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High End Luxury Cars

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  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Basically, Inside Line says Audi cars are as good as anyones, but the company is a paragon on mismanagement, and is not highly regarded here in the US because of it.

    Can you guys spin that article into a spot on the top of the mountain?


    Mercedes has been mismanaged too. Talk about spin. You're going to spin this until only Lexus is left, and that would just bore the hell out of all of us Euro- and German-car fans, now wouldn’t it?

    Key phrase, and you quoted it:

    “Audi cars are as good as anyones”

    When are you Kool Aid kids going to learn that some of us don't give a flying fajita about product management as long as we like the products.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    Among the europeans the only brands which have decent heritage are

    1. Mercedes: Oldest since 1886. At the forefront of technology
    2. Porsche: forefront of racing and mid-engine design
    3. Ferrari: Cutting edge technology and great racing heritage

    4. Jag, BMW, Audi: All duds. :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Just because you have played with a toy Jag does not mean it is great

    More sarcasm, Steve?

    Remember what I told you . . . you need to back up and turn around . . . you are in a cul de sac, my friend.

    TagMan
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I'm not sayin' all of that!

    All I'm sayin' is Inside Line basically agrees with me, and says you guys are wrong.

    And my dazzling posts spawned Front Page headline news by Inside Line journalists, the best and brightest on the Web, all but quoting me in lumping Lexus, BMW and Mercedes together, with Audi being the odd man out.

    That's all I'm sayin'.

    Didn't mean to imply anything else. No offense intended.

    Thank you and Good Night.

    DrFill
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    The company has been mismanaged? Not mismanaged, if that were the case, I'd have to sell my W-12 as the company would be in the bullpen with GM, Ford, and now DCX. The company has not been "represented" well here in the US. While cars like the A8 aren't the movers and the shakers in the line, cars like the A4 3.2(DSG and 6-speed) and A6 4.2 and S6-(dare I even comment on the upcoming M5-crushing RS6 with 540-hp) are very unattainable and with the A4 currently selling better than the 3-Series and G35, I'd say the company is doing it's part. True, the management slacked big time when it came to marketing the A8 after '04, but as I've said many times before, the company knows this and will address this starting with the new models for '07(Q7).

    But to call it a diseaster worldwide is very over-stepping. Often time the #1-2 luxury automaker in Europe, Audi as a company has to be doing something right. With very little intervention from VW, Audi is a company on the right path.

    If the management is so terrible, then why is it that 8 car companies are relying on the company to share or buy Audi technolgy, Porsche being at the front of the line pitching Audi to put DSG's in they're much too wonderful 911's? (Especially since Ferrari's new F1 is making the Porsche Turbo look sloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww(read: MT 7/06 issue about the new 599 Fiorano GTB). Also, why is it that the company is investing $500M(read: Million)in it's factories to get squeeze even more quality and precision out of it's cars? Maybe it can be that in '09 the all new A8 will be a serious threat to the game, especially MB with a S8 with over 600-hp direct-injection V-12 AND a V-12 TDI with over 350-hp while returning 35 mpg? Or the fact that Ingolstadt was just awarded Germany's best assembly plants for 6 years straight? Or the fact that Audi has more return customers, than say, I don't know, Lexus. MB.(Yes, worldwide)

    Point is: To make a misrepresentation about mismanagement works both ways. In many respects, yes Toyota has done a fine job tapping into the biggest car market on the planet. But why in Europe, some people haven't even heard of Lexus let alone seen one? Why isn't the "perfect" car marketed there? There is a reason behind eveything........
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    but some posts have been removed.

    We have plenty enough hot potatoes being tossed about in here; we don't need to add political comments into the mix.

    Thanks - carry on.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    But now it seems the latest area that needs to be clarified is the question of Porsche and the lack of a luxury sedan (at least until the Panamera) and the lack of an official listing at the top of this forum. As GREAT as Porsche is . . . is it a HELM? Let's get a solid answer here.

    We had this discussion a long time ago. I guess there is no solid answer. Porsche is a HELM that does not make luxury cars in the traditional sense. I've always argued that sport is often a luxury as in "the sport of kings" thus Porsche should be included in consideration of its price, status and the fact that owning a Porsche is indeed a "luxury" in at least one sense of the word.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    We had this discussion a long time ago. I guess there is no solid answer. Porsche is a HELM that does not make luxury cars in the traditional sense. I've always argued that sport is often a luxury as in "the sport of kings" thus Porsche should be included in consideration of its price, status and the fact that owning a Porsche is indeed a "luxury" in at least one sense of the word.

