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High End Luxury Cars

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  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well there is no doubt that Lexus tries very hard to provide one of the top upscale dealership experiences in the USA.
    The second salesman I dealt with last summer who actually got the vehicle right and let me drive the car I asked to drive, the GS430, was the best salesman I ever had the pleasure to meet.
    Compared to him, the BMW people I have encountered have a long way to go.
    He had encyclopedic knowledge of the car but was totally relaxed with no sales pressure.
    I was so impressed, I sent him a referral and he closed a deal on the GS430 with that person, even though I didn't.
    When the new LS 460 comes out, I will be calling him for a test drive, that's for sure.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Thank you. I find the sociology of marketing a fascinating topic.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Well, since the GS wasn't sporty enough for you, you are going to shock us all if you someday buy an LS.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I plan on driving the new LS because I consider it a prerequisite for me to write on this board.

    I plan on driving the A8 too. Curious to experience the Audi dealership treatment.

    The GS430 had adaptive steering which I couldn't "adapt" to and grabby brakes.
    I did really want to like that car. Major disappointment, last summer. And I really did like that salesman.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I actually agree with you on this one. Active steering and E-brakes are things Lexus should not have copied from the Germans.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    The GS300 is actually more fun to drive because it has normal brakes and steering. Just needs a more powerful engine which I guess they will be addressing pretty soon.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Lexus could have put the 3.5 in already but wants to "save" it for use as a midlife kicker for the GS. The customer suffers.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Toyota has a very high, almost iconic status in Japan.

    Toyota Crown models were the ultra prestige cars in Japan for years. I believe there have even been V-12 Crowns (somebody can correct me if I am wrong).

    The switch from Toyota to Lexus in Japan will be tough.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Too bad because that was the only thing that turned me off to the GS300.
    I previously mentioned the driver's seat not being very comfortable but at 6'2", this is usually a problem across the board.
    I believe the only car I had no issue with the seat and legroom was my much lamented, dark maroon 1967 Impala.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Designman:

    I'll break this synopsis into two sections. First will be a timeline capsule of the LS400.... Second (later post) will be the creation of the LS. Happy reading.

    Timeline Capsule of the LS400

    08/1983: Toyota Chairman decides it's time for a luxury arm for the company.

    05/1985: Design team and study team are put together in the US.

    07/1985: A running LS400 prototype is made

    05/1986: Autobahn testing began

    09/1986: More testing on US roads

    05/1987: Final approval for LS400 design from management

    01/1989: At the Detroit and LA auto shows

    09/1989: LS400 goes on sale

    01/1990: Named C&D 10 Best

    02/1990: Named Best Imported Car of the Year (Motoring Press Assoc)
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "In 1989 when Toyota introduced this car to America as a 1990 model, the automotive press thought it didn't have a chance against the likes of Mercedes and BMW. Toyota knew how to build great economy cars and small family sedans but this is the big league. Jokes circulated about this folly, one of which I remember on a TV drama where a car thief who specialized in stealing expensive cars pulled up with a Lexus. When his partner saw him and gave him a look, he said "it was dark, I thought it was a Mercedes." As a matter of fact, the only LS400 that I have ever known to break down was in the 1991 movie "The Grand Canyon" starring Danny Glover (a movie I otherwise highly recommend.)

    Well, it took less then a year for everyone in the automotive industry to change their attitude and give this car the respect it deserved. Lexus became the standard by which other cars are judged. Only the Mercedes S Class and the BMW 7 Series could rightly claim to be better cars. But they cost $10,000 to $20,000 more than the Lexus LS400 which had a starting price of under $38,000 in 1990."

    Read the whole article http://www.familycar.com/RoadTests/Lexus1stGen/Lexus1stGen.htm
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    There have been so many stories and in fact, many business case studies on how Toyota pulled this off starting back in 1982 or 83. The Lexus book is just one of them that gives the details. Some of the other indepedent articles heap a lot more praise on the company than anything they could write themselves. Some of the details include the design and development of the robotics that were used to build the Lexus models to the sophisticated factories and the specialization techniques used in the choosing of employees, auto parts etc that would fit the development of such a high end car. The precision used to build this car was the highest in the industry from the get go. This was a design from scratch investment and buildout of the initial car models and the planned future models, none of which were anything like Toyota had built before. The entire car design was set-up to fit the US market as the primary market and the Japanese market as a secondary. Europe was never even a thought. The reason the Lexus name wasn't used in Japan is due to local political issues and the pressures of the existing dealership network already established. Most, if not all Toyota dealers in Japan sell the high end Toyotas which came to market at the same time as the US Lexus models in a differently partitioned showroom or a different floor altogether than the more economical models. It is a cast system there and the service to the wealthier crowd mimics the difference here between Lexus service and Toyota service. The reason for the change to the Lexus name now in Japan is due to the global rollout of Lexus as a brand.

    There's a synopsis, the rest can be found in many business books and articles written since 1990. I'm sure some of it found its way into college textbooks.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Reading the Lexus synopsis was fine, but you should also check out the history of Mercedes Benz sometime. I'll save you the "copy/paste" and won't place it here.

    On a side note, there is one little slice of Mercedes Benz that is an ICON for all time. It was (and still is, although "modernized"):
    one of the most famous and fabulous FRONT GRILLS OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</b
    I will always admire it!

    TagMan
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I couldn't write the synopsis any better. Great job, Len... and thanks for helping out.

    Well, Designman, between the timeline capsule and the synopsis from Len, you get the picture... The rest of the research is up to you, if indeed you'd like to know more :)
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    sedan is the Century, not the Crown: sorry about that.

    The Century with options can top the $100,000 mark in Japan. It has a vvti 48 valve V-12 and very formal body style. See the picture and specs at thus link.

    http://www.cars-directory.net/specs/toyota/century/2001_5/5837/
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Thank you Oac and Ljflx for that response. Ljflx, I am guessing that your mention of Lexus info in business books and college text books alludes to them as a business model.

    On another note, I really like the styling of the Toyota Century and lament the fact that no company is choosing to pursue and preserve that classic look. It&#146;s all about trying to create the future these days and the only thing they wind up with is ephemeral fashion, most of which fails miserably. What a shame. I welcome the manifest destiny of technology but we cannot throw Shakespeare, Rembrandt and Beethoven into the trash. Impossible, they are immortal. Likewise, I would like to see certain distinct elements of classic styling preserved. It would seem this should fall into the hands of HELMs first, but it isn&#146;t happening. You have no idea how disappointed I am in the styling of most cars today.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    I agree with you. A car blending current technology with classic styling would find a market niche in the USA.

    If Lincoln offered a modern version of their 1961-67 Continental (including the 4-door convertible) their showrooms would be busy!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    What I'd like to see, is Jag do a modern version of the XK150. It is in my opinion, the best looking Jag of all time, and one of the best looking cars ever made.

    image
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Agree. So cool. I had one of those in my Aurora slot car set circa 1960.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Will Porsche keep these margins once the Panamera sedan becomes part of the line?

    From article in Forbes about German manufacturers: worth a read.

    http://www.forbes.com/columnists/2006/01/13/volkswagen-bmw-germany_cz_jf_05germa- - - ny40_0117flint.html
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