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High End Luxury Cars

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  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Lexus has made tremendous strides in both product development and image development over the years, but I wonder if the image development is starting to overshoot the overall product development.

    There are two scenarios that can occur when the image and actual product are not in sync. First, if the product is better than the image, than the consumer is ultimately pleased BEYOND expectations. Not a bad thing at all, except that the marketers may be leaving money on the table. Second, if the image (hype in some cases) is better than the actual product, then this as a prescription for disappointment, as the product can not fulfill the expectations of the developed image.

    In the case of Lexus, the point of commonplace knowledge has practically been reached regarding reliability and that's a good thing, but when the image development is so good that many consumers just expect Lexus to be the very "best" vehicles, there is room for concern. Are the ES, GS, SC and current SUV's really the "best"?

    This discrepency between the image and the truth is very real, IMO and I think that it is fortunate for Lexus that the newest line of cars is an overall big improvement, but on the other hand it still falls short. There are still design weaknesses, performance weaknesses, and SUV deficiencies at this point in time, IMO. I am not trying to slam Lexus, as it is known that I respect them as a huge success that is well-deserved, but it is only right to keep a balanced overall perspective.

    I believe that the Lexus image may have very well surpassed the OVERALL product line at this moment in time, contrary to the cheerleaders that think that Lexus is poised to make a dramatic leap.

    IMO, Lexus desperately needs a newer and fresher line of SUV's and crossover vehicle. IMO, Lexus should make the ES a true Lexus! IMO, Lexus needs to continue to improve overall vehicle performance across the board. IMO, Lexus should categorically make the GS a performance LEADER . . . top in its class. IMO, the LS (swb) should have a genuine sports variant to truly compete with AMG and the M. IMO, Lexus needs to totally replace the SC with a REAL sports coupe, not a reconfigured LS.

    These are more than enough issues to address if Lexus wants to live up to its image. The cheerleading is great, but ultimately it comes down to reality . . . and if the reality is not up to the image, then things can start to go south . . . even for Lexus.

    Do I think that things will go south for Lexus? . . . no I do not, but I do think that all this just goes to show that there is plenty of homework to be done at Lexus, no matter what the Doc and Steve and other die-hard Lexicans think.

    The new LS is going to be a smashing success, and the LS600hL will be a tremendous testimony to the capabilities of Lexus. The new IS is a great success as well, so to be balanced, the Lexus train will steadfastly move forward with tremendous power. I just want to make it known that, at least in my opinion, Lexus has a lot of work to do, and that there are still MANY very good legitimate reasons why so many people would rather buy other marques instead of a Lexus.

    Lexus needs to make sure it lives up to the image it has created and address their many shortcomings.

    TagMan
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,870
    How otherwise rational people could suggest that Lexus should raise their prices just so they could compete at the same price point as Mercedes is simply mind boggling. If certain people would like to see the LS and the S priced about the same, then it would make more sense to preach that Mercedes should lower their prices in order to compete with Lexus. The pressure is not on Lexus to raise prices. The pressure is on Mercedes to lower prices.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    These are the hottest words in a long time on HELM forum. You stole my words, God bless you.

    Unfortunately Tagman and Lj are just not getting it. Unless LS prices its products HEAD-to-HEAD with A8 and 7 how can it claim to be a true HELM. How can it? Thats the billion dollar question.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    Why pray tell me, you are under this impression that we are asking LS to price itself head-to-head with S550. No one said so! You are trying to answer a question no one asked.

    All along we said LS should be priced same as A8 or 7-series.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    They rule the roost, by enjoying a free largesse which they dont deserve. Its all image, no substance. Let them learn how to make cars first. Our Cadillacs are much better than their Maybachs.

    Read this article, it clearly says germans are all about image. No substance. Even though Quattroporte and LS (sport package) handle much better than 7-series, yet people are under the wrong impression that 7-series is the ATHLETE. They are deluded by BMW propaganda.

    link title

    The article is published in german newspaper so DONT BLAME ME.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    A and C class sales are an order of magnitude greater than E and S.

