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High End Luxury Cars

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  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The argument of price, though important, is specious, since the higher prestige of BMW and MB should negate the cheaper price of the LS, or is the market simply saying the prestige factor is EQUAL amongst the three and the LS offers the overall best value ????

    This question has been at the core of many arguments. At some point, a consumer who prefers the higher PRESTIGE of the MB or BMW, will back down due to price and go with what is perceived as a greater VALUE. In fact, it is often IMPLIED in many statements (as above) that there IS greater prestige associated with the European marques, but, this is not ALL that is associated with them. Many view them as superior engineering and/or styling as well as preferred driving dynamics. But regardless of the reason for the preference for the European vehicles, there is still a point for some consumers to abandon "plan A" and purchase "plan B" because it is less expensive and a "good value". Also, there are many times, of course, when "plan A" is in fact the Lexus itself, but, quite frankly, it cannot be denied that the price/reliability factor (value) is often a very big LURE away from the OTHERWISE PREFERRED European choice at times.

    TagMan
  • I just really looked at the 2007 Lexus LS460 today. I looked it over pretty good and it is a damn fine looking auto and would certainly be my first choice. That said,I have to admit that it does bear a resemblance to the 7 series. Also looks a little like a larger version of the current ES.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The biggest thing wrong with the whole price argument is that the prices are moving toward each other and the LS is running away with the sales race anyway. If the argument held water Lexus would never have been able to grow LS sales. As its price moved up it's sales should have been lowered because it got too close to the Germans. Yet in spite of a decrease in prices by MB of $10K on the last model change and $2K or so on this one in conjunction with $20-30K increases in prices on the LS since 1990 you have Lexus running away with the sales race. The LS460 will be raising its prices on this go round with prices ranging from $65-80K for the base and LWB car and $85-100K for the hybrid and it will still widen the distance. Plus as we've stated so often there is not much of a dfference in leasing costs and I still maintain an overwhelming majority of these cars are leased. Finally if price was an issue why is Audi so slow. The A8 is equal to an S500 and costs $14k less and they still can't sell any decent volume.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The biggest thing wrong with the whole price argument is that the prices are moving toward each other and the LS is running away with the sales race anyway

    Three things . . .

    1. There is a big difference between the world market and the American market. American consumers have lived through a different history and evolution of automobiles.

    2. Even as prices might come closer together regarding competitive products, there is the MOMENTUM factor that is always still in the "wake".

    3. If a convergence of the price factor indeed occurs, the market shift, if any, and depending upon prior momentum, can sometimes be like turning an oil tanker . . . long and slow.

    But, we'll all see.

    TagMan
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    In all honesty I will tell you that I think the higher the LS price goes the more it will attract diehard MB customers and that is what I see happening with the LS460L and the LS600H. Value at a high price is far more attractive to the very rich crowd than value at a low price. My bet on the LS600H is they won't build enough of them to satisfy a market that will have a high desire and demand for the car. It's very easy to see Lexus strategy here. The LS460L is a Euro game and will steal plenty of customers from someone in year one and more thereafter, the LS460 is the car to hold in 30K+ annual buyers and the hybrid is a status powerhouse that lifts the name much higher and will be very attractive to the celebrity crowd.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    I really think Audi is on the rebound, but they don`t have many dealeships...I know in South Carolina -Charleston- there was no dealership until recently...The A8 is a really good driving car, and to my eye beautiful, so I am very pleased...I further observe down in the Miami area that there are many many more European cars than any other..On the other hand up in Charleston there are only two a8 that I know of and many many Lexuses....I guess it a cultural thing Tony
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    You should really check the facts before you state "facts" that you "believe"

    And YOU should actually READ the post carefully if you are going to go so far as to criticize it. I said the ratio had increased "over the past 5 or so years", NOT that the ratio had increased over EACH of the past 5 or so years.

    So, here are the facts:

    BMW 7-series 2005 units: 18,165
    2000 units: 16,619
    +9% in 5 years

    Lexus LS 2005 units: 26,043
    2000 units: 15,871
    +64% in 5 years

    So, the LS went from selling 0.95 times as much as the 7-series five years ago to 1.43 times as much in 2005.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    telegraph the mother factory in Munich.
    Ve...er... We can do better than this.
    We must! :mad:
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I certainly have no problem acknowledging the Quattroporte outhandles the 7. My point is that the Quattroporte is to HELMs what the M5 is to LPSs. The cars in the masthead of this thread are mainstream and the 7 is probably the best-handling among them. The Maserati is a different ilk, and comparing it to the BMW is apples and oranges. M up the 7 and we get a completely different animal.

