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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It amazes me how one months of sales (while ignoring other months) are now going to be used as the determining factor as to whether or not the R-Class is going to "make it". Why is that? What part of Jan is historically a slow month for Mercedes isn't understandable here? The R sold over 2000 units in Dec 2005 and if I remember right over 1200 units in Nov of 2005. If it doesn't pick up when Mercedes' sales traditionally do (March/April) then all of this gloom and doom might be in order, until then this is nothing more than hype.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    merc1 - the R is not good for Mercedes, IMO. Beautiful cars that are admired as we see them in our daily travels are the best advertising in the world. Real life. In real life, the R is ugly. I'll use the word. I don't mean to offend you, but in my opinion, it's strange looking and out of balance. Maybe I'm alone on this, but I just don't think so. I personally don't want it to represent Mercedes Benz. I want to see Mercedes Benz to be known as a builder of reliable, and durable, and beautiful luxury vehicles, regardless of how many vehicles it sells. I want Mercedes Benz to be known for its innovation and engineerng prowess. And, to a large extent that is still the reputation. But, the reliability is down . . . but not down the drain for goodness sakes. The styling is generally beautiful, classy, and elegant, but with the occassional mistake (even the recent C coupe was bad) like this R thing. What do you suggest Mercedes do with it? It is an anchor, IMO, that they could do without. Maybe kill it when the GL comes. Is there another market for it?

    If you sense that it is a success, please explain, because I'm hating it right about now, and I wish it gone.

    TagMan
  • January is a slow month for all manufacturers (pay back time for all the end-of-year discounting). Just seems to be especially slow for MB this year, compared to its venerable HELM peers.

    R class sales was brisk in December when they had that $499/mo lease deal. Cheapened to the price level of a Lexus IS, R (one letter position from S) is not a bad deal. The deal was removed on the website since Jan 1st, now we know R class sales in January crashed. hmm . . . sounds like typical consumer response to old GM tricks: hold onto the money till there's heavy discounts.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No you're not alone in not liking the R-Class. I'm the one that is alone (at least on this board) in liking it. I don't see it as a "success", but dropping it though is out of the question. If sales never pick up over the production run it could be dropped then, or re-designed to better meet market demands. I can certainly understand you not liking the way it looks compared to Mercedes' cars, but I think the price/interior/value equation is out of whack. This being the reason for it not selling up to expectations. For 2007 there will be some attempt to fix this from what I see on various MB sites. Of course there will be a new V8, either a R450 or a R550 or both. The things I dislike about the interior will take more time to fix. I think there is a market for the R-Class, but the execution is likely off, similar to the first M-Class I think.

    You're right Mercedes is known for those those things, all except for the reliability part. I really think they're trying to fix this, but once the word gets out it takes years to change it back in the right direction. Those who have no experience with this, but live to hype it up don't help either.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Just seems to be especially slow for MB this year, compared to its venerable HELM peers

    No slower than last year when all this false gloom and doom was touted then.

    I agree the sale did move them better in Dec, but the R's sales had been steadily gaining since the mid-Sept intro. I don't see it as a failure, yet.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree, the only thing that can really be the saving grace for Jaguar is unquestionably gorgeous cars. Despite being 10 years old, the outgoing XK is still a very good looking car. If it looked like the SC430, I'm sure that sales would've dropped to zero years ago. It makes me wonder if Ian Callum is the right man for the job. The new XK is good looking, but it looks as much like a V8 Vantage as it does an E-type.

    Talking about the current XJ, I'm not sure where the pricing should go. Is it still the '80s Jags that are killing the market value of a two year old XJ? Or does the market just not believe the car is worth the retail price Jaguar is asking?

    As a longer term strategy, I just dont think that trying to sell XJs in the $50-70K range can work, and I think that is the conclusion that the PAG management has come to. Ford has resources, but they have a lot on their plate to deal with. Jaguar is only a small part of that. In contrast, BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus can throw their full might behind their flagships, and redesign them every six to seven years. Even the beleaguered VWAG has managed to give Audi a lot more attention than Jag has been getting from Ford.

