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High End Luxury Cars

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It is true what Designman said about performance buyers not putting reliability at such a high priority, but what I've tried to explain here is that a lot of European car buyers have always put reliability behind performance, design and other things that are largely irrelevent to Lexus buyers. Sure the average E and S-Class buyer expect reliability, but it isn't the end-all like it seems to be for every Lexus owner. People who buy, VW, Land Rover, Saab, Volvo, Audi, and now Mercedes have never put reliability as their number 1 priority, if they did the sales of these cars would never continue.

    You keep saying that Lexus was built on Mercedes' priciples. Beyond quality that statement isn't even close to being true. Lexus doesn't innovate nearly as much nor do they work as hard on safety. Mercedes was founded on those things, plus motorsports of all kinds...something Lexus doesn't begin to address. I'll give you that Lexus appears to have Mercedes' mastery of longevity with their cars.

    Merc likes to look at the real cars from a purist standpoint and what real car folk are saying and I respect that. But the business goings on have a large future impact that is subtle at first and overwhelming over time.

    True, but they go hand in hand. You can have all the business success in the world and the other group won't care one way or the other. Lexus is the perfect example of that. There isn't one lust object for the enthusiast anywhere in their lineup and they seem incapable of producing one. All the money and profits in the world don't mean a thing when you saddle your supposed to be sporty cars with needless electronics that kill the fun, and they don't look like anything.

    Execution is the key, not just wads of cash. Infiniti is the perfect example of this.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "... lot of European car buyers have always put reliability behind performance, design and other things that are largely irrelevent to Lexus buyers..."

    Really ? You speak for *lots of European car buyers as well as Lexus buyers* ! I can tell you the primary reason I own an LS, and that is due to its comfort, luxury, quality, smoothness, refinement and power. All of these combined with excellent customer service and excellent reliability are just icing on the cake for me. If any other car had these features, regardless of what the insignia resides on the hood of that car, I'd buy it in aheartbeat. But alas, only Lexus comes close to meeting ALL of these features I desire in a family sedan.

    "There isn't one lust object for the enthusiast anywhere in their lineup and they seem incapable of producing one..."

    There is no lust object for the enthusiast in Lexus' lineup, you say ? Here is a question for you: The greater proportion of car *enthusiasts* buy the likes of WRX/STi/Evo/M/AMG/RS/Porsche/Ferrari/Lambo/etc... OR they buy mainstream MBs, or Bimmers, or Audis ? Hmmmmm !! That is an easy answer. Its the former, of course. But to hear you speak about lack of enthusiast lust for Lexus is to suggest that Lexus' competition tunes all their cars to the minutia entusiast market... Maybe you forget the primary mission of MB USA - luxury first. Ditto Lexus. That it wants to add sportiness via the IS is a way to expand market and build from ground-up.

    "Execution is the key, not just wads of cash. Infiniti is the perfect example of this"

    That is correct, but who exactly is executing best amongst the lux car makers today ? I'd say Lexus is. MB is trying to figure out the kinks in their quality and reliability armor, BMW is saddled with controversial styles and diminishing handling prowess, Audi remains invisible in the NA market, while Lexus simply rolls on. There are far more things coming from Lexus-land than there are of MB and/or BMW in the next couple of years. Yeah, do the count; which manufacturer has more products rolling out in the next couple of years ? MB, BMW, Jag, Audi or Lexus ???

    BTW, Infiniti ain't executing anything better than Lexus. Infiniti's performance-inclined M twins is doing as well as Lexus' luxury-inclined GS twins. In fact, sales YTD has the latter beating out the M twins.... So how exactly is Infiniti executing better than Lexus ?

    'Nuff said...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oac you continually miss the point. I said in the entire lineup of MB or BMW, not just their sedans like you're stuck on. There are Motorsport cars for BMW and AMG cars for Mercedes. There are coupes, convertibles, roadsters, more choices than Lexus has with all their boring sedans and SUVs. They have one 2-door car, the SC430 it has been proven over and over again to be a 2-door LS430, even Lexusguy will tell you that.

    Mercedes and BMW aren't just about sedans and suvs like Lexus, was my point.

