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High End Luxury Cars

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  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    BTW, anyone remember the car in the ad where a guy in a butler suit arranges lots of wine glasses pyramid-like on the hood of the car while the engine was running, to show how truly quiet the car was ?

    I'm pretty sure it was Lexus for the LS. It was later copied by Nissan (I think for the Altima) to show that Nissan could achieve the same thing at a lower price point.

    Lexus also did one where an old-fashioned phonograph played in an LS going over railroad ties, and didn't skip.

    Another ad that I find memorable, because it got the point across, was an old one for the 7 which had the car on a turntable, one side showing a plain 7 and the other, as it turned, a 7 in all sorts of racing stripes/decals.

    MB ads, on balance, I find to overemphasize status, which I find personally unappealing. For example, the entire nomenclature system, calling something the S-Class or G-Class or whatever, seems to try to highlight socioeconomic stratification. Like, if you buy MB, you're higher class than your neighbor.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    The IS is an outlier car for Lexus, hence it is the car that will showcase sport and what Lexus could do with handling if it wants to.

    Put another way, this is the Lexus that clearly should be sport first, luxury second. And from the visual inspection of the 2006 IS350 and the impressive spec sheet, it looks like it may hit the mark. Of course, we don't know anything about its underpinnings (suspension setup, gearing, etc) of this new car yet to suggest/imply if Lexus will actually leap ahead of the 3-series with the new IS. Hopefully, it will get into the auto rags hands prior to its October release so that we can get some *evaluations and analysis*.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Assuming the IS mounts a formidable challenge to the 3 and the reviews support this, I think they should position it as such in their advertising and be aggressive about it. The reviews alone are not going to make it fully achieve its sales potential. In addition to performance, there is a lot of BMW branding and brand loyalty to overcome. IMO they have to go directly at them. Also, don't forget that Lexus has to overcome its own image and branding if they want to sell a real sport sedan. It will not be easy since the new 3 appears to be better than the last one with regard to performance. This is BMW's turf. It will be exciting to watch. But I don't care how good the IS is, it has its work cut out.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    That was definitely the LS that did the ad - to emphasize the smoothness of the engine.

    I saw that MB ad on the E-class in the NY Times today. Based on the ad you're going to buy a car - at least in part - so that others envy you. Don't you just love ads that appeal to people's insecurities? The ad actually suggests insecurity as a reason to buy an MB. It's a dumb ad that should be pulled ASAP.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    This is BMW's turf. It will be exciting to watch. But I don't care how good the IS is, it has its work cut out.

    Agree.

    BUT, putting the new IS side-by-side with the new e90 shows the contrast in styling and interior appointments. The IS handily beats the Bimmer in both areas. Left to prove for Lexus are the handling, the brand image, and the buying public's interest. If Lexus hits any 2 of the 3, the new IS will be a huge success.

    BTW, did you read the WSJ or USA Today article (last week, I forget the date) where they reported on Toyota's incredible success with the youth market (Scion brand), the mid-level market with the hybrid (Prius), and the luxury market with its Lexus brand. They showcased a company that is on a fast track of success and it will take an act of nature to stop them. Quite a revealing article, imo....
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    A looker. In my opinion it's the most attractive vehicle in Toyota's kingdom. And thank God, because it's like a locust invasion.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "The IS handily beats the Bimmer in both areas"

    Sorry, that is only wishful thinking and you might add IMHO.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    Not sure what you mean by MB design coming back. The mid and late 90's iniated more stylish MB designs. The cars before that were far more bland and boxy. The S-class in the posted pix - IMO - is a noticable falloff from the current design and if it has that RL/7-series trunk deck then it's a big falloff. I also don't like the creased line on the side. Maybe its me but the S almost looks like a big Honda in those pix. The only car that looks good to me there is the CLK.. However, I do believe merc1 posted those pix a long time ago and dismissed them as fakes.

    How big is this new S supposed to be? I read somewhere that they are going back to the 209" range.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Speaking of social stratification etc., an old high school friend called recently and reminded me that in high school I was in the A Section and he in the C Section. The problem is he continued that the A Section students didn't do very well in their careers because they were too bookish. "That's why Mercedes has a C Class but no A Class!"

    Oac, you are absolutely right. MB should flaunt their 116 years of German engineering, technology, etc. But, and this is the point I was gently making, if all they flaunt is status because they can't/won't talk reliability, durability, four valves per cylinder, goes like mach snell (forgive my GI German) etc. then they are on the slippery slope to becoming just a bauble. Like Rolex is today. Simply a consumer good with no inherent perceived differences other than it is a status object. Like Izod used to be (until it lost its status because consumers in the mid-60's found the jerseys were cut wierd because the French moved the production to Asia).
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    A Section students didn't do very well in their careers because they were too bookish...

