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High End Luxury Cars

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  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I agree that Honda has also included design elements from the German cars, as has Toyota/Lexus historically.

    Intertesting that it is the German cars that they tend to copy.


    And Germans like to copy others in the drive train department . . . such as variable valve timing (Honda first), automatic transmission (GM first), CVT (Subaru first), supercharger (American patent), and even as we speak they are scrambling to "copy" hybrid (Toyota being the most successful leader in the field at this point).

    The biggest exception to that, however, was the way they copied the Chrysler minivan when it first set that market on fire.

    Not true at all. For over a decade after Chrysler's minivan introduction, both Honda and Toyota fielded very different animals from Caravan. The original Honda Odyssey had four conventional doors; Toyota Previa was probably the most unique minivan ever, with the super-charged engine inside the car behind the driver's seat. Caravan won the minivan game on size, and size is not a patentable idea nor is it original. The original Odyssey started the disappearing thir-row seat that virtually every minivan maker copies nowadays, and current Sienna took the segment to an entirely new luxurious dimension. MB R class is apparently copying the failure of the original Odyssey, with four conventional doors and small interior space. Apparently Germans are really bad at learning from others' mistakes . . . a giant step backwards from their brilliant chacellor von Bismark's utterance some 150 years ago: only fools learn from their own mistakes; smart people learn from others.

    Can we just get off this "copy" nonsense? As Bismark so eloquently put it, learning from others is simply the smart thing to do.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Are you kidding me?

    What do you think iDrive is? That has got to be the biggest gimmick I have ever seen. MB and BMW's are filled with all sorts of useless gimmicks. Try Steer by Wire and Night Vision. Can you give me one good reason why this is needed? I still don't see the need to control my AC using a Joystick! If you think the Park Assist is a gimmick, then the Germans are chock full of them.

    The only resemblance I see between the Camry and LS is that they are both low profile cars. The tailights and bumper have no resemblance. It's like saying the C Class and S Class are the same car. I don't see the BMW resemblance beyond the roof line. The new LS is closer to the IS than anything.

    SV
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I could not agree with you more that "copying" is not necessarily a bad thing. I think the point that I have been making is that there is evidence of it, and it is an observable event that some do not seem to see, or do not want to acknowledge.

    To point out that Lexus has recently shifted their cosshairs from Mercedes to BMW is more of an OBSERVATION, not a JUDGEMENT, and sometimes the observation is taken down the toilet, by interpretting it as an attack on Lexus.

    After making the observation, I have offered my opinion, which is that Lexus is brilliant to have done so.

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    YES, I agree the Imperial concept is a hit just waiting to happen. Smart move by Chrysler to follow up on the 300's success like that.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    So one BMW dealership in suburban Detroit is representative of every BMW dealership in USA?

    One dealership data is better than no dealership data at all. Frankly, I think the lease per centages are much higher on the coast than in the midwest heartland as people are more accustomed to leasing here. Out all the people that I know acquired MB and BMW in recent years, there are a couple dozen of them, not a single one bought; all leased. The leases simply are better deals than loan offers, even without getting into opportunity cost of money. Lease-end buy-out price re-negotiation has also become popular if one is interested in keeping the car.

    Also I am very interested to know where you got the following information:

    It's about as absurd as calling Maybach a $350k car when there is a $100k discount, and it's cross-shopped with a $170k Bentley by every would-be acquirer.


    An add I saw had $100k discount for a brand new Maybach!
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Great we can agree that learning from the success of others is simply good business practice; all the better if one can improve on it (like Lexus is doing, IMHO).

    IMHO, much of europhiles allegations "copying" observation is in the eyes of behold. For example, Lexus cars had rounded style lines from the very beginning, at a time MB and BMW were making boxes like the W140 with distincly 80's look, the orginal Lexus SC being the most curvacously stylish of them all. In subsequently years, all H.E.L.M cars started to look avant garde and curvacous. Is that transformation "copying" stlying cues from Lexus? I'm sure M will dig up some old 50's design as "real inspiration" but come on, they did not really defrost some 50's German designer like in the Austin Power movies. You don't need the librarian to dig up old designs when there's new cars from Lexus and later Audi staring right in your face with rounded edges and corners.

