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High End Luxury Cars

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  • How are you best value in the industry, when you can't even be best in your class?

    DrFill
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    WOW, this thread moves along. May have to check back more often.
    Delay on the 450 is probably 8mo. if produced at all.

    I don't know about the long term on an S70 seat but my wife's 960 wagon was much less that comfortable. Thank goodness for seat heaters to remove the saddle sores ;)

    Thank goodness MB is getting away from the "thinking persons TV ads" (black and white with the singing factory workers) and going for feature benefit and emotion.
    I always yearned for an ad that showed an MB product crossed up and hung out like the desert "zoom-zoom" ads.

    I know it would be reckless and against all that ESP and ASR stand for, but if you want to expand your target market and shift to a younger demographic..... I'm Forty, and I am not interested in a sedan ad unless it can hang the [non-permissible content removed] end out on a track or has a sexy look so strong it evokes stares from multiple tables of women at a sidewalk cafe!
  • :shades:

    The new ad with the SLR is "Ai-ght". Their tryin'. they're doin' some things.

    I guess it's part of the image they want to portray, that Mercedes doesn't have competition.

    Which is true, to a point.

    Times are changin' and they are changing slower than the times. But they may've earned that right.

    DrFill
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Uh Oh . . . you're talking "ads" again, and merc1, bless his heart, has said that he is going to get his "mind numbed" again if he has to "stumble down marketing lane".

    Careful Doc, we all like merc, and wouldn't want to numb his mind. ;)

    Hey merc - you'd better skip over some of this for your own good! :P :D

    TagMan
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    If you believe everything you read (which it seems yall do not) we would all drive a BMW or Porsche. My belief is that most manufacturers produce an outstanding product. My 82 300td wagon has not airbag 1 or ASR, ESP, ABS, ABC, or whatever. I run a Weatherwise Michelin with an all season tread design and it stops great. I don't feel like I am hanging on a thread when I drive. I think it will take a pretty good hit. I love my driver and have had nice offers but will give it to my son on his 16th B-Day. My wish list when I was 16 has been fulfilled. All my vehicles have evoked emotions all along the scale for whatever reason. The rags give info on equipment and function as well as performance. I just don't give a hoot if someone likes the cavernous interior as opposed to a snug sporty fit. I can tell that by sitting in it.
    Do people really buy a car on their (writers) merits??
    How much weight do their opinions carry really?
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Your position is that vehicles like Porsches and BMWs are bought because of their great performance and that folks who hate the styling will buy these cars anyway to get the rest.

    Not exactly. Porsche is a different animal. There aren’t too many people who buy 911s and Boxsters who don’t like the styling. The 911 form has been around for 40 years and the Boxster in its 10th year is following suit. People buy a Porsche for both performance and the styling philosophy. It is anti-fad: as minimal, functional, and unaffected by fashion as an F-15 fighter jet. BMW had something going along those lines but they chose to throw it all out the window.

    The 911 does have Beetle influences, but I still find it breathtaking to look at.

    Well I guess this is one styling issue we agree on.

    ;-)
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    The main point of print advertising is most certainly not about the writing.

    It’s an age old argument. However the copy side usually wins. The more fashion there is in a print ad, the less copy needed. But I think the more experienced people in advertising concur that copy is more important than graphics even though the total ad concept rules—the copy/graphic combination, the one-two punch. More often than not, the copywriters are the ones who come up with the killer concepts. Ad agencies die for good copywriters.

    Personally, I think the new MB TV ads are horrible, feeble. Mercedes has a lot going such as their heritage and engineering, so this should be exploited in their advertising. It isn’t. That weld ad could apply to any manufacturer. Also, I don’t feel like listening to hip-hop lite rhythms when looking at a Mercedes ad. Among other things, the elderly, hoarse but suave voice of the Lexus narrator suggests character, is much more convincing and is appropriate for the brand IMO.

