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High End Luxury Cars

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  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Will be a colossal mistake - IMO

    Not "SMART", IMO. (sorry, couldn't resist :) )

    TagMan
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Speaking of ignorance, quoting me days supply on an AWD model from last Winter means you have no idea what days supply for it is NOW! OF COURSE days supply for it will be low in the Winter, up North.

    Since I now live in the Sun Belt, supply far outreaches demand for the A8. Fewer are shipped here, but still they sit quite a while. Haven't seen one on the road in months. Your days supply might be less. Mine is definitely quite high, especially now that it's 95 degrees!

    When I lived in New York, I'd see a few. But AWD has little value, and hurt acceleration and economy down here.

    I could give a Rat's tail what Audi does outside of the US! This isn't Double-A ball! You want status of Lexus and BMW, you have to earn it. Audi hasn't done that here. Quality studies, sales, and US perception (going back to the Audi 5000 "Unintended acceleration" debacle) say 2nd-Tier, US, loud & proud.

    Plenty of companies make very fine cars.

    It takes a little more to be 1st-Tier.

    As far as US being imbeciles, let's keep politics out of this, shall we?

    DrFill
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I left out Jaguar in my Tier system.

    I'd have to put it 2nd, or make Lincoln 4th-tier, and Jaguar 3rd-tier. Call it a lower-2nd-tier!

    Dynamically, the XJ may be near the top of it's class, but talk about hearing a collective YAWN from the public! No interest or buzz. I could tell it was gonna be a dud at the 2003 NYIAS.

    X-type and S-type have drawn similar apathy.

    Ford is giving it the Lincoln marketing strategy.

    Neglect. The Jaguar name USED TO mean something!

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Volvo's S8 really doesn't fit the bill in the mid-size segment either, though a very good car it just doesn't bring a big enough gun to the fight.

    There's still a little that remains to be seen there. I dont think there are any full on road tests of the new S80 yet. Things certainly don't look good though. For starters, its built on a very generic duty Ford global platform. Fine for MPVs, not so much for chasing BMWs. Volvo is not known for their brilliant suspension tuning.

    Then there's the engine problems. If the new S80 were going against the 528\540i and E320\E430, they'd be doing great. This is 2006 though. A brand new 3.2L inline 6 that only makes 235hp? Hyundai's got more power than that from its 6s. Then there's the much talked about V8, which despite 4.4L of displacement, makes a very last generation 311hp. Volvo says 0-60 in 6.5 seconds for the V8, and a very sluggish 8 seconds for the I6. Not good enough.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Just got back home and still starry-eyed, for now. This story actually had me thinking a wee bit. That it may be the deal of a lifetime for Merc1 to step up and be that third party to market and sell an MB product. That should get Merc1 a table at MB's party, and who better understands anything MB and German cars, anyway ? Hey, Jim... dust up your idea board, get creative with financing (talk to Len first), and see if you could pull together a team to finance your operation and running of a network of SMART car dealerships selling these cars here in the US. You never know... Wouldn't you rather be working for yourself, in an area you love so much ?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree. I just dont see them working in the US. The comparisons to Scion and Mini dont really work. Those cars have practicality that the Smarts dont. They're just small.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Doc, we'll just have to agree to disagree on your path of destruction towards the Audi brand, and others. It doesn't matter which bracket you or merc puts the brand in, I own one and I know that it is a very commendable car, and yes a true HELM(so of the "legit" HELM's shouldn't even be considered onw). Perception? I could give a hoot what someone driving the everyday LS430 or S500/550 thinks of my very rare W-12.

    BTW: Going back a few pages, wasn't it some of you guys that said the BMW should kill of the 7-Series as it isn't considered a HELM here in the US and that it is "destroying" the brand? Very interesting, how quickly we forget...

    Sales? No the US sales are not the best(at least for the A8( but with a very short lot life) as the refreshened A4's are increasingly hard to get with only a 8 day lot life, 14 for the A6, which is above average for luxury makes), and I know you have blinders on as to what happens off of our shores, but let me inform you that often times, the A8 is the best selling car in all of Europe, and with the car having an onslaught of taking many of the other "established" cars territory in developing countries in the Middle East(think UAE, Dubai, others), they are more than just a hiccup on the luxury screen.

