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High End Luxury Cars

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  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Seriously, though, don't you and other Bimmer enthusiasts always say it's the drive that matters most? Don't we all know that the interior has already been very conservative?

    True very true. I am not too crazy about the styling of the e90 and despite that I just ordered a BMW 335i. I do like the Bangle styling of our BMW530xi touring and I used to like the pre-Bangle styling of my old BMW323i e46. Would have I bought the touring or e46 if I did not like the styling? You bet I would.

    Just curious . . . do you think it looks better or worse than an LS460? . . . aside from the fact that the 7's performance should be quite a bit superior.

    I dont like neither.I think the LS does look nicer but that in itself is not saying much.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Historically, many of Mercedes vehicles look so terrific, that I am convinced that the style could be spectacular, and that even if the prices were a notch above the Japanese vehicles, Mercedes could sell enough to satisfy the requirements to produce and import them at a profit.

    You are correct and I have proof of a North American market where the MB B-Class is selling very well: Canada.

    I read that MB Canada is very happy with the sales of the B-Class and I see them everywhere on our roads. Also the Smart Car is even a bigger hit in Canadian big cities. Interestingly Smart cars are sold in MB dealerships while in USA they will sell them in non-MB dealerships. I think MB USA is doing a big mistake.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    No manual tranny in the M6 and not even a wimper of complaints from North Americans? This is quite contrary from what happened when BMW tried to offer the new M5 without a stick. A BMW M5 offered solely with a SMG transmission had triggered a major slushbox revolt. A non-manual M6 model without any revolt proves that BMW fans have become somewhat slushbox-pacified.

    This is definitely a disappointment for the new M6 since SMG transimissions are not at all as good as the DSG trannies available in VWs and Audis. IMO this is one big let down!
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    You are correct and I have proof of a North American market where the MB B-Class is selling very well: Canada.

    I read that MB Canada is very happy with the sales of the B-Class and I see them everywhere on our roads. Also the Smart Car is even a bigger hit in Canadian big cities. Interestingly Smart cars are sold in MB dealerships while in USA they will sell them in non-MB dealerships. I think MB USA is doing a big mistake.


    Your Canadian affiliation is a big advantage to this forum at times. :)

    I find it interesting that Mercedes seems to view the Canadian market so differently than the U.S. market. Aren't the prices even HIGHER there than here? If so, and folks are willing to pay a Canadian premium, surely they'd pay less down here. Or am I missing something?

    TagMan
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    I agree with you Tagman. A true luxury brand is not necessarily based off price only. If a HELM sells an entry level luxury vehicle (say like the A or B-Classes), then the devil is in the details. In other words, does the entry level HELM vehicle represent the brand values as its more expensive siblings. Quality, etc. has to be executed of course at the same level as its more hauty siblings. Also, it must encompasss a certain aspiration or "coolness" in its execution. The C-Class hatch did not accomplish that and looked and felt like an ecomony car more than a representative of its upper siblings. On the opposite of the spectrum, the Audi A3 2.0T (closest to the sub $30,000 designation) does have the ingredients similar to its upper crust siblings and has the values of the brand. The A3's execution does not dilute Audi's HELM reputation here in America, and has achieved success based off Audi's execution of its brand principles. So, in other words it can be done as long as the entry HELM does not compromise on these values.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    A true luxury brand is not necessarily based off price only.

    the devil is in the details.

    the entry level HELM vehicle represent the brand values as its more expensive siblings.

    So, in other words in can be done as long as the entry HELM does not compromise on these values.


    All well said.

    Nice post.

    TagMan
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    You are correct, my dealer alone has deposits for six R8s sight unseen. They are already planning a special location in their showroom for the vehicle (if they actually can keep one on the showroom floor for long enough), and have invested in the special tooling for it.

    On another note, my S6 has arrived and is getting the final touches prior to my adoption. The attention to detail is stunning and the sound of the engine/exhaust is truely seductive. I wanted to drive it off (or should I say fly it off), but I have to be patient a couple of more days so they can do the tinting, and other little details. As they say patience is a virtue.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    find it interesting that Mercedes seems to view the Canadian market so differently than the U.S. market. Aren't the prices even HIGHER there than here? If so, and folks are willing to pay a Canadian premium, surely they'd pay less down here. Or am I missing something?

    In fact it may have more to do with the stigma of hatchbacks in the USA than with price. BMW and MB have learned this lesson the hard way with their recent hatchback endeavors.

    In Canada hatchbacks and wagons are quite popular as they are in the rest of the world. A luxury hatch/small wagon is likely to be greeted in Canada with open arms .

