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High End Luxury Cars

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  • vwguildvwguild Posts: 1,620
    Well, I certainly hope so...I do not recall any vehicle receiving as much unabashed delight as that from PHAETON owners...And that is key. If the Owner Experience had been disappointing then it would be a whole new ball game.

    There is certainly much more going on here than meets the eye.

    The PHAETONs origins actually began back in the late 90s, with the first sketches of the D1, as it was known then, appearing at the National Dealer in 1999.It was also at this Meeting that the MarketPlace Initiative was introduced. This was the plan for the new Dealership design. At the end of the meeting Dealers were presented with two numbered limited edition prints...One depicted the new MarketPlace and showed an address of 2003...This was a not very subtle way of saying that by 2003 your store had better look like this, if at all possible.
  • vwguildvwguild Posts: 1,620
    Sorry for the interruption...

    As many know, or may not, VW Engineers were given a blank slate and the only order was to design and build the finest full size luxury sedan and make it affordable. The PHAETON holds over 300 new patents as a result of their efforts. Construction began on the Glass Factory and in 2002 the first PHAETONs were released in Europe.

    Of course, a great deal had occurred in the world during this period. But for this piece let me say that one of the more compelling things was the fact that value of the US Dollar plummmeted...losing just about one half of it's value. The folks responsible for Cash Management, for reasons unknown, failed to act and did not "short" the dollar, and Currency Exchange rates started to take their toll on the Balance Sheets/Stock Price, and still do, to this day.

    The rest is history...we were slow to upgrade core, bread and butter products...Jetta & Passat!
    Touareg was an instant success and that had to be taken advantage of...There just has not been a great deal of resources available for PHAETON promotion...And for those of us that love the car this has certainly been disappointing. But in the scheme of things, not surprising.

    As I pointed out in an earlier post, 80% of our sales target, with virtually no Marketing or Advertising, is quite an accomplishment. And that success we really owe not only to the automobile itself, but to our PHAETON Customers.
    For they have been very vocal about their love of the car.

    For every PHAETON I have sold, I have sold at least one to a referral...And that is the best advertising there is.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The Phaeton is a car I would get on looks alone. It is the only car I would pick over the 7-series. The VW heritage does not matter for the status, but does matter in an automotive sense. This car is a sleeper and I hope it succeeds.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "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.

    I honestly don't know what you're talking about. BMW's CEO was asked about Lexus and he responded. He in no way "called" Lexus out. He told the truth about Lexus' situation in Europe. He even said that he welcomed the competition. Did you miss that part? All that babble about Toyota's profits and their quality we've heard time and time again and it really doesn't do a thing for a "car" guy like me. I couldn't care any less personally. I like design, performance, styling etc., you know the things that deal with the actual car.

    "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.

    What difference does any of this make, whats the point? For one in Europe if Lexus is going to be successful they will have to offer a low end diesel, and they are. The new IS will have a 4-cylinder diesel model just like all those MBs and BMWs you like to rag on. Lexus isn't going to be any different. One of the biggest reasons why they've been nothing more than an afterthought in Europe is just that - lack of diesels.

    Further more, do you have the sales numbers or breakout for all these non-luxury BMWs that you claim BMW makes their way on? If you look at the worldwide sales numbers BMW would probably squash Lexus even if you took out the lower end cars you claim aren't luxury cars. The only that is really cheap is the 1-Series and it isn't trying to be a "luxury car" especially in the sense that a dull, boring Lexus is. Its a drivers car and has won praise all over Europe for being just that. If the 3-Series diesels isn't a luxury car you'd better let Lexus know about this because they're going to put a 4-banger diesel in the IS to compete with BMW, not the other way around.

