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High End Luxury Cars

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  • cashcarcashcar Posts: 15
    Howard talks about sex so much, one
    has to wonder if he also has a huge
    supply of Viagra in his A8
    glove box. Is he good enough to take
    the A8 to 160 on the Autobahn
    or a track? Is he all show instead
    of all go? The long hair makes one
    ponder.
  • cashcarcashcar Posts: 15
    Seems like you don't really love
    cars. You seem intent on the best
    deal, not the best car.
  • cashcarcashcar Posts: 15
    Truly successful CEO's wear their
    designer "bespoke" suits with the
    labels sewn on the inside, not the
    outside of their garments.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    and not worry about Howard Stern and who wears what, okay?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Welcome back. ;)

    I agree with Tony - yes, you've been missed.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I miss you input. I could use a hand in here!

    DrFill
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Saints preserve us, another prodigal son returns. Oac, glad to see you back. I missed the color commentary you provide around here. I hope all is well. By the way, when you were gone this forum came to the conclusion that Mercedes is better than Lexus.

    ;-)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Now, now ... we always welcome prodigal sons, we don't need to send them into apoplexy!!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Welcome back oac. You've missed an riveting debate on the meaning of the word "loser". Shall we all move on to debate what the meaning of the word "is" is? :)
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Tony, LG, drfill, Designman, Pat, etc...

    And for the good laughs from Designman and LG... Yes, MB is solidly ahead of Lexus around here, afterall we had a staunch Lexusophile (Sam) move over to MB. BTW, congrats Sam for the new S430. You have a fine automobile and some of us are plainly jealous of you, in a good-natured way, of course.

    DrFill, you are doing splendidly well ! So are ljflx and LG. As for the MB crowd, well we do have some very good posters around now. Its all good. Makes for more spirited debates, and Pat losing more of his/her hair :):):)

    Truly glad to be back to Edmunds, and of course my fav board - HELM.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Pat has precious little hair to lose - keeping that in mind would be mucho appreciated.

    :sick: ;) :D
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    About seven months ago as we recall, Porsche announced what was perceived by some to be reckless or at least curious plans to buy an approximate 20% stake in Volkswagen. At the time, plenty of people were scratching their heads wondering what kind of sense it made. The general consensus in the forums was that it made no sense at all. Afterall, VW is teetering and Porsche has never been healthier. There is an interesting article in the April issue of Excellence magazine entitled “A Family Affair” that seems to provide some clarity, and it appears to have insight that has not appeared in any other media talk on the subject.

    The Porsche-VW relationship is long and convoluted. It is a saga that has familial, emotional, historical and financial implications. Its roots are deep. An interesting part of the plot is the Snidely Whiplash role that Mercedes plays in the eyes of Porsche royalty, which started with the firing of progenitor Ferdinand Porsche from Daimler-Benz in the 1920s, and extends right up to today with Porsche’s 20% stake in VW as partly a move to keep Daimler-Chrysler from keeping its mitts off VW.

    Dr. Porsche’s grandson Ferdinand Piech of VW fame emerges not only as the key player, but a kingpin who has the full support of the dozens of Porsche’s and Piechs who have a controlling interest in Porsche, in spite of Piech being portrayed by the press as somewhat of a buffoon thanks to Phaeton and the follies of VW, and perhaps a megalomaniac when ventures such as Phaeton and Veyron are considered.

    As far as Porsche’s financial interest, consider this. Porsche Holding, a company also owned by the Porsche’s and Piechs, is the distributor for Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche. With VW as Germany’s largest car company and Porsche the most profitable, the revenue is considerable, so just add 2 and 2.

    And when you consider the role the German government plays as an 18% owner of VW it becomes clearer still. As VW flounders, the government does not want to make job cuts that are deemed necessary by common-sense business practices. There are efforts to repeal Germany’s maximum 20% ownership rule because it is considered restraint of trade by the EU. If this happens as expected, and the government divests it interests, the Porsche/Peich family wants to protect the mutually beneficial arrangements that have been forged between VW and Porsche from takeover predators among other things.

    Among other things. The grudge against Mercedes.

    The Porsche-Peich descendants never forgot the supposedly unwarranted jilting the family patriarch Dr. Porsche received at the hands of Daimler-Benz. Plus, DB attempted to banish him in such a way as to prevent him from being recruited by competitors—sordid to say the least. Although this was long ago it seems Porsche will be vigilant and vengeful for quite some time. Include VW in there because Dr. Porsche is at the very heart and soul of VW. Not only did he design the original beetle, but he and Anton Peich, who married his daughter Louise and is Ferdinand Peich’s father, managed VW during the war. And for 25 years after the war, Porsche acted as VW’s engineering office. It is also said that VW covertly funded some major Porsche racing programs later on.

