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High End Luxury Cars

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  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    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.

    The approval was for foreign acquisitions. You may be right that suppliers and not auto firms may be on their hit list.

    Which brings me to another point . Does Porsche/VW have the funds to out-bid Toyota and Honda in acquiring hybrid and battery technology firms?

    I know Toyota has done some shrewd acquisitions recently related to hybrid and battery technology. They do have the yen for such transactions. Good lucky if Euro strapped VW/Porsche wants to out-bid the Goliath Toyota. Also Toyota is years ahead with their HSD systems. A new generation of HSD is expected from Toyota in 2008 that will cut hybrid costs by half of what it currently costs.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Not only does Porsche have a financial nut to crack with hybrid, they have to run an obstacle course around existing patents. This will be interesting, not only to see HOW they will pull it off, but also IF they can pull it off and WHEN.
  • 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.

    The price point reference is little more than a lie perpetrated by MB financiarm. The most numerous S class sold worldwide is S-350, for essentially limo service (fleet purchase), and as we know the lease numbers indicate the cars are clearing the market way below the $65k MSRP. The R class is another case of the same thing: lease in the mid-$500's, indicating an uncooked value at or below $40k.

    The lease numbers are important because for MB that's the number reflects all the financial shenagagins . . . if MB were cooking the number with financed purchase more than it does with leases, I'd be perfectly willing to argue about sale prices with you. People spending over $35k for cars are not exactly dumbies, and that's why the overwhelming majority of new MB acquisitions in recent years are leased.

    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".

    Once again you seem have neglected that MSRP is not market clearing price point. Most of MB cars with $50-70k MSRP's are actually clearing the market at $30-40k with MB financial picking up the rest through rebates, dealer incentives, subsidized interest, and inflated residual, etc.. That includes most of the S, R and E class cars sold, the mainstays of MB's premium models. Also, the majority of MB's sold are A and C classes, both of which are lower priced in the real market place than the lowest priced Lexus.
  • Not at all. The car is not a singular case. I mistook Dewey for Fintail, with whom I had a discussion on stranded MB's before I went a vacation a couple weeks ago (my apologies). To recap, I see late model MB's stranded by the side of the highway quite often, and I don't even drive that much (no commute). I ran into another one yesterday, only after being on the highway in day time three times since the discussion. I don't usually even carry cameras with me. Goes to show it's a high probability event.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    To recap, I see late model MB's stranded by the side of the highway quite often, and I don't even drive that much (no commute).

    Curious. I commute 60 miles each day through the dense New York City metropolitan area and I can’t remember seeing a stranded Mercedes. Maybe I’m not observant enough. After all I’ve seen lots of stranded cars but can’t single one brand out except maybe Volvo.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    As for people "not" paying over sticker for CLK's in the late 90's, you are dead wrong.

    This can happen at any dealer for any hard to get Mercedes model now, like a CLS55 AMG. Nothing has changed now as you try to imply by saying that this happened with the CLK back in the 90s. Waiting lists and people paying sticker or over sticker for MY 2000 S-Classes in the spring of 1999 and the same thing happened for MY 2003 SLs in the spring of 2002.

    If anyone paid over sticker for these normal production cars they got had. All they had to do is wait a 6 months or so and/or order one and negotiate for MSRP. To pay over sticker for a normal production model is just plain not smart IMO.

    Nothing has changed and waiting lists still exist for certain MB models now, depending on the dealer and area of the country. The new S will likely be scarce too for those first few months.

    This implication that the sky has fallen and no Mercedes is in high enough demand to warrant a waiting list anymore is bunk. Models like the CLS55 AMG, CLK500 Cabrio and SLK55 AMG are all still in pretty hot demand in certain markets. Also, one ATL dealership doesn't write the rules for the brand or the whole country either. If they're only a few MB dealers in a big market like Atlanta they can pretty much ask what they want for a hot car, as I'm sure they probably do now. This aspect didn't change with Mercedes-Benz's perceived fall from grace you're hyping up here.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Pulling the plug would be extreme but what is the solution?

    I'm not really sure. Ford just needs to give Jaguar that last bundle of cash for a proper compact rwd platform for the next X-Type and that small F-Type roadster they proposed a few years back.