    BTW: Where are you getting this 100 day supply from? Most parts of the country, you can't even obtain an A8 because there sold out and Audi ships to the US in limited quantities, something that will change in '09. I waited for 3 months to get mine(7 months now with the S8), and I'm so glad I did as this is the best car that I've ever ordered.

    And as Reality so eloquently pointed out, the Audi brand has much history like MB. So the heritage is there.

    So for the tiers. Sure in the US, the Audi tends to rank behind the other makes, which if just wholly based on sales data, then the whole chart thing is oblivious and right out unnecessary. And putting Audi in a bracket with a maker that only makes V6(minivan and/or car platforms) FWD cars shows just how rigged and corrupted this whole debate is. And for the whole perception thing, for Cadillac, which is enjoying some of the best sales in recent months, has some of the best quality studies as of late(not thinking of 10-20 years ago), and who's ressurection is truly remarkable, I don't think that people should write them off so easily.

    But here's the knocker: Why would a top tier tap into a lower tier to help them(a performance company needing help from a lowly, "semi", unremarkable, no-mans luxury company) on tranny's? They should have all of what it takes to build the perfect tranny seeing how they're the most profitable in the world. This definetely proves everything at the surface is surely not what is at the bottom....
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Doc, you've lost your perspective.

    Anyone can put a tier together based upon sales, and further qualify that those sales be in the US.

    You have so badly convoluted the meaning of HELM that I'm seeing it as a JD Powers IQ study with new rules and new results. HELM isn't just about sales and marketing. It's also about the very core, the build, the heritage, the history, and an achieved status, among other things that you have paid absolutely no attention to.

    To your surprise perhaps, I have defended Lexus as a recent qualifier of HELM status, but if you are going to demonstrate a failure to recognize Audi here, I think I will have to take the side of defending Audi at this point, and perhaps a little defense of Jaguar as well, although it does appear that you gave the XJ (which would include the Portfolio, of course) the HELM recognition it deserves.

    This entire recent thread ignites a debate on the core definition of a HELM. Heck, someone posted that if it's too exotic, it doesn't qualify. Who decides that? Suddenly the Quattroporte is no longer a HELM. And of all things, it seems that AUDI is the one getting beat up here! Very surprising, IMO.

    The only one that should be in question here (and I have loosely defended) is LEXUS!

    TagMan
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Suddenly the Quattroporte is no longer a HELM.

    Yes, very odd. How could a Maserati not be HIGH END??

    I saw one the other day on the road. It's quite possibly the most gorgeous car I've ever seen in my life. I was having a hard time keeping my eyes where they needed to be because I couldn't stop staring/drooling at it! :P
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Excellent point, Tag. Ever so harshly does Audi get shuffled around. If Audi isn't a HELM, then how is it then it can command $70k-$140k for a car that is not a true luxury cruiser as the rest? That would make it a very expensive poser, one that is selling very briskly(currently, the car costs more in it's native Germany than it does here, despite the extra D&D charges.)

    Yes Tag, the Doc has finally taken the big pill. To exclude pedigrees like Audi and Jag(sales not withstanding) is like saying they never existed in my book. Jag, with it's rich history in both racing and long serving loyal fan base, should definetely be included in any discussion. Sure the Jag had it's fare share of electric gremlins. But there you have MB with a just now renewed since of quality(dare I crack open the book on the W220's many mishaps and quality disasters), BMW with some of the worst reliablity ratings on Earth, Lexus with the whole oil slugde build up/tranny failures in pre-'01 cars, and Maser who dissappeared for a while and they had they're fair share of quality probes. Audi is not with exception. Every company has had some sort of mishap that has nearly destroyed their name. But because of this, one is HELM acceptable but one wholly based on sales isn't? This proves that some people have even more to learn about cars and the market.

    And yes, Lexus should be in question. Where's the heritage? Where is the pedigree that most of the Europeans(even Caddy) has? Not saying that it shouldn't be a HELM, but if this is the basis of the conversation, then the HELM list just got even shorter.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Not sure why I wouldn't want to see this, but I saw it a few days ago on various German car boards like Germancarzone. It doesn't bother me especially if they're talking about using a seperate dealer body/third party to import the cars. It isn't the end of the world as far as I'm concerned, but if this doesn't work it will finally give them a clue to go ahead and kill the Smart brand. At this point with MB's worldwide sales rising dramatically (17 percent just last month) Smart is the only thing holding them back from profitability. If this doesn't work (which I don't think it will) maybe they'll make the tough decision and kill off Smart.