    Single track themes here, Lexus executes on quality and misses styling and so far sportiness, two things they said they would deliver on. Where did you get that BMW is facing dimished handling prowess? I'd really like to read about that because I certainly haven't experienced it.

    There are far more things coming from Lexus-land than there are of MB and/or BMW in the next couple of years. Yeah, do the count; which manufacturer has more products rolling out in the next couple of years ? MB, BMW, Jag, Audi or Lexus ???

    Judging by what has been confirmed I'd say that it is a tie between BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. They all have lots of product coming and Lexus doesn't have any more of an advantage than Mercedes or BMW does. Only in your mind does such a thing exist. Face it Oac all three of these brands are leaders in the luxury car market in one way or another and all this Lexus is gonna take over the world stuff is just pure fantasy.

    BTW, Infiniti ain't executing anything better than Lexus. Infiniti is performance-inclined hence the M twins. Lexus is luxury-inclined hence the GS twins. Both are doing fabulously well in sales, and the GS twins are beating out the M twins in sales. So how exactly is Infiniti executing better than Lexus ?

    They're hitting their target - BMW far more than Lexus stated they would. Goodness get off sales they don't mean as far as the GS being a true BMW competitor at BMW's game. Lexus stated BMW was the target, but Infiniti hit it Lexus didn't with the GS, we'll see about the IS. The 1998 GS sold well too, for 18 months then was forgotten.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I said in the entire lineup of MB or BMW, not just their sedans like you're stuck on. There are Motorsport cars for BMW and AMG cars for Mercedes. There are coupes, convertibles, roadsters, more choices than Lexus has with all their boring sedans and SUVs...

    And how long has BMW or MB being building cars versus Lexus ??? Ahhhh ! Right.... You see how pointless your argument is ???

    Single track themes here, Lexus executes on quality and misses styling and so far sportiness, two things they said they would deliver on.

    Misses styling and so far sportiness ? Styling is subjective, so that is just your view. Sportiness also has some subjectiveness to it. The Edmund's review of the GS430 and M45 showed how sporty BOTH cars are. Of course you are too biased against Lexus to see anything good in it. WRT Lexus execs statements on this BMW-thingy ! It appears you and many Germancarfans take a literal interpretation of the words. Rather you need to understand the context of the statements and read between the lines to understand what is being said. Just a little more deeper thoughts on the words will show the real intentions...

    They're hitting their target - BMW far more than Lexus stated they would

    Yeah right ! The GS hits its target and buyers are speaking loud and clear. You don't agree that it hits its target despite its sales success (that word again), except that which YOU define is the GS' target. Dream on buddy.... Lexus is counting the $$$ and smilling all the way to the bank while you get hung up on nothingness...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    And how long has BMW or MB being building cars versus Lexus ??? Ahhhh ! Right.... You see how pointless your argument is ???

    Its pointless to have more than just sedans and Suvs? What does the amount of time Lexus has been building cars have to do with any of this. They had a great coupe back in 1992 and for some reason dropped the ball in styling and dynamics when they replaced the original SC with the ladybug car of today. According to everything said here (over and over) Lexus has all this money so why can't they come up with one car for the enthusiast? Lexus had better be glad the U.S. market is suv crazy because if they had to stand and fight with their cars they wouldn't be much of anything to talk about in sales. Lexus having not built cars as long as MB or BMW as the reason for their staid lineup is a grand excuse, especially since they "can do what they want" with all the money they having.

    Oac I see there is no point in debating anything else about Lexus because you can't see anything past sales. Forget that the GS is mainly selling to current Lexus owners and not BMW converts, which was the stated goal. What will you say when the inevitable happens and the GS's sales start to decline? You act like a new model selling well is an exclusive to Lexus, when every brand has a new product that is hot. Since sales matter so much and BMW was the target, does it matter that the GS can't catch the 5-Series in sales? Probably not because you've already disregarded what Lexus' chief said about BMW being the target. You should treat what Lexus' boss says as "nothingness" because thats about what he delivered as far as BMW is concerned.

    I can see it now, you'll say the same thing about the IS, its selling, if it doesn't match the 3-Series on the sport equation, even though the IS is supposed to be the sports sedan in the Lexus lineup because the ES takes the pure luxury route.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    OK, one last time...

