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High End Luxury Cars

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  • vw phaeton owner...20k miles and need new rotors and pads...170 for set of pads....310 for front rotors and 300 for labor.... :(
  • Ljflx, agreed. If you have a strong brand and a strong dealer network you are unbeatable. BUT, I am surprised by your statement about Lexus dealers having "lots of flexibility allowed by Lexus in pricing." Thats a recipe for brand disaster. Strong brands insist on some form of price fixing/cartel pricing, however illegal. Brands that come to mind are Rolex, Caterpillar, Budweiser (at the distributor level), etc. Sure different dealers may give you deal sweeteners but they can't/won't discount the product. Or at a minimum, they won't advertize it, discount it and sell out of their trading area.

    I think that brands with a big dealer profit margin are setting themselves up for discounting and the prostitution of the line. I've always thought that M/B was smart to have a 6 (or is it 7?) points between list and dealer net. No matter how low class the dealer wanted to act, he wasn't going to be able to diminish the brand by heavily discounting the product, selling it in other territories, and stay in busines.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    "lots of flexibility allowed by Lexus in pricing."

    Meant it in the context that Lexus doen't have the constraints that MB has with the tight differential between dealer invoice and MSRP. IMO - this tight constraint is not representative of business realities and is about as meaningful as the 55mph speed limit. For all intent and purposes it is a total failure as are most restrictive business constraints in any line of business. On top of that tight business constraints add a lot of red tape and un-needed admin work (on both the retail and mfr side) and slow sales. The Lexus formula is much smarter and allows for a free market and is the ultimate in capitalism. You have to maintain certain high lux dealership standards and score high in customer surveys in order to get high financial benefits/incentives from Lexus and you can only maintain such standards if you are financially strong. Hence this type of crosschecking doesn't allow for discounting or brand dilution in any way shape or form - and that is very obvious in the lease deals. In fact it does the exact opposite and promotes renewed purchases, high margins and high customer satisfaction levels - all of which you see and are some of the qualitative reasons behind the high multiples of a Lexus dealership. The whole process just feeds on itself and is built on the type of premises that long-term bonus plans are built on.

    "Or at a minimum, they won't advertize it, discount it and sell out of their trading area."

    If MB lease deals of $479-799 on cars from 54-80K that I have routinely been seeing for so long now that I lost track of time are not brand dilution (and advertised brand dilution at that) then I don't know what is. Those deals cause poor resales (which we see and which also causes brand dilution) and make someone think twice about buying in the future - unless they intend to hold the car forever.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Hmmmmmm....now from the BMW group?
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    I realized I did not give all info on 05 S500 rotor and pad replacement.

    Labor Type: CG Labor Sold Hours: 2.00 Labor Sale Amount: 116.00
    │ Labor Parts Misc. Subtotal Tax Total
    │ 116.00 433.91 0.00 549.91 50.86 600.77

    ││Part Number Description Qty O.H. A.Q. Sale Amt
    ││000-989-08-07-10 CH Brake Fluid 1 0 0 16.90
    ││001-989-94-51 CH Brake Paste 1 41 40 3.41
    ││003-420-89-20 Brake Pads 1 4 4 121.52
    ││211-540-17-17 Brake Sensor 2 14 0 17.68 DP
    ││220-421-09-12 Brake Disc 2 5 5 274.40 DP

    Notice we don't charge misc shop fee or environmental fee B.S. for rags/ fluid disposal etc.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    What kind of car?

    Chrysler 300M Special
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    ...
    Notice we don't charge misc shop fee or environmental fee B.S. for rags/ fluid disposal etc.


    After charging $600 for a brake job, you had better not! :(
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I wouldn't know.
    No problems.
    12.5 years of BMW's.
    Only been in for oil, chocolate chip cookies and cocoa.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    ljflx, I humbly disagree about the relatationship between thin margins and a dealer's propensity to prosititute a market place. IMHO strong brands have very tight controls on their dealers to include thin margins. (When a CAT dealer principal is in his mid 50's he must already have a CAT approved succession plan in place. Most Cummins Engine distributorships are owned by and/or resold to former Cummins exec's. No CAT or Cummins distributor would dare ship so much as 29 cent gasket out of their territory.)

    The M B lease deals you cite must be factory subvented if the dealer's gross is only 6 or 7 points at best. Clearly, on this thin margin he can't subsidize them. (On the other hand, I heard the -yes, there is only one- MB dealer principal in ME complain once that he wasn't as profitable as he would be if located in a large metro area because Mainers buy, not lease. He claims he would do far more gross on a MB lease.)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I think the Lexus dealer business model, dealer profits, success of the Lexus brand and the prices the dealerships sell for speak for themselves. It's a highly capitalistic and very successful approach. I've never seen tight constraints in competitive businesses work in my life and never expect that I will. They are business restrictive and the constraints are constantly violated. They can only work - without being violated (and by violated I mean allowed discounting by the parent mfr. as well as a dealer finding new limits) in a very low or non-competive enviroment. I guarantee you MB dealers were a lot more successful before the tight constraints than they are now.

