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High End Luxury Cars

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  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    if so, whaddya think? Even though it may not be a direct competitor to the RL, GS or M, many will compare it when looking for a new car in this price range.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Interesing, so then you're kinda stuck on a decision then huh? Of course of the cars mentioned I like the CLS the most, by far.

    The GS has always been a curious animal at Lexus. It was never sporty enough to challenge BMW and doesn't have the variants to challenge the E-Class. I don't think Lexus well ever change their beliefs about a car of this size to seriously challenge BMW's 5-Series. With Infiniti also playing the sport card very well with the new M35/M45 I think the GS will once again be an afterthought in the class.

    Now their new IS, due to be shown any day now may be a fundamental shift in policy because they already have the ES330 for the folks who couldn't care less about actual "driving".

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "... ES330 for the folks who couldn't care less about actual "driving"."

    Fortunately for Lexus, these are the real paying customers - the ones that butters Lexus' bread, so to speak. All cars cannot be the same to all people. It may surprise you Merc1, that there are far more people who love cushy, quiet, luxurious, ride than those who'd suffer through bone-jarring rides of your typical performance machines. The former overwhelmingly prefers Lexus, while the latter are dispersed among the other brands - MB, BMW, Audi, and now Infiniti.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think you took my post wrong and/or missed the point. Of course I understand that a lot like the ES type of ride, but I wouldnt' agree that they are the majority, in fact they're a dying breed as everyone is making their cars sportier and/or searching for a better ride/handling compromise with each redesign.

    I have older relatives, friends, neighbors who love their ES330s, DeVilles and everything else that isn't done up in the sports sedan theme.

    Your post illustrates my point perfectly though, Lexus and "sport" simply aren't used in the same sentence by most and thus their sportier cars are passed over by a huge margin, that was my point. Not whether or not cars like the ES330 have a purpose or market.

    I also wouldn't consider a M35/45 or 5-Series a bone jarring ride either. We aren't talking M5s or C55 AMGs here. There are cars that combine sport and luxury with plenty of each, but cars like the ES throw handling out the window completely. The ES is alone when it comes to import luxury cars, nobody else is even playing the same game, hence its popularity. Not a bad business.

    M
  • "What has MB done for the industry in the last 15 years?...Yes, MB has managed to do more here in 120 years than Lexus has in 15. "

    You must have been living under a rock for the last 15 years. Even if we disregard countless Mercedes innovations and only include those introduced since 1989 Mercedes STILL trumps Lexus by a wide margin. Virtually every safety feature in every Lexus car was pioneered and introduced first by Mercedes, if not Volvo or BMW. In fact, Lexus has contributed NOTHING in the way of safety. The LS430 flagship sedan doesn't even offer rear side airbags!

    Mercedes Safety Firsts (1989-2005):

    1989: Front Passenger Airbag
    1989: Automatic Roll-bar
    1992: Electronic Brake Proportioning System
    1995: Electronic Stability Control
    1996: Brake Assist
    1998: Rear Seatbelt ETDs and Load Limiters
    1998: First Crash Compatible SUV
    1998: Dual Stage Airbags
    1999: Side Curtain Airbags
    2001: First Electro-hydraulic Braking System
    2002: Pre-Safe I

    BMW Safety Firsts: (1989-2005)

    1994: Interlocking Door Anchor System
    1994: 4-Channel ABS Braking System
    1994: Dual Threshold Airbag Deployment
    1997: Head Protection Side Airbags
    1997: Battery Safety Terminal
    1998: Rear Side Airbags
    1998: Emergency Telematics
    2001: Driver and Passenger Knee Airbags
    2002: Adaptive Brake Lights

    Volvo Safety Firsts: (1989-2005)

    1990: 3-Point Rear Center Seatbelt
    1991: SIPS
    1994: Front Side Airbags
    1998: WHIPS
    2002: Roll Stability Control

    Lexus Safety Firsts: (1989-2005)

    *CRICKET*

    As far as safety is concerned Lexus has contributed absolutely nothing. Not only has that, but Lexus often trails behind several years before it adopts new technology. For example, it took Lexus until 1992 to adopt the front passenger airbag, 4 years behind Mercedes. Again, it took Lexus until 1999 to adopt Electronic Stability Control, 4 years behind Mercedes. BMW introduced head protection airbags in 1997, 2 years before Lexus. Volvo introduced side airbags in 1994, 3 years before Lexus.