    I dont think I really buy that. Porsches are a lot of things, but luxury cars? No. The Cayenne is perhaps in a grey area because it is reasonably comparable to MB or BMW, but the rest of the lineup are just not luxury cars. Price and exclusivity does not automatically make a luxury item. TVRs are quite pricey, and certainly are not lacking in sport. Are they luxury cars? How about a Viper?
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    You've got be kidding right? You may not know Audi heritage or quality, but that is expected in America. Suggest you sit down and do some research or read the book "History of Progress" and you will see Audi's long and illustrious heritage with many innovations and motorsport dominance. Until, then, refrain from sounding ignorant.
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    thanks tagman, my bad, Panamera.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    All I'm sayin' is Inside Line basically agrees with me, and says you guys are wrong.

    Opinions are not right or wrong. However, a concensus or vast majority often gives us an illumination as to which opinion makes more sense or has more validity. In this sense, the Audi is a HELM by concensus or vast majority here on this forum.

    Inside Line's article does nothing to support your argument. It is complimentary of Audi's CARS. The criticisms are directed towards Audi's management, and even then if further indicates that by management it really means "sales and marketing".

    With regards to the cars themselves, it clearly points out that Audi's cars are on a par with Mercedes and others. Since the definition of a HELM has to do with the CARS, as oac so appropriately pointed out, Audi more than qualifies . . . and the Inside Line article that you have referenced, absolutely supports this . . . and quite clearly I might add.

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    It's been good working with you these past few days. I actually think we're making progress, too.

    TagMan
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    To make a misrepresentation about mismanagement works both ways. In many respects, yes Toyota has done a fine job tapping into the biggest car market on the planet. But why in Europe, some people haven't even heard of Lexus let alone seen one? Why isn't the "perfect" car marketed there?
    Lexus having small numbers in Europe certainly isnt because of bad management. There aren't many Japanese cars in Europe at all, let alone Japanese luxury cars. Lexus may not have much, but on the other hand, Nissan and Honda have a big goose egg of the European luxury market. Toyota knows its home market better than anyone else in the world. Their market share there is like what GM used to enjoy in the US back in the '50s. They also have a pretty good handle on what Americans like. The European market, especially the luxury market, is rather new to them though, and they are still learning how to adapt their products for the Euro market.

    Almost half of the cars sold in Europe are diesels. Until the IS220d, Lexus had absolutely nothing diesel to even offer, which automatically excludes them from half the market. It would be pretty hard for Lexus to tackle BMW or Mercedes in Europe with that kind of a disadvantage.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    reality2's reply to stevekilburn:

    You've got be kidding right? You may not know Audi heritage or quality, but that is expected in America. Suggest you sit down and do some research or read the book "History of Progress" and you will see Audi's long and illustrious heritage with many innovations and motorsport dominance. Until, then, refrain from sounding ignorant.

    He often sounds like that.

    Your point is well taken, and I agree with you, as do most of the posters here.

    TagMan
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Just read it, makes some excellent points. I definitely agree that Audi's biggest problem here is marketing. If you ask random people to associate a brand with the word AWD, I'm willing to bet more people will say Subaru than Audi.

    Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW have all had some brilliant TV ads that I can remember very well, that all play perfectly into the core strengths of each brand. I can't remember ever seeing a memorable Audi ad, in any medium.

    Even Infiniti does a better job, for example the M ads that focus on the blending of design lines with exterior and interior shots and lighting. Audi is known for having the best interiors in the business, yet I can't remember a single ad boasting about that.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It depends on how they price it. If they think they can get $60K for the V8, they are dreaming.

    I agree.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Now to a clarification: A HELM company can make many HELM cars, but only one HELM car is needed to qualify. Put another way, a car company only needs to make a car that meets these definitions, to become a HELM company.

    Disagree totally with that because those here saying that Audi isn't a HELM and if that is the case neither is Lexus. BMW and Mercedes especially make more than one HELM car. Going by this definition then VW is a HELM because of the Phaeton, not!

    The title of this thread is High-end Luxury "Marques" not sedans which is what everyone seems to be getting bogged down in comparing here. It says Marques, meaning not just sedans. Saying that only one HELM sedan is needed to become a HELM marque I feel is an excuse for Lexus to pass as a HELM.

    Mercedes and BMW stand alone in this reguard because all the rest are trying to enter the big-money space or have entries that aren't sought out by many.

    IMO if Audi doesn't count as a HELM (Dr) then neither does Lexus.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The title of this thread is High-end Luxury "Marques" not sedans which is what everyone seems to be getting bogged down in comparing here. It says Marques not just sedans.

    I noticed that as well, and you will see my post which addresses that . . . by forcing the question "Is Porsche a HELM?" Your answer will be obviously "yes", but it gets at the root of some of the contraversy here, regarding the "sedans only" mentality for HELMS.

