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High End Luxury Cars

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I doubt many expected IS sales to nearly match 3 series this quickly in the product cycle. I wonder if BMW is experiencing some kind of product transition issue in the market place. The perenniel sales leader in the entry level sport-luxury sedan market is certainly expected to hold on to its lead by more than the skin of teeth, so to speak. Perhaps consumers are waiting for the 328i/335i to fill the supply chain?

    3400 sales from both companies isn't nearly enough to make either Acura or Infiniti sweat. The 3 series is not the perenniel entry-sport sales leader. Not even close, at least in this country. The 2006 G35 sedan and coupe, literally minutes away from death, racked up 4200 sales for October, down more than 20% from last october. BMW's "engine transition" will not get them within a mile of the '07 G's sales, and Infiniti will be much stronger for '08 when the new coupe arrives.

    The TL's October '06 sales were 5800, down 4% from last year.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    Also bear in mind that the BMW 3 models are up about 4k units compared to last year.

    The ES has also passed the TL in YTD sales.

    I would consider less than 4k sales for the month a slow month for the 3. The IS has been consistent around 4-4500 a month.

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The ES has also passed the TL in YTD sales.

    Perhaps, but the ES is pretty far from an entry-sport car. Lexus should be pleased with the numbers though, there were a few months when it even beat the RX to be their #1 seller.
  • I agree that the ES is far from a enty-sports model, but considering that Lexus attacks the entry-Luxury market with two cars it should be viewed a little differently.

    IS sales most likely would be higher if there were no ES (not all of the buyers, but some would). That would make the IS sales most likely over 5,000 per month.

    It is hard to isolate the ES and IS because there is a certain amount of effect one has on the other in the marketplace. The problem is that there is no way to tell what that effect is.

    It is clear that Lexus has hit a home run in the entry level and they are content to reduce a single model's sales in order to increase the overall pie (IS sales would be higher without ES , but IS and ES gain more total sales by being in the marketplace).

    Interesting strategy that is working and is unique. Will any other car maker follow?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Interesting strategy that is working and is unique. Will any other car maker follow?

    I doubt it. The ES smashed the I30\I35 to bits, Infinti certainly will not be trying that again. They've never had the skill to take the Maxima upmarket like Lexus does with the Camry.

    The Acura TL used to compete more directly with the ES in the '90s, but either pressure from the ES, or Acura's desire to reinvent itself as a performance company, or both, has shifted the TL away from the ES market and into the entry-sport category.

    If Acura decides to give the TSX SH-AWD and either their turbo 4 or a V6, that would make it more of an IS competitor. The TL still wouldn't really be competing with the ES, but it would give them two entry level cars.

    BMW and Audi will never make ES competitors. The M-B C class kind of straddles the entry-lux\sport category depending on options. I think M-B would rather just give their customers choice as to how sporty they want their C class to be, rather than trying to offer two different cars.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    First let me say, I am absolutely puzzled by all these marketing geniuses who disengage all the vehicles' electronics from seat and steering wheel adjustments to the stereo and navigation system at the show. What's the point of allowing folks to sit in the vehicles? The only company that went against this ridiculous practice for their entire line was Lexus. Honda had a few vehicles that weren't disengaged, but not all.

    And isn't it possible to find pretty assistants who actually know something about any of the vehicles they are supposedly representing?

    There was only one vehicle that I was totally satisfied with both inside and out. More about that later.

    As for Lexus, it is definitely true. The LS 460 foot well is too narrow. I could not plant my left foot comfortably. The driver's seat was too soft, like an easy chair, not something which should help keep you alert. The lumbar support could hardly be felt.
    Two mercury metallic 460's were available-the basic car and the 460L, which was roped off. The design is still too conservative, but the rear is a definite improvement. I hardly see the resemblance between the Camry and LS rears, which is a good thing, since I consider the Camry rear, atrocious. The 460L looks more sporty from the side than the 460. Interior well done. Beautiful, dark, tasteful wood.

    The GS350 love affair is over. Right leg and knee touched the console, unavoidable from multi-seat adjustments.
    Driver's seat more firm and comfortable than that in the LS.
    Lumbar support a major improvement over that in the LS-really grabs you. Driver's foot well is well done. Very handsome, medium-tone wood. Very tasteful. Car still looks great, but...

    Acura MDX-not impressed with the look of the vehicle. Just "okay." Nothing special. Driver's seat seemed comfortable, but what's the point when I couldn't check out the seat travel, lumbar support and steering wheel adjustment. Test tube wood is well done. Console storage opens toward you. Who was the genius who made that decision?

