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High End Luxury Cars

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  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Why own a Audi?

    Audi does not have the performance/handling of a BMW or the reliability of a Lexus or the status of a Benz but
    IMO they have the best "fit and finish interior quality" in the industry.

    Based on that A.T Kearney study which was not performed by a bunch of flunkies as claimed by one forum member:

    New and interesting exteriors draw consumers to showrooms, but it's the
    interior styling that closes the deal," said Carrannanto. "For the consumer, a
    vehicle interior is a lot like a living room and they have to like it before
    they'll go through with the purchase."
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Your well-worded post makes me realize that different brands are successful for different reasons. In fact it seems to me that people will actually turn to a particular brand because of the success it represents and they expect.

    Yes. The disagreement comes when one side suggests that what they look for in a brand is more important than what the other side looks for. Everyone here, including me is guilty of this.

    The problem, then is when a particular marque no longer represents what people expect from it. Such as, the reliability question that recently has hit MB. I believe MB will work through it, in my opinion, and I also think people buy MB for other reasons.

    This is true, which is why I listed several things that Mercedes is known or prized for. This is why I think Mercedes situation has a subtle, yet clear difference to say GM's situation back in the day when the Japanese (and Europeans) were coming on strong. Mercedes still makes great car in most respects outside of absolute reliability. GM on the other hand simply ignored the competition and wished they would go away + they built some truly lousy cars to boot. I mean Mercedes aren't ugly, slow, under-engineered or unsafe, but they could use a overhaul in the reliability area for sure. Mercedes has made a many changes to remain competitive, which is one reason for the current trouble. Mercedes doesn't do cheap well. Remember the old way was to build the car with very little consideration to cost (in other words their cars were of the engineers dreams) and then let the accountants deal with pricing them to make a profit. The 2000 S-Class showed that they didn't fully understand how to build to a price. Now this new S-Class appears to be correct from a build quality point of view as does the CLS and SLK, all having wonderfully built interiors.

    GM's downfall is similar to what Rolls-Royce went through before BMW bought them and gave them the funding and technical know-how to be competitive again. The car the Phantom replaced, the Silver Seraph was an antique compared to a Mercedes or Lexus or BMW, but the Phantom is state-of-the-art, but a tad bit overpriced to sell 1K units a year.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    MB's boutique approach may work, for a while, but unless the fundamental issue of quality (real or perceived) are tackled and solved satisfactorily, their troubles may not be over yet.

    True. I think their model approach will work also, but like you state the quality has to be there.

    I'm sure BMW's free maintenance is a big draw for a lot of buyers, but more importantly BMW has stayed true to being a driver's car. That and the fact that most of their models are relatively new is what really put them in the right position.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think I remember this being asked previously and don't remember if you commented, but have you ever tried to get a job as car mag writer?

    Not seriously, no. I have written the mags before of course, even had a few letters to get published over the years.

    M
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    MB's boutique approach may work

    I dont know how boutique and MB can be used in the same sentence. Or maybe that is because I live in Canada where Smart Cars and B200s are sold in every MB dealership.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Your knowledge and thoughtfulness shines through much better for me personally when it is applied in the positive. Of course, I have to quickly add the same comment applies to some other posters here as well. Everyone's thoughts get a much clearer airing when they aren't buried in diatribe.

    Thanks. I agree about not being buried in diatribe, but some things I read here just send the meter into the red.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    IMO they have the best "fit and finish interior quality" in the industry.

    I agree. Audi just has a way of working the materials and design that just makes their cars so slick, IMO.

    It should also be noted that Audi's head interior designer (Stefan Sielaff) was hired by Mercedes to do the new S-Class' interior, but now he has gone back to Audi.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Or maybe that is because I live in Canada where Smart Cars and B200s are sold in every MB dealership.

    I've had some knock-down arguments with some other diehard Mercedes fans on Germancarzone about the A/B-Classes. I personally thinks Mercedes needs to kill one of them next time around. Now the A-Class is a hit in Europe with over 100K being sold in a less than a year on the market, and it seems that the B-Class has caught on too so the chances of Mercedes killing off one of them is that much slimmer now. How do the A and B-Classes sell in Canada? What do you think of them? They are the only Mercedes models I've never had the chance to see and inspect in person.

    M
  • I couldn't agree more about Audi's interiors. I spent an evening in a friends new BMW 545. The interior is just plain DULL. In addition, he couldn't get to the proper screen on his (idrive - is that what it's called?).
    There is absolutely no comparison to my A8L. I do not know how the 7 series compares.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Leave for a few hours and this forum lights up like a Christmas tree! :shades:
    Very active following your post. I have to compliment you on a very well thought out contribution and it reveals your vast experience and knowledge of cars period. Quite profound and as garyh1 stated...positive and without diatribe. When the host compliments you and then returns a second time to defend an issue that's pretty cool. All things considered it looks like Kudos around the board.
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    I have completely missed your point....

    Well, finally something we can agree on! ;)

    You have no justification in caliing this study crapolla unless you have access to the details of their statistical methodology.