    Even now, many Lexus vehicles lack the most basic safety features found in competing cars. For example, you won't be able to find a single Lexus model that offers rear side airbags. Mercedes provides rear side airbags as standard equipment and BMW as optional. The GS430 and IS300 don't offer rear side head protection airbags; a standard feature on all Mercedes, BMW and Volvo vehicles. The 1989 Mercedes SL was the first convertible to offer and automatic roll bar. 16 years later the 2005 Lexus SC430 doesn't offer any such system, even though the BMW 3, Audi A4 and Volvo S70 convertibles do for half the price. The LS430 and ES330 the only Lexus vehicle that offers rear seatbelt ETD and force limiters; standard features across the entire model line with Mercedes and Volvo and optional on most BMW.

    Face it, Lexus has never been a leader in safety innovation nor have they shown any particular dedication to safety. Mercedes on the other hand, has been concerned with safety as its top priority since day 1.

    "Do any of its RECENT innovations even begin to compare with the importance of hybrid powertrains?"

    Well considering that Mercedes’ pioneering ESP system alone accounts for a 56% reduction in fatal single vehicle crashes... I would say that just this single recent innovation easily trumps the importance of hybrid powertrains.

    "Do you find it meaningless, in a competitive sense, that a brand has gone from nonexistent to number 1 right under MB's nose?"

    Is it remarkable that Toyota managed to sell so many "Lexus" vehicles since 1989? Yes it is. But to say Lexus is "number 1" is your obviously biased opinion. By "number 1" I assume you mean number 1 in sales? If so, don't forget to account for cost. Lexus sells its cars for less money than does Mercedes, thus it is only logical that Lexus would sell more cars. Kia sells more Spectras than Lexus sells more LS430s... that doesn't make the Spectra a better car; it's simply a function of cost.

    Lexus is like that fat kid in grade school who was always copying everyones homework because he was too lazy/stupid to do his own.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm afraid I've been over this time and time again on this board, all you'll get is one of six responses:

    1. These things don't matter because they aren't easily related to a JDP/CR survey.

    2. They don't work as advertised, which goes back to JDP/CR and the whole reliability sermon.

    3. Mercedes profits aren't what they should be.

    4. You may even get a post or two saying that Lexus has the equivalent things on their cars. Not!

    5. These things pale next to Mark Levinson sound systems and Nav systems. Who needs rollover protection on a SC430 when the nav/stereo are so great? This was actually suggested before.

    6. Ultimate survey'd reliability is safety.

    All that technical stuff is simply matterless unless JDP, CR, FT, or the WSJ gives it the ok.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Seriously though looking at that list it is clear to me that European car makers focus more on the mechanical nuts and bolts tech innovations and a less on the interior/convenience features while the Japanese do without certain technical innovations, but concentrate more on things people can see and use more everyday, which is really why both camps have enjoy a wide following.

    Between Mercedes, Volvo, Renault, Saab, Audi and that other French company, the Europeans have always lead in safety.

    M
  • great post.
    let the Japanese finally spend some money on new technologies in the hybrid area. i won't be offended if the Germans copy it. turn about it fair play. the kicker is the Germans already make fantastic diesels that equal or surpass what is currently available in hybrid form.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi all,
    More of the same nonsense on this board...Who cares who built it first? Are you implying this makes the LS430 unsafe? Offer some proof in the form of percent fatalities per crash..Last time I checked the LS430 gets the same crash ratings as any other Lux car. If the LS430 were less safe you can bet the press would jump all over it.

    Yet again this is a lame attempt to deny Lexus the credit it deserves. Also, Jaguar has done none of the thing you've outlined above..Does this make the XJ a lesser car??

    It's Japan's M.O. to let someone else spend the R&D money and then copy the design, and improving it in the process. The Japanese didn't even invent the television, yet Sony and Panasonic dominate the market. The pattern has been repeated in many other markets. Get over it already. Do you think anyone cares who built it first?? This is a real desperate attempt to slam Lexus..

    Seeing that I've worked in the Engineering industry for over 30 yrs I see this in practice all the time. Xerox did most of the ground work for MS-DOS, yet Bill Gates got all of the credit. Do you think Xerox would trade the "Prestige of being first" for the Billions Microsoft is worth today?! Give me a break!!!

    Profits always take precedence over prestige. If you don't believe that, then I hope you're not running a company. It's smart business for Lexus to let someone else take the risk. I've never even seen this point made in any car magazine. Sorry pal, if prestige was the sole factor in selling cars, no one would buy a Lexus.