    Then there are cases like AMG division learning from M marketing success, C and IS learning from 3 market success. Success breeds its own competition; that's how capitalistic markets work . . . and much to the advantage of consumers and the market place in general. Yet, some eurofans would take the opportunity to trash IS as "copying" yet at the same time coming up with all sorts of excuses for AMG. There is no objective or consistent standards for that.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The leases simply are better deals than loan offers,

    Not necessarily. My take on that is that is that the single true advantage leasing has to offer is simply "cash flow".

    Without leasing, even the "successful" buyer would be facing large payments that would prevent many delivered units. In my opinion, leasing is generally (not always)not as fiscally sound as a purchase, but there is often no other way for many so-called successful folks to get into a high-end vehicle. That's why, as I believe Merc1 may have previously pointed out, the more expensive the vehicle, the more you see leasing.

    TagMan
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    To point out that Lexus has recently shifted their cosshairs from Mercedes to BMW is more of an OBSERVATION, not a JUDGEMENT

    Actually I think that Lexus has publicly stated something to the effect that BMW is now in its crosshairs. That makes business sense because in the U.S. at least, BMW has a larger market share than MB. Why try to wrest market share from the number 4 guy when you can go after number 2?

    I think what it means is that they want to appeal to younger buyers. Hence the effort to out-do BMW with the new engine...and indeed the Lexus 4.6 would appear to outperform the BMW 4.8. Driving dynamics? We'll have to see. I don't think Lexus will go "all the way" from an enthusiast's point of view, because the brand still has to stand for "greater luxury", else they turn off their core market. So my guess is that in the "fun to drive" area, Lexus will narrow the gap with BMW but not meet/exceed, at least with its core models. This seems to have happened with both the IS and GS. In other words, the LS will be faster in a straight line than the 750, and perhaps offer better braking, but may well lose out in the eye of the sport-minded segment of the market.

    Now, does Lexus putting the cross-hairs on BMW also translate into copying BMW styling? That's a matter of opinion. Yes when you view the LS460 against the 750 from ONE angle, and IGNORE everything except the outline/profile, there is some similarity. Indeed that's the way I originally looked at it. But imho the borrowing, if any, is rather slight overall...I don't think many people will confuse the two cars when they see them on the street.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Our agreement is simply that copying can be a good thing, but IMO, Lexus to a large degree ESTABLISHED itself through the process. I doubt you will agree with that.

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    They probably reshaped the clay enough to distinguish it, but folks taking a quick glance might also confuse it with another Lexus or Toyota model. ;)
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I don't want to get too much into lease vs. buying, lest we raise the ire of hosts (and justifiably so). What you said about lease vs. loan is correct in a conventional case dealing with third-party banks. The case is quite different with vendor financing. Lease with inflated residual can be a very effective way of cooking books on sales revenue. What happens is that, some manufacturers often offer lease incentives and money factors that are simply not available on loans. For example, there was a $3k-7k dealer incentive on leasing E class in December; much of it was simply not available if you buy. Then there's the lease-end buy-out price re-negotiation, which is simply not an option if you bought the car to begin with. This is not a general comment on lease vs. buying; it only happens when certain manufacturers have very inflated residual.

    For real life example, when I got my Saab 9-5 in 2001, there was a $5000 lease incentive and a $5500 purchase incentive . . . obviously the lease incentive was much stronger since the $5k is to offset roughly half the car's value depreciated in 3 years whereas the $5.5k would have to offset the entire car's price (it would take a $10k purchase incentive to make the two deals a wash). On top of that, lease money factor was near-zero whereas getting a near-zero loan from the manufacturer would forfeit the $5.5k purchase incentive (either cash or low loan finance but not both), not that I would borrow anyway. Furthermore, I knew that the residual was inflated, so I fully planned on re-negotiating my buy-out in three years. Indeed, I got another $1700 off buy-out at lease end ($500 had to offset the acquisition fee at the beginning), so effectively I got $6200 off invoice price ($5k + 1.7k - 0.5k) through leasing vs maxmum of $5.5k through buying, plus letting my $32k sitting in a bank for three years earning interest amounting to another couple thousand $'s (and those were the lowest interest years). Yes, I did/do have that much cash and more sitting in my bank at all time, so cash flow was/is quite irrelevent. Just to bring it somewhat related to H.E.L.M, the car had an MSRP of $43k, and was the very top end of Saab at the time.