    So BMW has the 5-series which is slowly but surely sold more with slush box than with MTs. Are those performance-inclined ? BTW, Lexus pegs its GS production. The two new GS are mostly carry overs from the previous gen, except clothed in a new lithe body. The 3L V6 motor was putin bcos the better 3.5L engine wasn;t ready (you know, the same thing as for the S550 not being ready?). The GS will not overtake the Bimmer-5 anytime soon, maybe never. But as an overall balance of sport-and-luxury, it does a fine job. In the next 18 months, three new GS sedans will be here - GS350, GS460 and GS450H. Maybe you'd then start to see the plan as it unfolds a la BMW-target.

    I can see it now, you'll say the same thing about the IS, its selling, if it doesn't match the 3-Series on the sport equation, even though the IS is supposed to be the sports sedan in the Lexus lineup because the ES takes the pure luxury route.

    WRT the new IS, Lexus plans to build only about 60K cars for MY2006. Were Lexus to sell out all the IS it produces, it would remain a distant third to the 3-series in market share. The 3-series is the bread-and-butter of BMW, and even then it is the lowly 325i which is the BIGGEST seller. Would that be considered performance-inclined company if your best seller is the lowest car with the smallest engine ? Hmmmm !

    BTW, Lexus rumors has an IS500 (V8, 400HP, sport-tuned and edgy racer car)pegged for production going head-on against the Bimmer M. The 350 going against the 330i. The 250 going against the 325i. And a coupe/hardtop variant rumored coming in MY2007/2008. Then compare this plan with previous IS300 which had a hard time being placed - is it a 330i or a 325i competitor ? Start to get the picture ????
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    So BMW has the 5-series which is slowly but surely sold more with slush box than with MTs. Are those performance-inclined ?

    Yes, one drive will tell you this. BMW's ride/handling/steering and how they work together is the reason why they have the following they do. The manual tranny is just the last piece of the puzzle. Lexus doesn't offer a manual, but to be fair neither does anyone else in the 5-Series class. Where Lexus is really dropping the ball is on the IS350, in contrast to all the Asian and all the German competition (except Audi) by not offering a manual with the bigger engine.

    Not sure what you're talking about with a Mercedes S550? There is no S550, the new S500 stays the same in name, but gets a new 382hp 5.5L V8 but no name change.

    I get that about model change overs being done European car style, by adding something over the production run to keep the series fresh, but that wasn't the only target your guy stated. He also stated that he wanted a sportier car to compete for BMW buyers and that ain't happening, especially with the over-restricted GS430's VDIM system. This is the part you disregard because Lexus didn't make good on the promise.

    All I can say is drive a 325i with a manual. The BMW experience is there in full glory. To even question whether or not BMW is a "performance-inclined" company based on what they sell the most of compared to what they offer as a whole is missing the point of the whole brand by a country mile. Look at their lineup and see what they offer and then ask yourself that question again. BMW sells more 325is than anything else mainly because of price. You don't think a good number of 325i buyers (certainly not all) wouldn't want a 330i or M3 or a 5-Series?

    I'll believe an IS500 when I see it and I'll be the first to congratulate Lexus on making something worth driving. As far as the IS350 is concerned, watch the press tear it apart in comparos to BMW and Infiniti for not having that manual.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    My best friend has a 528i. He has been complaining that his right leg is getting more numb driving a slush box. He is now looking to buy a 530i or 540i ('01 or '02) solely with a MT. He is a French-ie, and loves stick shifts, so he is looking hard for a stick in a Bimmer. So far its slim pickings in the local market here.

