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High End Luxury Cars

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "Well, almost by consensus, M45 is regarded as more than a match for anything in its class, besides 5 series. Certainly much better than the current S type. Imagine M45 with a British design and suspension."

    That would also give Jag access to the VQ 3.5 engine. A large part of the problem with the X-type and S-type is that they are stuck with the pathetic Ford Duratec 3.0L V6. At least GM has their 3.6, Ford has nothing until their 3.5 hits next year. I have always wondered why Jag didnt use Volvo's T6 engine, at least that thing had some power.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I disagree that Jag would be better off with anybody but Ford, merc1, for the simple reason that Ford has pretty much fixed all of Jaguar's issues with their cars. They used to be a tempermental, leaky, poorly made and horribly wired, grumpy, unreliable and old tech.

    Ford gave them the resources to develop new power plants, the aluminum frames and bodies, parts that work on the side, and have made them a completely up to date, yet beautiful car, true to their heritage. Even the radios (X-Type excluded) are uniquely Jag.

    Now - just as their massive investment may be about to pay off, they may have to sell the brand. That would hurt.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "A large part of the problem with the X-type and S-type is that they are stuck with the pathetic Ford Duratec 3.0L V6."

    Well, you're completely wrong regarding this engine and the S-type. They have never been mated. The 3.0L used in the S-type and the Lincoln LS is a Jag engine. And it's a darn good one too.
  • emaussemauss Posts: 151
    When I looked at the S series ("R" version), I was very impressed with the initial visual impact...but when I looked a little deeper, I was very disappointed. The "box" below the leather-covered central console top seemed to be made of cardboard. The truck liner was made of the same material. When I tried to examine the spare tire, I was greeted by a think, plastic strap to lift the "floor" of the trunk.

    I referred to this whole episode as seeing a Ford in Jaguar clothing.

    While I agree that Ford has brought reliability to a faltering marque, it has also infused a lot of phluph that I was very sorry to see, and caused me to look to other manufacturers.

    (e)
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Check out this AP article on December auto sales (as of the 11th). Tough times for the auto industy....

    But guess who the only major automaker NOT to see a decline was?

    Slow December Auto Sales
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Actually yes, it is the Taurus 3.0L.

    "Jaguar says the S-Type 3.0 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. The V6 was smooth and civilized when cruising, and noise from the engine was isolated. Under hard acceleration, however, the sound it made reminded us that it's a Ford Duratec V6."

    http://www.automotive.com/2005/43/jaguar/s-type/reviews/driving-impressions/
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You're missing the important parts of engineering that are where it counts in that car. I don't own one, so I have no axe to grind here, but did ya drive the thing? If the cardboard console box stopped you from putting it through its paces, you missed something. Not saying you would have bought it anyway, but there's a hellova cat underneath that cardboard box (which nobody will feel when driving the car). Whatever floats your boat.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I have to agree with emauss on this one. Ford caused as much damage as they fixed. The X-type isnt a Jag at all, and the S-type and LS are way too close. The AJV8 may be a Jag engine, but the Ford 3.0L is a very poor substitute for their old inlines. My XJS had one, it was big, strong, and had a wonderful exhaust note. The Taurus engine has none of those qualities.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    If that's true, and I think Automotive.com is incorrect, something has changed since the car's introduction. It was definitely not the Duratech when the cars came out, neither the Lincoln LS nor S-type were using a Ford engine at that time. I doubt it has changed, but maybe it has. I know who to ask though..... I'll get on it.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    S-class used to be a very exclusive car, costing $100k back when a luxury house in a premium neighborhood cost only $200-300k.

    Must have been before I started paying attention to Mercedes (like when they first started using an "S" to signify the series) because in the 70's and 80's a S-Class didn't cost nearly that much and even in the 90's, the day of the W140 S500 model it had to be fully dressed to cross 100K. Also, during a lot of the W140 S-Class years the 300SE/S320 made up 40 percent of those sales it was far from a 100K car. A 300SE in the 80's was a 52K car so I'm not buying any of that about how exclusive an S-Class was or is. The only thing exclusive about it was that it did cost more than any other car in the segment, like it does today. Other than that nothing below a S600/S55/S65 is "exclusive" about an S-Class and 52K 300SE from 1989 wasn't "exclusive" either.