    How is MB and BMW selling 3-Series and C-Class cars "suspect" in America? You seem to be reaching for something that isn't there. The 3-Series and C-Class being sales leaders is common sense, the cheapest products are the best selling ones at nearly every luxury brand in the U.S. The 325i and C230 Sedan should count because they are around 30K? The C-Coupe models are gone. The ES330 and RX are Lexus' best sellers and one is highly "suspect" in being a re-worked Camry that no one else really competes with, if you want to call a C-Class/3-Series "suspect". I don't understand what the debate or point is here. Are you saying Mercedes and BMW aren't luxury brands? Mercedes in particular has no trouble selling cars that cost anywhere from 3 or 5 times what any Lexus costs, that is the true measure of a luxury brand. Lexus wants this same ability and worlwide clout like really bad. Hence their upcoming push in Europe.

    I'm glad you finally see that Lexus' sales are based on trucks not their domination of the car market. The only one of their cars that is truly a hit in their segment is the LS. Nobody from Japan or Germany is rushing to build a ES330 competitor, the ultimate blue-hair set car. Lincoln is the only one.

    "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?"

    Apples to Oranges. BMW is a luxury brand, Toyota isn't. Globally Lexus isn't anything to even mention, yet, hence the BMW's CEO's comments. Though I have yet to read where he threw any stones. You can't have it both ways. One minute its all about Lexus then the next its Toyota. Is Lexus seperate or not? Toyota sells more stripped down models than BMW does, by millions. BMW doesn't build fwd cars or pickups or inexpensive SUVs so to compare the two corporately is a little bogus. Toyota, the brand doesn't even build anything close to a BMW at what a BMW does. BMW had either one of their best, if not the best year ever last year also, sales and profit wise. Unless you have Lexus' figures seperate of Toyota then this is just more hype. Being "global" at the very least should mean dominating your home market, which Lexus wasn't even a brand name until like this year. Didn't you post upon your return from Japan that your business associates confirmed that BMW and Mercedes enjoy a higher level of status in Japan? How you can even think or talk global when you're not #1 on your home turf. Mercedes and BMW rule Germany, with a Audi looking to knock both of them off, no mention of Lexus. Yes Toyota is global, but so is BMW but BMW and Toyota don't compete model for model, Lexus and BMW do.

    Shifting the tiptronic here.........I took a look at the GS per your request.

    First off, the car is a lot smaller looking on the lot than it was on the auto show stand, a lot smaller. I wasn't ready for that. The car has too much wheelbase and some very out of place curves/lines to be attractive. The interior is bordering on bare like the German cars of old, especially in the black interior example I saw. Then there is the big plank of a center console that looks like it belongs in a LS430, not a supposed to be sports sedan like the GS. Remember all imo. Me no likey at all. The Infiniti M is more attractive exterior wise, but I think I still might like the GS' interior better, not sure.

    "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.

    You better hope it drives better than it looks because the previous GS was all these things and bombed. BMW's have verve and connection at the controls that no Lexus has had so far, and if this is the premise then this GS will be forgotten too. If you want BMW you have to wear the sport theme on your chest, arm and back like the Infiniti M does. Thats the BMW competitor.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I couldn't have said it any better. Its Lexus' turn at bat on the worldwide stage, though have a long, long way to go to get there. I too think BMW missed a golden opportunity indeed. They already had the press in their back pocket, unlike Mercedes who rarely won a comparo unless it was an SL or V12/AMG something, but now BMW does't even have than anymore, especially with previous darling 5-Series. The 7-Series brought a lot of new engine and suspension tech to the game, but it was all botched with a ugly look and needless complication, mainly idrive. The 5-Series is milder, and now the most important one of them all..the new 3-Series is here. So far the press has said it raises the bar and hasn't been "Bangled". Either way it doesn't look quite as good as the outgoing 3, imo. We'll see what happens.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Phew !!! Where to start ??? That was a very looooonnnnnng response, I must say; one of your longest....

    But first, I thank you for answering to my request per the new GS. I take all of your points as genuine and well put. Thanks.