    I know a number of people doing exactly the same thing on their BMW and MB's right now. As you can see, even lease subsidy and inflated MSRP with massive discount through lease are not new ideas; MB and BMW are "copying" from GMAC/Saab Financial on those shenanigans.

    Like I said before, there is no fast rules about lease vs. buying nowadays with the manufacturers doing the vendor financing. It's strictly case by case basis. You have to dig through the numbers for yourself, and most people getting cars in this range can do the math and follow the money; that's why most people lease not buy new MB and BMW's nowadays.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Our agreement is simply that copying can be a good thing, but IMO, Lexus to a large degree ESTABLISHED itself through the process. I doubt you will agree with that.

    Considering that Lexus did not exist before 1989, it had to do something it never did before (the classic existential question) and also considering there was a luxury car market already someone had to have done some of what Lexus was about to be doing (another classic self-evident existentialist statement). Whether that is "copying" is quite in the eyes of the behold. If you think fielding a luxury-looking car that share common themes of luxury cars since 1906 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, (slab side, broad shoulder, high belt line)is "copying" then one has to conclude that all the existing players in 1989 subsequently copied from Lexus for those rounded lines and corners in their styling exercises.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Considering that Lexus did not exist before 1989, it had to do something it never did before (the classic existential question) and also considering there was a luxury car market already someone had to have done some of what Lexus was about to be doing (another classic existential philosophical issue). Whether that is "copying" is quite in the eyes of the behold.

    No "classical existential philosophical" blah blah here . . .

    simply put . . . YES, IMHO, it was (and IS) copying. No judgement attached.

    TagMan
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    No "classical existential philosophical" blah blah here . . . simply put . . . YES, IMHO, it was (and IS) copying. No judgement attached.

    Then MB, BMW and Audi all copied rounded corners, edges and the general modernized look from Lexus; they were all squarish three-boxes before Lexus showed up in 1989-92 with curves. No judgement attached.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    for those who want to engage in the copying argument to use the Search This Discussion feature and find out that that particular, um, nuance of this discussion has been beaten way, way more to death already ... several times over ...

    :)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I am impressed, although not surprised, that Lexus has decided to offer a long wheelbase version of the LS. Lexus needed to do this, given the wheelbase on the new Mercedes S-Class, the long wheelbase on the BMW 760Li, and, of less competitive importance, the long wheelbase on the Jaguar XJL and XJ VandenPlas.

    DVD video option in the headrests? Center console? Roof? Or is it the new "Lexus 3-D holographic projection system"? ;)

    TagMan
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Okay. Name one thing on BMW's that diminishes the driving experience.
    IDrive? Nobody I know uses it when driving. Its purpose is to set it and forget it.
    I don't have anything on my 545 that interferes with the driving experience except, perhaps, the cruise control, which I have never used and have always felt should be banned from all vehicles because it encourages dangerous lack of attention to the road.

    When BMW gives you stability control, at least it can be turned off if you want to be daring and experience the thrill of a lifetime. Not so with Lexus.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    How is IDrive a gimmick? It's a mini-computer which lets you customize the car in so many wonderful ways rather than have it pre-set at the dealer who really doesn't want to be bothered. You don't use it when driving although when stopped at a light, with one click of the knob, you can find out your up to the second mpg.

    Have you ever driven a BMW with IDrive and actually set some vehicle functions with it or are you doing what so many posters around here do and just regurgitate stuff you have read somewhere?
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I think the DVD displays are on the back side of the front head rests, for the benefit of the rear passengers, just like in airline seats . . . and those of Rolls and Maybach.

