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High End Luxury Cars

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  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Ahhh..... but can history repeat itself ?

    Its now BMW discounting Lexus' global ideas.

    http://europe.autonews.com/article.cms?articleId=55582

    "BMW's Krause said he will consider Lexus a true global rival when it has:
    Designs that appeal worldwide
    A consistent brand image in markets around the globe
    A factory in Europe that can provide tailor-made build-to-order cars, which European premium customers demand."


    Hmmmm...."designs that appeal worldwide" ? From a BMW exec ? You gotta be kidding me !!!

    Have we seen/heard this before, circa 1988/1989 ?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Hey OAC - I read thru the 3 series review in R&T and it's real clear where their predjudices lie. Last sentence of the article says it all - "for sure it is still the ultimate driving machine in its class". So you can bet the bank accopunt that the 3-series will win any road comparo with the IS or any other car in the class. They've already committed beforehand without tests of the IS or other cars. I'm sure it's a great car with a great feel but comments like that are what makes me so distrustful of these guys. Sounds like a weather forecaster who declares the first storm of the winter will be the biggest of the winter.

    It's clear they don't like the style though. The best they can say is that "the styling is not the least bit offensive". The more I see the 3, the more I think they have screwed this car up to. Frankly I think the IS is the class leader in style once it arrives.
  • Terrific post! You showed a wonderful evolution of MB's styling. Looking at your pictures, you make a powerful argument for the MB evolves their models but always remain true to their heritage.
    Your Japanese friends, on the other hand, started the Lexus brand by copying MB's iconic styling cues. What interests me is that their new models today (especially the E) are clearly German and MB but are at the leading edge of luxury car styling.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    "What interests me is that their new models today (especially the E) are clearly German and MB but are at the leading edge of luxury car styling."

    Aren't you hyping that a bit too much? MB is hardly on the leading edge in this regard. I'd give that title to Jaguar. I'd put MB somewhere in the middle, and Audi right after Jaguar. Also, VW did a nice job with the Phaeton. It's a sleek handsome car. I still think they should have marketed it as an Audi.

    As for Lexus' worldwide plans I don't anticipate them being as successful there. Europeans tend to favor their home brands more than Americans do. Some of it is nationalism. I sincerely doubt Lexus is going to make headway in a country like Germany, but has and will be successful in the UK. I see LS430's everywhere here in London. There are several Lexus dealers around the area. Plenty of GS's and RX's about too. As usual time will tell.

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I know you like to poke fun at everything a German luxury car CEO says, but seriously why would he think anything of Lexus when don't sell more than 30K cars a year in all of Europe. Until the new IS appeared they didn't even have a single diesel model to sell in Europe, a 40 percent plus diesel market.

    You're implying that he said that he thinks nothing of Lexus, quite the opposite, he also said that he welcomes them as competition. You only gap a snapshot of the article for specific purpose.

    Doesn't sound like 1989 to me. Nobody said anything about "welcoming" the Japanese back then. I'm sure Lexus will have some success in Lexus, but it seems to me BMW's guy was just stating the obvious and current Lexus situation, not what their future would be.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree totally that the Germans are the style leaders, well minus BMW, but the Dodge Magnum looks like an Audi concept? Which concept was that? The Avantissimo?

    To be fair the TT's interior has influenced a whole generation of interior designs.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Aren't you hyping that a bit too much? MB is hardly on the leading edge in this regard. I'd give that title to Jaguar. I'd put MB somewhere in the middle, and Audi right after Jaguar."

    I agree, MB isn't exactly cutting edge more like traditional turned up a bit, Audi is indeed cutting edge to me. Jaguar though is trapped by their past, the new XJ proves that. Not even Lexus gets knocked for the lack of change in redesigns like the press has done with XJ. Jaguar more and more to me seems bound by traditional styling cues a little too much. They need a fresh approach, BMW didn't.

    "Also, VW did a nice job with the Phaeton. It's a sleek handsome car. I still think they should have marketed it as an Audi."

    Well they more or less do, its called the Audi A8...lol!

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Paldi—you have good taste.