    Lexus prices for less, because their COSTS are less. No one can deny the superiority of the TPS system. It's not Lexus' fault that the German marques can't match their efficiency. As for who is the better car, read the Car mags. I always see the LS430 either first or in the top three..Not bad for an "unsafe" car...

    SV
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    These people don't wnat to understand the business side. They are purists and purists are always a tiny minority that doesn't understand the greater needs of the buying public. You can see it in sports if you look. The NFL and MLB know their market, hence more scoring, bigger crowds, big TV contracts and minting money. The NHL - run by purists who want to preserve hockey the way it is till it dies, hence no big revenue sources, little fan interest and nearly out of business. If there was a smart business person there they would have altered the rules in 1994 and be thriving now.

    Toyota spends $6bln a year on R&D but these folks think that they are doing nothing. What a joke. Meanwhile they have locked in tons of patents on hybrids and from past readings they are expected to be the leader in hydrogen fuel cells. No one on here seems to understand that the best capitalized company is always the leader in the areas of major change. Instead we have a nice bunch of penny-wise/pound foolish stuff to look at that is pages long. The smart business takes care of the major innovations and let's the niche player develop the small stuff. That is the way it is most of the time not just in cars but in everything.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    1. If you look at my original post, I never claimed that Lexus has out-innovated MB specifically in SAFETY since 1990. I did claim that, since 1990, Toyota/Lexus innovations IN TOTAL are at least as significant to the industry as MB innovations.

    2. For all of MB’s 120 years of safety innovations, does the S-class actually end up safer than the 15-year-young LS? Actually, not according to real-world data. Check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website:
    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ictl/ictl_lux.htm
    and you’ll find that the LS has 16% LESS personal injury losses than the S (46 vs 55 based on 100 equaling average injury losses…both are very safe, but the LS is clearly SAFER).

    "Mercedes on the other hand, has been concerned with safety as its top priority since day 1." Maybe so, but it seems Lexus has done a better job of it, based on real-world hard numbers.

    3. “Well considering that Mercedes’ pioneering ESP system alone accounts for a 56% reduction in fatal single vehicle crashes... I would say that just this single recent innovation easily trumps the importance of hybrid powertrains.” I have to disagree here. You seem to take fatalities as the measure of a carmaker’s worth to the world. What about fatalities due to pollution? Do you recognize that hybrid powertrains, once more widely adopted (including by the Germans, once they “copy” the technology), will save many many lives due to fuel savings and hence lower emissions?

    From the Washington Post: "The researchers examined the health effects of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by focusng on four cities: New York City, Mexico City, Santiago in Chile and Sao Paulo in Brazil. They found that using readily available technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would also cut emissions of pollutants, because both are released when fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are burned. And those reductions would avoid 64,000 premature deaths, 65,000 cases of chronic bronchitis and 37 million person-days of restricted activity IN JUST THOSE FOUR CITIES over the next 19 years."

    The quote isn't particular to hybrids and is only intended to show that reducing pollution saves lives just as surely as incremental airbags. Exactly how many lives might be saved by hybrid technology over the next couple of decades I don't know, and don't have the time to try to calculate.

    Now I know that someone is going to mention diesels and my response is, diesels have been in cars for almost 70 years, they aren't exactly a recent innovation.

    4. By "number 1" yes I did mean U.S. vehicle sales. To your point that "Lexus sells its cars for less money than does Mercedes, thus it is only logical that Lexus would sell more cars." I would respond:

    a. MB's U.S. product line actually starts LOWER in price than does Lexus'. If you eliminate all of MB's models at price points higher than Lexus' highest price point, Lexus still outsells MB in the U.S., only by a wider margin. MB product is available in the entire Lexus pricerange, and then some. Why can't MB outsell Lexus if price is the barrier?

    b. Some value needs to be accorded MB's higher prestige. If a Timex watch were physically IDENTICAL to a Rolex, except for the brand name, don't you think Rolex could still price somewhat higher, but sell the same number of units as the physically same but lower-prestige Timex?

    Since MB has more "content" in the form of prestige, it follows that consumers should be willing to pay a little more but still buy it in the same numbers as Lexus. But they don't.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Syswei,
    Interesting Post..I looked over those numbers and found something quite entertaining. It seems all of the high end cars were stolen quite frequently. Don't you think for the price we all pay they could build a better security system?

    Now that I think of it, it's likely those who steal these cars are high end professional car thieves. I wonder if there is a low tech solution to all of this..