    Gee, how many times do I have to say something before you will acknowledge it? Here are some quotes from my posts:

    But this "study", at least as reported here, seems pretty lame.

    On further reflection, "lame" is probably too kind a term for this study (again, at least as reported here).

    Based on the summary provided, it's so flawed as a study...

    Somehow, I don't think that looking at a few JD Power surveys and some Ward's sales reports constitutes ATK's best work. But as you pointed out and as I stated multiple times, I am only going on what this summary said. But note that this was a press release issued by ATK itself, not some newspaper reporter who didn't know what was being talked about.

    And by the way, I don't recall anyone using the word "flunkies" except you, and a search of this forum only picks up this post of yours and the next post where you stated "Based on that A.T Kearney study which was not performed by a bunch of flunkies as claimed by one forum member...." You totally made this concept up and then quote it as fact! I certainly never said that. However, having spent part of my early professional career in high profile management consulting, I can say from personal observation that not all work done by these organizations is of equal high quality.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,665
    GaryH - perfectly stated. The report is worth less than the paper it's printed on. If they are using that survry to call attention to themselves than they wasted money and made themselves look bad and unprofessional at the same time. A double whammy.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "I really think that if Toyota (not Lexus) had a drop in reliability like Mercedes or VW have had they'd sink much faster because that is what they mainly depend on. It surely isn't design or the driving experience."

    I totally agree. This is exactly what Katsuaki Watanabe (Toyota's current CEO) has been saying recenetly. "We're not leading anymore, why not?" The one thing I like about Watanabe is that he's definitely not afraid to say whats on his mind. I dont remember Hideaki Otaka being nearly as vocal.

    The difference between, say MB or VW and Toyota is focus. VW let Piech run wild, and he nearly brought down the entire company in the process. Mr. Schremp did basically the same thing at Mercedes. Porsche buying VW shows that the board is still not looking at reality.

    Toyota is in full expansionist global conquest mode, but they havent lost focus on the details. Toyota doesn't have any serious quality problems yet, and they are going to make sure that things are fixed before those problems ever get a chance to develop. Toyota is like the Maytag of cars. Sure, they are appliances, but damn good ones. Thats what the vast majority of the car buying public wants, and Toyota is happy to do it better than everyone else. Let Honda, Nissan, Mazda, and Subaru divide the "fun" market among themselves.

    Speaking of which, I think the new synergy with Subaru is really going to help both companies. Toyota now has an easy path to an AWD Camry and Avalon, and Subaru now has a financial backer that actually has its finances in order. Subaru's flat 6 is an ok engine, but they could do wonderful things with the Toyota 3.5, that is if they're willing to have a Subaru with a "V" engine in it.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Very well said and I'm in total agreement with your post.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    I don't recall anyone using the word "flunkies

    No you did not use the term flunkie but crapolla is usually produced by flunkies.

    . But as you pointed out and as I stated multiple times, I am only going on what this summary said

    And the summary reveals nothing about their statistical methodology. But you claimed previously that their methodology did not isolate variables?

    I just based my opinion on the summary.

    Discussing this topic further would be as productive as flogging a dead horse.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    How do the A and B-Classes sell in Canada? What do you think of them? They are the only Mercedes models I've never had the chance to see and inspect in person.

    The A Class is not sold in Canada.

    I have inspected the B Class and the interior certainly does not lack any of the high quality you find in other Benzes. I read there is more passenger space than the MB E Class.

    I have never had any desire to test drive the B because it's FWD. Psychologically I cannot accept a FWD car with a Mercedes Benz logo on it.

    The car that is selling really well in Canada are SMART cars. MB cannot sell enough of them. In my neighborhood I can see quite a few driveways sharing a bigger luxury marque car with a SMART fortwo car.

    For myself a fourtwo would be a very practical car since I live and work in downtown Toronto. But I am not that practical.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Very Funny!
    Lecter actually said, "I wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner."
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Speaking of which, I think the new synergy with Subaru is really going to help both companies. Toyota now has an easy path to an AWD Camry and Avalon

    An AWD Camry or Avalon would be a death-knell for Subaru.

    A Lecter-like cannibalization of sales would benefit neither Toyota or Subaru
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    No you did not use the term flunkie but crapolla is usually produced by flunkies.

    Wow, I guess dictionaries in Canada are different than down here. :confuse:

    Flogging a dead horse seems more productive...

    I would think "dead horses" produce more crappola than "flunkies", but that's just IMO. :P

    Finally, Dewey, I think you need to once again read that press release. They didn't do any real study. Based on their own statement, they just reviewed a couple JD Power surveys and matched them up with some sales figures from Ward's. THERE WAS NO INDEPENDENT SURVEY DONE. SO THERE WAS NO OPPORTUNITY TO ISOLATE ANY VARIABLES THAT WERE NOT INVOLVED IN THE DIFFERENT THIRD PARTY STUDIES (LIKE ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, ETC.).

    Hey, if you want to buy their report, be my guest. I can tell you my firm will not!

    Now we can "let sleeping dogs lie" next to those flogged dead horses.... ;)
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