    Too much crackpot it seems. Not much sleep either. A and C -class selling 10 times more than E and S, when in fact the truth is C-class slaes are not even double that of E, and A-class sales are lower than C and E.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Tag

    Lexus doesn't have an image problem. For a company to become THAT successful, against such heady competition as Mercedes, BMW and GM, to ascend to a position of MARKET DOMINANCE in 10-15 years is LeBron-esque!

    There is nothing wrong with Lexus, or how they are "addressing their shortcomings"!

    The Gs will get a 300HP V6 and 350+HP V8, so it's performance value will be top-notch shortly. the car is still too soft in personna for ME (the edgy IS still too gentile for ME!), but the GS will improve shortly. I want a stick and a Sport Pkg., but I'm not holding my breath.

    The LS will prove to be the dynamic match of the S550, if not the sportier 750iL, and if priced only $15k less, instead of the usual $25k less, should still easily outsell the S. So I don't see a real problem upping the ante when releasing as REVOLUTIONARY car such as this.

    This is the greatest car Lexus has ever produced, not a conservative, evolutionary, kaisen improvement over the predecessor. This is a LANDMARK car!

    I have faith that Lexus can sell THE SAME AMOUNT OF LS460 at $69k as they did the Ls430 at $57k. It's still a great value, much greater performance, features not available ANYWHERE, and a great track record to work from, with a happy customer base to easily work into a lather.

    If Lexus hedges it's bets now, with this car, how can they ask $120-150 for a sports tourer? Where is the brand going? Growing?

    There is nothing wrong with the ES! When it sells 50k instead of 70k, then ask what's wrong with the ES.

    The RX and GX are studs. Plain and simple. You can't knock either one! How? They sell too well?

    EVERY luxury car maker WOULD KILL to have the "shortcomings" Lexus has right now.

    The REAL problem is they are victims of their own success. People expect perfection, and now great is not great enough.

    I just think with sales growing 10% a year, a market adjustment is necessary on cars like the LS.

    Hopefully, they will produce the HPX concept, to replace the LX. It's just a bigger RX with 3rd row seating. I would've had this done already, but......

    DrFill
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    I believe you have made serious blunders in most of your Lexus related posts by implying that somehow "STAYING THE COURSE" means keep offering BEST in CLASS products at CUT-RATE prices. Why should Lexus not charge head-to-head with A8 and 7.

    It will be immensely damaging to Lexus and LS that customers become ADDICTED to cut-rate pricing and always ONLY LEXUS to provide that largesse and not germans. The germans are not under any price pressure from Lexus because they know that people will buy their arrogant products and provide them with huge largesse, all the time while Lexus keeps its prices cut-rate. This is a mind-boggling hypocrisy.

    BEST in class products deserve best in class pricing. It is nobody's business to PREACH Lexus the "CUT-RATE" mantra. Those who want cut-rate can buy Avalon. Its simple as that.

    It confounds me how people have the nerve to say that LS despite being the best product among its competitors has to offer "VALUE" while the germans should charge GAZZILION dollars for fake products.

    Tagman, dont be delusional. Wake-up and smell the roses. Your comments are beyond rational. STAYING the COURSE does not mean making customers addicted to cut-rate pricing, it means continuous improvement and that means playing head-to-head with A8 and 7.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    That certainly makes sense....Tony
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    This is getting way beyond old.

    Could we move on? Please?? Surely you are more than a one-note contributor to this song?
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    ljflx, I think that this ad is for the Spyder. It was part of the same ad in Friday's NYT Weekend edition.

    Please note that Edmunds says that a 911 will return 50% of its MSRP in FIVE years with fully 15K miles per year. So, a HELM customer could throw down 80K to buy a 911 and get back 40K after five years vs. throwing down 112K on a Maser and getting back 50K after four years. Remember guys, its not what you paid for it that counts, it is the difference between what you paid for it and what you can sell it for that matters.

