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High End Luxury Cars

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  • We are in agreement...Turning radious is only one small reason to buy a Lexus as is trunk space and head room, Bigger reasons would be reliability, Ecology (lexus has the cleanest V8 engine in the market meets all California standards without modification the only gasoline car to do so)...Safety...Value ...
    Other reasons would of course be looks and prestige...
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Toyotas are made to appeal to the lowest common denominator

    And MBs are not ? You are looking through the rose-colored MB USA glass here. There are literally millions of MBs worldwide, majority of which are low-level C, E and even S-class sedans built for the masses... you know the ones with vinyl seats, no moonroofs, barely an A/C, buttons galore, wheel covers, manual windows and doors, etc.... In many cases, these are found on the roads of Europe used as sherpas for transporting people. Talk about appealing to the lowest common denominator....
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Who hasn't acknowledged this? I mean really who said anything about this not being true or that it hasn't hurt Mercedes-Benz? No one here

    Really ? Maybe I missed something... but its good we are finally admitting the obvious.

    We were talking about the future S and styling and what not, yet it always reverts back to this same tired bs about the corporate side and the even more tired more sales=better car, things most buyers (except ljflx's "circle") couldn't care less about...

    Merc1, you may not do this deliberately, but when you refer to Len's circle of friends, your tone (to me) comes across as condescending. If I read you wrong I am sorry. Regardless, the new spy pictures of the new S looks terrible, and I will agree with Len here that the new style doesn't look as beautiful as the current S, and was something I was refering to in my previous post, that MB will try to over-compensate and screw things up even more. I guess, time will tell.
  • LS430s are hardly mass market cars....they compete directly with Mercedes S class and the BMW 7series and outsell them both combined....

    We both know that the Mercedes/Chryisler is not making a profit...So why do they build the S class as a show piece for the Chrysler lineup? That is the way Lexus started as a show piece for the Toyota line...and to compete with Honda and the Acura line and it just grew from there leaving Acura and Mercedes and BMW in it's dust (at least at the high end).

    You are right again, Some people still do like the way Germans build a car. As has been said many times we all buy our cars for different reasons.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    You can use the products that either Daimler or Toyota make for heavy/commercial worldwide industry to try and make a point, if you wish. I thought this thread was about high end luxury cars as they pertain to the American market?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    But isn't that exactly what you just did with your point about Toyota?? We are not talking Corolla here we are talking LS430, a car hardly made for the lowest common denominator. Let's get real.

    OAC - what I said about the MB S is what I feel personally and what I am hearing from others. The brand has lost stature since 2001 when I was shopping. Does anyone think they are as high and mighty as 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago?? I certainly don't nor does anyone I know. It's funny this Lexus group of friends I know drive BMW's, Jags and Lexus and a few have old world MB's because that was when they made great cars. The ones that have or had the newer models were dis-satisfied and switched or are about to.. Does it mean they want a common car. Of course not but relative to what they paid they are/were not happy. But what the heck.

    I'll say again I think a larger car than the current car - whether it looks it or not - combined with an I-drive type of technology will not play out well with spouses and the I-drive doesn't play out well with anyone anyway. That's not an attack on MB, it's an opinion I have. When you have faulty electronics you should be looking to fix what is broken not add more tech inventory to go wrong.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Actually, my point isn't to include corollas. When your flagship car is at a $60-65k pricepoint, there are more people able to buy it, than if it were priced in the high $70's on up. Whether you think the pricepoint is justified or not in either case, is your opinion and mine. Japanese brands are selling their flagship cars at much lower pricepoints than the Euros, so, within the luxury "denominator" it will sell (appeal) to the largest audience. It's vanilla. Because you could pay more for a car and choose not to doesn't mean everyone else has the same option. Some folks are maxing out their budget at the LS pricepoint, but would drive (or at least consider) a 7-series or an S-class if it didn't cost them any more. Every day I see people get very excited about a car only once they realize it fits their wallet.

    -I do agree about the electronics. I think Daimler has made some bad decisions lately, and putting in an I-drive type control in the new car is among them. I think they should relinquish the tech war, and get back to simple solidity.

    -More than half of the 7 cars I see driven in my area are driven by females, so they can't all be afraid of the technology, tho.

    -The folks who are either mourning or musing over the recent fall of Mercedes are talking about cars whose problems took 2-4 years to make the front page. The suits at Daimler said by '06 they would have these problems corrected, and so far, they seem to be doing so. So it will take a while to get that word out, as well.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Since you're an MB sales professional, I'd be curious as to your take on the JDP non-quality-related survey results. For instance, go to http://www.jdpower.com/cc/auto/jdpa_ratings/FindJdAwards.jsp and add the 2004 A8, 7, S, and LS to the list. Ignoring all of the quality-related categories and looking only at the categories of performance, comfort, features/instrument panel, and style, it really appears that S (and A8) owners aren't all that happy with their cars, after they've made the purchase, as compared to 7 and LS owners. What are your thoughts as to why that might be?
  • 00boxsters00boxsters Posts: 202
    Some folks are maxing out their budget at the LS price point, but would drive (or at least consider) a 7-series or an S-class if it didn't cost them any more.