    InterestinglyFord Pintos, Chevy Vegas and AMC Pacers were also sold here in Canada during the 70s. Despite these memorable turkeys, hatchbacks still remain popular up here in the North. I guess we Canadians are more forgiving than you folks down south.

    Although I must add that it is a pleasant surprise that the Audi A3 is doing quite well in the USA.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    On another note, my S6 has arrived and is getting the final touches prior to my adoption.

    Congratulations! Fantastic car indeed.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Bringing in a stylish yet affordable class for MB wouldn't "dilute" the brand, if done coreectly.

    Take a picture at Audi. The brand was ballsy enough to bring a wagon, of all things, to the US. Very testy. But they have succeeded so much so that now they're thiking of bringing the vaunted S-Line and S3 to our shores as the US market is willing to accept the car.

    As for MB, judging from the direction the company is headed in now, aside from the oblivious R-Class, the companyhas what it takes to build a high-volume/low-cost A or B-Class. The brand sells cars below the 30k mark in Europe and abroad, so why not here?
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    In fact it may have more to do with the stigma of hatchbacks in the USA than with price.

    Certainly a small car doesn't have to be a hatchback, as most small cars on the market prove. An exception to this might be the Prius, which is a hatchback of all things, but its appeal as a hybrid most likely overshadows the strange body design of that car anyway.

    I'm convinced MB could make a terrific small car that consumers would gobble up, if as reality2 put it so well, they design it in a way that they stay with the manufacturer's core values, and I must emphasize that the car would benefit from very attractive styling, IMO.

    Anyway, sounds like MB has made a mistake here, IMO, and is leaving the small car segment to the Japanese and domestics.

    They are leaving significant $$$$ on the table, IMO. But, it's a mute point, since it's not going to happen.

    TagMan
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    A BMW M5 offered solely with a SMG transmission had triggered a major slushbox revolt. A non-manual M6 model without any revolt proves that BMW fans have become somewhat slushbox-pacified.

    I'm not sure thats true. I think its due to much lower interest in the M6. It costs a lot more than the M5, and you don't get a lot for your money.
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    Thanks...I'm looking forward to giving my driving impressions as soon as they let me have him.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    For all you Audi R8 fans here here is some interesting info:

    Thanks to a devoted reader we have our hands on a marketing document marked 'internal use only'. It includes some new information and additional colors that the Audi R8 Microsite does not. The document also lists a few key dates of items we can expect.
    October 6 - R8 Q&A As Published on Desktop
    October - PDF Pricing and specification guides will be available on http://audi.co.uk
    October - Pricing and specification guides delivered into Centres
    May/June 2007 - Customer Deliveries
    Exterior Color Options Are:
    Ibis White
    Brilliant Red
    Ice Silver, Metallic
    Jet Blue, Metallic
    Daytona Grey, Pearl Effect
    Monterey Green, Pearl Effect
    Mugello Blue, Pearl Effect
    Phantom Black, Pearl Effect
    With corresponding sideblade colors of:
    Ice Silver
    Brilliant Red
    Apollo Silver
    Ice Silver
    Quartz Grey
    Deep Green
    Night Blue Side Blade
    Lava Grey Side Blade
    With two optional sideblade colors for each exterior color:
    Oxygen Silver
    Carbon Sigma
    Please click the thumbnails for full size images


    Link to actual copies of these internal documents (they're at the bottom of the web page):

    R8 Documents
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks to everyone for the comments on the Peugeot 908 RC concept. Going by the comments posted, I think that you all seem to like the car somewhat just as I do. Interestingly, no one called it hideous or awful looking! I think the French could make it big here being different, but they would have to get with the program when it comes to reliability.

    Did I mention that Alfa-Romeo comes back in 2008? Another charismatic, but historically troubled, brand.

    Mercedes' C230 didn't make here in the U.S. for several reasons. For one hatchbacks have a negative stigma in the U.S. that not even the Mercedes-Benz name can overcome, that combined with the fact that the C230 "Coupe" wasn't sporty enough dynamically did it in. It was also a poor value for the money spent. People in this country consider Mercedes a luxury brand first and foremost, unlike the utilitarian/luxury image Mercedes has nearly everywhere else in the world. Mercedes builds and sells buses, garbage trucks, Unimogs and everything else on wheels (except motorcycles) in Europe, yet a S600 or SL55 AMG is still seen as prestigious, while an A200t sits next to it in the showroom. America is far to image driven to allow that here for Mercedes-Benz. Now some say Audi made it with the A3, but the A3 isn't a 3-door hatch like the C230 and BMW 318ti were, it is a 5-door hatch with some real utility and, and, and Audi' image isn't quite up to BMW's or Mercedes' in this country. Like it or not (I don't) Audi is still associated with VW to a lot of consumers so Audi can get away with a "hatch" before BMW and especially MB can. Change the badge to "Mini", give it go-cart dynamics and poof(!) you have a hit!