    I think the smarter way to go is to let the LS460, S450, 750, and A8 4.2 duke it out on their own.
  • That doesn't sound right. Both Lexus and BMW are updating their model ranges on 5-6yr cycles, whereas MB is working on 8-yr cycle (e.g. your S class example). How did that get turned into an MB advantage? We all know that new models sell, old ones do not (without outrageous discounting anyway).
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I think there is a market for the R-Class, but the execution is likely off, similar to the first M-Class I think.

    The M was off, but not so derailed. And consider how long it took to dial it in. The R has a LONG slow road ahead, doesn't it?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    In your haste you clearly misread that post, the advantage is with Lexus and BMW, not Mercedes. The S-Class is a 7-year car just like the previous 7-Series was.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The M was off, but not so derailed. And consider how long it took to dial it in. The R has a LONG slow road ahead, doesn't it?

    If they make real changes in engine/equipment for 2007 and it still doesn't sell, then yes.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    But the back end . . . Yikes!
  • Lexus and BMW are experiencing same-period sale growth that is an order of magnitude greater than MB . . . if this keeps going for a few years, MB will cease to be major HELM concern.

    I agree the sale did move them better in Dec, but the R's sales had been steadily gaining since the mid-Sept intro. I don't see it as a failure, yet

    R-class experienced massive price erosion between Sep and Dec. MB tried to stem the subsidy in January, and sales fell off the cliff. That is bad. There is never doubt that at a low enough price point, any car can be "sold" or simply given away; the whole point of having a High End Luxury Marque is to charge premium. R class proves to be unable to sell without massive margin squeeze.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Lexus and BMW are experiencing same-period sale growth that is an order of magnitude greater than MB . . . if this keeps going for a few years, MB will cease to be major HELM concern.

    As well they should, both have newer lineups, especially their sedans. What is the point here other than to just repeat the same things over and over? We all know this.

    R-Class - Been there said that, dead horse being beaten.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I think the smarter way to go is to let the LS460, S450, 750, and A8 4.2 duke it out on their own.

    You may be very right on that one. That's enough reason right there to change demographics and climb into an entirely different ring.
  • Lexus and BMW inctroduce new vehicles, and their sales volume skyrocket despite charging nearly MSRP with hardly any discounting; MB introduces new vehicles (the R), and they can not move iron without massive discounts (not just the usual dealer discount, but massive factory subsidy) as if the cars were 5-yr old phase-outs. That is indicative of a severe marque problem.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    whoa, give it a little time. The S is going to do very well, and the GL will do very well and the M is doing fine, the E and C will be at the end of cycles with newer metal shortly, and you only mention the R. brightness, I've seen you do this before . . . play with the stats, call it a severe marque problem. It doesn't change anything. At some point not too far off Mercedes will have a newer lineup and you'll see how it creates a surge for them.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Man can you change that record? Again, we all know this! The R-Class not selling does not idicate a severe marque problem - that is ridiculous. The CLS and SLK didn't have that problem and neither will the S-Class. Such a statement is nothing more than unsubstantiated hype at its best. This is exactly what I'm talking about on this board. Mercedes has one model that doesn't sell well upon introduction and it is a "severe marque problem", yet other recent introductions have done very well. This is nonesense brightness and you know it.

    As far as Lexus and BMW, if Mercedes had redone all of their sedans in such a short period of time they'd likely see a similar sales increase also. So easy to neglect the details for Lexus and BMW's success and paint the worst possible picture for Mercedes. I guess I should expect no less here.

    M
  • It seems to me that DC management is now very aware of the reliability issue and how it is perceived by the market.

    Now that it is being taken seriously it will be solved.

    The 'Mercedes break down all the time' echo chamber will keep the story alive as long as possible.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Merc's correct in one sense: by definition, it takes time to prove long-term reliability issues (as opposed to initial quality problems) are actually resolved. In J.D. Power terms, IQS is measured in first 3 months; dependability is measured at 3 years. Next JDP report on dependability won't come out until June, and it will cover 2003 cars - it may well be a couple of more years before MB's more recent initiatives will show up in these studies (assuming they make a difference).