    Audi A8-Arm rest too low and uncomfortable, right leg hit console. Couldn't adjust seat to see if that was avoidable. Wood too light and overly grainy, but obviously of a high quality. Console storage divided in two for driver and passenger. Not enough room for stuff in either one.

    S-Class-driver's seat too soft and deep, similar to the LS460. The wood is a dead ringer for the 545i wood-very dark and used sparingly, like in the 545i. Not impressed. Salesman was all over me. Again, not impressed.
    Only impressed with the S-Class exterior-very sleek and expensive-looking.

    R-Class-Nicest MB interior-very nice golden brown wood in plentiful supply. Unfortunately the parking brake is of the pedal variety and it is located directly to the left of the driver's foot well which tended to hit the top of my left shoe when disengaged. No seat adjustment available, so I had no way of knowing whether this could be avoided.

    On the way out, I decided to go slumming, sitting in quite a few Toyotas and Hondas.
    The only vehicle at the show that I found totally acceptable, at least at a stand still was the surprising Honda Accord Coupe. The driver's seat was perfect-fit me like a glove, very comfortable without being too soft with plenty of seat travel for my 6'2" frame. The car is a looker, unlike its sedan equivalent. No gimmicks, no wood ($28,000 MSRP). Only a vehicle designed by people who knew what they were doing. Thank you Honda for leaving all the electronics "on" from the seat adjustments to the fine radio and navigation system. And most of all thank you for letting me leave the show with a smile on my face. The show would have been a huge bust, otherwise.

    If I was making a surprise visit from vehicle corporate and found my show vehicles set up for consumer access with interior electronics cut off, those folks responsible would be gone tomorrow.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    Hi Hpowders===A nice write up, and sorry so many of the cars failed....I can comment on the A8 arm rest, as it one of my favorite things..The actual arm rest ratchets up severar clicks , so for me I can get it very supportive...Now on the otherhand the storage is really lacking...I took the cup holder thing out and that little box area is lined in a sort of felt and stores the phone charger cord, and several other things..On my previous Lexus there was better sorage areas and more of them...Of course I adjusted quickly . On my wife`s bmw we found it also is lacking in storage area, particularly in the door side things... I can`t help but wonder how your 5 could be any better in fittin into than the 8, as I can`t really tell any difference between the two...When I drove the bmw to Miami, I found it to be possibly (seat wise) more comfortable than the 8..Something how the seats themselves just feel a timy bit different.Can`t put my finger on it...Your car with the hp and setup is a thriller, but for me the interior is quit a ways behind the 8, although it is what it is....Keep up the good work Tony
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    If I was making a surprise visit from vehicle corporate and found my show vehicles set up for consumer access with interior electronics cut off, those folks responsible would be gone tomorrow.

    Tomorrow? Why wait so long? ;)

    BTW, thanks for the interesting commentary on the car show. Ours starts November 18th.

    TagMan
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I had no way of knowing that the A8 armrest could be adjusted. Glad to hear it, Tony. I would say it must have been set to a low position. Couldn't believe how skimpy the console storage area is. At least it opens properly. Imagine sitting in the MDX driver's seat with the console storage area opening up and toward you completely blocking your view and access to the storage area! How Acura could overlook such an obvious gaffe is beyond me.

    Plenty of wood in the A8. As much as in the R-Class. Not much wood in the S-Class. I expected more. Like I said, the S-Class and 545 have the same color wood meted out in small portions. I couldn't adjust the seat in the A8 or S-Class. Both electronically disabled.
    My 5 also isn't generous in the console storage area.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    If you plan on playing with any of the electronics, bring a small generator with you. If Lexus can do it right, so should the others.

    They had a dark blue Bluetec roped off in a raised area.
    Getting close to it was strictly verboten.
    Very neat, well-done lettering across the rear spelling out Bluetec. No doubt about it, what you will be driving.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Why did they name it that? Given the environmental angle, wouldn't Green-something have been a better choice?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The car is a looker, unlike its sedan equivalent. No gimmicks, no wood ($28,000 MSRP). Only a vehicle designed by people who knew what they were doing.