    You know what they say, too much education hurts the brain....But seriously, MB has the A-class; its just not sold in the US (yet).

    image
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Typical life cycle of a brand. Most historically successful brands go through that cycle. Brands typically first acquired recognition because their dependability, be it Rolex, or Rolls-Royce, or Daimler-Benz, or Pan Am. Then the subsequent generations of managers try to capitalize on such recognition and make more profit, which is okay so long as they keep up the products and services; eventually someone comes along and push the steak-vs-hamburg logic they learned in economics 101 to the extreme, and actually believe that they can keep up the brand simply by charging more and more money, never mind the products and services. It's all down hill after that. Every brand goes through that, assuming they ever attain a degree of recognition at all.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    > But if you put sport before luxury as the 5-Series and M45 do

    That's not true at all. Having owned two 5 series previously, I know quite well what 5 series is about. 5 series is BMW's family sedan, with luxury and sporty pretensions. In case you did not notice, the bulk of 5 series sales are with carry-over 3-series engines. If you want sport before luxury, get a 3 series, same engine, ligter weight and more tidy dimensions.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You're right this is tiring, but what you're simply incorrect about what Lexus stated goal was. They said point blank that the 5-Series was the competitor for the GS, and that means sports sedans to people who keep up with such things. They did so enuciate that goal. I didn't event anything. You're trying to frame the argument by saying things like "out sport" and "flat out" which are words I have never used anywhere here. Of course they didn't say anything like that, no car company ever does in a press release about a new car.

    Based on early sales and on winning most of the comparos against the 5, I'd say they've achieved at least some success against the goals that they actually stated as opposed to the goal that you invented for them.

    Sales don't mean they've built a true 5-Series competitor unless you know somehow that a great deal of these sales aren't from existing Lexus customers and are instead from 5-Series converts. The car sells on its on merits, which are far from being bad, but sales don't automatically mean that the 5-Series has been met on its terms.

    The reviews speak for themselves. The Road and Track comparo is most telling. They clearly state as a sports sedan contest that the 545i and M45 is where the true "contest" was after a few days of driving all three cars. There is no way to rephrase what the basic outcome is in test in which sport is put first. The 5 and M45 top the GS in that area. Doesn't mean that the GS isn't sporty or that it is like the LS/ES. It just isn't as sporty as the true sports sedans in its class.

    Have you actually driven a current 5 or GS? (I haven't.)

    Well I have. I actually drove the GS300, GS430 and M45 back to back. I've driven the 545i twice since it came out. Another reason why I say you need to drive the cars in order to get what I and the reviewers are saying. The M45 Sport in particular is an animal when pushed. Totally different from the GS430. The only car we didn't drive that day was the RL. Also, in the Car and Driver comparo didn't power come up as a compliant about the 530i? Yep. They clearly state that they might not being saying the same things if the V8 was present.

    BTW, while I accept that some may view the 5 as having better sporting qualities than the new GS, others don't seem to.

    All I can say is see Road and Track, June issue. There are plenty of "others" that see this. I'm not sure why you don't see what Automobile was looking for when they put the A6, GS and E in the top three spots, that to me says they weren't looking for sport first like the R&T test. As such Automobile put the M45 and 545i near the bottom whereas R&T put them 1st and 2nd. If that doesn't clearly prove different priorities I don't know what does.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    you're simply incorrect about what Lexus stated goal was

    I'm still waiting to see some quotes.

    They said point blank that the 5-Series was the competitor for the GS

    I accept this, and the GS has so far won a majority of the comparos against the 5, so far as I am aware. So they seem to be competing reasonably well against the 5.

    5-Series was the competitor for the GS...and that means sports sedans

    That's what it means to merc1. You keep saying sports sedans as opposed to luxury sports sedans. Do you think BMW considers the 5 to be the former or the latter?

    Bottom line is: Lexus wanted to compete better against the 5-series with the new GS, and has won a majority of the comparos against it, as far as I am aware. The company's stated objective has been reasonably-well achieved. Not 100% achieved because Lexus has failed to compete against the 5-series when it comes to merc1's and R&T's notion of what a sports sedan should be, while succeeding in competing against the 5 when it comes to C&D's and Automobile's notion of what a luxury sports sedan should be .
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    BTW on the C&D comparo, the 530 placed 6th and the GS430 2nd. I'm perfectly willing to believe that had they tested a 545, BMW would have placed better than 6th. But would they have leaped ahead by 4 places to finish ahead of the GS? That's an open question. A higher dollar cap would have allowed the GS to be more heavily optioned (against a stripped 545). And you still haven't answered how testing a 545 rather than a 530 would have fixed this problem that C&D pointed out:

    the manumatic six-speed in our test car...resisted our inputs with pigheaded obduracy, particularly on the tight Streets of Willow road course, where it would simply ignore requests. Other times it would shift without being asked.