    Anyway, in the last half of the 20th Century Daimler-Benz assigned design contracts to Porsche engineering/consulting. It is suggested that this was an effort on Daimler Benz’s part to kiss and make up. The following is an anecdote from the article which I find to be hilarious. Not only does Porsche seem to defy business acumen, it says what kind of neighbors share a fence in Stuttgart. I think it speaks volumes about the disdain and mistrust the Porsche family has for Mercedes, and how it is rooted in their psyche:

    “Early in the 1990s, when Porsche had capacity to spare, Mercedes asked it to engineer and produce the fast 500E as a gesture it hoped would be interpreted as friendly. In the mid-1990s, Daimler-Benz came close to forging an alliance with Porsche. Both had decided to build SUVs and there seemed good reason for them to cooperate in their design and manufacture. Toward the end of 1996, the deal was on track for signing. There would be a Porsche version of the coming M-Class, with the two companies sharing the overall engineering costs and certain components.

    The parties sat for a final discussion. Across the table from the Porsche contingent, said Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking, ‘someone on the board said they would want a small piece of the company.’ This was as a red flag to a bull. Wiedeking knew that the Porsches and Piechs would never entertain such an idea.. ‘I’m not spending a second to discuss this.’ rejoined the Porsche chief. ‘Let’s close the books on this right now.’ The other party was dumbfounded that Wiedeking wouldn’t even talk about the idea of a Mercedes shareholding in Porsche, but for the Porsche man ‘even one share would be too much. I didn’t even speak to the shareholders about it.’ He knew they wouldn’t tolerate even a chink that might give Daimler-Benz access to ownership in Porsche.”


    Wow, it seems Porsche knows how to spit into the wind. And to add some perspective you have to consider that they gave DB the finger at a precarious time, when a jump start was needed and the Boxster was yet to be released. I guess you can’t help but wonder what would have become of that MB/Porsche SUV, not that it matters because Cayenne was extremely successful regardless. Is it possible the jilt was planned all along and that Porsche actually went in with a chip on its shoulder? Nah, these are sober, serious business people, right? Gotta wonder.

    Needless to say, Porsche interest in VW is rock-solid, genetic, has plenty of financial implications that were already in place for some time, and seems determined to exclude Daimler-Chrysler as a suitor. What will happen to VW, Europe’s largest car maker? Who knows, but the Porsche/Peich family seems to think it is a good investment. Hmm, I guess none of them participate in these forums.

    One thing seems sure. Sink or swim, Porsche and VW are attached at the hip. Blood is thick and apparently none is thicker than that of Ferdinand Piech, a veteran auto exec/engineer who is chairman of VW’s supervisory board and also a member of Porsche’s supervisory board, the man who gave us Phaeton and Veyron, the man who masterminded the stock purchase and, perhaps most importantly, the most influential family descendant in a bloodline that sits at or near the top of Germany’s automotive royalty.

    Interesting stuff.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Thanks, designman, for taking the time to write this and adding to my understanding of the business side of the auto industry. If this keeps up, I can cancel all my magazine subscriptions and just spend all my free time reading Edmunds forums.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Pat has precious little hair to lose - keeping that in mind would be mucho appreciated.

    OMG, do we finally have an answer to the "Pat, The Androgenous Host" question? :confuse:
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Welcome back, oac! I'm glad to see your "permanent" leave-taking turned out not to be so permanent.

    As you will see, I don't think too many of us have changed our minds or biases over the past few months, but I think we have been doing a much better job of finding ways to disagree without being disagreeable - even with the recent discussion of the word "Loser".
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    we have been doing a much better job of finding ways to disagree without being disagreeable - even with the recent discussion of the word "Loser".

    garyh1 is definately right about that! Welcome back, oac. I guess it's true . . . never say never.

    oac - If you've read the posts, you know I'm guilty as charged for injecting the word "loser" . . . but honestly, I never thought it would go that far. In the end though, a lot of good dialogue came out of it, so I feel redeemed. After all, as you well know, things could have gone a lot worse. As I think about it, most of the guys were actually darned nice about it . . . they could have really grilled me on it, but they never did. And as amazing as it sounds, Pat only had to step in one time as I recall, and it may have been about something else anyway.

    Look forward to your spirited contributions! :)

    designman - that was a nice piece about the Porsche & VW relationship . . . very cool.