    Now as to the rest of your long post, I really don't know what to say. Let's start with the one about Lexus' presence or lack thereof in its home country. I disagree. Lexus has been in its home country since 1990, except that it is cloaked as a "Toyota". Yes, MB and BMW do have good prestige in Japan, if only because they are different, foreign, and have excellent worldwide reputation. Well-off Japanese and other younger folks may also want to drive non-Japanese cars as status symbols too. At least that's what my business associate told me. I cannot verify this since I don't live there.

    "BMW is a luxury brand, Toyota isn't"

    Really ? True luxury makers are Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Ferraris, etc.... Niche car makers, catering to the very well-off in our society. OTOH, a mass-producer company like BMW is certanly NOT a luxury brand. Rather, they sell automobiles some of which can be classified as *luxurious*. Of course, they sell a bunch more cars with no pretensions to luxury whatsoever. Ditto MB. However, the marketing image created here in NA, is that MB and BMW are branded as *luxury* car makers, because this is the richest market in the world and these companies want to make the most $$$$ from this market....Toyota is no different from MB and BMW. It sells a wide range of automobiles and trucks, some of which are branded *luxurious* and sold under Toyota (e.g. Century, Celsior) or Lexus badge.

    "How is MB and BMW selling 3-Series and C-Class cars "suspect" in America? You seem to be reaching for something that isn't there. The 3-Series and C-Class being sales leaders is common sense, the cheapest products are the best selling ones at nearly every luxury brand in the U.S."

    First off, Lexus' RX is not the cheapest, yet sells extremely well, contrary to your assertion here. But more importantly, my use of the word "suspect" was to describe cars sold by MB, BMW, Lexus and Acura that are branded "entry-level lux", or "near-luxury" sedans. These cars, like the 325i, IS300, C240, TL are not true luxury cars, just branded as one due to name plate. They have features you'd find in many other non-luxury cars out there. For example, what does the 325i have that a well optioned Accord doesn't have ? Is a loaded Accord, with leather, moonroof, Nav, CD changer, airbags (side, blanket, etc), etc... a *luxury* car ? Many would say NO. Why ? Bcos it is badged a HONDA. Whereas a car with similar or even less features but carrying a BMW badge will be branded a *luxury* car !!!

    BMW or MB or VW buys up all kinds of niche luxury car companies to turn themselves into a luxury car maker (RR, Bentley, Maybach, etc), Toyota remains unitary and develops its own home-grown luxury arm (Lexus). The common thread among all these companies is that they compete GLOBALLY, and Lexus must be considered part of Toyota (not separate), as you'd consider Bentley an arm of VW....

    So my point about global presence by Toyota and BMW is apples to apples !
  • jgo03jgo03 Posts: 4
    Does anybody know whether the new 7er will be AWD?
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    your post exemplifies exactly why people call Lexus automobiles high priced Toyota's. if people who purchase Lexus automobiles can't differentiate the brand Lexus from Toyota how
    can they expect anyone else to?
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    i don't know why they don't but it wouldn't be a bad idea imo.
    if they did offer awd on the 7 i would think it would help their sales.
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    for the Phaeton to succeed VW is going to have to keep the car in production though one more generation. awareness in the market place might be enough to make the car a success in spite of VW's lack of an effective marketing campaign. one thing that might help sales would be to decontent the car so as to make the car more profitable for VW and more affordable for a buyer. try in some way to keep the car around 50k.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "your post exemplifies exactly why people call Lexus automobiles high priced Toyota's"

    Would you classify your A8 as the high-priced version of the Audi's sold in Europe as TAXI cabs ? I bet no Bentley or RR owner would imagine their brands being lowered to TAXI cab levels to sherpherd people and goods all over the world.
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    it actually doesn't make one bit of difference at all if Audi's are used for taxi's, herding sheep, or 4000lb paper weights. the point is every time Lexus and Toyota are mentioned in the same sentence the brand cache that every Lexus owner feels they have or wishes they had is further removed and harder to attain.
  • Chrysler/Mercedes....Chrysler/mercedes...Mercedes/Chrysler ...mercedes/Chrysler