    Improvements in initial quality should show up first, but that's not really the same thing. I remember how Schrempp was saying that they were going to add more Quality Control inspectors at the end of the production line, when everyone with half a brain knew that the problems went deeper than that. MB's IQS improved in '04 and '05 compared to '03, so although not the same thing, that doesn't augur well for its dependability ratings until the June 2007 study comes out.

    Until then, anecdotal evidence will hold more sway, and we all know that unhappy owners are more vocal than happy owners. But Merc, please don't try to blame Japanese car fans for MB's lost reputation for reliability; MB squandered that on its own! :sick:
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    garyh1 - I don't go as far back as some of you on this forum, but I don't recall that point being made before, and it is an interesting and important one. Considering the fact that there is a "lag time" between the progress that might be made in terms of reliability and the actual date to report it is something to seriously take into account. It just makes it even harder to overcome the reputation that can accompany any previous problems. There is the lag time to compile and disseminate the data itself, as you have indicated, and then there is the harder-to-measure time it takes to change people's perspectives. If improvements are not made in a timely fashion, then it takes even longer to change people' minds . . . like turning an oil tanker. Fortunately for MB, I believe consumers have been very forgiving, but only to a breaking point, of course.
    TagMan
  • I'll show you some love. The GL looks like a nice truck (unlike the R), and it will be well-recieved, and easily eclipse the aged LX470 as the bona-fide RangeRover adversary. The S will show a nice sales spike, for the first 2 years anyway, and the ML shows me staying power. I like it! :shades:

    Problem is Mercedes, in the US, is clearly reactionary, not setting the market anymore. The King has gone George W. on us!

    The image has eroded, with Lexus, with the ML, with associations w/Chrysler. It's not "untouchable" anymore. They can make a great car anytime, but it may not be right for us. They don't do the research necessary in this country. They just build what they like. And it's really good. But it's missing that intangible it had when comp wasn't so fierce, and their image wasn't in question.

    In regards to the details to BMW/Lexus success, this is something Mercedes should know better than us! This is competition, not a bake sale!

    Luxury sales are growing many times faster than Mercedes sales. And if you're drivin' an SLR, if you get passed, it's on you, my friend. It's on you. :sick:

    Mercedes is being out-"Smart"-ed in the US. And that's no acronym! :surprise:

    DrFill
  • Saw the new S at a dealership this past weekend. I have to say it looked great, even in silver. The fender bulges look just fine in person, and I even find the rear end treatment to be more than acceptable. I think the S will look stunning in black.

    Now I must admit that I own an LS430 and think it also looks great, so there goes all my styling credibility.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    But Merc, please don't try to blame Japanese car fans for MB's lost reputation for reliability; MB squandered that on its own!

    I've never done that, how could I? There are many reasons for their drop in reliability, but none of them have anything to with Japan. It was all internal as you state.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Problem is Mercedes, in the US, is clearly reactionary, not setting the market anymore.

    When it comes to SUVs that is clearly the case, but with their cars that isn't nearly as true. The CLS proves that Mercedes still has the ability to open a market or create one for a unique product. Now watch as others including Porsche follow. Whether or not you want to admit it the S-Class still sets the standard. You think the Lexus would have gone for a 100hp leap from the LS430 to the LS460 if the new S550 didn't have 382hp? The back seat treatments in the LS460 were clearly inspired by another Mercedes-Benz product, the Maybach.

    The days of Mercedes building what they wanted to build with no regard to what the customer (especially U.S. customers) is long over. That and them making a great car, but it isn't right for the U.S. is nonesense doc. They've done nothing but alter things from the old hard line German stance to appeal to the American market and it's taste.

    There is another discussion on GCZ about whether or not Mercedes has become too Americanized and some of the European posters thing they have.