    As to the 325i being a driver's car, yes I have driven one (or two) but they aren't that much great (auto or manual), until you adorn it with the sport package. If BMW's are all performance-inclined, why do they need the *sport-package* ? I don't buy into the BMW hype. These cars are made for the masses, and everyone knows that the greater proportion of the masses are NOT enthusiasts. True enthusiasts buy the hard-core, truly edgy sporty cars in the mold of the WRX/STi/Evo/M/AMG/RS/Porsche/.... These are the domains of the true sport-car enthusiasts. My boss drives a 911, and auto crosses regularly. He is a die-hard enthusiast. He swore off any Bimmer, except if its an M3/5. He claims these are the true enthusiast cars, not the mainstream Bimmers. Admit it, part of the allure of a BMW is its name and its *cool* factor....
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Merc1, with those beautiful fender flares on the new S, and the especially beautiful front one where the widest part of the fender isn't even at the top, are we going to see you convert to BMW as your favorite brand? You seem to always emphasize performance, and we see MB going backward in styling with the S (so far...more fender flares to come is my guess, untill the ML-flare is seen across the product line).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You seem to realize that BMW is about sport, but still try to down play it by adding that mass market thing to your theory. Mass market or not they are a performance-inclined (as you put it) brand, more so than any other luxury brand in the U.S. market.

    Still though you're stuck on the sedans and not what the whole brand offers as a whole or the fact that they tune every BMW to more or less drive the same, sporty with or without a sports package. That said I would't buy a BMW without it, it would like be buying a 911 with an automatic. The fact that BMW offers the option of going sportier, plus manuals should answer your question about the brand in the first place. Lexus offers neither a sport package, so that means every Lexus drives the same, and a manual on one car.

    True, AMG/M is the domain of true "sport-car" enthusiasts, but Lexus doesn't even offer that. Lexus doesn't even offer anything with 2-doors with a pulse. How can a true luxury brand not have a single sporting 2-door in their lineup is beyond me. Which goes back to my point in the first place about Lexus not even being close to offering the choice MB/BMW does. Also, cars like the SLK, Z4, CLS, SL, CL, Z8 or anything like those aren't built for the masses because they surely aren't for everyone. The sedans from BMW/MB are for the masses, not their other models, hence their low sales numbers in comparision to their sedans.

    Part of the allure of any of these brands, MB, BMW, or Lexus is the name. Lexus is no different when someone drops the fact that they drive a "Lexus" in a conversation.

    You say that BMW is about hype, it must be pretty good hype then because everyone is aiming straight for them in the lower and mid luxury-sport segments, including Lexus. This fact alone severly damages if not destroys the hype theory.

    I never at any time said that the "masses" are enthusiasts. My point is that the Germans offer far more cars in the luxury segment for real enthusaists, in particular BMW and then MB and then Audi. Lexus has nothing to offer here.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'll take a questionable fender flare on a Benz over a showroom full of bland and/or ugly vehicles from Lexus. What the S-Class' wheel arches have to do with BMW I don't know.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I wasn't talking about Lexus at all in my post. I'm just saying that performance seems to be of over-riding importance to you, and the S is taking a step backward in the styling department...will BMW start to become more appealing to you than MB?
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    You seem to realize that BMW is about sport, but still try to down play it by adding that mass market thing to your theory...

    I disagree... What exactly do you refer to as *sport* in a car ? According to BMW and MB, *sportiness* are defined in terms of wheel and suspension setup changes to the base car; the so-called *sport-tuned/performance package*. A greater proportion of their cars/sedans do not have such setup.

    I'm sure you've been to Europe. Are the BMW taxi cabs purchased because they are *sporty* ? Do all the MBs used as taxi cabs purchased because they are *sporty* or luxurious ? Of course not. I have ridden in many BMW and MB taxi cabs on the streets of Europe, and believe me, they are nothing remotely close to *sporty* or *luxurious*. They are simply taxi cabs....plainly optioned, vinyl seats, wheel covers, no sun/moonroof, just plain vanilla.... See, these are the reasons I refer to these cars as mass-market produced.

    But here in NA, BMW markets itself as *luxury car company that is performance-inclined*, a driver's car... blah blah... This strategy has been largely successful. MB markets itself as the car for the uber-rich folks... and those who have *arrived* or made it to the top. Lexus markets itself as the car for those who believe in quality, refinement and pampering (both inside the car and outside of the car), at an affordable value. Lexus' strategy has equally been very successful. Others are copying the Lexus blueprint. Colleges are using the Lexus book to teach business graduates... The TPS is legendary and well respected... Talk about leadership and innovation in the industry.
  • stevesteinstevestein Posts: 263
    Len -
    I was just saying the base S430 and Ultra weren't close to comparable in features as the original poster had said. It really wasn't critical to his post which was on the retained value percentage based on the Edmunds suggested value of used 2002 model year cars.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Steve - you keeping cool in this heat. I decided to put a pool in and this is gonna cost me a lot more than an LS430 ultra or an S500. But it'll be a natural granite one with real high retention value.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Lets sit in on an MB conversation:

    Hans says to Peter: "We're getting killed on price in North America and elsewhere. We've got to build these cars more efficiently so we can lower the price or add more free goodies or service."