    Holographic projection directly into the brain of driver via EM trasmission would be a neat trick ;-)
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Personally I like iDrive, in the same way that I enjoy all the electronic "gimmicks" in the Lexus. None of them have anything to do with driving dynamics, but all add to the complete experience . . . something manu eurofans seem to fail to comprehend when they rail against Lexus on "electronic gimmicks."
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    If an electronic innovation is by a German company, it is a great thing. If an electronic innovation is by a Japanese company, it is a gimmick.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    "BMW is now in its cross hairs."

    Uh...wasn't BMW in Lexus' cross hairs when the much unlamented 2006 GS came out which was spoken of at the time as the "5 killer?"

    If BMW is quaking in its boots regarding Lexus, it's cause is most likely acute laughter rather than fear.

    Lexus is playing catchup, not BMW.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    In this country, Lexus is indeed playing catchup to BMW in "driving dynamics" and to some extent in prestige.

    But BMW is playing catchup in unit sales, profitability, reliability, hybrid technology, SUVs, and now even internal combustion engines (which really ought to be a BMW forte, don't you think?...tell me you're not impressed with the engine in the LS460!).
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Okay. Name one thing on BMW's that diminishes the driving experience.
    IDrive? Nobody I know uses it when driving. Its purpose is to set it and forget it.


    Actually it was designed to be accessible while driving without having to look for the myriads of buttons that would be there to control all the functions. That's why the main control is a joystick, which was thought to be easy to use while driving, being right at the finger tip when you reach for it. What the UI consultant from Microsoft failed to realize was that in a moving environment, the system feedback for confirming user input would distract untrained driver from the road. With a few hundred to a few thousand hours of training, joystick plus HUD can be the fastest user interface, as evidenced in attack helicopters . . . unfortuantely most owners of private cars don't have the time for the training. In the future, there probably needs to be a standardization of ways to use some of the features, perhaps a standard plug to allow plug-in of your favorite control computer and joystick so the owner does not have to retrain every three years as they move from brand to brand . . . then again who knows, carmakers historically had a penchant for idiosyncracy, just to lock in the consumer if nothing else.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    OK, let's say you're driving from wherever you live to a city 200 miles away. An hour into the trip you scan for radio stations and find 8 that you like. You might want to come back to each one so you want to set each as a preset. How many iDrive mouse manipulations to set ONE radio station as a preset? Times EIGHT. Then when you have move out of range of the stations....you do it again. And you do it again when you arrive at your destination for the weekend or whatever. And again on the way back. And again when you get home. How many mouse manipulations total?

    Is that progress or what?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Hybrid technology is not what BMW's are about. We can leave that to the Hondas and Toyotas.
    I myself am quite disappointed that BMW got involved with SUV's.
    The hypocrites put their profit motive over their company's credo.
    That's why I have said many times that I am not married to BMW's.
    If something better comes along that is not outrageously priced, I'm in.
    I want the new LS to be a big improvement in its driving dynamics because then I can add it to my list of future possibilities.
    I do wish that it didn't look so much like the new Camry from the rear.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    At least with the auto-parking "gimmick" you have the option of parking the old-fashionned ("fun" to an enthusiast) way.

    With "friendly" iDrive there is only one way to set a radio preset...and that's with how many mouse manipulations? Vs. pressing ONE button on any normal sort of radio.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Bring lots of CD's or subscribe to satellite radio.
    Is there anyone out there who is actually listening to commercial radio anymore with its endless commercials and boring constantly being repeated music?

    Sort of reminds me of the Spike TV 3 Stooges Hour. They give you 5 minutes of Curley and then 10 minutes of commercials. How do they get away with this?
  • lexusilexusi Posts: 65
    Hi,
    Concerning the movies in the lexus.jp, i want to see the movies without interuption and becoz my DSL keeps lagging i cant, please anyone can help me if their is a way to download the movies so i can watch them offline?? any programme i can use? i tried almost everything in the net, from offline explorer, flashget and so, but no use!

    anyone have the movies? is it posted anywhere in the net? can i download them? please someone reply me,

    thanx

    Lexusi
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