    The race ad that says “We race against ourselves” is meaningless. They go from winning their first race to winning nothing. The S launch ad is innocuous. It’s simply an announcement, does not attempt to flaunt styling, and says nothing revealing. Zero fanfare.

    MB is a conceptual gold mine and their agency isn’t hitting the veins. Then again, killer concepts are elusive, and I think repetition alone does wonders to perpetuate the brand. But Mercedes is a sophisticated product that warrants sophisticated advertising, not ads that were developed by kids who were barely weaned from their crayons. This is the way I perceive the creative staff who worked on those ads.

    I think MB marketing needs to get their act together. A butt-kicking ad campaign would behoove them, especially at this questionable point in their existence. But in general I think most auto ads aren't too good. Someone should jump on the opportunity to stand out as advertisers.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Designman - in one of your previous posts when you mentioned your impressions of the S-Class, I recall you said the S-Class steering wheel was kind of ugly, but you didn't elaborate on that. What's wrong with it?

    I guess I like to see the steering wheel as one integrated unit. When I look at the S wheel I see three individual elements: the wheel, the hub, and two spindly spokes—all disconnected and not particularly shapely or organized.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Oh, I would not say that. But in reference to ads, I like something with expression and emotion. 100 years of history doesn't mean squat to a consumer that just spent 250 on a cell phone that will be obsolete in 6 months. How does being the inventor of the crumple zone and collapsible steering column equate in my decision when all cars have em now? Now, now, now, what can I get now! Go on line compare products side by side and in 2 days anyone is an expert. The ads should put you in the running not try to close a sale. Look at my product! It looks good! What would you look like in it? What would the neighbors think when they see it in my driveway? How will I be perceived? How will I like it? On and on in that order.

    What is the perception of a typical MB lover?
  • Since when is 10 Best about which car sells the most? The Accord wins over and over because it manages to have the mass appeal and quality of the Camry, and yet still maintains a playful, fun-to-drive nature. If the Camry could get you to point B without any driver involvement at all, it would.

    Well, if "10 Best" is defined as "10 Best in the opinion of C&D editors, who are usually wrong" then I suppose the result of masses voting with their pockets do not matter. Without getting into the details of Accord vs. Camry in terms of either mass appeal or quality (in both of which Accord obviously trail behind as it sells less despite being less expensive) which are not exactly the purview of this forum, suffice to say that in principle, "10Best" if it pretends to be a voice of any authority, should take into account the different priorities of each market segment. The fact that Accord trails far behind Camry in sales despite being offered at lower prices makes it quite clear that 10Best is a dubvious judge of what is best in respective segment. Then "10Best" becomes even less meaningful because it can not possibly mean 10Best of all cars regardless of segment, as there are definitely more than 10 cars that are more fun to drive than the Accord, as good as it is.

    In any case, my previous post was a bit in jest . . . "taking apart C&D" . . . could not resist ;-)
  • Very much in agreement. The hard performance data and at-the-limit perspectives from the magazine reviews are much more meaningful than the fluff "reviews" and "rankings" by the scribe/space-filler side of the business.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    ads that were developed by kids who were barely weaned from their crayons.

    You KNOW I'm going to chime in.

    Here's one of my beefs: Ad agencies appear complacent until something like the Super Bowl comes along, and then they actually try to create a great ad. After all, the Super Bowl has become a competitive forum for presenting advertising genius (and lack thereof!). And, yet some of them are still lousy. If that's the best they can do then it seems to me that throughout much of the year, agencies focus too much on "selling" a mediocre concept "to" their client rather than "creating" a great concept "for" their client.

    While most products should benefit from good advertising . . . My best advice to manufacturers:

    It's better to build a great product that has screams "buy me" on its own merits, instead of a lousy product that requires a "hard sell".

    TagMan
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    HOPEFULLY, this is not considered, nor is it meant to be spam. Tell me which ads you prefer:
    http://www.mbusa.com/whatsnew.do
    lower RH side view commercials
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    benzster said to me: Tell me which ads you prefer:

    OK, benzster . . . here goes . . .