    The Phaeton sure does sit well with the nice home in the background. This car has the restraint, sophistication and quiet grandeur that I expect from a pure luxury car. It presents magnificently, better than every vehicle in this class IMO, perhaps even better than the XK which is getting long in the tooth. I give you credit for going with it and hope that it succeeds. Despite VW's image and problems I consider them to be one of the best at styling. And from that photo I can see you know a thing or two about styling.

    Ljflx—it's a little early for excuses.

    "I read thru the 3 series review in R&T and it's real clear where their predjudices lie. Last sentence of the article says it all - "for sure it is still the ultimate driving machine in its class". So you can bet the bank accopunt that the 3-series will win any road comparo with the IS or any other car in the class."

    Which prejudices would they be? The IS was barely shown. Didn't the outgoing IS garner favorable performance reviews? There's no false indictment here. Face it, the 3 came through where it is expected. The reviews seem to be unanimous about its desirable driving qualities and you can get it without the BS that plagues the 5, that is iDrive and active steering.

    Now that the forecasted IS 300hp engine (or whatever it is) will be a pricey deal, the car has its work cut out. Not sure how many buyers are going to want to fork over the rumored $45K for this vehicle—this price commands a bigger car for everyone but the sport enthusiast. The smaller engine is not going to cut it and there is also a rumor that the 350 will not have a 3-pedal option—a crime if it's true.

    Styling notwithstanding the IS needs to be baggage-free and may have to compete on the 3's terms. Now that it may be the first Japanese car to be priced on the same level as a German competitor, it had better be more than a dumb blonde. The playing field is level now and I am quite sure the IS will get its day in court so don't blame the reviewers. You know who the culprit is if it doesn't turn out right.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "I know you like to poke fun at everything a German luxury car CEO says..."

    Au contraire, Monsieur Merc1 ! To me, the auto business is like Football, you don't call out your opponent. If you do, it becomes bulletin board material and every member of the opposition comes out swinging for you.

    Lexus is doing their business in the traditional Japanese way - quiet effectiveness. First is the obsessiveness for quality and excellent customer service. Success. And with that comes reliability, which translated to name brand recognition, at least here in the NA market. And Lexus became the #1 lux plate here in only 15 yrs in the market. Outstanding accomplishment !

    Second phase begins, where Lexus goes its own way, starting with its own styling. For good or worse, no one can pin the new GS and new IS into any derivative style. Its the Lexus way. They will compete with BMW not by being the best handling and balanced car, but by being a good handling and performance car in the Lexus way - quiet, smooth, refined, well-built and luxurious in and out. That is: be like BMW yet remain a Lexus true-and-true.

    Let's not forget that Toyota is #2 in worldwide sales with 7.5M cars and trucks sold in FY2004, and threatens GM's 9.1M worldwide sales. There is no DCX or BMW close to Toyota in WORLDWIDE brand recognition. Should we mention market cap, since Toyota is higher than its competition combined. If I were BMW or MB, would I be calling out a company that strong in every facet of the car business ???? Just arrogance, IMO.

    Add to the fact that BMW's highest sales comes from non-luxury cars.... tons of diesel-/gas-powered stripped 3-series in Europe. Ditto MB, where they find most work as "sherpas". Here in the NA market where they are considered *luxury* marques, they are way back of sales to Lexus. Granted Lexus sells more SUVs, but doesn't MB and BMW sell more low-end (suspect) lux cars here in the US anyway ? The 3- and C-class being sales leaders for BMW and MB, respectively.

    So when we talk GLOBAL, BMW should not be throwing stones at Lexus. Lexus was Toyota and we all know who is more global between BMW and Toyota, don't we ?

    Now I get off the soap box and head for the golf course....
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Toyota has been doing 'build to order' for all of their cars in Japan for a couple of decades. Folks there don't buy them off the lot, they order at the dealership or the salesguy comes to their home. Toyota started moving the processes to make that work in North America in 2004.

    There's a good assessment of Toyota's overall experience thus far in moving to build-to-order in North America at:

    http://www.forbes.com/global/2004/0705/022_print.html

    The net-net is typically Toyota, they found a way to change the best manufacturing process in the world to be more efficient, they saved money by reducing factory cost while improving options and choices for their dealers and customers. The story about the paint robots using changeable cartridges is classic!