    Does anyone want to speculate on the 2007 S Class pricing? From what I see, sales have taken off. (I do get a kick out of all these ex-student radicals who just 35 years ago were marching in the streets and are now pulling up to valet parking in S Classes.) With a MSRP of 87K what would be a realistic price? From what their web site says, the Premium II package isn't yet available and, to me, the Premium III package seems aimed at the AARP crowd. Rather than the Premium III package, you could join a very nice gymn, maybe even the New York Athletic Club, if you have trouble with your turning your neck, checking mirrors, and/or need a massage for that kind of money.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,870
    Fine. Then just substitute A8 or 7 series for S class. Lexus is putting relentless pressure on all helms to justify their inflated prices. Call it value vs prestige if you want to but I call it real value vs smoke and mirrors.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Tag

    Lexus doesn't have an image problem.


    Doc, I'm sure hoping that you actually read my post, because I NEVER said that Lexus's problems were with its image. I spent a good deal of time writing that post to indicate the OPPOSITE of that. I thought I was quite clear when I said that the Lexus image was in fact so STRONG, that it was stronger than the product line itself. And I supported that opinion with what I believe to be concrete reasons. Read it again. I stick with my opinion, which I believe was quite fair and balanced. You are most certainly entitled to yours, and I have no issue about respecting it, but please don't mis-quote me by a whopping 180 degrees.

    Or . . . by some miracle were you actually AGREEING with me that Lexus doesn't have an image problem, and that its strength causes a descrepancy or disparity between that strong image and the overall product lineup itself?

    Which is it, Doc . . . Are you mis-quoting me or agreeing with me?

    :)

    TagMan
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I think the current ES formula is working just fine. There's simply no way to make a car like that with that level of equipment at that price on a unique platform without a massive, totally unnecessary price increase. The ES is so good at what it does that it killed the I35, and frightened the TL away forever. Today, no import dares compete with it. Why would you they want to rock the boat with a cashcow like the ES?

    Toyota is most likely waiting until the new Tundra and Sequoia are ready, and will then kill off the LX (and probably the TLC as well) and replace it with something based on the Sequoia. This will allow them to cut the price and better compete with the Q7 and GL.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Infiniti is a successful flagship away from being on the same level as Lexus.

    Now, Infiniti will never match Lexus in sales, because they will not sell a lux version of the Altima (a la ES/Camry) or a lux version of the Murano (a la RX/Highlander). But in the segment that it's in (other than the flagship segment of course), it matches up pretty well against Lexus.

    The G competes well against the IS, and the M competes well against the GS.

    The QX is an embarrassment though. Same interior as the Armada, and quality problems.

    So... after 16 years of failure, what do you think will convince people to buy an Infiniti flagship?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It is very interesting how all these brands go through their ups and downs when it comes to new product intros.

    I remember when Lexus stated that they wanted that constant product buzz that the Germans, specifically BMW and Mercedes-Benz seem to automaticall get because they're seemingly always introducing something new.

    Right now it is Mercedes-Benz. Edmunds has covered at least 3 AMG Benzes in just that many weeks. First the CLK63, then the E63 and now the CLS63. Then you have the GL450 making the rounds in print reviews as will those new AMG models over the next few months. Then you have the CL which should be shown sometime this summer I'm guessing. It seems like pics of the CL, next C-Class and smaller version of the ML (GLK) are constantly plastered everyone. They're on a break-neck product offensive now.

    Someone earlier noted that Lexus' SUVs need some attention, but when I think about their car doings over the last 12 months its staggering. A new GS, IS and now ES and the big whopper, the LS in a few more months. Not the same level of press buzz overall as Mercedes due to the timing of the intros, but still. The LS460 range alone will carry the brand until they can revamp the SUV lineup. Then you the GS twins get some juice this fall also. Out of all of Lexus' upcoming products I want to see the production version of the LF-A and rumored IS Coupe and whatever the hi-po version of the IS the most. One of these just has to be good looking!

    BMW has a new 3-Series coupe coming this fall, the 335i that will be within 30 or so hp of the outging M3! Progress folks. Other than that it seems that BMW will be quiet for a little while, unless that new X5 is going to show up sometime before year's end. The M3 and M6 Cabrio are coming too, you just know it. The 335i sedan is going to be a direct answer to the IS350 and upcoming G35 with its 300hp rating.