    M
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    Ditto and so eloquently put by everyone. Sales cannot be the only reason for a HELM. Actually, though, Drfil contradicts himself in this regard. Audi is the world's third largest selling premium brand with over 100 years heritage (I always like to throw that in for my American friends) and therefore based on sales it is only one of three TRUE HELMs around. Lexus and its Japanese co-horts are just blimps compared to the "Real Big Three Dawgs" in the global sandbox. Also, who is the number one premium desired brand in China for example (not to mention best selling)? Audi, of course. So every market is different, but the big three are consistent around the world as premium brands. That is one measure of HELM, I would venture. Also, if a HELM becomes ubiquitous, is it then a HELM any longer. If I see a MB and BMW everywhere due to subvented leases and huge incentives then is it a true HELM? But, this is besides the point. Therefore, sales numbers cannot be a defining reason to be a HELM. Again, DrFill states the Jag XJ is a HELM, but Jag is not. That doesn't make any sense either. It is or it is not? The XJ doesn't sell in any great numbers either by the way as does the whole brand. Audi commands prices easily around the $140,000 mark for my W12 as well. Is that ecomony? The new R8 will be above $100,000 as will the S8 and the upcoming RS6. A new A8L is easily over $80,000 and Audi can command these prices. It is about perception in the American market. It boils down to Audi making a marketing move, and all this is now taking place rapidly as one will see over the next five years. I enjoy the many posts...thanks.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well Doc that is the point of having a Tier system. That is why I said that it is highly debatable as to who is first within a particular Tier. As far as Audi and Lexus goes, neither of them are on the level as Mercedes or BMW, but it seems to me you're judging Lexus on the criteria that makes them look best like surveys, sales and what not, while forgeting things like styling and performance, things that Lexus really doesn't hold a candle to Audi on.

    Regarding Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo, Maserati, etc., I didn't count those as I consider these exotic sports car companies, and not luxury car marques like Mercedes and BMW. I think there should be a distinction between the mainstream luxury marques and the exotic niche marques.

    There is, its called a higher tier, the highest tier possible.

    Cadillac, Acura, Infinit, and Audi can handle the 2nd-tier, but each has significant flaws the Top-tiers do not which limit their growth.

    Again this stacks the deck in favor of Lexus, BMW and Mercedes, not really fair to just look at sales or lack thereof and automatically put the rest of these brands on a lesser tier.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Audi global vs Audi US are two different things. Audi is a weak seller in the US and most people here dismiss it as a "true" high end lux brand. The bigger the ticket price on an Audi the lower it's sales numbers and the most it's resale value fails it (percentage wise as well as dollars). The A8 is a tremendous disappointment on resale. So while I would hardly dismiss Audi as high end, I can also see the strength in many of the good doctor's comments.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That is why I've always looked at the S80 as a sort of in between car. It really doesn't compete head on with the E/5, but it is more car than a C/3-Series obviously. While sized like the mid-sizers it doesn't have the performance as you've pointed it. Maybe it competes against the 525i and a base V6 model A6 that Audi sells elsewhere and the MB E280.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Yes, very odd. How could a Maserati not be HIGH END??

    I saw one the other day on the road. It's quite possibly the most gorgeous car I've ever seen in my life. I was having a hard time keeping my eyes where they needed to be because I couldn't stop staring/drooling at it!


    Good to know that you have excellent taste . . . one more thing to like about you. ;)

    Are you also referring to the Quattroporte? The Q is stunning, and awaits a smoother tranny, which is forthcoming.

    TagMan
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    If Audi isn't a HELM, then how is it then it can command $70k-$140k for a car that is not a true luxury cruiser as the rest? That would make it a very expensive poser.

    You're making my point for me. IS IT COMMANDING $70-140k for it's vehicles? How many sales do you think makes an Audi a legitimate market contender? 100? 1000?

    Using sales as a criteria? What a foolish concept!