    Ad one: "1887" - nice point made about the folks that made the very first car . . . but to take the evolution in one step from the very first car to the R of all things . . . well . . . let's just say that the ending would have been better with perhaps the new S-Class. Reason? The ad was portraying the "original" and the "latest". The "latest", in this case, needed to have also been the "greatest", and it just "ain't the R". Good start, then derails.

    Ad two: "curb appeal" - Nice ad! Good use of video graphics to evolve nicely throughout the years to a good conclusion. The Mercedes image was well supported throughout . . . and the "first" four-door coupe as the last image and statement further elevates the image. Overall, well done.

    Ad three: "blank page" - worthless. there is nothing "blank page" about a "redesign" that looks like the first design. Sorry ad, IMO.

    Ad four: "test track" - Much better. Good action w/ injected humor makes the performance point . . . mission accomplished. The ad further makes a motivational pitch regarding the attractive base price. All-in-all, not a grand slam, but a very good textbook type of ad.

    BTW, thanks for asking . . . and I hope I gave you enough feedback!

    TagMan
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    I agree.
    Although I still feel the R is a new concept.... somewhere between a Caravan and an Opel Vectra. At least MB wants us to believe it. There are some Lux sedans in Europe that sport a square back (although the make escapes me). MB is always late on the promo. Revealing portions of a vehicle from under a sheet over a period of time is not MB style. Did you see a R Class ad prior to release? It is the German way; we will build it, they will like it, and they will buy it. 2 Germans showing off their antique cart and the beautiful landscape..... history lesson Pass

    2: Fun, funky, a history lesson.... again Fair

    3: If you ask me, I could give you 200 reasons why this is "new". As a viewer... looks the same to me! Fail

    4: Funny, it gave visual info. "I did not know a truck would do that" feel. Did you see it hanging out the rear, and that high speed controlled slide is wicked awesome! A SUV that doesn't look like it has much hint of body roll. The driver is so calm. I watched it, paused it, watched it AGAIN! Best yet.

    I find myself watching other manufacturers ads showing off this and that while all the time saying to myself, "self, you realize MB had that 3 years ago. Why did we not say that?". But they do a good job or better than MB or I guess DC.

    I would rather see a progression of the S Class chassis 109,116,126,104,220, and finish with the new 221. Maybe on the Nurburgring changing chassis as it appears and disappears thru the banking and the old long strait. That is my kind of history lesson.

    I suggest watching Speed vision on demand Porsche VBD showcase. OOOOOOOOooooo chills.
  • All three responses are seriously flawed and dont need any rebuttal.

    The linear model holds true and has been extensively verified by me and dozens of others with variety of cars. Those who have the means to get hold of testing gear and cars from different makes can verify it themselves.

    My PhD took 5 years and I was on stipend with tuition waiver (no 35K/yr expenses). I advise you dont hang around much with chefs and hares.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    I would be interested in seeing the data and the literature. Can you please include your sources? I'm sure others here would also like to track down the research that proves the linear model that you suggest. Certainly, if the data supports such a model, that would be material worthy of publishing.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    "The hard performance data and at-the-limit perspectives from the magazine reviews are much more meaningful than the fluff "reviews" and "rankings" by the scribe/space-filler side of the business."

    I'm not sure what you mean here. If your point is that "at the limit" performance is important to the average buyer (or to you) then it's so only from a psychological standpoint since no one takes these cars remotely close to their limits except at a track. And how many of us go to a track? We like to know that our car is capable of outperforming someone else's car only to fluff up our ego ( and maybe other parts). That's what the advertising is all about, isn't it?