    BTW, the Quattroporte engine profile of high RPM and skimpy low-end torque does not belong in a heavyweight vehicle in my opinion. Also, the jerky characteristic of the sequential gearboxes is so antiluxury. It seems Quattroporte owners love their cars, but I guess these people are sport enthusiasts who simply need or love room. Plus, the panache and image that comes with the marque and design is another attraction no doubt.

    A $25K difference in base price between the Maser and the Bimmer is not a lot? Hmm (scratches head).

    LG… the RL centerstack reminds you of a boom box. But do you like the centerstack of the new LS? In all manner of its exterior and interior styling, this is the one element I really don’t like.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    The price argument fails in the real world where some 50-90% of BMW and MB's are leased not purchased. BMW and MB more often than not have lease costs that reflect a true market price much lower than their MSRP would suggest. For example: C230 is $299/mo, C280 is $359/mo, 325i is $369/mo, C350 is $399/mo, ES330 is $420/mo, 525i is $439/mo, IS250 is $450/mo, E350 is $480/mo, E350Wagon is $529/mo, IS350 is $530/mo. Based on these prices, which brand do you think have higher prestige value? Even S350 can be found for $440/mo! That's significantly below the cheapest way of getting any GS, much less LS. The lease subsidy perversion MB and BMW engage in make any argument based on MSRP or "sale price" completely meaningless because the sale never took place if the seller is offering a free put-option at strike prices way above real market price for used cars. I'm willing lease a Corrolla for $120k "sale price" if the lease residual is $115k; does that make Corolla a $120k high end luxury car? Certainly not. It's still a $200/mo car.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    of many of the germancarfans is that sportiness is somehow synonymous with luxury. Well, it is to THEM, as INDIVIDUALS. I can certainly accept that part of the market wants and demands sportiness in a HEL Sedan. That is their personal choice.

    But to act as if more sportiness automatically equals an OBJECTIVELY better HEL Sedan is wrong-headed, imho. It basically means imposing on the rest of the world a purely personal viewpoint as to what is important in a HEL Sedan.

    What is "best" to each person depends on the personal priorities of that person. What is "best" to the buying public on the whole can actually be seen in black and white in the sales figures each company puts out. Among direct competitors, that means that the E and 5 are doing a better job of meeting market desires than the GS or M; and that the LS is doing a better job of meeting overall market desires than the S or 7.
  • jpvwaudijpvwaudi Posts: 139
    The only reason A8 sales are slow is the supply factor. I've sold Audi since 2000. The demand has been phenomenal since the 04 redesign. 9 in 10 A8's are presold at my store; as we speak I don't even have an 06 for you to drive in my inventory. The only A8 I have in stock is my owner's 05 demo which we just put up for sale last week. Resale has been great as well, on par with the 7 and S class as a percentage.

    As for the ball busting over the names; It will never be a VW8; the brands are entirely separate; Audi is a world brand. Lexus is not. I'll never tell you my car is better than others, hey at that price, you can't buy a bad car. Different spokes for different folks. In my opinion, the 7 series handles the best, the Benz is comfortable. I love the look of the Jag and the reliability of the Lexus. The one car that does everything as good but lacks nothing is the Audi.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    When are BMW and MB going to add direct injection to their engines? That should give their engines about a 30 hp/torque boost, as well have a positive effect on mpg.

    Lexus is doing that (4.6L direct injection V8: 380 hp) and Audi seems to be going down that path as well (4.2L direct injection V8: 350 hp).
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The difference in MSRP is large, yes, but nobody is paying MSRP for a Quattroporte, and nobody is buying a 750i with absolutely no options for $75K. If the Maserati isnt competing with the Germans, Jaguar, etc. who are they competing with? The Flying Spur isnt even close to the Maser's price tag, and everybody else is well above that. The Jag Super V8 is right on the money, and the German 12s cost more than the Maser does. Yes the engine is peaky (but there's still enough power to outrun a 750 and S550 to 60mph), and the SMG is a little rough for the usual creamy smooth HELM crowd, but its Italian. What else would you expect?