    Why would I judge a car company on it's ability to sell cars?

    Lexus, in our cloudy definition of HELM, probably is NOT an HELM. It doesn't sell $70-100k cars.

    EXCEPT IN PERCEPTION, it IS AN HELM, to the average luxury car buyer! Especially the "NEW MONEY" lux buyer. In the biggest car market on Earth, the United States, it has earned a HELM PERCEPTION! Quality, marketing, awards, word of mouth.

    Whats even more telling is, if you were to buy a Lexus, at this point, you'd expect the car to be virtually perfect! That's the perception. And the cars/trucks are
    just about matching that perception!

    That's HELM, to me. When you can talk the talk, and walk the walk, and your customers follow you like you're the Almighty. They toot your horn harder than you do! THAT'S HELM!

    If this wasn't the case, Lexus would be Infiniti, not Lexus.

    This is just an APPRAISAL, a State-of-the-Union, if you will, of the US HELM market.

    If Audi is big in France, but can't hack it in the US, what does that say about Audi?

    If I play in the CFL, and I set records and win championships, then I come to the NFL, and I can't get on the field and become Doug Flutie, who is a nice stgoing to the Hall of Fame?

    That's all I'm sayin'. Audi is good, but, if you're an American, Audi doesn't sit at the Lexus, Mercedes, BMW table. Audi is good, but so is Cadillac, and Acura, and Infiniti, and Jaguar.

    Coffee is for CLOSERS Only!

    If you guys want to put Mazerati, Bugatti, Veyron, Mosler, Saleen, Lambo, Ferrari, Aston Martin into the HELM category, that's up to you, but I think it takes more than a high price tag, a one or two car lineup, and 10k sales a year to be a HELM.

    These are exotics, in my eyes. Smaller, exclusive builders, not to be compared to companies with 10-15 car lineups.

    It's easy to make one car, give it a sexy style, 500HP, and then say I'm better than any BMW or Lexus. That doesn't impress me at all! That is a niche marque, or just one great car.

    A HELM, to me, has to address sales, marketing, a full lineup. Actually be a car company, not a mother protecting her only child. Actually engage the marketplace and compete for sales.

    If I build 1 car, with 700HP, and charge $150k, and sell 5k of them, am I a HELM?

    My definition is successfully selling vehicles, IN THE US, the major league, at over $50k, and having a viable chance to take sales away from BMW and Mercedes, the original HELMs.

    Lexus is doing that now, and will do more of that starting next year. Lexus went straight to the Majors, and hit like Albert Pujols! And they'll only get better.

    Audi has a mediocre rep here in the States. How many ways can this be understood? Sales, quality surveys, competitive comparisons, resale values, days supply? They're not a HELM here.

    Audi can be a HELM in Europe. Congrats!

    Would you rather own Lexus or Audi? BMW or Audi?

    I'm a Mets fan. I LOVE THE METS! But when the Yankees come to town, they're the big dog, and I have to prove myself to them, not the other way around.

    And I hate them because of that. That and their 189m payroll!

    DrFill
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I'm a Mets fan. I LOVE THE METS! But when the Yankees come to town, they're the big dog, and I have to prove myself to them, not the other way around.

    So to use your analogy then (whereby you have disqualified Audi as a HELM), the Mets certainly do not qualify to be an official MLB team. :P

    TagMan
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Sorry, no!

    That would make the Mets a tier below the Yankees. That doesn't mean the Mets aren't in the majors. They ARE a step below the Yankees. Need to win some more titles, sell more merchandise. Win a World Series against them, before people say the Mets are on the Yankees level.

    Everybody knows the Yankees are the Yankees (Elite).

    The Mets are fun and Amazin', but they aren't an Elite team. But I love them anyway.

    I never said Audi hasn't made it to the majors. That would make them Sterling, or Peugout.

    They just haven't LED the majors! Lexus, BMW, Mercedes are the leaders, predators, Alpha-males, however you want to put it.

    They are the CLOSERS! Like Mariano Rivera. They close.

    DrFill
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    ..."One more thing to like about you."

    Looks like you can add another "get out of jail free card" to your collection.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    They have a full line-up, premium pricing, superior quality, outstanding brand image. They've grown as a company, as more than just the 911.

