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High End Luxury Cars

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  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Diesel is the key to a big SUV.

    The upcoming diesel GL will be a big hit, IMO. I expect to see Acura use a honda diesel in its MDX in the future and I would not be surprised to see Audi use a diesel soon in their new Q. I do not expect BMW would use a diesel as soon because they might be first offering their new hybrid sytem in their X5/X7 SUV's.

    I think that the diesel makes more sense, however, because the SUV is so often used off-road and for towing, and a diesel with its power, torque, and fuel economy is well suited for these applications.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If Mercedes' gains aren't "as impressive as they seem" then neither are Lexus'. This is why I don't get into sales too much here because Mercedes' sales are analyzed to death and there is always some type of implied problem no matter what they do, yet Lexus is in the same exact boat yet there isn't any implication of a problem there, only with MB.

    Lexus' SUV sales are dead in the water as is the LS and the GS is also declining vs. last year which leaves the new ES and IS as the only bright spots. Saying that old IS was a extreme dud really doesn't make much difference. At least Mercedes got a boost last month from two existing models, the SL and SLK. The latter of which hasn't been face lifted or anything showed a big increase for May 06'. The E-Class which posted a healthy gain last month hasn't even seen the 07's hit the ground yet. So expect a big increase there also.

    Question is does Lexus have any model that hasn't been replaced or updated posting any sales gains like Mercedes does??

    It *seems* you're basically knocking (however subtly) MB for posting a gain based on new models being largely successful (except the R) which is what is supposed to happen when new models are introduced. What was that a while back about "replenish mode"? Just like Lexus' SUVs are declining while they concentrate on their cars, Mercedes cars will now start getting the attention because all of the SUV models are in place now. The new S is obvious, the updated E arrives next month and the new C is less than a year away. What more can they do?

    Lexus is more or less, probably more so in the same boat my friend. Fact is that neither MB or Lexus would be posting gains this year without new or facelifted (in the case of MB) models.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Friday the 13th and its 6/6/06 in a few hours! Too much!

    M
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Uh....SL & SLK sales are down, YTD, from last year....

    Maybe you meant CLK? Up 8%.

    But I agree with you, Merc. Mercedes sales are doing fine. And they have a couple of fine products in the ML and GL.

    They will always play second-fiddle to Lexus SUV sales, but that's nothing to be ashamed of.

    DrFill
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I expect sales to only get better as the year goes on. I think they'll do about 265K+ this year compared to 224K last year. The new engines in nearly everything and of course the diesel versions of the ML,R,GL,E and S should really put some oomph in the numbers. Of course the E is spiking because dealers are literally giving away the 06's to clear them out. You should see the discounts some on MBworld are getting, like 7-9K off MSRP which is to be expected.

    I'm probably the only person here that half-way likes the R-Class. However I did write a hard look post about it here which I think sums up its problems. The concept is viable I think, but the execution and most think as of late, the marketing was off as to who would buy such a vehicle.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh, I didn't notice that the CLK had posted a YTD gain, thanks Doc. Another model that got attention (face lift) for 2006 and gets more motor (CLK550 & CLK63) for 2007.

    I did mean to say the SL and SLK. I based that statement on the fact that they are not brand new models and they managed to post a gain last month something no existing Lexus model was able to do last month. A counter to LJ's point about only "new" models contributing to the stellar sales last month.

    M
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Just as one would expect a sales spurt when a new model is introduced, one should expect the opposite effect for the LS at this time because it is an out-going model.
    People who would normally be in the market for an LS have probably been holding off in anticipation of the new model.
  • cyclone4cyclone4 Posts: 2,287
    I know that I certainly am holding off for the new model. In fact, I am holding off for the LS600hl.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I am not knocking anything. I'm saying they needed two new car models, NOT a replenishment of an existing model, for 85% of their growth. It's a pure business viewpoint that even the worst analyst on Wall Stree will take notice of, and it clearly diminishes the headline growth story. The facts are crystal clear in that table, and my point about Lexus was that it's growth is overstated because some of it is based on growth in a model that was left dead in the water for years. Sheesh!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    As for Toyota/Lexus, Lexus' new/future car product is nothing short of applausible, but we're still in America, the home of the truck. Toyota will at some point have to revamp the luvable but quite old and expensive LX 470/Land Cruiser's as the competition is steadily improving, but those two are still with the status-quo.