    SV
  • Jovialanus:

    It is true..Lexus takes innovations from Mercedes and Volvo and others...They work with them to make them better and more reliable BEFORE they put them in their car....

    What is the value of a safety feature if you don't know for certain that it will work when you need it...Mercedes rushes their innovations into production, Lexus perfects them first...I like the Lexus approach..You will say you like the Mercedes approach...Different strokes.

    In a lexus you know it will work.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    They stole Schrempps $400K armored S-class in broad daylight. It seems all the electronics failed on it. It was another laughingstock story that made the presses a month or so ago.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Every now and then MB fans get stuck on someone's list of MB technical accomplishments.

    It's always fun to find out if they are really true. Sometimes, it's interesting to go to the US Patent Office to verify or invalidate some claims.

    However, just using Google helps too.

    So, type in "Who invented air bags" and here's what you get from the about dot com website. They paint a different picture of the first item in the list above:

    "General Motors tested air bags on the 1973 model Chevrolet that were only sold for government use. GM later did offer an option to the public of driver side airbags in full-sized Oldsmobile's and Buick's in 1975 and 1976, Cadillac's were available with driver and passenger air bags during those same years. Air bags were offered once again as an option on the 1984 Ford Tempo. By 1988, Chrysler became the first company to offer air bag restraint systems as standard equipment. In 1994, TRW began production of the first gas-inflated air bag.

    Looks like to me, that MB was about a decade later than Cadillac. The American Allen Breek is generally considered the inventor of the modern automotive air bag, including those that 'deflate' as the bag is used to absorb energy from a passenger.

    One down, more to go.
  • Merc.

    The fact of the matter is as the Baby Boomers continue to age...They will want more Comfort in their cars...Good bye Hard ride and hard cornering. The ES is ideal for this population..That is why This Population continues to buy it in increasing numbers.

    It seems to me that based on your inside knowledge...Mercedes is pointed at the wrong market..Or has given up trying to compete against Lexus and is shifting it's sights to BMW and Audi and VW?
  • Merc:

    The Japanese makers do not do without Technical innovations....They simply make them better after Mercedes creates them so they are sure they work before they put them in their cars...

    Not fair you may say...But it is good business...
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi all,
    Before we descend into yet another Lexus vs Germany bashing session....Has anyone come out with a really effective security solution for our cars? I looked at my insurance bill and my car is classified as a high theft risk..Obviously, despite the factory alarm system, the car is stolen alot..Has anyone come up with unique ways to safeguard the car?

    I had my wife's Camry fitted with a simple $50 kill switch hidden near the gas pedal. I don't think a thief would want to bother fumbling around for too long. It's simple yet effective, especially if placed where a thief would never guess..

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "The Japanese makers do not do without Technical innovations....They simply make them better after Mercedes creates them so they are sure they work before they put them in their cars..."

    If anyone here can give one example of this I'll be more than happy to read about it. Just one example in like 2 years of hearing this claim would be nice.

    I honestly would like to read about how any of these things that MB/Volvo/BMW brought to the market and how they didn't work, and then Toyota made them work. Does this claim include airbags, abs, esp or anything else on the list given earlier? Another very old claim with not one shredd of proof ever given.

    syswei,

    Hybrids save lives? Fatalities due to polution? I'm surprised at that notion. Sounds awfully desperate to me. Projected lives saved vs. those at least thought to already to be saved? Why just estimate how many cars are on the road with airbags and count all those being as having their lives saved too?

    It seems you and Ljflx just cannot give credit where credit is due. Mercedes, Volvo, GM, BMW and others did all the work so your Lexus would be a safe vehicle. Yet these innovations don't mean anything but in the same sentence hybrids and their associated patents are supposed to mean something? One group of innovators and innovations don't mean anything because Toyota didn't do it? Yet we're supposed to hold Toyota is such esteem because they have finally found something they can do original work on, hybrids?

    Sound like a double standard to me.

    Footie,

    I knew you were going to catch that about the airbags. My list of innovators would definitely include GM too, specifically Cadillac. GM was first with an airbag, but Mercedes and Chryler brought them to market before GM, but you are correct GM had the idea first. The GM cars with airbags in the late seventies were never sold the public.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    There is no double standard on my end. I do recognize that MB has innovated. I'm just saying that Toyota/Lexus have too, something that some German car fans don't seem to credit.

    The score just isn't MB 1, Lexus 0 when it comes to innovation.
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