    Porsche wouldn't touch Jaguar I don't think. Too much risk for such a small company, IMO.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You/me/I/us have long since lost the plot. I'm talking about prestige and you're still talking about lease rates and what not. You can't even get an A-Class here so whats the point? There isn't one.

    M
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Does this not sound like a current Lexus LS review ?

    In many ways it reminds us of Mercedes sedans in that both are solid and rattle-free and both have that completely honest no-nonsense look and feel abouth them. It doesn't have the Mercedes' handling, admittedly, or the Mercedes ride, but then too, it doesnt have the Mercedes' $5000 price tag, either.

    The car above is from a 1970 Toyota Crown Road & Track review

    Does the following not sound like a current review of any pricey BMW?

    A car whose handling can conquer all road conditions with polished authority, a car as much for enthusiastic hard driving as for sedate comfortable cruising. But it costs over $8000 basic. A car that is unfortunately unattainable for mere mortals.

    The above is from a Road & Track review of the 1970 BMW2800CS

    Does the following not sound like a current reviews of most Audis(with the exception of S and RS models):

    All in all, the Audi is a fine piece of work. It's a pleasant car to look at and it's a pleasant car to drive. The performance isn't all we might ask for in a car of its class but everything it does, it does very well.

    The above is from a Road & Track review of a 1970 Audi 100LS.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    Here's the sales figures from autosite.com for MB thru Nov 2005 comparing it to 2004

    E class: 41,221 (2004: 46,730)
    S class: 14,124 (2004: 18,082)
    Clk coupe: 6,256 (2004: 9,452)
    SL: 8,982 (2004: 11,804)

    MB has sold about 13k of the new CLS's this year, so that can be called a success, and the ML is still doing quite well. But with those 4 lines shown above, it's a loss of 15,483 cars over the same time in 2004 for Mercedes.

    The whole purpose of having new models like the CLS is to increase market share and penetration. But when you lose nearly 16k cars in the other direction, that's not good.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Improvements in MB sales are likely to happen next year when:

    The E class gets a face lift next year
    The new S class arrives

    The SL last year sold in high numbers last year since it was a relatively new car.

    Bottom Line: Picking specific car stats and predicting the demise of MB is not sufficient in itself. You got to look at overall sales and MB sales have not done too badly up to now.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    Mercedes is not in "demise", but they just aren't as strong as they use to be in the United States from the 70's to 90's.

    I think the product line has been watered down from poor styling choices and spotty reliablity over the last 5 years. MB resale is no where near as high as it use to be.

    And cutting out things like free maintenace is costing them business as well in the competitive high line market.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Schremp's "Mercedes in every garage" idea was a disasterous one. Thats not what Benz should be all about. BMW and Audi have their "A" game on, there just isn't room in this market for mistakes like that.
  • martianmartian Posts: 220
    Face it, if FORD hadn't bought Jaguar, they would be long out of business. It is true, Sir William Lyons built great cars in the 50's and 60's-but a small company like Jaguar cannot survive today. Plus, even in their heydey, Jags were a nightmare to maintain-and those ancient 3-SU carb setups were impossible. So, what will Ford do with the line? I'd say drop the low-priced models and stick with the >80K line. This is their best course
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    The reasons behind the acquisition are not a secret. Jaguar needed help. However, the whole Ford group is struggling, as is Jaguar. They have already re-aligned Jaguar production numbers and seem to be re-focusing Jaguar's marketing strategy.

    The reliability reports from JD Power and others are much improved since Ford took over, but the brand has not seemingly built much recognition of this. I still hear folks who assume that all Jags are service problems....that is very old news.

    They have revised production numbers downward and seem to be headed towards a more exclusive group of Jaguar buyers in the future rather than building the line with cars like the X Type. If they can build a few good cars for the Jag lovers this may be the best approach. Make it a focused smaller luxury brand, and stop trying to sell what is basically a $32,000 Ford ---with Jaguar styling cues.

    Ford has seemingly missed the boat in the overall luxury class...They sort of blew it with Jaguar as a growth platform too. The problem seems to be that Ford had hopes of using the Jaguar marque to compete in a broad luxury class. They are now retrenching. At the same time, in the U.S. Lincoln seems to be a struggling brand and has no enthusiast interest. Ford has not found the formula to build a luxury class car line that gets much market share.