    Who's placing all these restricitons and qualifications?

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I guess Porsche would be a HEM, a High-End Marque, not really luxury. I still think my original post about the Tiers was the best way to look at this, IMO. It addresses every brand sold here and allows for movement within a tier and it most importantly it looks at the whole brand not just their top of the line sedans.

    Yes this is what we normally compare here which I why I found past talk about MB/BMW being finished because of one Lexus sedan hilarious because Mercedes and BMW are more than just their S-Class and 7-Series modes. To take out these two companies with one brand would mean a new brand have to introduce a superior model in every segment they compete in, not going to happen.

    Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Jaguar in that order have enough heritage and history to the point it could be talked about for days and days. There is no way you're going to tell me that doesn't count for something just because Americans don't know it (Audi in particular). Those in the know realize what a great car an Audi has become.

    M
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Seems to me some of you are taking a relatively simple concept and convoluting the bee-jeezus out of it. I don't understand why that is ... how about we just talk about what we'd like to talk about regarding the high-end whatevers and ignore - not stamp out, just ignore - conversation about vehicles that either doesn't interest us or that we think doesn't belong here.

    This discussion has survived for some, uh, 16266 or so posts now ... there is no need to go into convulsions about the subject at this late date. Let's drop the fisticuffs and just get back to talking about cars - whatever expensive/high-end cars any of you want to talk about.

    How about it??
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    is to stop talking about each other. You may not make personal comments about other posters. Debate the vehicles all you want but please do not descend into sniping at each other.

    Rule number two is we're here to have fun. Not to get all tied up in knots about what we should be talking about.

    Post about the vehicles that interest you. Respond to the posts that spark your interest. But do not tell others what they may and may not say.

    Last rule for now - if you think a post is out of line, let me know about it by email. Do not take the poster to task, just let me handle it. But do drop me an email, I'd really appreciate it.

    Let's go!
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    merc - Have you read the Inside Line article regarding Audi?

    My interpretation of that article is that it is expremently complimentary of the Audi CARS, but is particularly critical of Audi's management, as further narrowed down to "sales and marketing".

    I don't think the article could have even been much more positive about the CARS that Audi builds without showing a bias. As I said, with regards to the CARS themselves, I found it to be largely complimentary.

    What's your take?

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Which of you posters knows something FIRST HAND about the Lotus Elise?

    Heck, if Pat's gonna give us some room for fun here, I'm going to take advantage. I've been wanting to ask about that car for quite some time.

    By coincidence, I met a guy with one yesterday and he couldn't say enough cool stuff about the car. His take on the vehicle was very positive.

    Any of you DRIVEN it?

    TagMan
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Mercedes and BMW stand alone in this reguard because all the rest are trying to enter the big-money space or have entries that aren't sought out by many.

    Tell me, Merc1, what do MB and BMW have that Audi does not have ? A 12-cylinder super sedan ? Sport-biased cars ? Racing history ? Heritage ? Even sales on a global basis.... When you mention MB/BMW, pls include Audi. Audi is as much a HELM company as MB and BMW ! Ditto Jag (gotta acknowledge Blkhemi and TagMan's request here). Only Lexus needs to be propped into the HELM class on the strenght of its LS sedan. As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL...

    BTW, the word "marques" does not imply a brand with more than one marque car, but rather more than one car company with at least a marque car that fits into the HELM topic on this board.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah just read it. A quote from the article:

    So, Audi's problem in this market is not product, it's not design, it's not manufacturing, and it's definitely not engineering, technology deployment or product development. The only thing left to blame is sales and marketing.

    Bingo!

    Audi, Audi where do I start. The biggest problem of which is touched upon in that article is that Audi wasn't allowed to be itself. I've always said that Audi's U.S. bosses didn't have their German counterparts full attention when it came to the U.S. market. This break from being a division of VW should help with that.

    Then there are some other things. Audi has some of the nicest dealerships going, most of which in the Chicago area are brand new. They're modern, hip, clean, big, etc. etc., but they're usually not on the "dealer row" with Mercedes/BMW/Lexus. That needs to change until they get on the shopping lists of the folks that compare the L/MB/BMW combo all the time. Last time I checked you couldn't even get a model brochure from Audi's website. What the hell is that? Not as many dealers in as many visible places as the competition and I can't get a brochure on one either - that equals no sale for a lot of folks I bet. There there is the issue of Audi taking their sweet time to bring over their most interesting models. The previous RS6 was a brilliant car, but it was sold for only one model year and it wound up costing more than the E55 and M5 of the day. They seem to be getting better at this since the RS4 is coming over now and it isn't the last year of production for the current A4 bodystyle. The S6 and S8 are somewhat timely also.

