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High End Luxury Cars

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Sometimes in the heat of discussion, we lose sight of the obvious. But note that it is rare to see someone argue here that the LS is safer than the S, or has better driving dynamics, or has more prestige. Nor do you see many people saying the S is really more reliable than the LS, or that its electronics are better, or that you get more bang for your buck in the S. That disagreement may be true in comparing the traits of other cars, but not these two. We just disagree about how to weigh the importance of the different factors, not which car possesses which dominant trait.

    That's why this battle can never be won, nor can anyone be swayed to one side or the other. We in fact probably all agree on the objective factors, we just disagree on their relative importance."


    Exactly! This is what what I was trying to say at the outset of this latest melee which has gone on for about 3 weeks now, much longer than any fallout from anything I've ever stated.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Over the last 98(!) posts I've seen a lot of debate about badging.

    I for one hate rebadging of cars, but in Lexus' defense the LS430 or whatever it is called in Japan is a luxury car by "specification" no matter which baged it is sold under.

    If the badge determined the stauts then the VW Phaeton wouldn't be a luxury car either, and we all know it is. Pure luxury car, period.

    Rebadging to me is what GM is forcing upon Saab with the 9-7x and 9-2x models, see other forums for specifics. Rebadging whether Lexus fans like it or not is the Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX470, other than a few equipment changes they are the same truck. Lexus does at the very least attempt to seperate the GX and ES from their 4Runner and Camry bases. To buy a LX470 is pure badge stuff at work, just as bad any anyone buying a Mercedes because of its badge.

    Saying a A8 is a rebadge Phaeton shows who reads the specs and who doesn't. They don't even share same construction techniques or frame, hardly a "rebadge".

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Regardless of whether issues are speculation or fact, there is an extremely high awareness of safety. Case in point, I know of people who cut down trees because they are afraid of their kids getting concussions from falling nuts. Imagine the dangers of being a Boy/Girl Scout.

    Thus, if a car gets a ton of black dots the seed is planted in the mind—maybe the car's safety features—the airbags—will fail. Dum, da dum dum. It may have little to do with reality but it is probably in the mind of many buyers and I am sure it is what people around here are alluding to.

    Risk management is a big part of today's mentality and black dots are synonymous with risk.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Merc,
    My point about safety on the LS is that the tests show it to be marginally worse in rear end crashes. It hardly qualifies the LS as an unsafe or shoddily built car as some have said here. The testers admit these rear end impacts rarely result in serious injury. Basically for the typical crash (front, side) the LS performs as well as everyone else.

    You are correct to say Lexus owners value JDP, CR more than prestige. I don't think it's fair to say we don't value safety. The LS performance is comparable, but not superior. My favorite Jaguar (The XJ8) doesn't have many of the features that MB does, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.

    I agree with you on the profit part. What I meant to say the strength of Lexus is shown in the profit side of things. You can't argue with success. I wasn't trying to argue that the majority of buyers look up balance sheets. My point was that buyers also don't care who is first to market with various safety measures. I don't even know who invented ABS (MB?) nor do I care. Who was first to market isn't going to influence my decision.

    The reason I almost got the S430 was the sleek profile of the car. Also, after driving a LS for 13 years, I thought it might be worth the change. Like many though, I didn't think the 13K premium was justified. Had it been 2-4K then I would have done it. The clincher was the current quality issues. Once they've cleared that up, I probably will get one, should Lexus continue with these insipid designs. Lexus had it right with the original LS and SC...Why did they change it?!

    I remember in the late eighties, MB used to dominate the JDP surveys. To fall to 31 is quite shocking for a celebrated brand like Mercedes. Was it cost cutting that led to this?

    Sitting in all of these cars (LS, S Class, 7 Series) I feel that they aren't designed to the same specs that their predecessors were. I still see shining examples of original LS400's, 80's S Classes and BMW's all over the place. Somehow with all these electronic gimmicks I don't think these cars will fare as well. Normally I don't trade my cars frequently, but I feel really uneasy about owning a car outside the warranty perioid with such gadgetry. I think the marques are focusing too much on the electronics end at the cost of long term reliability.

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well of course I didn't say the LS430 was an unsafe car. Truthfully I think the whole thing started when someone else tried to imply the same thing about the A8 and then new MB fans came on board saying that about the LS compared to a Benz.

    My point about things like ABS is that a lot (not all or majority) fans of the Benz marque know these things about their innovations because it is part of MB's heritage. This is part of their lure, just as Lexus will do the same in the history books if and when this hybrid things takes off and they're leading the way. See? The thing I disagreed with you on was "who cares" attitude about such things as who invented/pioneered what, yet German car fans are supposed to care about Toyotas profits and JDP and CR reports instead or the fact that they came up with hybrid tech first.

    The two views don't mix. Never have, never will.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I agree with you that most people don't car about the car manufacturer's profits (unless the company is seen as possibly going under).

    But on safety I think most people really don't care, when they are shopping for a car, who was FIRST with a particular safety feature. They do and should care about WHAT CAR IS THE SAFEST NOW.

    If a buyer really cares about safety foremost and is trying to decide between an S and an LS, the objective data available are:

    1. IIHS insurance injury loss rankings look better for the LS
    2. IIHS has not crash tested the S, but in comparing the E and GS, the E does better on rear impacts
    3. The LS has rear side curtain airbags but lack rear side door-mounted airbags
    4. CR shows S-class brakes to be less reliable than LS brakes (the S looks average, the LS looks very good/excellent in brake reliability)

    The final point is where reliability may indeed impact safety. Does the buyer want the extra rear airbags, or does he want brakes that are more reliable?