    When BMW does import the 1-Series here it will be done as a sedan/coupe/convertible, not the hatch that has been running around Europe for over a year now. It is far too ugly anyway, IMO. The other 1-Series variants are going to be in the spirit of the E36 3-Series (1992-1998) or at least I hope it is. Pure.

    It is far easier for BMW to bake "sport" into a cheaper vehicle than it is to bake in E or S-Class virtues into a cheaper vehicle. The C230 didn't provide the sport, which would have made it different and "fun" and it surely didn't provide an E-Class or even enough C-Class sedan experience either. Nobody wants to drive a stodgy hatchback, it needs to be sporty or luxurious enough to validate it being stodgy.

    M
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    I think the success of the A3 is more to do with Audi's stylish and "in" image in this segment. The A3 is somewhat an icon, especially in Europe, due to the S3 and the like. Prestige has a different meaning in the 20-30 year old segment that is attracted to the A3 around the world. Audi definitely has that GenX and Yuppie 'aura' going on quite nicely that MB and BMW to lesser extent lack. Prestige is for "old men" more or less and is not substantive to quality or depth to this generation (or to anyone for that matter)...or as the studies have pointed out. As I did not read the studies first hand, an automotive survey found Audi highly popular and desirable in this segment.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    It is far easier for BMW to bake "sport" into a cheaper vehicle than it is to bake in E or S-Class virtues into a cheaper vehicle.

    Maybe, but easy isn't the question. The current C-Class is Mercedes' largest seller. That says enough to know that you can bake a little E and S-Class into a cheaper vehicle. It's basically been done and proven with the C-Class.

    The market is ripe enough to go one "Class" lower, IMO, if done well.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That may be so, but that image you speak of is tied to VW, nothing really do with Audi's image in the lower segment, IMO. There really isn't a premium hatchback segment to speak of here like in Europe, the only other car in the A3's segment is the Mini. The Mini, IMO is a totally different type of car though, it trades looks and dynamics and the sheer "cuteness" factor. The A3 I think makes it on style to a degree (lord knows it looks better than anyting BMW or MB have done with hatches here), but imporantly I think it makes it on utility, again IMO.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Maybe, but easy isn't the question. The current C-Class is Mercedes' largest seller. That says enough to know that you can bake a little E and S-Class into a cheaper vehicle.

    True, they could but then you'd be at the price a regular C-Class sedan. The C hatch needed to be sporty like other hatches to succeed. If one wants some E or S-Class in a C-C they're going to go to sedan not a hatchback.

    I hope Mercedes never imports another C-Class hatchback to the U.S. or anything lower than a C-Class sedan, preferably with 6 cylinders. If Mercedes is seen as premium in this country then it has to act like that, they made their bed so now they have to lay in it sorta speak.

    Mercedes simply doesn't do cheap well. Every single time they try they mess it up. Witness the first generation ML, the W220 S-Class (especially from 2000-2002), the C hatchback. Notice how their upper level cars dominate, S-Class, SL etc. Notice how just the opposite is true for BMW, neither company can beat the other at opposite ends.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Lutz: U.S. gov't should force gas prices up

    General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz said the U.S. government should gradually increase taxation on gasoline to force consumers into smaller, more efficient cars. "I'd say the best thing the (U.S.) government can do is to raise the gas tax by 10 or 15 cents a year until it reaches European levels," Mr. Lutz told the Wall Street Journal at the Paris Motor Show.

    "In Europe people buy $30,000 Golfs," Lutz said. "People are willing to pay lots of money for extremely well equipped, fuel-efficient cars." Lutz said higher gas prices would help accelerate the transition to alternative fuels and cleaner forms of propulsion.

    Lutz also says he thinks Americans have learned their lesson about buying fuel-thirsty vehicles, even if gas prices fall well below $2.00 later this year. "Three months from now if gas is $1.60 a gallon, people are not going to go rushing out to buy 400 horsepower SUVs," he said. "People now have understood the concept of volatility. People will hedge their bets."