    TagMan
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,067
    Well, I picked up the 2002 RL yesterday. It reminds me a lot of the 93 Legend that served me well for 4 years. This is a very nice car but not, imo, a true luxury sedan when compared to the benchmark Lexus. I expect it to do all I ask for the next few years. I will let everyone know if there are any surprises, good or bad.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    "That kinda does for the Audi line"

    I find that sticking a "loser" badge on the ENTIRE Audi line is just flat-out blasphemy. Take the A4, a great car with some class leading technology and available AWD, long before any carmaker in this field decided to start this. In fact, it has been quoted several times that Audi is the force behind carmakers offering AWD in the mid/high luxury car field. The FSi engines and DSG transmissions are years ahead of other direct injection and sequential shift(ie: BMW SMG, Maserati/Ferrari's F1, with there abrupt shift quality ) transmission.

    So in order to slap a "loser" sticker on a car, one would know what it takes to eventually become a loser. A car's merit shouldn't be based on how many we see on the road on a daily basis, but how well the car delivers on the promise told. And my A8 more than delivers.

    No other carmaker in the biz(Maybach, Bentley, RR, and Maser with-holding) delivers the craftsmanship and build quality of Audi, yes not even Lexus. It's this impeccable finish that drags me and 5500 other U.S. "losers" a year to buy an Audi A8. The car is such a loser, yet in fact, it remains on the best pick lists of many publications and European journals.

    Yes there are other very interesting entries in this arena. I for one am in love with the S550, not so much so with the upcoming still-conservative LS460, altho it too will bring new technology and a first-ever LWB variant.

    But when Mercedes first released pictures of the S550, people were quick to gawk in horror that they screwed up the world's premiere luxury car. But when it hit the streets and auto shows, the gawks turned into ooooosss and ahhhhhs, even more quickly. Is this car still a loser, or just because it's a Merc and will sell well, we can some how miraculously forgive it and put it in the winners circle??????
  • cashcarcashcar Posts: 15
    Great job!!!
    At least someone who is truly informed
    giving an education to those who would
    like to expand their mental data base instead of indulging in personal likes and dislikes and uninformed comment.

    Piech is an engineering and financial genius. The Phaeton engineering platform and factory capabilities in Dresden will provide the new genetic code for all vehicles on which Piech has influence. It provides VW with a "halo car" and enables him to upmarket all other VW products. He also gets to sell a ton of Phaetons as Bentley GT's and four door Flying Spurs to those who must wear their designer labels, not the inside, but the outside of their clothing. The Brits refer to the "New" Bentleys as "a Phaeton in a hand made suit". Pretty clever for the much maligned Dr. Piech.

    By the way, if I recall, it was Piech who created the AWD revolution with the Quattro when at Audi in the 1980's.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Enjoy. As I said before, those first gen RLs are pretty much the exact opposite of the new car, very simple, old-tech that should last forever. In contrast, C&D's (or it may have been Motortrend's) long term '05 RL test car had the "in the shop more than its out" syndrome. Acura quality hasnt been so hot lately.
  • cashcarcashcar Posts: 15
    I agree, the Audi A8 is truly a great car.
    Mine has served me well for over 150,000 miles, and still going strong.I have two
    other Audis at my home in New Mexico, a 2004 A64.2 for my wife and a 2004 S4 for
    myself. In all, I have had twelve Audis,
    beginning with the Audi Quattro Sport
    in 1983.

    "American Idol" may have a huge audience, but that does not make a great and
    memorable TV show. Popularity does not
    equate to quality or greatness.

    The only "losers", if there are any, are
    those who fail to understand and
    appreciate the qualities of the A8. After
    all caviar too is an acquired taste.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Thanks for that interesting post. I find that a lot of people have some sort of misunderstanding about Audi cars in general. They're not your run of the mill cars. Not the fastest, prettiest(arguably), or most wanted. But this makes them losers? I think not.

    My A8 W-12 has also been a model of reliablity and refinement.

    And yes, caviar is an acquired taste. Just like purchasing an Audi, albeit it might be more tasteful.;)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The term "loser" has been badly overstated here in many posts and I'm sure Tagman wishes he could take back that original post. But to equate selection of an expensive car to quality and popularity of a free TV show is way off the mark. The truth of the matter is that the A8 is simply not popular here and all the dressing up given in these posts isn't changing that. Either there is no value perceived in the upfront new market or the after market or consumers simply don't consider Audi a real lux plate in the US. Audi should search for the reasons why. Something is missing in their formula here and ultimately flagship cars that are not popular are either discontinued or fated to serve as loss leaders for the brand. Plain and simple that is the story of the A8 in the US no matter how you want to cut it.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Interesting assumption, altho I disagree sharply. The fact is the A8 has what it takes to compete, and then some. Yes some cars are discontinued after slow sells and public disdain or distaste, but not so with the A8. Even the problematic '97-'03 variants couldn't force Audi to stop importing them in.