    BMW is enjoying a big surge in sales because they have a newer (sedan) lineup, not because they're doing something to cater more to the American market. BMW hasn't wavered one bit from what made them famous in the first place - the driving experience. They haven't made their cars soft and numb in order to appeal to even more Americans like you're trying to imply. The majority will likely still tell you that a BMW isn't the ideal "luxury car" experience. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "they ride too hard" or something like that.

    Lexus does cater to the American market more than MB and BMW, gee you'd think they would since it was nameplate thought up just for doing such. Mercedes was to design a car that will appeal worldwide and does so with ease. Unlike Lexus which isn't a spec on the map outside the U.S. They can't lead in every market around the world, but they do in most. This theory about them not doing the research in the U.S. doesn't make sense and isn't true in the least. I suspect that theory came about because of the R-Class. This is the price of being first or trying to originate/open up a new market segment. Sometimes you score a hit (CLS) or you don't (R-Class). I don't see Lexus trying to invent a new segment or do anything but chase Mercedes and now BMW.

    What Mercedes can be accused of is taking their eye off of the quality/durability/relibilty that made them famous. People loved old-school Benzes when they weren't as soft as they are now. Mercedes problem is a black-eye when it comes to people who buy with CR/JDP reports in the mix, not because they don't "cater" to the U.S. market. The first generation M-Class and R-Class, though the jury still isn't out on the R yet, are the only Mercedes products that may have not been done right with U.S. taste in mind. The R-Class supposedly was done for the U.S. market, but I'lll give you that its either the price/value equation or the styling is not going over well. This didn't happen in 2005 with the new SLK, CLS or M-Class and it surely won't happen with the new S-Class. So this about Mercedes making a great car that isn't right for the U.S. market is false.

    Truth is Lexus can't design or spec a LS until they see what the S-Class has to offer.

    I clearly remember on the 2007 LS board you saying that they won't go for more than 30-40hp gain with the new LS, and that likely would have been the case until the S550 was shown last Sept with 382hp.

    Sure Mercedes isn't "untouchable" anymore, no one at this point, but Mercedes isn't made singularly by sedans like most here seem to think and they surely aren't below Lexus on any scale other than relibility.

    M
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    I've never done that, how could I?

    Sorry, I thought that you were going in that direction with this line from your post:

    Those who have no experience with this, but live to hype it up don't help either.

    I guess I had read your previous numerous references to Lexans "hyping" MB's problems, and it sounded like you were saying that "those" folks were exacerbating/extending the issue.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I guess I had read your previous numerous references to Lexans "hyping" MB's problems, and it sounded like you were saying that "those" folks were exacerbating/extending the issue.

    Oh well they do just that, but the problem (MB has) isn't their fault, but they do hype it for sure.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Lots of good points!! . . . but you repeatedly indicated that Lexus was reacting to the Mercedes products, and while I tend to agree to a point, I also think that Lexus has had BMW in their crosshairs . . . and I didn't read this in your post. Perhaps you were just referring to the Mercedes for now, or perhaps you do not agree with me that Lexus has a focus on BMW. ??????

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh, I meant that up until now Mercedes was the focus, but clearly with the IS and GS the focus for Lexus is BMW, but the results are mixed at best.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I have to wonder if there might be BMW influence in that new LS. I can't help this sense when I see it and read about it that somehow BMW was in their (Lexus's) minds. Afterall, BMW is SO significant, and you've just got to KNOW that Toyota/Lexus has known this as well as anyone, maybe even better than anyone, and to think that they didn't consider BMW in the creation of this newest LS . . . well . . . I just think that they did. As well as with the IS and GS.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm not sure if the LS was created with BMW in mind like the IS and GS were. I spent a lot of time looking at the LS and I really didn't see much in common with the 7-Series other than a similar profile. This about everyone following Bangle's design is way overblown IMO. They're both large sleek cars, but that is where the similarities end to my eye. The Lexus doesn't have the wierd trunklid or cutlines of the BMW. Flame surfacing? Designman will have to expalain that one to me.

    M
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