    Also, I've heard that the refresh to the Quattroporte will include an optional conventional autobox.

    Unfortnuately basically all of the LS460 interior shots available are of the black w/red wood show car, which is not a combination I like at all. I think with a light tan interior it would look very nice. The center stack design is basically what I expected. The RX, GS, IS, and now LS all have a similar layout. It seems to work pretty well here, as it does in the RX. The GS is ok, but I dont really like the IS version.. actually I think the 3 series looks much better (w/o iDrive), as does the TL. I'll admit I was hoping for a retractable wood panel for the Nav screen, similar to the SC430 and A8, but oh well. It's still very much a Lexus inside, although there are some Jaguar cues that are interesting.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    On autospies, the new LS superimposed on top of a 750. This ought to stir up some controversy (as if there wasnt enough already).

    http://img493.imageshack.us/img493/6554/bmwlexusoverlay0fq.jpg
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Very much in agreement. Many germancarfans' lines of reasoning is ridiculous and silly. Take for example:

    1. sportiness somehow is a component for HEL standard; by that standard, 3 series should be higher end than 7 series;

    2. then there's the endless allegations of copying; e.g. Accord copies those triagular tail lights from E class; never mind that by that same line of ridiculous and silly line of reasoning, MB "copied" from 1999 Ford Crown Victoria, which had those tail lights before any MB model did.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Audi is a world brand. Lexus is not.

    By that line of logic, Toyota is a beeter brand than Lexus because it has wider world reach? VW and Audi have been feeding at each other's parts bin for many years. Frankly, that only makes good economic sense.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    If I feel the LS is a premium Toyota, I will say so. I am far from alone.

    That's one of the most ridiculous and silly lines of logic that I have heard in a long time; which Toyota model would the LS be premium version of? You may as well argue that MB is a premium Chrysler. At least Chrossfire shares some ancestry with SLK, Pacifica with R-class, and 300 with E-class.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Surprised to read your comment on Quottroporte. The sentiment is exactly how I feel about BMW (too rough riding to be high end luxury), and MB (drive train, until the latest DOHC variable valve timing engines "copied" from other brands, too unrefined).

    Plus, the panache and image that comes with the marque and design is another attraction no doubt.

    Very well put, IMHO, for MB and BMW, in comparison to Lexus offerings, excepting the 3 series, which actually does offer a unique market propostion, although not exactly luxury.
  • Lincoln, Cadillac, Chrysler.

    Are these still considered Premium Luxury Brands???
    What Do You Guys Think?? :)
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    The 2006 GS3/4 twin starts at $45K all the way to $60K
    The 2006 IS2/3 twin starts at $29,9 all the way to $45K

    The high-end ranges used to be almost exclusively reserved for their German competitions - E/5, and 3-series, respectively. No longer, and Lexus is selling every single GS and IS they are building. By next year, the GS350/GS460 gets here. This year the GS450h arrives... All good things to keep these cars fresh...

    Circa Fall 2006, the LS460/460L comes out priced much closer to MB S450/550; say like $65 - $85K. For those money people who want something higher to move up to, Lexus offers the LS600h (MY2008), comes pretty loaded (AWD, Hybrid, LWB, V12-like power) for $95K. And just for the special low volume edition, the LF-A (MY2009) with the sweet V10, pumping out >500HP, with top speed >200mph. Priced at $100K+. Now Lexus proves it is no longer playing the *value* game.... It is stepping up to the big boys.

    I see these as very probable, and very realistic. I predict that the best bargain HELM car this year will be the 2006 LS430. That car will be dirt cheap compared to the base LS460, IMO.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The LS460L is a Euro game and will steal plenty of customers from someone in year one and more thereafter, the LS460 is the car to hold in 30K+ annual buyers and the hybrid is a status powerhouse that lifts the name much higher and will be very attractive to the celebrity crowd.

    I completely agree that the long wheelbase is the one that will have the greatest possibility of luring away would-be Eurocar customers. If the price of the LS460L is equivalent and not less than the competition, however, I do still think it reduces that possibility somewhat, regardless of "value". At lofty levels, value is great, but there are other needs and desires that must be satisfied by the purchase. I must admit that I myself feel the urge to check it out. (I honestly just don't know if the body is distinctive and beautiful enough for MY hard-to-please taste, however) The regular wheelbase model is a continuation of the same successful game plan, IMO. And regarding the H, you are right about the celebrity status. Yikes!
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    C230 is $299/mo, C280 is $359/mo, 325i is $369/mo, C350 is $399/mo, ES330 is $420/mo, 525i is $439/mo, IS250 is $450/mo, E350 is $480/mo, E350Wagon is $529/mo, IS350 is $530/mo. Based on these prices, which brand do you think have higher prestige value?