    Interesting supposition. Do you have any data to back up this claim? I have seen 'average yearly income of buyer' data on different models but not specifically for the three models you mention.

    I believe that the same folks that can afford $65K for a car can afford $75K for a car. Those folks that make $150k plus a year place value very high on their list. Most of them become wealthy because of this mindset among others.

    As to Mercedes telling their employees they expect by '06 they would have these problems corrected, well, what would the suits say otherwise? Certainly not the hard truth! "It may take us several years to correct the penny wise and dollar foolish path the top management chose so as to run up their sales stats and stock options in the short term."
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    I don't know the income stats for lux buyers, but lets get real. A buck fifty for family income in a major metro area is far from wealthy. The average family making 150K is stressed out to just pay the bills and given housing costs in no way do they have S Class disposable income. Two public sector employees (a policeman say working some overtime and a school teacher with an advanced degree) are quickly closing in on 150K for a combined family income. Over 20 Boston policeman and 35 Mass State Troopers last year made over $200,000. None of them are driving 7 Series, S Classes or whatever.

    My insurance agent tells me that the lux cars he sees are almost 100% leased or bought by the owner's company. (As a related point, the dealer principal of the MB dealership in ME told me that he doesn't have a very profitable operation because the MB customers in ME all BUY their cars, not lease them. And the leasing is where the money is for a variety of reasons.) My impression is that here in the Northeast the lux market is not as large as it is elsewhere because a lot of people under 60 are in 55K SUVs. There was a statistic a few years ago that the Chev Suburban owner had the highest family income. He of course need the Sub to pull all his toys around.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I used to sell VW prior to MB, so I would bet the Audi people found their fit and finish honeymoon to be over quickly, and replaced with squeaks and rattles, and check engine lights as well: apple don't fall far from the tree.

    with regards to Benz, not a lot of rattles or squeaks, but check engine lights, maybe. I think some of them are "new money" that go out and buy what they think is the biggest, most prestigious luxury car without doing any significant scouting beforehand. These cars aren't for everyone, and so maybe they found that out after spending 6 months in their car. I've heard a lot about how upset all these people are with their S cars, but in three years I've sold maybe 25 of them, both new and CPO, and NONE of them have had any serious issues. My entire owner body in that car are happy as clams. I also don't put a whole lot of stock in these surveys. I also sold Isuzu back in the day, and the trooper was a good, average SUV from the old school, but CR went after them and are probably one of the main reasons Isuzu is all but TU now. Otherwise, I think the folks who are most intolerant of the slightest inconvenience tend to kick up the most dust about it.

    -the front seats on the S sit too high. Even when they are adjusted all the way down, it still feels like they should go lower. Unless you're really tall, though, it really doesn't matter.

    -the cupholders suck. Bad.

    -The nav system, while easier to use, is now mediocre rather than downright sorry.

    -The S is long on back seat, but short on trunk. Some folks probably didn't learn just how much on the test drive.

    -and I could go on about all of the S-class' inadequacies, there are some. But at the end of the day, I lose a little business to the Toyotas, but I also get people who come back after a while, and want another Mercedes. They always say the same thing: "It just ain't the same, nothing else rides like your car, and I want back in." That's good enough for me.
  • 00boxsters00boxsters Posts: 202
    Defining 'wealthy' is a fool's errand here but your knowledge of police income in Mass. is something I could use at a party. Who mentioned anything about major metro areas by the way? You admit 'I don't know the income stats for lux buyers' but then spout off extraneous information. Get real. Insert $250,000 if that helps you see the point.

    The point was about those people wealthy enough to afford an LS are likely as able to afford an S or 7 series automobile but choose an LS for better reasons in addition to the $10K or so price difference.