    They are now doing 10% of their NA production as build-to-order, where a dealer goes on-line, finds a vehicle in the manufacturing plan/pipeline and submits changes to it. The dealer gets confirmation the next day and the vehicle arrives in 14 days.

    There are some other details in the article that are interesting about how they manage production, delivery and distribution - like building orders that are grouped for a distant location sequentially to insure that shipment is coordinated.

    I don't think they will have any trouble providing a very successful build-to-order business in Europe.
  • joelk01joelk01 Posts: 39
    Thru personal experience and the experience of several friends - all of us with A8s - Audi's customer service totally sucks. They treat people who've spent $80k on their cars horribly. They have no concept of providing luxury service. They think their customers will be happy with simply driving their cars. What the company doesnt understand is that this market segment wants to be treated better. After the lease on my A8 is up, it will be the last Audi I drive. Many other luxury manufacturers have figured out the luxury all wheel drive technology. Too bad, because I like the car, but the company doesnt honor its warranty. Buh bye Audi.
  • gs450gs450 Posts: 10
    I have to disagree with you guys about mercedes not being the best designed cars in the world. I got to ride in the Mercedes Mclaren SLR today, and i have to say as long as Mercedes keeps putting out cars designed as stunning as this car no one has a hope of surpassing them image wise. Looking at all the new models in the market right now, no one can match Mercedes model for model styling wise. The sad thing is that with Mercedes' reliability problems this was BMW's chance to unseat Mercedes as Germany's premier luxury brand, but with their styling direction that isn't gonna be happening. Lexus is now the only brand left that can hope to surpass Mercedes. The next few years will be interesting...
  • vwguildvwguild Posts: 1,620
    Re: PHAETON

    This automobile is FORM & Function. I have sold more PHAETONs than anyone in the Western Region of the US. No one who has driven this automobile with me has failed to get one. One individual bought two...

    The PHAETON is for the individual that requires no status symbol; that is totally comfortable in their own skin, and kneels to no one.

    And, I must say, I am totally blown away by the amount of time spent here by some...obviously the truly IDLE rich...
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Vwguild,
    At least in my case that's a fair comment. I'm nearing 60 so retirement looms. I think we're all huge car fans to begin with, so we spend lots of time on this board.
    The Phaeton is a nice car, but with high price and poor resale value it makes it a difficult proposition. Status symbol? You're still paying the status symbol price! The Phaeton is comparably priced to any LS430 out there..You also need a good customer service to back it up.

    Some of my friends who are VW owners are very satisfied with their car, but not with the level of customer service. I still think this car should have been sold exclusively as an Audi. All of this doesn't mean that it's not a great car.

    I know this doesn't really qualify for this board, but has anyone seen the new Rolls Royce cars lately? One benefit of working in London is seeing these cars everyday. I think the new one lacks the grandeur and class of the older models..This new one is more fitting for a Mob kingpin than anyone else..I think VW did a better job with the new Bentley.

    SV
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I know this doesn't really qualify for this board, but has anyone seen the new Rolls Royce cars lately?

    Of course this qualifies for a High End Luxury Marques board! Did you think we were in a Lexus vs. MB discussion?? :D

    Seriously, do you have a link to any pics?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Pat - sounds like you want to buy one!!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    No, I want someone to buy one for me. And the driver should come with it. You game? :D
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    No - I like your solution for myself too but I'll drive on weekends.
  • vwguildvwguild Posts: 1,620
    If one were to price compare the PHAETON with other similarly equipped ALL-Wheel Drive sedans; it then becomes the Value Winner.

    The main issue, of course, is the general lack of first hand drive experience and the appreciation of the ergonomic superiority that the PHAETON offers...That has been my greatest challenge, but once met; the rest becomes simple.

    The Dealership experience, as with all brands, depends upon the individual Dealer...I am sure that there are some Lexus Owners out there who are less than thrilled, as there are MBZ, BMW owners. Each store is an individual franchise and
    is led from the top...

    But we are very early in the game...We hit 80% of our domestic sales goal in the Freshman year...not too bad. This is typically overlooked.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Do you think the Phaeton will be around for a while, then? All of the it's-bound-to-fail-VW-can't-sell-a-lux-vehicle comments are off-base? Just curious as to your take on that at this point after the "freshman year".
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