    This from a man who heads up the same company that depends on suvs and large pickups for their survival! This is said as GM gets ready to roll out their most important vehicles of all, full-size pickups! What am I missing here? Lutz needs to retire, he has officially lost it. Toyota has finally made him crack up. He would change his tune very quickly if the new large utes all of sudden stopped selling and the new full size pickups flopped. Uh...Lutz, GM doesn't have enough small cars or enough that people would even want to buy in order to offset the sales losses if the Feds did what you're asking! Hello earth to Yutz? You're calling for buyers to revert to the vehicles with the slimmest profit margins at a time when GM is dying?

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Have you seen the GM TV ad currently running that says 90% of their cars get at least 30 mpg highway?
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Yes!

    And I dont think we will ever see a GM Ad boasting about their Truck/SUV MPG figures for city driving.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    This from a man who heads up the same company that depends on suvs and large pickups for their survival! This is said as GM gets ready to roll out their most important vehicles of all, full-size pickups! What am I missing here?

    The answer to your question could be the Sequel. The gas-alternative route seems to be GM's new Crusade. I just hope GM will live up to its hype.

    SOURCE: FORTUNE Sept. 20th, 2006

    The Sequel, GM (Charts) immodestly proposes, is the greatest leap forward since Karl Benz rolled out his gasoline-powered three-wheel bicycle in 1886. "GM has reinvented the automobile," brags Larry Burns, vice president of R&D.

    The Sequel is a genuinely bold and innovative engineering achievement. DaimlerChrysler (Charts) and Toyota (Charts) have put a few fuel-cell buses in service, and Honda (Charts) has leased one fuel-cell-powered car, but GM has gone farther than any of its rivals to develop a car that burns no gas, produces no harmful emissions--and that normal people wouldn't mind driving.

    It has already invested $1 billion in the program and might spend another billion before it gets a fuel-cell car into mass production. After losing $10.6 billion in 2005, it is a wonder that the company can afford it. But GM vice chairman Bob Lutz is so enthusiastic that he is willing to delay conventional new models to get a fuel-cell car into production. "It's a game changer," Lutz says

    Honda and BMW are both experimenting with liquid hydrogen as a fuel for conventional engines; BMW announced it is putting 100 hydrogen-fueled cars on the road next year. GM's is a fundamentally different bet, leapfrogging past traditional engines altogether.


    No wonder Lutz wants the government to impose hefty gas taxes. He is very worried that by the time Sequel is introduced gas prices will drop to about $1.20 a gallon and GM will have to pull the plug on the Sequel.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Uh...Lutz, GM doesn't have enough small cars or enough that people would even want to buy in order to offset the sales losses if the Feds did what you're asking! Hello earth to Yutz? You're calling for buyers to revert to the vehicles with the slimmest profit margins at a time when GM is dying?

    Quite. They would be handing whatever marketshare they have left to Japan and Korea. Their Daewoos aren't competitive in the ultra compact space.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    This from a man who heads up the same company that depends on suvs and large pickups for their survival! This is said as GM gets ready to roll out their most important vehicles of all, full-size pickups! What am I missing here?

    What are you missing?

    Well, with all due respect to you, one of our great posters, let me just say that I see this as nothing more than PR, pure and simple.

    It's the same as the tobacco companies' ads which suggest that smokers should stop smoking.

    Do you believe them? And you know it's PR?

    Don't believe Lutz, either.

    TagMan
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    This has to be the worst 48 hours I have ever experienced in terms of HELM news. I cant find any news from media/web sites worth posting here.

    Oh well at least there is always tomorrow or after-tomorrow.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Have you seen the GM TV ad currently running that says 90% of their cars get at least 30 mpg highway? +

    No I can't say that I remember seeing that one. Interesting though. Lutz still doesn't realize what he is talking about though because most small GM cars are crap next to the competition and when people thing MPG they run to Honda and Toyota small cars, not GM's.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well, with all due respect to you, one of our great posters, let me just say that I see this as nothing more than PR, pure and simple.

    Do you believe them? And you know it's PR?

    Of course Tag, I'm just shocked by it! Especially when GM has so much riding on their new pickups this fall. Maybe he should keep quiet for a while. Dewey's post on this is very interesting though!

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Of course Tag, I'm just shocked by it! Especially when GM has so much riding on their new pickups this fall. Maybe he should keep quiet for a while. Dewey's post on this is very interesting though!

    Yes, I like Dewey's post. . . and regarding the Sequel, just maybe Lutz is actually a visionary, and instead of jumping all over him, we'll all be praising him down the road. Who knows? Either way, he's got a tough job ahead.

    TagMan
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,067
    I guess Mr. Lutz should get out of the car biz and get into politics!! ;)

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

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