    If I am wrong, which is certainly possible, then I'd wonder -Do the super wealthy (those that buy the S/7 series cars over the just wealthy LS buyers) purchase old school for different reasons?
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    That sure was a good post....I think a good salesman makes the buyer have more confidence in a car, even if the car has a few problems....I have had an inportant , serious problem in each Lexus I have purchased over they years---like the beginning-- A bit of trouble to get fixed, but the dealership and people were so nice that the problem is quickly forgotten....I wish you luck , and would think your customers are lucky people Tony ps I don`t think I would be buying any expensive car if I were making one hundred fifty.
  • 00boxsters00boxsters Posts: 202
    Income and educational levels of affluent consumers driving luxury cars
    "Fixing Cadillac," Newsweek, May 28, 2001
    If you wonder who is behind wheel of luxury cars, here are some interesting statistics:

    luxury car median age household income % of college graduation
    Mercedes-Benz 52 $186,236 71%
    Lexus 50 $151,711 69%
    BMW 45 $149,609 69%
    Acura 48 $107,261 61%
    Lincoln 59 $113,656 49%
    Cadillac 62 $106,701 46%

    Just found this on a google search. :shades:
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Interesting stuff, thanks!
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi all,
    I see we're back to the same pricing point discussion again. I do think a lower priced car will sell in more volume. Anyone shopping a S500 vs a LS430 will certainly feel the pinch of the pocketbook. I think a better comparo would be S430 sales vs LS430 sales. But even then there is a significant difference. The typical LS sells for less than it's typical $62.7K price, I got mine for 55K. The S430 4 Matic I was shopping was 78K list and they were offering me around $73-74K to buy it. That's still a considerable gap for someone who is stretching it. At some point these prices are going to matter. I had to decide between a 55K LS430 and 74K S430...The price difference definitely factored into the decision.

    Normally one would expect the lower priced car to sell more. I recall a funny case with Rolls Royce though. They decided to raise prices and oddly enough, sold more cars. I'd still maintain price is a big consideration in the purchase decision.

    Of course owner experience does matter too. I've always liked MB but have been scared off by the horror stories and residual values as of late. Maybe I'll pick up one of those upcoming E320 CDI 4-Matics. As Merc said, MB is great at making a big car look elegant. They've done a great job on their sedans. I only wish they didn't adopt the I-Drive approach. As it is, Lexus routing all the controls through the touchscreen drives me nuts. I'd prefer the Volvo approach with it just popping up when needed.

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Really ? Maybe I missed something... but its good we are finally admitting the obvious."

    Yeah you missed a lot. My point about this was that no matter what is being talked about styling, engines or whatever it goes back to the same irrelevant and imo lame stuff about profits and what not, things that have nothing to do with anything being talked about. No one posting here in favor of Mercedes has ever denied that they have some corporate and reliability problems.

    "Regardless, the new spy pictures of the new S looks terrible, and I will agree with Len here that the new style doesn't look as beautiful as the current S, and was something I was refering to in my previous post, that MB will try to over-compensate and screw things up even more. I guess, time will tell."

    Yes time will tell because this is nothing more than hype imo, to draw a conclusion about a car you've never even seen before. Spy photos really mean nothing until the finished product is shown. All a spy photo can give is a general idea as to the shape and size of the car. I'm sure you and Lenn will call the next S ugly either way because the current car is so good looking to the point of shaming the LS in that department so naturally you'd want the new one to stumble in that area. Now that Lexus has come up with a lame styling theme L-finesse (yeah right) you've convinced yourself that the GS is a good looking car when its really nothing but a rework of the previous car with too much wheelbase and BMW hoff kink at the rear and yet poof new styling direction that gets killed by another Japanese car in the M35/45 let alone the E-Class or A6 in styling, of course IMO. You guys believe anything Lexus says or does, and can't see anything else.

    M
  • iancariancar Posts: 31
    My business partner in Japan offered me a ride of a life time. His car, "Century", was a Toyota(?!) flagship in japan. The car looks classy and maintains an old Japanese car front and tail design. The side mirrors is built on the side of the over-hangs (another classy design that reminded me the old time). The biggest surprise come under the hood: a VVTi V12 (It is a shame that I forgot to ask how many horses it can produce.). Since i did not drive it, I cannot tell how it perform either. But even in the noisy Tokyo streets, the carbin isolate sounds like they never exist. My partner told me it is comparable with a Mercedes-Benz S600 with its horsepower, length, and room. He also told me even though its price tag is lower, Japaneses will respect you more because of it is "a domestic product". It will be hard for toyota (or lexus) to build the next generation LS to beat "Century"'s hospitality or its classic design. For me, its old look is an over kill. It will be the best if they can build me one with Left driver.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I'll say again I think a larger car than the current car - whether it looks it or not - combined with an I-drive type of technology will not play out well with spouses and the I-drive doesn't play out well with anyone anyway."

    I can understand why you would think this about the adoption of an Idrive like system, but why is it mistake to make the car bigger. Is the S-Class supposed to remain smaller than the Phaeton, A8L and 7-Series L models? This doesn't make sense. Up until all these newer cars came out the Mercedes was usually the biggest car in the class year after year, why on earth would they not offer more interior/trunk space if the competition has it?

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Camp Lexus loves the GS so the next LS is a lock regardless of what it looks like. It could come out looking like Rosemary's baby. Doesn't matter.

    "L-finesse (yeah right)"

    Love it. They're learning to layer it on thick, as Bangle does.
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