    The part about decontenting the S-Class I completely disagree with and I really don't see anything to support that theory. The W220 wasn't decontented because of the pending launch of the Maybach. It was decontented because of all the bad press heaped on the W140 about it being too expensive, too heavy and just plain "over engineered". That and the fact that Mercedes whole business model changed from the time the W140 came out in 1992 to the time the W220 came out in 1999. This had nothing to with Maybach.

    None of these brands has an entry-level car that costs 3 times the price of the average car so I don't see what makes Mercedes any different there. What does make them different at the opposite end is that they have no trouble asking over 100K for many of their cars, and nearly 200K for some of them, again without problem. No other brand that we talk about here can come close to claiming that.

    Only Bentley, Aston-Martin, Rolls and Maybach are on a higher level.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I don't disagree about what they've done with Jaguar so far, but they haven't invested enough in Jaguar to really get them "right" sorta speak. The X-Type should have never, ever happened. The S-Type has been left to langish in a highly competitive field and even the XJ as nice as it is, doesn't really standout against the German iron and it will likely have to go 10 years before being replaced.

    My point about them being better off with someone is that Ford doesn't have the cash to make Jaguar healthy IMO. I've seen the idea of Jaguar competing with Bentley, not gonna work IMO.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "What the Germans couldnt do with their bombs, they did with their wallets".

    You saw that History Channel special too huh! ;)

    I found that to be such an interesting statement. It is astounding how a nation so proud of their "British" marques didn't do much of anything to save any of their brands from either going out of business of falling into foreign hands. All of England is controled by Ford, VW and BMW. Their last standing marque of any size, Rover is part of some Chinese deal I still don't understand. I don't think Germany, America or Japan would ever standby and do nothing like the British basically did if their biggest and proudest brands were being taken over like that.

    I think one of the Germans would make a great owner for Jaguar in theory, but for the reasons you gave non of them can really take on Jaguar right now.

    If Bentley is anything to go by a German-British connection can work wonderfully as far as the market is concerned. Though personally I hate the thought of an fwd-biased AWD Bentley and their styling is awful, but the other Bentley elements are there for sure and the cars are a hit.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It was definitely not the Duratech when the cars came out, neither the Lincoln LS nor S-type were using a Ford engine at that time.

    Well the engine they used started out as a Ford 3L Duratech V6, but of course Jaguar designed their own heads etc., but the block was the same as in a Ford Taurus and it still is today. Put it this way it is a Ford V6 that went to Jaguar finishing school.

    Aston-Martin's mad sounding V12 started out as 2 Ford Duratech V6 with a common crank, but of course once this engine was re-engineered as a V12 in Cologne Germany the Ford heritage is gone in both feel and definitely sound. How could a V12 not sound different, but with Jaguar they're using the same basic engine with some Jaguar specific parts, unlike the Aston V12.

    M
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Is it not ironic that the German government would likely intervene to halt or limit a foreign takeover of a German marque while every German marque has been on a foreign spending spree( except for Porsche but watch out since it recently received board approval for a foreign acquisition).

    IMO no bureaucrat should stop any foreign takeover. Free global competition will teach the Germans that the grass is not greener on the other side (MB takeover of Chrysler, BMW take over of Rover, VW take over of Bentley, Seat and Skoda) . You dont need any bureaucrat to prevent such a lesson to be learned.

    Jaguar should not to become a company of glorified Nissans or Porsches with accented wood dashboards! The best solution for Jaguar is a dignified death. There is no need to keep Jaguar on life support as Ford has done with Mondeo platforms and Taurus engines.

    I say pull the plug and get this misery over with!
  • emaussemauss Posts: 151
    At that price point, I felt there was just no excuse for what I saw. So much so that I did not purchase a car that is drop-dead gorgeous and is more powerful than a locomotive.

