Sure the Maybach forecast was way to optimistic, as was Rolls-Royce's. They misjudged the market size, but that is another issue.

    That they have a profit problem now I never doubted would happen. Honestly I thought it would have happened sooner considering the the three problem Mercedes, 1998 ML, 2000 S, and the 2001 C-Class have been on the road for a while and the warranty costs should have shot through the roof a few years ago. It's like you said it take time for things like that to catch up with a company and when they do....look out! I agree totally.

    But hey you know me I'm more into the actual cars than the business end, but not totally at the expense of the company or common sense like Ferdinand Piech and his VW projects. Even I realize Mercedes isn't healthy enough to go chasing Ferrari with limited production, slim-profit sports cars.

    This new guy has made some tough decisions and I think he's right the ship. Never before has MB head ever stop development of a vehicle in order to examine cost. Mercedes always kept right on developing a vehicle no matter how much it costs in the past. I can only imagine what he is doing that German pride will never allow to be revealed. I say in 2-3 years you'll see a real difference in those things you keep up with, which on the car side certain new models are already being physically built better (SLK, CLS) and we'll just have to see how their reliability holds up.

  • gs450gs450 Posts: 10
    Just curious as to everyone's thoughts on the COMAND system in the current mercedes models. What direction do you think Mercedes should take with their new models, interface everything through a touch screen like the new Cadillac STS, or go the BMW route with something like I-drive but make it so that you don't need to be a rocket scientist to use all the functions.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Good question and we will find out when the new S-Class is shown in Sept.

    I think I read somewhere where Mercedes plans to implement their version of idrive/MMI, but only for the Nav functions, not almost everything as in the BMW system.

    I personally think they should set it up more or less like the Acura RL. You can use the controller to do everything or nothing at all.

    That way you have a choice. No choice as with idrive is a mistake, imo.

  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    If I were MB, I will completely do away with those yucky buttons that litter the dash. Do a simple touch screen for the Nav a la Lexus. Use touch buttons that fits snugly with the dash like the ones in the new GS to control the audio, climate, etc.. The key is to keep the dashboard clean and uncluttered. IOW, make it simple, yet elegant !
  • gs450gs450 Posts: 10

    I lived in the middle east for a number of years, and as im sure you know they have the S320 (now S350) there and its quite popular as well. One thing that always upset me about Mercedes was the fact that they offered these stripped down versions of S320s, and when i say stripped, i mean cars without even leather seats, let alone other options that one would expect on such an expensive vehicle. The shocking thing is that they still sell them by the truckload. Just curious as to what your take is on Mercedes selling S-classes so devoid of features.
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    My sense is that the Europeans think Americans are wierd with regard our equating leather seats with "luxury".
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    It's a cultural thing, several people in Europe prefer a nice fabric over leather. Cashmere after all is more expensive than Connolly leather... (not saying that they use Cashmere, of course not, but there is something to be said for the breathability of good quality fabrics).

    And sometimes, the less one has, the fewer things break. Popular with people that put many miles on their cars, they'd rather have top notch lumbar support than several gimmicky features...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I think they should sell what is popular in whatever market they're in. Here an S-Class without leather and all the goodies simply wouldn't fly and I'm not sure I'd want one like that either to tell you the truth.

    The thing I'd like to see from Mercedes and BMW, Jaguar and Audi are smaller engined versions of their flagship cars. You know like the S350, 740i (300hp V8), XJ6 and XJ8 (3.5L V8) and the smaller V8 version of the A8..I forget the displacement and hp ratings at the moment. Of course I'd love to see more diesels since BMW and Mercedes have really reached the pinnacle in Diesel engine development. The new 3.0L V6 CDI engine is awesome and BMW's new 3.0L I6 diesel kicks out 272hp and like over 350lb-ft of torque. More diesels will come after 2006, but the smaller petrol engine versions of their flagships I don't think will ever be sold here.

    These smaller engine versions would be a buyers only chance to get some of the features deleted (or made optional) on a S-Class/7-Series level car, they'll never do it on the versions they import here now.

    I noticed your handle, are you holding out to buy a GS450h or the updated petrol GS450?

  • gs450gs450 Posts: 10
    Even though i am a lexus fan, like Oac and lexusguy i have been disappointed with the direction lexus has taken with the new GS. It seems that they still aren't gonna challenge BMW when it comes to driving dynamics and mercedes with the horsepower war. In an ideal world i would probably want to buy the new CLS especially with the new mb v8 next year, but with the direction mercedes' reliability has been going these last few years i can't bring myself to get one. Infiniti really seems to be catching my eye but they still have to go some way before i consider them on the same level with BMW, MB, and lexus.
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