    And it has to be repeated. The A8 is NOT considered a top lux plate yet it is a popular pick to go head to head with the best of Europe. Even the wicked CR has it as a best pick, so does Consumer Guide and a ton of other publications, both here and abroad.

    And you're right. When the "typical" luxury car buyer is ready for a purchase, hardly is the A8 at the top of the heap. Usually it's Merc, BMW, Lexus, even Cadillac. It's just one of those things.

    I happen to like the fact that to see an A8 on the road is far and few between. However it does have it's gripes. The small dealer connection means longer travels for service, but that shouldn't be the sole reason to banish the car.

    I agree with the assumption that something is missing in the A8 U.S. Audi has a habit of not spending any time or money to promote these cars, better focusing on the bread-n-butter A3/4. But that's Audi's upper management, not the A8 itself. As I've stated many times: To own one goes with pleasure.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The SC doesn't offer the pop-up rollbar, or the performance-oriented acrynyms the Benz does, but it's interior is more luxurious (you have a tristed way of admitting this), and offered the same speed and power for 3 years. A quarter-mile charge was pretty much a dead heat!

    So in other words it is missing a safety item that even a VW Beetle Cabrio has? Pretty awful for 65K, IMO. The SL550 (now arriving) erases any similarities the SC430 and SL500 had in straight-line performance and nothing about the SC430 feels or could make it drive like the Benz.

    Very little effort was expended on the SL's interior. So you call the SC guady and tasteless. I call the SL a generally weak effort, not befitting it's $100k-encroaching price tag.

    Right and more effort was put into the interior of the SC430 to make up for its lacking safety specification, performance and styling. With Lexus its the same thing, lots of beige plastic, wood and kill'em dead with sound systems and leather, but the car doesn't drive or look like anything. This is why I say the SC430 is the last choice in the segment for anyone that is thinking or wanting anything beyond the normal luxury sedan attributes.

    The SC sold 17k units in 2003. Name me a premium convertible that sold that many?

    This statement is very misleading because you do realize that the "2002" SC430 went on sale in April of 2001 and that Lexus is counting all of the 2002 model year sales, which is way more than 12 months, to arrive at this figure. Come on now did you really think you'd get away with that? I'm sure the CLK and SL sold more than that if we added April-Dec from the calendar year before the actual model year. So to "name" a premium convertible that could sell 17K units, any of them (well any Mercedes convertible) could if you're going to use nearly 2 years worth of sales to arrive at the 17K figure.

    You seem awfly impressed with the queer styling of the CLK, which has gone from clear E-class derivitive to....queer. How about something appraching the impcat the original SC had? Will we see that from Mercedes? Or will we get an R350 instead?

    I find this really interesting. You're calling the CLK's styling queer, but you're defending a the ladybug/upside down bathtub look of the SC430? Heck yeah I'd take a CLK500 (soon to be CLK550) Cabrio over a SC430 and as far as the original SC400 is concerned it is for 1) in the past 2) nothing from Lexus has looked as good since and 3) Mercedes blew it out of the water with the original CLK and 2000 CL, which is easily (still) a better looking car than any Lexus. Timeless for a car that came out in 1999! I won't even mention what the current SL does to Lexus' 2-door lineup as far as looks, scorches.....

    The original SC400's impact was more because of what it offered, not because it was a stunning beauty.

    You love to talk about sales, but the SC430 doesn't outsell either the CLK or SL. It is very easy to pick on another segment laggard like the XLR.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm not sure where you got your 17k figure.... According to autochannel.com, Lexus sold 10,298 SC430s in 2003. Then they sold 9,708 in 2004 and 8,360 in 2005. Looks like a downward trend.

    Exactly, he was using 2002 model year sales, not the 2002 calendar year. The 2002 SC430 went on sale in spring of 2001 giving it nearly 9 extra months of sales for "2002".

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Lexus sells over 300k units a year from less than 200 stores, nationwide. And they sold 40k LS in 1992 for over $45k, which with inflation, puts it's price near Audi's A8 today. Numbers of dealers is no excuse.

    What does this have to do with Audi? Audi isn't run like Lexus (you'll like that comment). Audi struggles with an image problem and for its worth the A8 has sold much better since the 2004 model arrived.

    Again, this is why I think it is downright careless to point to sales as the final determining factor on how good a car is. There are many things that go into who sells what and how many.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I knew you couldn't stay away. Once the boards have you they've got you!

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    With this post you seem to be confusing or trying to muddy up the issue by talking about the Lexus brand instead of just the A8. The A8 has won at least one comparo over the LS430 in MT a while back.

    Lexus has conquered countries in 10 years, what has Audi done again?

    Besides the U.S. market in terms of sales, what other countries would those be?

    M
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