    You are right Den...
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    OAC - it's useless - time to move on. He wants to brand Lexus as Toyota with equal status - let him. It's too silly an issue to keep debating and he only makes himself look bad anyway.
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    when people speak of MB they don't mention Chrysler or feel the need to. MB product is
    specific to the brand as is BMW. nobody will ever confuse a MB with a Chrysler or a BMW with a mini. this is one of the dividing lines between what many people feel is a true luxury brand. and no matter how it is spun...the more Toyota and Lexus are intertwined the prestige that Lexus seeks will evade it.
  • esfesf Posts: 1,020
    Tiag M5, you obviously own a Mercedes. I own two Audis, a Lexus, and a Honda. I love them all. But, you can't just be the only one on this forum to defend Mercedes forever. Sure, the S has a lot of safety features, but it really doesn't make a GIGANTIC difference as you've streched it to be. And, it's not like the S could always outdo the LS in a crash. They're only cars, and it depends on the human conditions, not the 14 airbags. The Lexus/Toyota Co. surely does innovate on safety; they were the first company to have backup cameras and headlights that turn with the wheel, and they do have good airbags, like the knee airbags being added to their revamped models. You have to have information to back up your frivolous comments; that's just trying to defend poor dwindling Mercedes. I'd rather own a BMW than a Mercedes, but I'd rather own an Audi than a BMW. And, I'd rather own a Lexus than a Mercedes or BMW also. Japan always has, and always will have, better all-around technologies than Germany. Our A6 and A4 seem prehistoric in features compared to the RX330. Not the Honda, though, 'cause its a stripper. Mercedes is no longer a dominant manufacturer, and do not completely excel in anything, people of the US are slowly realizing that.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Now as to the rest of your long post, I really don't know what to say. Let's start with the one about Lexus' presence or lack thereof in its home country. I disagree. Lexus has been in its home country since 1990, except that it is cloaked as a "Toyota".

    This is prime example of what I'm talking about here. You simply can't have it both ways. Either it is a Lexus worldwide or not. There are no Mercedes/BMWs running around the world badged as another brand because MB/BMW doesn't exist in that country. Lexus isn't a worldwide player until they fix this problem. You can't claim worldwide status in this country as a Lexus and as a Toyota in that one.

    "Yes, MB and BMW do have good prestige in Japan, if only because they are different, foreign, and have excellent worldwide reputation."

    Bingo! Lexus doesn't have this because they don't even exists as a brand everywhere yet. More evidence that Lexus doesn't compare to MB/BMW on the worldwide stage.

    "Really ? True luxury makers are Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Ferraris, etc.... Niche car makers, catering to the very well-off in our society. OTOH, a mass-producer company like BMW is certanly NOT a luxury brand.

    Absolute nonesense my friend. This statement goes in same category of SL/CL/AMGs not being luxury cars. BMW and MB are luxury brands plain and simple. BMW and especially Mercedes made their names on luxury cars not the entry level cars like the A/B-Class or 1-Series or the stripper versions of anything in their lineups that you're using to base this claim on. To say they make a few cars that have some luxury is totally absurd. The 3-Series and 5-Series have been the standard of their classes for sporting drivers for years. The S-Class, SL and E-Class the same for luxury car buyers. BMW and Mercedes are luxury car makers that make some models that are entry level. Before the 1-Series BMW the 3-Series was the entry level, sure they make some that don't fit the American perception of luxury, but the true BMW traits, handling, styling, precision were all there in spades, even as a 320i or whatever the engine may be. Ditto for Mercedes. It wasn't until 1997 that they decided to build a truly inexpensive car, the A-Class. Every Mercedes shares the same driving traits and engineering so to call them non-luxury cars based on sheer specification is a little hollow to me. Sure specification of equipment makes a luxury car, but so does engineering which every Mercedes shares.