    Peter to Hans: "Agree. We've also got to build them smarter. You know, not like an Iacocoa K car where we have to fix the defects at the end of the line, but like a Toyota where we do it right the first time."

    Hans says: "I got it. We can't move out of Germany because of the damn unions, some of whose members even sit on our board of directors. So, lets move a lot of production to East Germany where we can pay the help less. Like Porsche. Or maybe even have a Finnish logging machinery company assemble the cars and ship them back. Again, like Porsche. No one will ever know."

    Peter: Lets go tell Juergen how we are going to save the company from the Japanese.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    My 2 cents based on what a realtor told me once, is that a pool isn't an economic decision. It's more like a luxury.

    When a pool is put in, it will be a plus for some potential buyers of your home, but a negative for some buyers with very young kids, due to safety concerns. This particular realtor thought that net net, if you spend bucks on a pool (at least in the northeast), you basically lose it all upon resale of the home, as the potential number of buyers would likely be smaller.

    Plus you have 3k/year in maintenance, and the costs of heating it.

    A little off topic, aren't we?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm sorry, but I really have to agree with Merc's posts here. I think Lexus' idea of ultimate luxury is to be as simple and hassle free for the owner as possible, from interfacing with the car to the dealership experience. Cars like the ES, RX, and LS reflect that, and all have done very well. None of them are or have ever been sports cars though. The ES is no match for a C class or A4 in terms of driving dynamics. The RX will get beaten silly by an Infiniti FX or BMW X5, and the same will happen to the LS430 by the likes of a Maserati Quattroporte or BMW 7.

    Lexus knows that ES, RX, and LS buyers are interested in simple, quiet, luxurious and trouble free cars first and foremost, and they know exactly how to sell to those people. Nobody can beat Lexus on their home turf, but when Lexus tries to move onto BMW or Mercedes back yards, they always have trouble. They have limits for noise and ride quality that they wont go past, and that always ends up being detrimental to ultimate handling potential. The M3 or M5 will beat you up on a rough road, and Lexus wont make a car like that. The GS430 must contain a certain level of softness in order for it to have what Lexus considers to be the desirable traits of a car with the L badge on it. Infiniti has no built in ideals in its badge that it must adhere to, so they are free to make the wonderful, hard-charging M45 that is all sport, no excuses, and Japan's only real threat to BMW.

    -Edit, yes I know for now the GS is leading the M in sales, but take a moment to consider the fact that Infiniti is the company nobody ever heard of until 2003. The GS had a 10 year head start on the M, 12 if you dont count the embarrasing first M45. Lexus would be mighty red faced if Infiniti actually beat them with M sales.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Off topic, yes... but Len, I did put in a pool a couple years ago, and it has been a real life saver in this 90+ heat wave here in So Cal. A pool is a PLUS in California, and although you may not recover all your cost, you'll sell it higher than your neighbor without one. To get back on topic, a pool is like a car, it depreciates regardless of how much you spend on it. The real fun is the ownership and use, and who cares what you recoup at resale....

    We are on topic, syswei :)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    A natural pool is different. It's really like putting up elaborate landscaping with a pond as it comes with waterfalls, large rocks, large stone patio etc. An ordinary built-in definitely fits your realtors discussion. But in my area these type of natural pools add a lot of value to a home. Worst case -you break even but in some cases you double your investment. Bottom line here (my area) about a pool is do it right or don't do it at all - at least as it relates to your investment. But I (and my family) love a pool anyway so I'd do it for myself one way or the other

    blckislandguy - funny. but those two guys may still be looking for Juergens stolen S600. Seriously - labor costs, government labor rules and these long summer vacation schedules are a real serious problem over there. Maybe they need some Japanese factories.
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