    Now don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking the phenomenon-- I'm part of it. But I don't kid myself that I bought a [insert name of your ride] so I can actually "out-perform" anybody except in my fantasies.
  • On this board some people put down the pain in the neck electrical glitches that some MB are afflicted with and talk up the bullet proof reliability of Lexus. Some go on to tell us how much their time is worth, how horrible it is to sit in a MB Service Waiting Room, etc.

    I'm no MB driver (too young at 61) and certainly no Lexus fan but I think that this whole thing is overdrawn. For car nuts like us, its usually FUN to check out a high end dealership from time to time, drop a car off for service, pick up a loaner and be gone. Sure I guess if we all tried hard enough we could come up with some impressive opportunity costs related to being 20 minutes late to the office some morning because we had to drop off the MB and pick up a loaner. Much of the time when I hear someone tell me what a pain it is to bring in their 997 for an oil change or their S Class for warranty, I am reminded of the old saying, "are you bragging or complaining." I find it curious that we children of the 60's who were raised on Dylan and Baez turn to running down local high end dealers as "crooks" or worse after they get tired of talking about how much their home and beach house are going up in value.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I think that this whole thing is overdrawn.

    As you discuss reliability on this forum it has always been overblown. Even the statistics bear that out, as the TRUE differences between high reliability ratings and moderate reliability ratings are not really that huge at all. An extra trip or two to the luxury car service department is definately more like you describe, with the nice "red carpet treatment", and often the warranty or service contract picks up the tab as well, so I totally agree with you on this!

    However, I do want to add that while our "lifestyles" are not too terribly disrupted at the high-end service departments on occassion, there IS legitimate merit and value to reliability of products and services that we purchase, regardless of what they are. Lexus rightfully deserves and has earned the bragging rights here, but I do suppose that blowing trumpets in every ear can sometimes be a bit much.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Or did you just say "Uncle"?

    And thank you, again, for enhancing my point, as you reminded me of the Innovative "December To Remember" campaign, which has influenced how the "competition" advertise at the end of the year, but has also caused the birth of a new industry, oversized car bowes.


    No, how about I didn't think enough of any of that to even get into it. Lexus December to remember is to me the winner of the most tacky award by far, and Lexus having engineers from countries in which they don't even sell/compete in, looking over their cars says wannabe to me. Just like the 2006 IS brochure does. This is the kind of advertising that makes them great? Please. Its tack at its best.

    M
  • All three responses are seriously flawed and dont need any rebuttal.

    Where is the flaw? and you can't rebutt? A very simple question: go ahead and change the final gear ratio on your current car, then come back and tell us how much difference in 0-60 that makes despite not power-to-weight ratio change.

    Power-to-weight ratio can not possibly be the single determinant of 0-60, other wise, why do companies bother with transmission improvements? tire improvements? FWD/RWD/AWD all have different drive train losses. If you accept that drive train efficiency improve over time, then how can you have the same co-efficient for your linear model over time? If the co-efficient change over time, isn't only reasonable to expect that some companies achieve a new co-efficient before others do?

    The linear model holds true and has been extensively verified by me and dozens of others with variety of cars. Those who have the means to get hold of testing gear and cars from different makes can verify it themselves.

    Care to list the cars and instrument that you personally and the "dozens" used? How exactly did you test the engine output youself? Stripping it out of your car? dozens of them? If you are talking about mfr spec, you have a problem right there: different manufacters quote engine specs with very different confidency range. You can not be seriously telling us all that Audi A4's and BMW 3's have the same co-efficients in your linear model . . . historically they almost always are not the same. BMW's quote their engine output very conservatively.

    My PhD took 5 years and I was on stipend with tuition waiver (no 35K/yr expenses). I advise you dont hang around much with chefs and hares.

    Hey, I was not the one dropping names left and right . . . merely pointing out that MIT has its own share of dummies. When I was at MIT, the saying was that, the smart ones did not finish their PhD's (or even start them); some better opportunity should have come along for the deserving long before the 9 yrs of post-secondary job-bank waiting period is up.
  • Let me clarify, not only do I not drive my cars to the limit, I don't even buy cars that excell at being driven to the limit . . . furthermore, personally I don't care a hoot about how cars handle at the limit; nor do I care about outperforming others. . . I drive automatics, wagons and SUV's, for the time being, . . . goes to show how much I care about handling and limits of driving.