    We'll just have to disagree on this one.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Lexus doen't have the constraints that MB has with the tight differential between dealer invoice and MSRP. IMO - this tight constraint is not representative of business realities and is about as meaningful as the 55mph speed limit. For all intent and purposes it is a total failure as are most restrictive business constraints in any line of business.

    I absolutely agree with this. Generally restrictive business practices such as presented by MB a number of years ago is counter-productive.

    TagMan
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    What kind of car?

    Chrysler 300M Special

    As stated: 05 S500
    That would be a large sedan manufactured by Daimler Chrysler marketed in the U.S. under the Mercedes-Benz marque. :P
    This is a thread about luxury cars remember.....hahahahhaha
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    As stated: 05 S500
    That would be a large sedan manufactured by Daimler Chrysler marketed in the U.S. under the Mercedes-Benz marque.
    This is a thread about luxury cars remember.....hahahahhaha


    :confuse:

    Hmm... It appears you completely missed the point of my post. It was in reference to dealer "greed." Please see post #14114.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Yes, in 2000 with the launch of the S Class 220 Chassis there was a restructure in margin to 7.5% from the previous 13 (or so). This was an attempt to stabilize the pricing and force the dealers to concentrate on their local market hence negating the need for buyers to "shop" other markets for the lowest price. In fact, it was stated that we would go to a nonnegotiable price structure. This was not forced by MB but suggested.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    :blush:
    Excuse me while I wipe the egg off my face. I am assuming you are stating the type of car mentioned in the satt radio post 14115/14117. My apologies for the unintentional flame.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Yes, in 2000 with the launch of the S Class 220 Chassis there was a restructure in margin to 7.5% from the previous 13 (or so). This was an attempt to stabilize the pricing and force the dealers to concentrate on their local market hence negating the need for buyers to "shop" other markets for the lowest price. In fact, it was stated that we would go to a nonnegotiable price structure. This was not forced by MB but suggested

    Notice how the manufacturer wanted to sell their cars by "suggesting"/imposing restrictive dealer margins that help the manufacturer maintain a competetive price structure, at the sacrifice of the dealer's profits and not their own.

    Further, any "suggestion" that buyers should be limited in their search for competitive prices is absurd.

    It's just plain too much tampering and interference by the mnanufacturer.

    It's one thing in this country to have price controls in effect with regards to some of our public utilites, but a luxury car is an entirely different situation.

    Mercedes can package that BS any way they want to, but the stink is clear. If Mercedes Benz has any serious concerns about their lofty prices, then they should not look to the dealer's margin for a solution. They need to take a long hard look in the mirror for the answer.

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Here's a little blurb about MB sales in February.

    link title

    A sign of things to come?
  • I just wanted to chime in with my great experience with my '06 XJ Super V8. I am not a die hard Jaguar fan, have not dreamed about owning a Jag all my life. I did not intend to buy a Jaguar this time around. But having done so, I am really happy. Here is my story.

    I had owned a two Cadillac Eldorado STS from 1995 through 2000. I enjoyed the sporty response and rapid acceleration. But when they announced that the model would be discontinued, I decided it would be a good time to step up in the world. At that time, the updated Lexus LS430 was introduced and it fit my budget. I owned it from 2001 through 2005. I had 68,000 problem-free, quiet, comfortable, mind-numbingly boring miles. It could go fairly fast, and with the "European Sport Package" could take corners fairly well, but it really didn't want to go fast or corner hard. As the lease came to an end, I resolved to get something more engaging. (Yes, a lease with 68,000 miles--what was I thinking?)

    I test drove everything that was supposed to be a sporty sedan. (The wife required that it be a sedan.) I drove everything except the BMW 7 Series because it is still not good looking and no one I know has mastered the I-Drive.

    I was especially looking forward to the Audi A8 because all the car magazines rave about it, and my wife had once owned a 2001 Audi A4 3.0 with quattro, and it was SO fun to drive. I was expecting a A4 with legroom. Nope. Ponderous feeling. Noticeably not quick. And after the Lexus, unacceptable cabin noise.

    Drove the '07 MB S550 (a few were around the town available to drive). The best Lexus Mercedes ever made. Certainly much faster and better mannered than any MB I have driven before. (I have never been an MB fan.) Also nice looking, inside and out. But it just felt heavy and uninvolving. Other than the speed, it was difficult to see why I would pay $25,000 more than for a new Lexus. (And this was just before Lexus announced the new LS460.) I also tried a CLS55, which was extremely fast although it always felt as though it was working hard. The ride was not that punishing on the behind. But while the interior fit and finish looked nice, it somehow felt down-market. And it truly is a 4 door coupe. I doubted my wife would consider it a sedan.

    The Maserati Quattroporte made me smile so much. I even found a way to snag three test drives! But each time after the adrenaline wore off, I couldn't help but wonder about reliability, fuel costs, insurance costs, repair costs and availability of qualified mechanics. And it is pricy. I sure hope Maserati can match others' reliability in the long run. This is car that deserves to be in the market.