    "These cars, like the 325i, IS300, C240, TL are not true luxury cars, just branded as one due to name plate. They have features you'd find in many other non-luxury cars out there.

    Be very careful here because if that is the case, then the ES330 and IS300 aren't luxury cars eithers, not by a long shot. You're trying to define a brand by their entry level products and that is flawed at best because it ignores the fact that not everyone can afford an E/S/SL or a 5/6/7 from MB and BMW, and secondly it ignores those very same models which are sold under the same brand. Mercedes isn't a luxury brand when the E, SL, CL and S are the best selling cars in their respective classes worldwide at prices that are much higher than the next car up? Total nonsense. There are no SL diesels or CL diesels, and there are no 4-cylinder stripper versions of either. You also have to look at what cars made the brand in the first place. BMW made their name on sport and MB on luxury. The CL doesn't even dip below the CL500 and the SL's lowest model is the SL350, a 272hp V6 model in Europe. Hardly the stripper versions you're talking yet these two cars control their segments.

    If this is the case why on earth would anyone buy an ES330 when the cheaper, bigger, faster Avalon trounces the ES in nearly every contest?

    "For example, what does the 325i have that a well optioned Accord doesn't have ? Is a loaded Accord, with leather, moonroof, Nav, CD changer, airbags (side, blanket, etc), etc... a *luxury* car ? Many would say NO. Why ? Bcos it is badged a HONDA. Whereas a car with similar or even less features but carrying a BMW badge will be branded a *luxury* car !!!"

    The BMW is sports sedan, and the Honda isn't. Big difference. The Honda doesn't look, feel or drive like a BMW. Again, this is why you can't merely look at the equipment list and compare a rwd car to a fwd car and then say they're the same. I know you know this. Otherwise the ES330 isn't even close to being a luxury car, the Avalon is. The Avi does everything and more compared to a ES330 and they're both wrong wheel drive.

    "BMW or MB or VW buys up all kinds of niche luxury car companies to turn themselves into a luxury car maker (RR, Bentley, Maybach, etc), Toyota remains unitary and develops its own home-grown luxury arm (Lexus).

    Mercedes didn't buy Maybach. You really need to research these things beforehand. Maybach was one of the original engineers for G. Daimler and two companies have been linked since the beginning of the automobile. BMW and VW did buy Rolls and Bentley, but VW isn't a luxury car brand, and I didn't think anyone here said they were.

    "So my point about global presence by Toyota and BMW is apples to apples!"

    Wrong. BMW and Toyota don't make any competing models. Lexus is the luxury brand. BMW is the luxury brand. To say they that Toyota and Lexus are one in the same is to just say that a Lexus is just an overpriced, over speced Toyota. The point a many have said all along. You can't have it both ways. The truth of the matter is that Lexus as a luxury brand is hardly visible worldwide and BMWs are driven by people in any country you care to name, Lexuses aren't. If you can seperate Toyota from Lexus, which is exactly what Toyota is looking to do then you've lost the plot of your own luxury brand's whole existence. They don't want to be known as a "Toyota" any longer. You can't see this?

    Also, you're trying to group MB/BMW/VW together with Toyota because they have a luxury "arm" as you put it. You forget that those brands are as old as time and "Lexis" was thought up duing a board meeting at Toyoda headquarters in 1987, and had to be changed to "Lexus" because someone else already had the name. This is the brand name that is supposed to be taken seriously all around the world?

    If MB and BMW aren't luxury brands in the US then neither is Lexus, Infiniti or Acura.

    Lexus will of course disagree with your logic because they plan on selling a IS250 with less power than your Accord example, but that isn't the point now is it? The IS will be a car that an Accord couldn't ever hope to drive or look like. That is the point. Not what the window sticker lists as standard equipments. Luxury cars or in the case of the C,3,IS,TL,G35 sporty sedans have to be judged on the objective and the subjectives.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You're trying to use Lexus where they exist and Toyota where they don't. Very hypocrital and very desperate to me. If you're going to base luxury cars soley on specification, then what is the point of the ES330 being made at all compared the larger, much more powerful, same luxury interior and on and on Avalon? I'm dying to know.