    ...My A8L is now ready at the dealer and I will pick it up tomorrow.

    (E)
  • $52k in the 1980's was 4-5 times the average new car cost, and it was not barely discounted at all. Today, few even know exactly how much the true market price for an S-class is, what with $7000 discount, subsidized money-factor and inflated residual. I have been seeing S-350 advertized on lease deals below $450/mo! That's barely 1.5x the average new car cost.

    Also, interesting that you completely skipped over the point about "cheap MB" in the 80's meant a car costing nearly three times the average new car price; whereas today, an entry level MB is at or below average car cost, depending on where you live in the world. Talk about massive brand dilution.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    " I don't think Germany, America or Japan would ever standby and do nothing like the British basically did if their biggest and proudest brands were being taken over like that."

    We'll see when GM & Ford are gone, if you were right. I hope you are.....
  • I'm with you on this one . . . pull the plug! Some brands simply live better in memory.

    Also, something very interesting happened. I saw another late model E class broken down by the side of the road in the break-down lane with hazards flashing and driver making cell phone call. As I passed it, I realized that I happened to have one of my cameras in the trunk. So I took the next exit, dug out my camera, and doubled back; here's what I got:

    http://www.pbase.com/brightness04/image/53833398/large

    If you view the image in "original" size, you can make out that it is a very recent model E320 4Matic (license plate blurred out to fend off privacy hawks). The shutter release happend to catch the hazard lights blinking too. If not for the fact that I had already passed the spot 25min earlier, I would not have known the car was a Mercedes before I had time to get my camera ready as the service vehicle was immediately behind it, and the traffic was going at 60+ mph

    For what it's worth, in the couple weeks since you suggested that I take some pictures, I was on vacation down the Carribean for over a week. I don't commute for my work, so this morning's trip was only the third driving excursion that I have under- taken besides the two midnight runs to and from the airport.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Did I ever suggest that you take pictures?

    I have seen top ranked Consumer Reports cars needing roadside assistance.

    Maybe this MB driver did not have routine maintenance done to his car?
    Maybe this MB driver had a panic attack and is having difficulty phoning his therapist?
    Maybe this MB driver did a major crime and is stopping at the roadside in order to set up a good alibi?

    There could be billions of reasons why he is on the roadside. And those billions of reasons may have nothing to do with a unrelibale car.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    $52k in the 1980's was 4-5 times the average new car cost, and it was not barely discounted at all. Today, few even know exactly how much the true market price for an S-class is, what with $7000 discount, subsidized money-factor and inflated residual. I have been seeing S-350 advertized on lease deals below $450/mo! That's barely 1.5x the average new car cost.

    I can't help but ask so what? A S-Class starts at 65K for the 2006 model year and come 2007 it will back to 75K or so. If they were to follow your theory about pricing an entry level S-Class would cost 125K! Then you'd say they have priced themselves out of the market, which would be true at that price. Doesn't make any sense to me and I honestly don't even know what your point is now. So what if the S350 leases for cheap, everyone doesn't lease and all makes are running cheap lease deals this time of year.

    Also, interesting that you completely skipped over the point about "cheap MB" in the 80's meant a car costing nearly three times the average new car price; whereas today, an entry level MB is at or below average car cost, depending on where you live in the world. Talk about massive brand dilution.

    I didn't skip over it, I just really didn't find it worth debating because I already stated that could be seen as brand dilution especially adding a car like the A-Class or B-Class, but likewise you didn't adress the point about Mercedes selling more expensive cars at the high-end than any of these brands here. Like in the over 60K category Mercedes stands alone in sales race and they also sell cars for over 150K in decent numbers too. So IMO for every theory about brand dilution because of the A/B/C-Classes there is one to counter it by looking at the fact that Mercedes sells more cars over 60K and some really pricey ones too and for prices they've never dare attempted before now.