    I think its going to be curtains for the LC\LX. A new Sequoia based on the new Tundra will probably replace the LC, and a Lexus version will probably replace the LX. For whatever its worth, Lexus did change the name of the HPX concept to "Lexus Future Vehicle-X", so we may end up seeing something like it down the line.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    "... A new Sequoia based on the new Tundra will probably replace the LC, and a Lexus version will probably replace the LX..."

    That's what I was thinking. For Lexus and Toyota, both it'll probably be easier this way as the LX/LC's are intensively expensive to build because of the materials used, so quite naturally their just as expensive to purchase.

    I think the method they used to introduce the GX spun off of the 4-Runner's platform is really the best option.

    BTW: I do hear that Toyota made sure to have both solid axle and IRS suspended next-gen Tundra chassis, so I'd imagine the big SUV's will have the IRS.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm saying they needed two new car models, NOT a replenishment of an existing model, for 85% of their growth.

    Well this isn't exactly Wall Street and MB isn't GM. The point of such a distinction is what? Introducing new models is supposed to boost the overall total right? That along with some older models that have seen renewed interest as of late that are also adding to the overall totals is as good as it gets in today's market. Sales are sales and all this about Wall Street is largely irrelevant in this case, IMO. It isn't as if MB's new models sales are being negated by rapidly dropping sales of older models, that would be a problem. The "replenished" models like the E,CLK,and SL will contribute more to the overall total in coming months.

    I agree about Lexus' growth being overstated, but that is the way its done with all car companies. When a new model is introduced it always looks like it is a hit compared with the final year of sales of the old model. This time next year the LS460 will no doubt triple the sales of the LS430.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    "The point of such a distinction is what?"

    A business viewpoint was the point. I'm an analytical person and that is my business analysis quick and dirty. Sorry if you don't like it.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    ljflx, don't get discouraged. Your posts connecting passion for HELMs with common sense business insights are very much appreciated. Rick W. could use a few guys like you about now. At a bare minimum GMs books wouldn't be so screwed up.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Rick W. could use a few guys like you about now. At a bare minimum GMs books wouldn't be so screwed up.

    I'll second that.

    But, analysis arguments aside, I think it fair to say that Mercedes sales are on the rise, and given the fact that more model updates are on the horizon, it is all a very likely sign of even better times ahead.

    The real sales winners at this point, IMO, are Toyota and Honda. Considering that Lexus is just starting to sell some of its best products ever, with more on the way, I'd say that Toyota/Lexus is in the process of showing the world an historic success story that will only get better.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    A business viewpoint was the point. I'm an analytical person and that is my business analysis quick and dirty. Sorry if you don't like it.

    Oh ok, sorry if I don't see the relevance here especially when these types of "points" are brought up once MB is mentioned.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The real sales winners at this point, IMO, are Toyota and Honda. Considering that Lexus is just starting to sell some of its best products ever, with more on the way, I'd say that Toyota/Lexus is in the process of showing the world an historic success story that will only get better.

    Honda to a much lesser extent than Toyota. They have some very strong new products, but they have a lot of significant problems as well.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Oh ok, sorry if I don't see the relevance here especially when these types of "points" are brought up once MB is mentioned.

    Excuse me, Merc1, but Len's the resident business exec here and his inputs are very much appreciated. On this HELM board, every angle to the car business is looked at, not a one-track driving/handling/performance/HP angle you'd prefer. You should be sorry indeed...

    And look at you talking SALES, eh ! Well... well.. It does sound great to see MB doing so well sales-wise, until things go sour and you'd not like to hear month-to-month, or YTD, or YoY sales again... hehehehe

    And while we are on the topic of MB, Merc1, can you explain why MB sells the new S-class as an S500 here in Japan, while its an S550 in the US, especially since both are rated at 387HP ? What gives here ????