    Then you have Audi - pretty much on a product roll right now. The Q7 I think will do some serious numbers for them, but their other additions this year are of the image, not high-volume sales variety - RS4, S6 and S8. Lots of speculation going around now about their CLS fighter and mini-ute the Q5. Its the R8 that I'm waiting to see. I really think people would love Audi if they made more shopping lists. The problem isn't undesirable cars.

    I can't wait to see the production version of that sleek Infiniti Coupe that made the auto show rounds this year. The sedan hardly looks changed, but it is yet another attempt at 3-Series level greatness. Not sure what is next for the M35/45 twins. It appears that Nissan will be getting the next generation performance coupe, not Infiniti. Not sure if that was a wise decision. What else is in rumored for Infiniti??

    I truly believe that somewhere is the deepest, darkest most secretive development labs in Honda's Japanese headquarters they're working a RWD platform for the next TL/RL. Remember where you heard it first!!!

    M
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Out of some 100,500 cars that MB sold in April, only 8,500 were S-class.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Infiniti is a successful flagship away from being on the same level as Lexus.

    I'm not sure about that. Infiniti still isn't a full lineup provider on the level of Lexus. They don't have a convertible and it appears that they aren't getting the GTR either. Infiniti' SUV lineup also pales next to Lexus' though I'd take a FX over a RX anyday. The QX like you stated has hit the skids in several areas while the Lexus LX (though outdated) is pretty much an icon compared to the QX.

    With the 07' LS Lexus has built up too great of a lead over Infiniti in that area for Infiniti to catch up now. I'm starting to see some hairline cracks in the whole Nissan/Infiniti comeback. Lexus is also set to introduce that LF-A sports car while Nissan dealers get the car that Infiniti should be getting as their respose, the GTR.

    I still think Infiniti are more desireable than Lexuses in nearly every class, but as far as clout/status/prestige etc they have a good ways to go before matching Lexus IMO.

    M
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    IMHO, G and M does better than "compete well against" IS and GS. However, ES and RX are what makes Lexus such as success. That's where the money comes from to bankroll everything else, just like 3 series for BMW. Infiniti has not quite mastered the art of leveraging its plebian product into something "desirable" at significantly high price point, perhaps due to lack of execution in details.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Competition is fierce out there. Hardly any model can maintain MSRP after 6 months on the market nowadays. MB and BMW are often resorting to lease subsidy to attain effective price parity with Lexus. Not sure if that is a sustainable proposition given their higher cost. Consequently, we may see more "tuner" type updates (what used to be done by a couple guys in a garage after beers, namely, dump a bigger block in the engine bay, crank up the turbo boost, etc.) instead of more completely new platforms, which would actually take much more engineering resources.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It appears that Nissan will be getting the next generation performance coupe, not Infiniti. Not sure if that was a wise decision. What else is in rumored for Infiniti??

    I truly believe that somewhere is the deepest, darkest most secretive development labs in Honda's Japanese headquarters they're working a RWD platform for the next TL/RL. Remember where you heard it first!!!


    Infiniti doesn't have a whole heckuva lot going on right now. The FX just received its mid-cycle refresh (very minor, really just a much needed interior upgrade). The M35\45 and QX56 will most likely continue without any changes for awhile. Now that they dont have the GT-R, its all down to the G35. New sedan, followed by coupe, and possibly a convertible maybe after a year or two. I dont think there will be a new Q45 before 2008.

    There's a chance that the next RL could be RWD, as clearly the current car is a flop. The TL I'm not so sure about. I think an SH-AWD option is a definite possibility, but I dont think it will get RWD. In any case, we wont be seeing a brand new TL or RL before 2010 or 2011.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm starting to see some hairline cracks in the whole Nissan/Infiniti comeback. Lexus is also set to introduce that LF-A sports car while Nissan dealers get the car that Infiniti should be getting as their respose, the GTR.


    Very interesting observation, I think you could be right about trouble brewing for sustained Nissan\Infiniti growth. One thing is for sure, the decimation of Nissan NA because of Ghosn's "grand idea" of moving HQ from CA to TN certainly won't do anything to help them.