    Interestingly enough, the Chinese have made Audi so popular to the point that they can get a LWB version of the A6, yes thats right the A6! Audi needs to treat the U.S. market like the European or Far East markets and they'll gain some ground, but the article is right. Audi isn't promoted right and just doesn't resonate with enough luxury car buyers when it comes time to buy and I think part of that has to do with dealership placement combined with spotty advertising and marketing.

    Lastly I disagree with the article in the way they seem to blame Audi for not handling the unintended acceleration controversy better. I think anyone else would have given up in 1992 considering that in the 80's they were selling 85K cars and by 1992 they had reached 12K. I mean what else was Audi supposed to do? Mention the controversy in an ad and then refute it? Not. They started building better cars starting with the 1996 A4 and have never looked back, but now it is simply time to tout their many highlights which the article does recognize.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Tell me, Merc1, what do MB and BMW have that Audi does not have ? A 12-cylinder super sedan ? Sport-biased cars ? Racing history ? Heritage ? Even sales on a global basis.... When you mention MB/BMW, pls include Audi. Audi is as much a HELM company as MB and BMW ! Ditto Jag (gotta acknowledge Blkhemi and TagMan's request here). Only Lexus needs to be propped into the HELM class on the strenght of its LS sedan. As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL...

    Audi doesn't have the product spread that BMW and especially Mercedes-Benz has for one. Audi is rapidly changing this and of course they have nearly everything else MB/BMW has so you're right, but when I said that Audi wasn't a a HELM I was thinking primarily in the U.S. market. Audi as it stands in this country right now they only have one HELM car, the A8/S8/A8L. As far as propping up a brand with one car that competes in the HELM space, Audi is pretty much in the same boat as Lexus in that regard, but you're right their other qualities put them nearly equal footing with BMW and Mercedes-Benz but that disqualifies Lexus outright because they have none of those other things you mentioned in regards to Audi.

    Trust, you don't have to build Audi up to me because I think they're 90 percent as good as anything BMW/Mercedes makes. They just don't have the lineup at the moment and they realize this as does Lexus. Everyone does bottom 2 sedan categories and most do the S/LS/7/A8/XJ segment, but even fewer do the convertible/sports cars/roadster segments like BMW and especialy MB.

    Lexus on the other hand doesn't have anything even remotely interesting outside the sedan category and even there they lack any real lust objects. There is no way possible you can be a High-End Luxury Marque with just one car (a sedan) that competes at the true high end, otherwise VW is also a HELM too and we all know they aren't. That is why this:

    BTW, the word "marques" does not imply a brand with more than one marque car, but rather more than one car company with at least a marque car that fits into the HELM topic on this board.

    doesn't fly. Marque does indeed mean a brand not just one sedan that barely gets past 70K which happens to be where BMW and again, especially Mercedes have no shortage of models competiting or any trouble selling. Otherwise the thread needs to be changed to High-End Luxury Sedans, not Marques.

    As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL

    True, but in the NOW Lexus don't cut it as a true HELM. No propping should be needed.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    in the NOW Lexus don't cut it as a true HELM.

    Then . . . what/where? With Infiniti and Acura? The LS is much better than them, IMO. And as I say this, I am not a Lexican as you very well know.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That is why I allowed room within a Tier because as you point out Lexus is clearly above Infiniti and Acura, but they aren't up to BMW and Mercedes either. Esepcially going by Oac's notion on a HELM being a brand that has one HELM car, heck that mean VW fits the bill also. This is why I think I put Audi, Lexus, and Cadillac all on the same Tier initially. They're all looking to move up and join the next higher Tier and it is highly arguble as to who is closest to doing so between Lexus and Audi. Hence me saying they're more or less pretty much in the same boat overall. Lexus does have a big advantage in perception though while Audi IMO makes vastly more desireable cars, but their sales don't show it.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    With the soon-to-be LS variants, will we still be talking ONE car in your opinion?

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah pretty much because they're all variations of the same theme. The LS460 and LS600hL are no different than if Mercedes only had the "S-Class" as their only HELM qualifying car, but we know that MB has much more than that.

    ***Unless Mercedes gets credit from the Lexicans for having a model like the S65 AMG that sells way above (Bentley territory) anything from any other brand here.***** Does the S65 get any special treatment or further elevate the MB brand on the Oac scale or is it just another "S-Class" model I wonder?

    I think that it is only fair that if the LS600hL winds up opening up new price territory (which it is almost a given it will) for Lexus than the a car like the S65 AMG should get the same credit for selling in uncharted area for Mercedes.

    M
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