    So I was forced to drive a Jaguar. (I literally didn't want to because when the new aluminum model came out a few years ago I had sat in one and couldn't find a comfortable seat position.) I drove a JX8. It was nice. The dealer wanted me to try a XJR. I declined because I assumed it would be rougher riding than I had become used to. He talked me into trying a Super V8. Golly, it made me smile. Literally. Stupid fast, willing to run at the slightest provocation, so light and responsive. Quiet even when risking tickets for unlawful exhibition of speed. Smooth ride. And the extra seat buttons on the Super V8 got me into a comfortable driving position. So this is what Jaguar fans have been talking about all these years? I'm joining.

    I have had the car for 8 weeks and have 2,000 miles on it. No problems, mechanically, but did get one speeding ticket. I'm being careful now.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I wonder how that compares to the first month sales of the outgoing S, when it was brand new?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Hopefully so!

    M
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    I wonder how that compares to the first month sales of the outgoing S, when it was brand new?

    The 2000 S-Class was released (the 1st year of the previous body) in March 1999. The total MB units sold for that month was about 16k+, which is pretty close to the month of the 2007 S-Class release (Feb 2006) of 17k+. The 2000 S-Class sold 2403 units in its first month, while the 2007 sold 3360.

    Here's the link for reference: Autoworld.com
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Remember you are looking at sales/shipments to dealers not sales to Consumers. Same thing with Lexus on the nearly 4K IS sales and the huge November figures they had. The latter was just sales to dealers in anticipation of the December to Remember sale. It's not yet actually purchased by consumers though I'm sure some of these shipments stated are spoken for. How great the next two months of sales/shipments to dealers turn out to be is the real telling point of whether the February unit sales are really moving to consumers or are getting stockpiled into dealer inventory. I think many people read mfr. sales stats as thinking those are units sold to the public when in fact you are looking at wholessale stats.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Can you substantiate that post, LJ?

    Why would anyone publicly post wholesale shipments, and release that to the news as sales/registrations? That's beyond deceptive, and shouldn't be hard to be caught on.

    Could be quite a public relations nightmare, plus impunes the credibility of the reporting medias involved.

    DrFill
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Well - just think about it. Sales are reported on the first business day of the new month for the prior month. There is no way that each individual sale to a consumer - from every dealer in the US - is tabulated by an auto manufacturer, let alone verified for public release in real time or in such fast turn around time. Since this is public data that affects stock price there is no way anyone is releasing that type of data in this age of SEC scrutiny unless it comes from there own hardcore systems that they are 100% in control of. Just the infrastructure needed to support a real-time sales system at the dealer network would be a big undertaking. It would also be costly and error prone and hardly be trusted for reporting public data that is closely watched. It would only happen if it was reported on by a third party auditor and such a party would never release it that quickly. Clearly the figures are entirely based on each manufacturers production/delivery system of cars shipped from their factories to dealers and fleets. That is 100% verifiable by the mfr. Lastly was the S-class even available for sale on February 1st? Wouldn't Lexus December sales be a lot bigger than November if we were really seeing consumer sales given the big December promotion and all the holidays taken by businesses after December 15-20th. Pretty clear to me that you can always bank on Novemmber being a huge sales month for Lexus in advance of the December pronotion. BTW - I'm sick of the jingle but what a great marketing move that was. With all the days off people have after December 15th it's like Saturdays in Lexus dealerships almost every day in the latter half of December.

    The closest thing we have to real time public sales is the RL Polk registration data which is obtained from MV data of the states. I'm not sure they even get it from every state. We all know full well that government systems never report that quickly and most permanent registrations are delayed 1-2 weeks anyway. So at best that consumer data for February won't even be known until later in March. The Polk data is bought heavily by the auto mfs as that data enables them to make factory planning and production decisions as it shows what dealer inventory is moving and in what zipcodes.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm confused, are you the same "callmedrfill" from before?

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I like your logic . . . I like it a lot . . . but I would still like to know definatively the process for obtaining and reporting the sales data.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Actually he is right. There is no way every carmaker can get these numbers from all their dealers, process them and have them ready for their press releases the day after the month ends. This is the same reason why Ford is protesting that Chevy was the bestselling brand last year. Chevy made their claims based on cars they delivered to their dealers, but Ford went back and requested the actual number of cars registered and found out that they "sold" more cars to people than Chevy delivered to their dealers, or something like that.

    In an article about Chrylser the clarification on the sales reporting process is given. A quote:

    "Chrysler and other automakers record sales and revenues after vehicles are shipped to dealers rather than when they are purchased by a customer."

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    ljflx is also right about watching the next months to see whether or not the vehicles have actually been selling or whether or not the vehicles are merely building up in dealer's inventories.

    BTW, the link was informative. Thanks.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well if various mesg boards (besides edmunds) are any indication, the S-Class isn't sitting in many dealers's inventories anywhere. The are quite a vew posts on other boards about people getting angry about having to wait for the new S. The dealers around here certainly don't have any, not sure about the larger New York area, Florida and Cali markets.

    M
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