    Is this the brightness04 "prestige scale"? Do you honestly believe that prestige is about a lease payment? What DO YOU think prestige is anyway? Enlighten us PLEASE.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Yes, Oac. If anyone wants the best deal-swallow your pride a bit and get a top of the line outgoing model.
    I got a very attractive interest rate of 2.4% last August on the 545, months before the introduction of the 550.
    If I were shopping for an LS, the 2006 is what I would be looking at. Should be great deals out there this summer-better than December To Remember.
    But human nature being what it is, it's tough to defer one's gratification with that new LS460 staring you in the face!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Cadillac is supposedly working on a car to compete in this class. As for Lincoln and Chrysler, not even close.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Tagman - I expect a fully loaded LS460L to be in the 78-82K range and it will sell like hotcakes. I expect that there will be some available in the mid 70's. The demand will outstrip the supply IMO. The LS600H will push somewhere from about 6-7% above that top price to $100K with some special option packages. In general I think Lexus status with this car plus the LFA and redesigned SC and LX is right there with the Germans in a very short period. On top of that you have the GS hybrid due very shortly and the big SUV's will all have hybrid options and they are toying around with that option switch for the drivers to choose power or fuel economy. You can also bet that Lexus hears the car rags and will do something about that VDIM switch real soon and then the performance on the GS and IS is right up there with BMW. The Germans better have some real quick response to all this because there's a lot of thunder coming from Lexus. Merc1's pricing belief is about to get blown away.

    This is why you have to crush someone out of existence within a few years of their debut. Once they get a toehold you are in a war forever and can get usurped. Microsoft learned that a long time ago and it's why I'd still be very hesitant with Google stock. The latter is also trying to do too much too soon and is priced to perfection on hitting those things in future forecasts across the board. Google 2000 is starting to sound like Dow 60000 to me. But vis a cis the car industry Google, at this time, is to Microsoft (and others) what Lexus was to Mercedes - in 1992.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    image
    image

    Here’s the light interior. The LS430 dash was high and so is the 460. It’s not the proportions I care for. The dash is separated into three vertical sections. I like to see Frank Lloyd Wright expanse in horizontal sections. Centerstack is bold and clumsy, no finesse, the shape is unsophisticated. Passenger cubicle is stark. Passenger stares into a handball court. I like the IS and GS dashes better. They are not particularly shapely but are better balanced IMO.

    I wasn’t going to post the bottom shot because it looks too good. Let me explain what I mean. They say that pictures don’t lie. Well this is not true, they are often extremely deceptive and this photo is the perfect example. It was taken with a wide angle lens which severely distorts proportions. The bottom photo gives the impression the interior is low-slung and airy, but this is far from the case. I know darn well that when I sit in the 460 the impression I get will be the one I see in the top photo, and it does not give me the warm and fuzzy feeling I would like from a luxury interior. Rather, it has pit-like vertical oppression, like sitting in a room with high light coming from high windows.

    Anyway, I know some of you Lexicans are going to love that bottom shot. All I can say is, see what you want to see and enjoy!

    ;-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Designman - why would you think that. What you show on the top pix is more of what a rear occupant might see and a small one at that. I sit with a view well above the steering wheel and I'd expect the bottom picture is more what the driver, front passenger and tall rear occupants would see. In fact I have driven the RX often and that is the way you see it. Nevertheless the LS is balancing fingertip switches for a lot of features with luxury interior appointments and I think it is done quite well. Plus - if this is the tradeoff for I-drive - I'll take it with no questions asked.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Designman - why would you think that.

    Why would I think what? Can you quote my specific thought you are questioning?
  • stomp32stomp32 Posts: 38
    I pretty much agree with your assessment. Although I'm sure the materials and workmanship are top notch, I think there's too many angles. The center stack bothers me the most.

    Now the interior of the 06 Range Rover is one that I think looks great. Probably the best of anything under 100k.
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