    IMHO looking at all the available objective data, one can't say that the S is safer than the LS. It looks about the same.

    Again I don't see why it should matter to the buyer that MB invented ABS or whatever, as long as the LS has it too.

    Do you still use Visicalc because it was the first spreadsheet? Or do you instead use the best spreadsheet for the purpose?

    Do you pick a brand of cellphone based on who was FIRST with various innovations? Or do you pick based on who offers the best cellphone NOW, based on whatever criteria are important to you?

    Five years from now, if I'm in the market for my second hybrid vehicle and MB makes what in my view is the best for my needs, I'll buy it. I won't care that they weren't first with the innovation.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    Silly because two people who pass up MB ownership chances are arguing with a bunch of Lexus folk who buy, have bought and will be repeat buyers in future. Then we have some historic German buyers who have bought Lexus and see/experience what the rest of us always talk about. On the other hand Merc can afford the C-class but says he'll pass on it if buying anew (in the past) so for all his vaunted claims finds other cars better suited in his price range. Meanwhile [denaliinpa] can't handle Lexus success and just flamethrows. At the same time the Lex crowd can't wait to see the next LS and the cars in their group because of the phenomenal ownership experience. Most of us wouldn't even think of switching when we are buying anew. Lawyers would have a field day with this one if it was a court case.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    So far from what I read: MB used to build the best cars, now it is being surpassed by new comers like Lexus. But MB still can regain its throne by concentrating again on quality, it's that simple.
    Can we talk about something else?
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    I have had two LS430 cars. My brother has a Mercedes S500, while I now have a VW Phaeton. Who knows what's next? They are all great with different strengths and no real weaknesses. Variety is the spice of life.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    After owning VW, would you buy Phaeton over LS430 again? I used to own MB, but now Lexus, I won't go back to MB unless their quality improves.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    When you walk into a store to buy a new TV, if the salesman tells you that you should consider the RCA brand because RCA invented the first color tv, is that going to sway you in your decision?

    Or do you just buy the right TV for you, based on your own evaluation of the merits of what is available now in the marketplace?

    Yet we are asked by some here to consider MB's innovations over the past 120 years in our next purchase. I'll say again that imho all that should matter is, what does the car offer now?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Isn't it time someone finds a different line of conversation? There really isn't anything new left to say on this ...
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    I have only about 2k miles on my Phaeton. I will post my impressions here if this thead survives.

    pat_HOST: I understand your position. However, this is one of the more interesting threads on Edmund's, occasional emotional outbursts notwithstanding.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Hi Pat:

    Its a lotta fun to read these excellent posts - yes repetitive and can be boring, but still good reads....

    So how 'bout a trade: Edmunds fixes the link broken issue, and we change the topic here.

    Deal ?

    :)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    LOL - I hear there is a fix in the works.

    You people can certainly talk about what you want to talk about (civilly, of course :)), but we've been around this mulberry bush so many times and in so many ways I can't imagine that there is anything new to say. I know I haven't read anything new in quite some time. It would be nice if the title "High End Luxury Marques" meant more than why people buy Lexuses and why people believe MB has more panache and the endless arguing about whose position makes more sense. Of course there is no end to that since no one is ever going to budge.

    Back to the link issue, meanwhile that tinyrul.com site is useful. I had forgotten all about that.

    Carry on ...

    :)
  • paldipaldi Posts: 210
    Benz, BMW, Audi, Phaeton, others?

    Recently aftermarket suppliers of electronic modules that lower the ride height of 'air suspension' Benzes and Beemers have discovered the Audi A8 and the Phaeton. Has anyone here lowered their German lux sedan using one of these products?

    What do you think about the results?
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    from what I've seen on the different boards the only person that has lowered an A8 successfully is atlas on Audiworld. he is an Audi dealer so i don't think he has to worry about any warranty concerns. it would be a warranty issue right?

    i receive consumer consumer reports and i am pretty sure that they have never tested an S class. i could be wrong but i don't recall ever seeing it. when they rate the cars in their annual car issue i wonder where they receive their data? do they survey Cr members? go to JDPowers for info? i wonder how large of a sample group they have to pull from. does anyone have any information where they gather their data for vehicles that they never have road tested themselves?

    even though this thread can get heated it has
    to be one of the more enjoyable threads on Edmund's. IMO there is nothing wrong with some healthy debate....even when nothing good comes of it!
  • paldipaldi Posts: 210
    I know about AtlasD3. I wanna hear about the Benz/BMW and any other VAG car owners.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    This ride-height conversation is really subversive to the CTS (Circular Talk Society). You guys are going to trip the circuit breakers in a lot of heads around here!

    ;-)
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    denali, The reliability ratings are based on survey data, not roadtests: "Based on about 810,000 responses to our latest subscriber survey, these charts give you a rundown on how 1997 through 2004 models are holding up in 14 areas, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.
    In response to our survey, subscribers told us about any serious problems they had with their vehicles in the previous year."

    They did roadtest a 2003 S, you can see what they had to say online if you're a subscriber. Of course most people here don't consider the CR roadtests to be terribly meaningful.
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