    By the way, they really have something good with the aluminum chassis and body. My own XJR is quick, feels lively, and gets good gas mileage for a 400 hp car. The new XK replacement is based on this same basic aluminum construction, so we will see what happens with it.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Ford has handled Volvo very well, but they have made mistake after mistake with Jaguar. Volvo was out of money, and Ford gave them the financial backing to stay in business, but otherwise kept a safe distance. Just look at the difference between Volvo and Saab to see how much better Ford's approach has been.

    With Jaguar though, Ford seemed to have this "we know what's best for you" ideal. Makes sense, after all, just look at the luxury powerhouse that is Lincoln. They blindly followed Benz down the "Jaguar for everyone" path, the only problems being that Ford had no decent platforms or engines to give, and that weak V6s, FWD, and cost cutting is the last thing Jaguar should be about. Could any other automaker have done any worse with Jag (other than perhaps GM)?

    Is shutting down production at Browns Lane an example of the "excellent" job Ford has done with Jag?
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    I've long maintained Ford handled the takeover of Jaguar poorly. I read Jaguar World Monthly fairly regularly and was appalled with their new Operations Head Bennie Fowler. The guy is from Detroit, what does he know about the Jaguar mystique? He seemed to be offended when the interviewer asked him about the X-Type. He doesn't seem to understand when you badge a Ford Contour as a Jaguar people are going to have issues with it. In a nutshell I don't think Ford understands the "Essence of Jaguar." Jaguar is not supposed to be in the reach of the common person, that's what Lincoln is for!

    I was not impressed with the new XJ. It doesn't even look like a Jaguar. Even worse, it strongly resembles the X-Type. Jaguar, despite having the highest Satisfaction rates in the industry, has only a 37.1% Retention (Loyalty)rate...Mercedes has a 52% Retention rate despite all of their current quality issues.

    Has anyone seen the new S Class preview up on Mercedes Website? The car looks much better in the darker colors. I still don't like the rear at all, but the front looks quite bold. It seems more "substantial" than the current model. Maybe I'll have a look when it comes out in the showrooms. My only worry is that it will suffer from the same electrical maladies that the current generation has.

    I wish you all a Merry Christmas,
    SV
  • Folks:

    Please give me some advice as to how to deal with Car Jockies who wants to toy with cars. I have a bland new car and I had to park in Manhattan of New York City Often.

    There 'park and lock' places are hard to find. And I often have to park underneath the building where I have to carry out a task.

    Twice now, since I got this bland new car, I found a lot of the electronic gadgetry settings are changed when I get my car back.

    I tip these guys often too, and they are familiar faces to me. I thought of complaining to management.

    To be perfectly honest, my car cost nothing close to $50,000. But I figure that people who have cars of that price range probably have more of these experiences, and might have learn how to deal with them.

    Thanks, Manny
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Ford injects $2 bn for Jaguar loss

    Ford still has confidence in the future of Jaguar.

    link title
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Ford has handled Volvo very well, but they have made mistake after mistake with Jaguar.

    Volvos are sharing and will be sharing future platforms with Mazda.

    Why is it ok for Volvo to share platforms with Mazda but somehow a disgrace for the Jaguar X type to share its platform with a Ford.

    The Saabaru term is quite a derogatory term for Saabs. It amazes me that the term Volzda has not been used yet for the Volvo S40 and V50. (I have trademarked the name Volvzda since the term is my invention)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    There's a big difference between the two. First of all, the only Volvo that currently shares anything with Mazda is the S40. The S40 was never a "true" Volvo product, it was originally co-developed with Mitsubishi, and was generally lousy. Second, the Mazda3 is a benchmark for the compact car segment, so that's hardly a bad place to start with. Third, while the S40 and Mazda3 are technically platform makes, they have very little in common. The interiors are totally different, and the Volvo has Volvo built engine, not the Mazda 4cyl. The Saab and WRX have an identical interior, identical engine and share probably 60%+ of their sheetmetal. They are the exact same car, basically with a different badge on them, especially now that you can get an Impreza with leather.