    My point was that, the data and at-the-limit handling reports (for those who care) are more factual, with some pertinence for people who do not have the facility or instruments to carry out their own tests. The subjective space fillers (including "best" rankings), are just that, subjective; like they say, opinions are like . . ., everyone has one.
  • Predicability is the key. I would not mind having to take my car in on a regular monthly schedule. That I can plan for. It's the unschedule service interruptions, or the risk of, that makes many people uneasy about certain marques. Showing up in office on time is the least of concerns; I can give myself a whole week off if I so desire, pre-planned . . . however, when there is an appointment with a client, I can't afford to be late.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    How could any of that be true when a car like the LS430 usually wins over a bunch of more driver orientated cars?

    When it comes to cars like the Camry and Accord, nearly everything about them is dead equal so why not give the nod to the car that provides a better driving experience in addition to all the quality/reliability (i.e. boring) stuff that buyers usually look for?

    When two cars are pretty much evenly matched everywhere else why shouldn't the victory go to a car that provides a better driving experience?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Searing post. What would you like to see them do? If they get to bogged down in engineering don't they run the risk of becoming stuffy or boring?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I would rather see a progression of the S Class chassis 109,116,126,104,220, and finish with the new 221. Maybe on the Nurburgring changing chassis as it appears and disappears thru the banking and the old long strait. That is my kind of history lesson.

    Ok, maybe, just maybe this is something like Designman is talking about? This would be great too imo. You should foward that idea. On Autospies they have a lot of pics of the S-Class launch in Arizona and they had the entire S-Class lineup present to convey exactly what you're talking about.

    Pic

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Well, I seared everyone. MB happened to be the topic du jour.

    I feel like I’m at work now. I don’t know, there are so many ways to advertise Mercedes, we'd have to do some mining. Mercedes can be stuffy without being arrogant. One thing that comes to mind is the safety angle since this is high on priority for buyers and is one of the major MB benefits. Also, they have been innovators. And then there is the badge. Tons can be done around that alone.

    But remember the big idea, the killer concept. I thought the Mustang ad at last years Super Bowl was not exactly killer, but was pretty powerful. That’s the one that played to the tune of Hendrix’ Star Spangles Banner IIRC. The big one cannot always be achieved, but there are plenty of effective ways to get into the buyer’s head.

    BMW has a killer slogan in the ultimate driving machine. I have to believe this term has gotten more mileage than any other effort in the history of auto advertising. I think Ford’s aerodynamics-oriented advertising with the first Taurus in the 80s was also big.

    It takes major efforts, research and sound thinking to come up with effective ad campaigns. If this interests anyone, do yourself a favor and read David Ogilvy’s “Ogilvy on Advertising.” The ads demonstrated are all dated now, but fundamentals are very clear and relevant today. And it’s just simply interesting and entertaining. He was a guru’s guru.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Oh how I miss my 300SEL.
    MB if nothing else, offers an endless array of subject matter.
    I had a 67 Cadillac conv. power seats, cruise, tilt wheel, etc. Compared to my 70's 300SEL manual seats and Becker radio... I wonder what people thought or said back then. How did they sell a lux. veh. with no lux. accessories?

    Anyone old enough to have walked into a MB showroom in the 70's ?
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    not only do I not drive my cars to the limit, I don't even buy cars that excell at being driven to the limit . . .

    I avoided a deer in a 06 R Class at 100mph. by performing a complete lane change to the shoulder and back. I assure you, every handling aspect of this vehicle came into play. When I say avoided I mean I only nicked her foot but she jumped square into my lane in the dark. "alls I'm sayin"
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