    The GT-R is not really a competitor to the LF-A, or Acura's next NSX. It's using production based parts, and is going to cost half as much. If Toyota ever actually makes the Supra and charges $60-70K for it, calling the GT-R a Nissan could be a good move.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    In any case, we wont be seeing a brand new TL or RL before 2010 or 2011.

    That seems like a long time doesn't it? I can't see the RL going that long in its current form, but I think we'll see a new TL for the 2009 model year.

    I really think Infiniti should have been the brand to see the GTR under here in the U.S. I mean Nissan already has a sports car, the 350Z. Then again this car has its own amount of prestige for those in the know so keeping it a "Nissan" is keeping it "true" I guess.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The GT-R is not really a competitor to the LF-A, or Acura's next NSX. It's using production based parts, and is going to cost half as much. If Toyota ever actually makes the Supra and charges $60-70K for it, calling the GT-R a Nissan could be a good move.

    You're right, never thought about it that way. With a V10 or V8 the next NSX and Lexus LFA are going to be 100K+ cars easily.

    Now if there was ever a Toyota I would buy it would be a Supra. I would want it priced like the 350Z with better styling and a high-quality interior than the Z, that would be a knockout. They can use the new V6 from the IS350 tuned with a little more power as a base engine. That would be hot. I'm still stunned at how good the new Camry looks on the road in SE trim. For a Camry...my goodness they did a bang up job. The ugly Toyota emblem and its placement is the only thing that messes up the design. It is by far the best looking Camry ever and must give all others in the segment an even bigger headache now that it actually has some looks.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Infiniti has not quite mastered the art of leveraging its plebian product into something "desirable" at significantly high price point, perhaps due to lack of execution in details.

    What plebeian product does Infiniti have left? The G20, I35, and QX4 are all dead. I think the biggest problem with all of those cars is they were transparent rebadges of Nissan products, with essentially zero justifaction for big price increases other than slightly different body work. Infiniti never learned how to do products like the ES and TL, or RX and MDX. The QX56 shows that they still don't understand that you need more than a wood steering wheel to make a "luxury version" of one of your regular products.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    That seems like a long time doesn't it? I can't see the RL going that long in its current form, but I think we'll see a new TL for the 2009 model year.

    It does, but then the last RL ran from '96-'04. Gen 1 and 2 of the Legend both ran for a normal 5 years though. I'm not really sure why Acura chose to just throw the first gen RL in the closet and forget about it.

    So far the "rescue the RL" plan seems to be just cutting a lot of the tech stuff out to try and get the price down by a few grand, which will probably happen when the car is refreshed, probably '08.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Now if there was ever a Toyota I would buy it would be a Supra. I would want it priced like the 350Z with better styling and a high-quality interior than the Z, that would be a knockout.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like they are interested in going after the 350Z, S2000, and RX-8. The rumors say that Supra is going to be a V8 (probably the Lexus 4.6L or 5.0L) powered Vette killer, with a price tag to match. If they do two trim levels again, then I suppose a less expensive V6 version could be possible.

    I agree that the Camry SE is a sharp looking car. Honda has their work cut out to match that.

    It's actually somewhat ironic that the GT-R is going to be a Nissan in the US. In the past, the car was just the hottest version of the Nissan Skyline coupe, which is our G35 coupe.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    If you've been checking your Supra forums, or Toyota websites, you'd know that Toyota has said, point blank, "They have no plans to resurrect the Supra".

    I've read Mr Clemens say in an interview, about 2 years ago now, that management sat down and had to decide which they were going to make, a new Supra, or the FJ Cruiser.

    And we lost.

    Toyota needs another SUV like they need hole in the head.

    They do plan to "resurrect" the 2000GT name in 5000GT form.

    The Supra was what made me a Toyotaphile.

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, the FJ Cruiser does make a lot more sense from a business standpoint, with its off the shelf engine and platform. Plus, with the demise of the Celica and MR2 Spyder, Toyota really isnt in the sports car business anymore. Better to leave it to leave it to Nissan, Honda, and Mazda.
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