    Either Lexus is a luxury brand or they aren't.

    Either Toyota is the pedestrian brand or they aren't.

    Both of them can't be both things to everyone.

    They can't be the same thing for the purpose of making a judgment on how popular Lexus is worldwide...when Lexus wants to distance itself from Toyota for the purpose of becoming a global luxury car player.

    Why do you think Lexus hasn't done squat in Europe? They are tied to Toyota.

    The minute Lexus goes truly global you'll drop this absurd line of reasoning faster than Infiniti dropped the I35 to become the Japanese BMW alternative.

    Furthermore if you're saying that Lexus and Toyota are one in the same what the point of creating a upscale brand then? Why not just sell them all as Toyotas worldwide? It wouldn't work thats why.

    Lexus having their own design studio and engineers and distribution network for Europe is going to be wasted because they're just Toyotas? Right.

    All this time you've debated with anyone here that said a Lexus was just a tarted up Toyota, now you're telling me they are one in the same?

    If this is the case Toyota is the polar opposite of Mercedes and BMW because unlike those brands the majority of Toyotas are Corollas, Avalons, Camrys, Tundras, Tacomas, 4Runners, Rav4s Celicas, Echos, Matrixs and lots of other non, not even close to being luxury cars, with a few luxury cars sprinkled in like the GS, LS and SC. The direct opposite of MB and BMW, this again by your reasoning that suggest Toyota and Lexus is one in the same.

    This logic couldn't be more incorrect.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "He wants to brand Lexus as Toyota with equal status - let him."

    Is that what Oac is trying to do? Say Lexus and Toyota are one in the same for the purpose of making a case for Toyota (not Lexus) being "global".

    Anyway, let me know what you think of the Pacifica.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    The Pacifica? - merc my friend - you turned the thought off in my head. I intend to bribe my way into a Chrysler 300, that would be more fun. I'm 6 weeks away.

    With regard to the brands - some logic is needed. Lexus isn't going to step on Toyotas bread and butter. Bad business and an abysmally dumb strategy if they did. Read between the lines and what OAC is saying is a lot scarier if Lexus succeeds with its worldwide branding. It's cars will start at a lot higher price point than will MB's or BMW and with a higher level of service if it follows the US roadmap on service. It doesn't need to go the $18K route because Toyota is there. In essence it becomes a more pure luxury brand as a result. For that reason Lexus will always trail MB and BMW in sales. It's passing up a segment where the others get high volume sales. All OAC is saying - he can correct me if I am wrong - is he doesn't consider sub $25-30K cars as real lux car sales. Neither do I. But MB and BMW will always count them - as would anyone if they are in their position - for obvious reasons. So saying a million cars is sold by either brand is fine but don't misrepresent fleet taxis and $18-25K cars with real low profit margins as real luxury car sales because they are not and Government data supports that.

    Don't know if you know this or not but lux car sales in Europe carry a very high lux tax (in some cases 100% of the cars price) and that tax kicks in above $30k and ramps very quickly. Anyone who buys for livery is excluded from paying that tax - regardless of price point but most of those E-class and 5-series taxis carry $30K or just above pricetags anyway. Both brands pocket a lot less cash in Europe from the equivalent sales they make of their US models. If they priced them equal to the US prices, the lux tax would take almost all of the cars out of reach and shrink the market greatly. That's why the US market is so crucial - not just because of its size but also because of its high pricing ability - creating its biggest, by far hoard of profits - for everyone. So when Lexus puts some hurt on someone here in the US you can bet the hurt is far reaching. Maybe that also makes it crystal clear why Lexus never seriously cared or focused on the European market in the past.
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