    Would a car with a fault like that really finished 1st or 2nd? Somehow, a manumatic that sometimes ignores requests and other times shifts without being asked doesn't sound like a proper luxury sport sedan to me. But maybe that's just me, and the true cognoscenti of the sport sedan world really prefer it that way.

    Just as an aside, since we're on the subject of transmissions, one of the reasons I've never owned an MB is that when I tested the E back in 1998, the transmission would sometimes upshift or downshift at times that made no sense at all. That was a real turnoff. (I'm sure its fixed now, but these days I have more reason to be concerned about MB's reliability and customer service.)
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "One thing which will set the IS500 apart will be economy. Engineers are focused on developing a motor which not only produces massive muscle, but also uses very little fuel when cruising. The car will feature a 5.0-litre V8 boasting 400bhp...But Lexus bosses are not resting on their laurels, as they also plan to produce a mighty 500bhp version of the LS, powered by a 5.0-litre V8 hybrid unit. This LS600h is said to offer super-saloon space with the economy of a V6."
    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/55833/lexus_muscles_in.html
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That's what it means to merc1. You keep saying sports sedans as opposed to luxury sports sedans. Do you think BMW considers the 5 to be the former or the latter?

    Thats because for one Lexus mentioned BMW's 5-Series as the competitor to the GS and a BMW is a sports luxury sedan first as opposed to a luxury sports sedan. One drive and you can see and feel where the priorities lie. This is why BMW and Mercedes have co-existed for years. Infiniti and Lexus are working out a similar relationship.

    I'm sure you can find the press releases and articles if you chose to do so. To declare the 5-Series or BMW in general as the target means meating BMW on their turf. Lexus hasn't done that. Everyone else remembers when Lexus delcared BMW as the target and 5-Series specifically as the target for the GS.

    Bottom line is: Lexus wanted to compete better against the 5-series with the new GS, and has won a majority of the comparos against it, as far as I am aware. The company's stated objective has been reasonably-well achieved. Not 100% achieved because Lexus has failed to compete against the 5-series when it comes to merc1's and R&T's notion of what a sports sedan should be, while succeeding in competing against the 5 when it comes to C&D's and Automobile's notion of what a luxury sports sedan should be .

    Actually the bottom line isn't that the GS has won the majority of the comparos its been in. First of all the 530i vs. the GS430 is ridiculous on C&D's part, that test wasn't fair to BMW or Lexus or the readers who know better than to put two so unevenly matched cars in a comparo. The only other test in which the GS430 beat the 545i is in Automobile where they put luxury before sport. In the Road & Track test where sport is put first the GS430 lost out to the 545i and the M45. The way I see it they both have a win over each other, depending on the criteria being used to evaluate them.

    Do you think BMW considers the 5 to be the former or the latter?

    Do you really have to ask that question about a BMW? Of course BMW considers itself a sports sedan first in anything short of a 7-Series.

    BTW on the C&D comparo, the 530 placed 6th and the GS430 2nd. I'm perfectly willing to believe that had they tested a 545, BMW would have placed better than 6th. But would they have leaped ahead by 4 places to finish ahead of the GS? That's an open question.

    Incorrect. The GS430 finished third. You are correct as to whether the 545i would have beat the GS, but thats all speculation. The Road and Track comparo proves that as a sports sedan the 545i and M45 are better at the job. You're trying to discredit the R&T review because it only proves my point.

    Also in the C&D test, the 530i it still beat the GS430 in the "Chassis" department quite easily, this being the area where how a car drives (i.e. sport) is measured. It even managed to tie with the much more powerful GS in fun to drive also.

    The "Powertrain" section is where the BMW lost the most points compared to the GS430. Check the stats yourself.

    Seems to me a 545i would have scored much better with that V8.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I drew a lot of heat for saying as much, but if you look in the new road &track issue, there is a blurb about the new M-class that says, paraphrasing, something to this effect. 'the vehicle credited with starting the whole suv-that-drives-like-a-car craze is back with a whole new model for 2006.' I didn't write the page # down, but it was somewhere in the first ten pages or so, and I'll check to see if it's on the web, it should be.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Point taken. When you first talked about the M as inventing a category, it really didn't occur to me that you meant carlike-riding-SUV since the ML was body on frame and as I had viewed the it as being more notable for its accessible pricepoint. Maybe I was wrong, I wasn't following the ML very closely back then. I can't remember why exactly but I didn't even consider it before buying an RX back in 1999.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    A quote from the star ledger today

    "While most consumers are concerned about gas prices at the local service station, many are unaware diesel, which fuels trucks and some manufacturers has increased even more".

    Anyone know why diesel prices are rising so much?

    Given the lack of demanfd for diesel by today's cars it would seem that If there really was a move to diesel cars in the future, diesel fuel costs would skyrocket.
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