    Its also ok for Mazda and Volvo to share just like it is for Ford and Mazda. No one is complaining about the Fusion. The problem with the X-type is the Mondeo was a barely adequate platform that had no place in a $35K+ luxury car. Dont you think people would be very upset if Mercedes decided to build the next C-class using a Chrysler Sebring platform, and tacked on an AWD system to disguise the fact that the Sebring is FWD?
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Having owned 2 Jaguars and then abandoned the brand, here my impressions: They stretched themselves too far with the X class. The level of personalized service suffered enormously, their infrastructure was not ready to take that on. That was why I sold my XJR and turned my back on Jaguar. They tried to screw me one time too many. It's a shame, because my XJS convertible was my favorite car, ever, and to this day regret having sold it. But Jaguar shot themselves in the foot.

    What was the point in going for *2* middle-of-the-road cars in the S and X class? They should have just gone for one additional lower end model, and do that well. In fact, it looks like their financials have become worse since the S and X class came out. An indication they were banking way too optimistically on widespread success, and that they overbuild production capacity. It would have made more sense to keep the brand smaller, the offering more differentiated, instead of dilluting the Jaguar image with 2 relatively boring cars. The S and X class have a contrived design, trying to squeeze too much Jaguar heritage too artificaly into too small a footprint. And I much preferred the old XJ to the new one design wise, it was not as practical, but it looked far more elegant and represented a different value proposition.

    Jaguar needs uniqueness. Look at Mini for a brand that shows how a unique identity is managed.

    As well as Ford has done with Aston Martin, as great as Volvo is doing within Ford, Jaguar is the brand that they saved at first and has been now floundering with less and less of a unique position. The new Jaguar XK simply looks like it wants to be an Aston Martin, but didn't quite make it. Everything Jaguar has done for 10 years now is a ripoff of something perceived as a "tradition" or something else. No wonder the market is paying less and less notice.

    A shame.
  • I'm surprised that you and Pablo_1 (in a later post) don't like the current XJ and find that "It doesn't look like a Jaguar." All the car buff books that I read say the exact opposite. They feel that the current XJ looks too much like the old one and hasn't broken new ground.

    With regard to the issue of rebadging a Ford Contour (or is it the Mondeo?), I don't think that even 1% of the likely X Type prospects have any idea about this. I do think that the AWD X Type has become a good car after inital teething problems. Unfortunately, the Jag DNA is more RWD. I don't think the traditional AWD, winter car buyer (eg., Saab, Volvo, Suburu, Audi, etc.) is a Jag buyer especially after the estate version arrived so late in the game.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi everyone,
    I wish someone would post a picture of the two models side by side. The new X350 looks like your old friend from college who has put on 30 lbs. Sure it looks like him, but the "Lines" aren't as well defined. (Apologies to those I may offend with that comment!) The rear of the new car is quite boring. It looks like a semi rear ended an older XJ8. It doesn't have the flair of Jaguars past.

    You're right the average person doesn't have a clue about the rebadging. But the auto-rags do. It's all about perception, once it gets out people will automatically think it poorly of it. It's just like the Toyota platform sharing arguments we have here.

    Anyone else seen the new S Class preview on the MB Usa page?

    SV
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Wow. But I have to say, what the heck was Piech thinking in spending the money to develop this car? Makes the Phaeton look like a wise business decision.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,679
    The man was out of touch with reality. It's as if he was trying to prove he's the only one that could build a car like that when in fact any auto mfr could do it if they wanted to. But the rest have a much better grip on reality.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    prime valet parking at Peter Lugers Steakhouse.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Yeah, sure, and leave the keys with the 19 yr old valet? By the time you got back, the gas tank would be empty (which means he drove it for about 12 minutes?). :P
  • OK, the car may not be as trim as you might prefer.

    But why aren't these sleds selling? They weigh less, are quicker, far more reliable and cost less. In fact an XJ is about 25% or so less expensive than an S Class. If you want a blown, 400 HP version (the XJR) you can get it for about the same price as a naturally aspirated S or 7 Series. Finally, for those of us still in manufacturing and distribution, a Jag rather than an S Class may have less emotional "baggage" when you park it in front of your troops tomorrow morning. ("Gee, look what happened to OUR Christmas bonus!")

    With respect to the differences in retention rates, it might be that the M/B buyer is just a slave to his status fix. Incidentally, how do the retention rates of the cars we discuss here stack up?
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