    I mean what do you think Mercedes should do. Ignore the meat of the market after they've already had success in it? They are no different than anyone else at the bottom end, but they are indeed different at the top. I see nothing from Lexus, Audi, Acura, BMW, Jaguar selling much for over 100K and even those like BMW/Jaguar/Audi have only one model over 100K repsectively. Mercedes has a good half dozen or so of them no one else here does.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Jaguar should not to become a company of glorified Nissans or Porsches with accented wood dashboards! The best solution for Jaguar is a dignified death. There is no need to keep Jaguar on life support as Ford has done with Mondeo platforms and Taurus engines.

    I say pull the plug and get this misery over with!


    Youch! I can't agree with that Dewey. Jaguar is to fine of a brand (and certain models of car) to just be given up on like that.

    M
  • haha, your desperation is showing. How about the simplest and most probable reason: the car broke. The odds of all these other potential excuses that you come up are so remote it's not even funny.
  • Today's $65k is equivalent to about $30k in the 1980's, after inflation adjustment. That means S-class today is not much more exclusive than 190 was back in the 1980's. That is brand dilution, also explains why Maybach became a necessity. Whether a $120k entry price point would price S-class out of market is entirely dependent on the judgement of the market place. Back in the 1980's, that's indeed the price of entry for S, after inflation adjustment. The fact that MB and S class probably can not command that kind of repect anymore is indicative how far the brand has fallen.

    The claim about MB selling more cars over $60k than anyone else is highly questionable. For one thing, the $60k price point is simply fake: the best selling S class worldwide, the S350, can be leased for less than $450/mo; that is hardly indicative of a $60k car. $450/mo reflects a car clearing in the market place between $30-40k range after all the money shuffling from one pocket to another is accounted for. Also, Lexus is barely offered in many markets. In the US, where Lexus has been on the market for a decade and half, Lexus outsells MB in the $35k+ range, just to pick a mid-point for $30-40k.

    Also, the handful cars a brand sells at the top end hardly matters. Ford GT selling for well over $100k does not make Ford a High End Luxury Marque. It's the bulk of the fleet mix that decides the marque. 190 was still a premium car as it was nearly three times the average new car price of its time, and it was not discounted. Whereas today, the vast majority of cars that MB sells are not much more than average new car cost, some below average cost.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yet at the end all that, Mercedes is still higher up on the scale than Lexus, BMW, Jaguar, Audi, Acura or Infiniti because none of them sell anything in numbers at or above the price points I gave in my earlier post.

    So what if a S350 can be had for a cheap lease price. You seem to think everyone leases and they don't. Lexus outselling Mercedes between 30-40K only goes to show that Lexus isn't a high-end marque, if we go by your theory of; "It's the bulk of the fleet mix that decides the marque".

    I disagree with any and all of this because Mercedes is still seen by most as the status leader here and around the world, regardless of what they sell the most of. To simply look at what they sell the most of doesn't even tell half the story IMO because it ignores how far the brand reaches and what people are willing to pay for the MB brand. That being several rungs up from any other brand here, except BMW which is close, but not equal.

    Yeah Mercedes had to create Maybach to compete with Rolls-Royce and Bentley, you're right, but they Mercedes-Benz has no trouble competing with the rest, none whatsoever.

    If anything Mercedes has reached down and up at the same time with various cars, so the Ford comparision isn't valid. Ford was never a premium brand so the GT is a far reach for them, unlike Mercedes which was always a premium brand. Ford selling one 150K GT model has nothing to do with anything Mercedes does.

    If the "bulk of the fleet" decided the brand then BMW, Jaguar, Lexus and others wouldn't be considered premium marques over the likes of Acura, Saab, or Volvo because all 3 doe most of their business in the 30-50K range.

    Sales alone don't determine premium or high-end status by a long shot, otherwise BMW would be known only for 3-Series and Lexus for the ES/RX and they'd be no more distinguished than Volvo, Saab, or Acura, who sell almost exclusively in the 30-50K range.

    The depth and type of cars offered by a marque play a huge factor in the status of the brand, not just what they sell the most of.