    BTW, in a May 2006 car mag here, the LS600hL is pegged at 430HP, with standard 245/45/19" rims, compared to the 387HP S500L, with standard 255/45/18" rims. The LS600hL however outweighs the S by over 200Ibs... Ouch ! Must be that hybrid motor in the 600hL, eh ?

    Finally, Toyota has another MB-copy car here in Japan, and its not even funny.... The 2008 Crown Majesta... That car is such a blatant MB rip-off, mimicing the Maybach more than the new S, especially from the rear. When I get back, I'd scan the pic and post it here. The car sports the new 4.6L V8 motor rated at 380HP as well... Its exactly like the LS in front, and a Maybach in the rear. Go figure !!!

    More to come from the land of the rising sun....
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Excuse me, Merc1, but Len's the resident business exec here and his inputs are very much appreciated. On this HELM board, every angle to the car business is looked at, not a one-track driving/handling/performance/HP angle you'd prefer. You should be sorry indeed...

    Whooptie do! Let’s just say I disagree with the timing of these “business” inputs more than the viewpoints themselves, though in this case I don't think there was a point at all at least not anything really enlightening. Pluhease, you act as though that little tidbit was heaven sent. Heck I could have told you that by just looking at the numbers, that most of the growth was due to new models. That is common sense when a company introduces as many new models as MB has in the past year. The whole thing was irrelevant at best, IMO. It really seems mightily coincidental that this "business" angle comes up in the negative about MB anytime one mentions an MB accomplishment.

    And while we are on the topic of MB, Merc1, can you explain why MB sells the new S-class as an S500 here in Japan, while its an S550 in the US, especially since both are rated at 387HP ? What gives here ????

    My guess would be that MBUSA wanted to keep the badging more accurate or they felt that "550" would sound better than "500" on a new car. They may have thought that some wouldn't see a new "500" as an upgrade so they went with "550" instead. I dunno.

    BTW, in a May 2006 car mag here, the LS600hL is pegged at 430HP, with standard 245/45/19" rims, compared to the 387HP S500L, with standard 255/45/18" rims. The LS600hL however outweighs the S by over 200Ibs... Ouch ! Must be that hybrid motor in the 600hL, eh ?

    Well I'm sure that is where they'll need to price for it to be competitive because it appears the LS600hL doesn't stand a chance against a 510hp S600 when it comes to performance.

    M
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    The same reason it's a Lexus here and a Toyota there.
    Americans need to be "impressed" more with status-evoking words or numbers.
    550 vs 500, Lexus vs Toyota.
    They must have done some sociological research and found that Americans are more impressed by status than their Japanese counterparts.
    I wonder what gave them that idea?
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Pat, thanks for your kind words.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Oac, I notice you are in Japan often enough. Do you speak Japanese? Also if you don’t mind me asking, what kind of work do you do? Pardon me if you mentioned it in the past and I forgot.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Ah, my dear Designman, you know you can ask me anything anytime and I'd respond... So here are the answers to yours:

    Oac, I notice you are in Japan often enough. Do you speak Japanese?

    Yes, I do come here at least once every year. As to my language skills, nada... except if you count arigato gozaimos :) Sorry, I am pretty bad at learning new languages, so I do not speak Japanese, but rely on my Japanese business colleagues to help me get by - taxis, food, intros, etc...

    Also if you don’t mind me asking, what kind of work do you do?

    Not at all... I work in the biotech industry but in the computational algorithms and application software side of the business. I tend to travel quite a bit, and spend time attending and presenting at scientific conferences on how to make better drugs that is safe for you (SteveK would understand this, I suppose). By my academic background, a doctorate in science does help... Kinda moved out of the art of facing computer screens all day cranking out codes, and now into the business side, as a marketing exec... Maybe Len influenced me somewhat with all the business shpeak, eh ? :) Sorry if any of these sounds smug, don't mean it to be tho'...

    Pardon me if you mentioned it in the past and I forgot.

    No one has asked before, until now....
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    My guess would be that MBUSA wanted to keep the badging more accurate or they felt that "550" would sound better than "500" on a new car. They may have thought that some wouldn't see a new "500" as an upgrade so they went with "550" instead. I dunno.