    Boxster, Cayman, Cheyenne, 911, and the upcoming Panamerica (sic) sedan makes an impressive arsenal!

    DrFill
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    what really decides what a helm is the "new money luxury car
    buyer" Who by lose definition knows nothing about cars, has more money than taste, and therefore buys cars like Lexus?
    With all due respect, that's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard.
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    Audi of course! So, if Lexus is a "closer", how come it cannot hack it Europe per your analogy? So, what does that say about Lexus in the rest of the world, then? Yes, Audi is big player in France, what's wrong with that? Like I said, Audi does way better in the US then Lexus does in Europe in direct comparison. Quality surveys point Audi above BMW and MB in many surveys. You are bashing cars you know nothing about, probably never even driven one either. As for resale values, any high priced vehicle will drop in value like a brick. Nothing special about resale values for 7-Series or S-Classes. I honestly could care less what a badge whore thinks driving their 7-Series while I'm drivig my A8L. If they do not know substance then that is not my problem. Audi does quite well in competitive comparisions as well. Audi has nothing to prove as far as I am concerned.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    Caucasian Brands rule the roost. Lets face it guys, Asian luxury is still a misnomer. Except Lexus, and even that has come into question, no other asian brand can come near HELM or ultra-HELM.

    I very much doubt whether in this century there will be an ultra-luxury asian brand, and I am not sure how long
    Lexus, acura and infiniti will last. Until 1987 it used to be very clear. "European and North American" Luxury and Asian econoboxes. Now, there is some overlap, only because of Lexus. What is really amazing is despite being an asian brand lexus somehow against all odds and all ridicule worked its way to the HELM. It says something about how good they are.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    LOL! I agree totally. Many of these benz and bmw maniacs are just those.

    lexus and Audi make far better cars and one would like to think.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I never said Audi hasn't made it to the majors.

    Really . . . then you agree Audi is a HELM. Good.

    And BTW, FYI, the new upcoming Porsche 4-door is called the Panamera.

    TagMan
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Hopefully reading comprehension classes are in your future. Never said "New Money" buyers decide what HELM is. But they may emphasize some HELM traits over others. Like heritage.

    Heritage is great and all, but if you're making 2nd-tier cars today, does it really matter what you built 20 years ago?

    The buyers make the rules.

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    That is why I've always looked at the S80 as a sort of in between car. It really doesn't compete head on with the E/5, but it is more car than a C/3-Series obviously. While sized like the mid-sizers it doesn't have the performance as you've pointed it. Maybe it competes against the 525i and a base V6 model A6 that Audi sells elsewhere and the MB E280.

    It depends on how they price it. If they think they can get $60K for the V8, they are dreaming.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Heritage is great and all, but if you're making 2nd-tier cars today, does it really matter what you built 20 years ago?

    Lexus has NO heritage to speak of, and only recently does it even BARELY with ONE model remotely qualify to be considered as a HELM.

    On the other hand, Jaguar with its legendary gorgeous styling and heritage and status certainly qualifies MORE than Lexus by a country mile. The XJ was rated pretty darned high in the previous AND current JDP IQ study which you seem to think is valid, but more realistically just one look at the Portfolio and there is absolutely no question. Heck, when I was a kid, I played with a toy Jaguar XKE, and thought is was the most beautiful car in the world, and it very well might have been. Where was Lexus then?

    Audi has a global name for itself that Lexus is a long ways away from. Audi builds one of the best interiors at ANY price. They have a history. Just like your "amazin Mets". Remember 1969? Long time ago, hey Doc? Now you have a love/hate realtionship with them.

    Can you even imagine anyone ever being driven by a chauffeur in a Lexus? It's laughable.

    TagMan
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    If you walk down 5th Ave in New York, seeing a Lexus LS owner sitting alone in the back seat, behind his driver, isn't all that uncommon.

    Are you the 3rd or 4th person in a row who has misread my recent posts?

    Never said Lexus has a superior heritage. But the heritage they are currently building, here in the US, may be unparalleled. Just ask the market.

    Ask a Lexus owner would he rather have Audi's heritage, or a Lexus LS.

    And where did you get love/hate of the Mets from my post?

    DrFill
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