    I don't disagree that Mercedes has been diluted from their earlier days, but this about what the average car costs and what not simply doesn't mean much when everything from Acura to MB can be had on the cheap (relatively) nowadays. Though everyone doesn't lease either. My point is that is even with this in play MB is still higher up on the scale than anyone, except the truly exclusive brands like Bentley, Aston, Rolls etc. There are lots of things that back this up, sales of high-end cars by MB being one of them. This about Mercedes selling cars that cost below the price of the average new car is "fake" also because it assumes that everyone leases. The price of the average new car is what, around 27K or so. The only Benz you'd have a chance of getting for that price is the C230 Sedan, you surely aren't going to get anything else for that price, at least not in the U.S.

    M
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    I remember in the mid 90's when Mercedes cars were like a bank vault when it came to resale value.

    People were paying 5-10,000 over sticker for the C class 2 door coupes and convertibles. 2 year old cars were selling close to the factory MSRP. The huge S class the baddest sedan on the block, and the E/S class both had a very high resale.

    But those days are gone. The S class doesn't have near the presence of the old model. They watered down and made the Clk coupes look like genereic rounded off japanese cars. And something went off kilter when it came to quality control and that "bank vault" feel of the old mercedes seemed to disappear.

    The CLS sedan is a step in the right direction and we'll have to wait and see what the reaction to the new S class will be.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    People were paying 5-10,000 over sticker for the C class 2 door coupes and convertibles. 2 year old cars were selling close to the factory MSRP.

    I understand the urge to pile on and make a point about how Mercedes has fallen from grace, but lets not be ridiculous. No one paid 5-10K over sticker for any C-Class Coupe, CLK, E-Class Coupe or anything other Mercedes Coupe of the last 20 years and there never was a C-Class Convertible.

    M
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    haha, your desperation is showing. How about the simplest and most probable reason: the car broke. The odds of all these other potential excuses that you come up are so remote it's not even funny.

    Perhaps... but taking a picture of one car on the side of the road is hardly representative of anything. In trying to prove something, is that your desperation showing?
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Youch! I can't agree with that Dewey. Jaguar is to fine of a brand (and certain models of car) to just be given up on like that.

    Pulling the plug would be extreme but what is the solution?

    The best solution I believe is a Porsche takeover. But even that solution is not great when you consider the German record of British take-overs.

    Ford ownership has produced some amazing upper end Jag vehicles (the new XK). The problem is with the lower end Jags suffering from Ford platform sharing.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    I meant to say CLK. It started with a C, so I lumped them in with the general C class.

    As for people "not" paying over sticker for CLK's in the late 90's, you are dead wrong.

    I lived in Atlanta, GA for most of the 90's up until 2000, and lived about 2 minutes away from RBM Mercedes. There were waiting lists at many MB dealers for the CLK line. And especially for the convertibles. People did pay $5,000 plus over sticker just to get one so they didn't have to wait 6 months. And private party sales were putting CLK's (especially the 430 ragtops)in the paper for over sticker, and people were paying it.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Porsche has enough irons in the fire—Cayman, Panamera, the VW investment, meeting future US fuel consumption and emissions standards, the hybrid venture with VW which is probably the biggest nut to crack because it will require a lot of R&D money.

    All of a sudden Porsche is being viewed as a conqueror. It wasn’t too long ago that they were on the precipice. Are they really in a position for an acquisition of a car company? And since Cayenne accounts for more than 50% of their sales, what is their position going to be with the hit SUVs took this year?

    As a Porsche owner and fan, I don’t want to see any foreign acquisitions, just the evolution of their own species. To see them repeat the follies of MB would be a big letdown. The VW venture carries enough intrigue and potential headaches, and their nearly self-sufficient hybrid effort is big big $tuff in my opinion.

    By the way, I think maybe the talk about Porsche being approved for a foreign acquisition could have something to do with companies like parts suppliers, particularly for the hybrid venture, not acquiring a car company.
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