    Your first I dunno on an MB. Hah ! Methinks you and Howard are probably right. The S500 here (in Japan) is exactly the S550 (in the US). I was thrown off, I had to stare long and hard to convince myself I was seeing a 500 designation. Yep, its a 500 alright. So what would you call this MB snafu - putting a 5.5L motor and calling it a 500 in Japan and a 550 in the US ? Marketing genius, or fooling somebody ? But the car is a stunner ! Just gorgeous, I must admit. It looked so tight and impressive. I simply love this car. Maybe my view is jaded somewhat since I have yet to see the new LS in person. Ahhhh ! once I behold the new LS, I may change my entire view of the new S :) Won't that just be like a true Lexican !!!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    There are parts of Asia where numbers like 0 (perfect circle), 8 (two perfect circles), and to a lesser extent 3 (parts of circles) are considered desireable. When I first started my own business I picked a phone number that ended in 8888 for that reason, as I was targeting, in part, investors from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    I don't know if Japan is one of those places where such numbers are desirable, but if it is that might explain a marketing decsion to call it an S500.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    Finally, Toyota has another MB-copy car here in Japan, and its not even funny.... The 2008 Crown Majesta...

    Hi, oac. Hope your travel goes smoothly. I've been interested in the Crown Majesta (at least the previous model) for a while now, since someone (lexusguy?) first mentioned it on these boards. Seems it could be more successful in the US as a "baby LS" than the GS has been as a "sporty" Lexus non-FWD sedan. By any chance, can you find out if it is offered with an AWD option? How does it compare in size to the E350/Camry, and the E-series and 5-series?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I think M-B said something to the effect that "S500" is a historic badge, and they wanted to keep it for the Euro market (and apparently Japan as well). As to why its 550 here, I'm sure its the usual "we've got more motor than you" that so impresses us Americans. Witness the glee over the Z06's "427" badge.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    By any chance, can you find out if it is offered with an AWD option? How does it compare in size to the E350/Camry, and the E-series and 5-series?

    I will have the mag write-up decoded into readable English so that I can then transcribe properly, hopefully there won't be any "lost in translation" moment :) So far, I have only given my more cursory impression.. BTW, it looks like the Crown Royal is the *baby LS* (mated to the 2GR-FSE motor in the IS rated at 315HP @ 6400rpm), not the Majesta (1UR-FSE V8, 380HP @ 6400rpm); the latter has the size and heft of an LS (and its motor as well), judging from the pics.... BUT, will clarify this for you and add answers to your request later...

    BTW, FWIW, one of the mags out here reports that the Lexus GT450 is a go ! Maybe this is old news tho'.... The car previously code-named LF-A, is scheduled to arrive Oct 2007, as a MY2008 release. It will spot a 4.5L V10 500HP motor. The tires are massive, and staggered: 245/40/19 (front), 285/35/19 (rear). Very nice looking car, has real presence too. Maybe do something about the rear skirt which seems to droop just a tad from a rear-side angle shot....

    How much would people pay for a 500HP F1-inspired Lexus sports car ???
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Any spy pics of the LF-A? Does it look like the concept?

    How much would people pay for a 500HP F1-inspired Lexus sports car ???

    Doesn't interest me, especially if it looks like the concept and doesn't have three pedals.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    As to why its 550 here, I'm sure its the usual "we've got more motor than you" that so impresses us Americans.

    lg - my take on the 550 badge is simply that it is falls into the usual routine here in the states . . . which is that the designations typically (although not in every case) are an indication of the approximate, and in many cases exact, displacement of the engine.

    Sometimes there are necessary exceptions, such as the S600, to distinguish itself as the more powerful variant. But when looking at most all of the model's designations and engines, the pattern is clear.

    I know you realize all of this, but your statement that we Americans need to be impressed would be an irrational and emotional approach to the designations. IMO, the Mercedes USA designations are logical and rational since they are just basically a factual indication of the engine size.

    I do understand your statement as it can certainly apply in some cases to the American mindset . . . you are right about that . . . But in defense of Mercedes, I'm not seeing it here with the Mercedes USA model designations.

    TagMan
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