    Yeah the coupe definitely fits the "cougar" look that the designers were supposedly going for with this generation Accord much better than the sedan, and unlike the sedan it looks better than the car it replaced. For '06 they made the rear of the sedan much uglier, but the coupe looks a bit better than it did before from the back. The spoiler that they added is very subtle, but it gives the rear of the car a bit more character, which it needed. The new taillights also no longer look robbed from a CLK.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    It's the only car at the show that I can say I felt totally comfortable in. A great driver's seat! Stereo sounded fine and the nav. seemed to have all the bells and whistles. Wonder how it drives?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Something to do with the "Adblue", which is the trade-marked name of the special urea solution they will use.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    from a blast in the S600. I'm still grinnin' from ear 2 ear.

    HP, NOTHING TO LIKE AT THE SHOW BESIDES THE ACCORD!!??? I hear ya, but trust me, if you could've adjusted the seats in either the Audi or the Benz, you would've thought differently. This 6'5 frame fits in standard(SWB) S8's like a glove, and the S-Class is phenomenal.

    Doc, yes the IS nips at the 3-Series now, but the 3 outsells it 7:1 worldwide. And the Infiniti cars slaughters them all, even with redesign looming. The ES will remain a Lexus stronghold, as it has been for the last 15 years. It's one of those cars that does everything right by it's customers with every redesign, nothing more, nothing less.

    LG- I'm going to check out an XKR tomorrow at the Jag dealer. They have one, but the GM already has said that it's not to be driven. Bummer, but oh well.

    BTW- The gift(s) from MBUSA turned out to be a NANO i-Pod and a leather-lined book on the past, present, and future of MB. Very good appreciation from them on someone buying their product.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    That was my point. Why let me into all those vehicles when they cut the juice? I couldn't fairly judge seating comfort in a majority of the vehicles. Most of the show in that respect was a waste of time. if you are going to put on an auto show, do it right!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It's the only car at the show that I can say I felt totally comfortable in. A great driver's seat! Stereo sounded fine and the nav. seemed to have all the bells and whistles. Wonder how it drives?

    The coupe has special "sport" seats, which are a bit firmer with bigger side bolsters than the sedan's. I drove an EX-V6 6-speed a few years ago. It has a very nice blend of handling and ride quality. None of the Altima's harshness, and none of the Camry's doughy blandness. The 6-speed is fantastic, easily one of the best gearboxes in any car I've ever driven. The only problem was the OEM tires were really mediocre all seasons, so it ran out of grip pretty fast.

    For '06 they tweaked the suspension and gave it new 17" wheels, hopefully with better tires. Power is also up quite a bit for the V6, the car is almost a second faster to 60 than last year. I'd suggest a test drive, even if you have absolutely no intention of buying...although only if they have a six-speed on the lot to test.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    It was a very comfortable vehicle. Can see why Accords are so popular. Sat in a Camry and didn't like the seat.

    The MDX had a comfortable seat and was anticipating finding a lot of legroom, but they cut off the juice, so I couldn't check the seat travel.
    But I could never get a vehicle with a console compartment that opens toward the driver, blocking his view and ability to reach whatever is in there. Acura should fix that quickly if not sooner.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    The driver's seat was too soft, like an easy chair, not something which should help keep you alert.

    Sorry, HP, but I thought an LS' seat should keep you comfortable?

    I've always hated how BMW has red guage lighting to "keep you alert".

    If I wanted to stare at red lights all night, I'd move back to New York!

    In a BMW, maybe that's appropraite, but a Lexus is here to comfort you, not keep you half-cocked. :confuse:

    When I sat in the New LS, the seat felt quite luxurious.

    I have sat in Merecedes leather seats that had all the suppleness of shoe leather. I'm sure they are somewhat softer now, thanks to Lexus.

    You know what I miss. When performance cars used to have lateral bolster adjustments! ;)

    DrFill
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    LOVE the interior, but only the Saturn Ion is a worse redesign of a car than the Accord.

    The Coupe is just awful! Awful! AWFUL!

    It's just AWFUL! (I watch "Mike & Mike" too much) ;)

    And it has MT/V6! Must have "Stud repellent" or something! :P

    DrFill
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I realize a lot of folks will like the LS driver's seat.
    It felt similar to that in the S-Class-soft and deep. Luxurious would be a good word.

    I felt the lumbar support in the LS should be a little more, well...supportive. Felt the GS has better lumbar support.
    I found the quality and tone of the wood in both the LS and GS to be luxurious.

    The Accord coupe seat felt perfect-firm, but not too firm with neither of my legs or feet complaining. Perfect console location and driver's foot well. Much like the 3 Series.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    BTW, the G35 is at 47,700 for the year.

    The CTS is just behind it.

    BMW 3-series, with it's gang of configurations and engines, usually sells 100k a year, as a group.

    Lexus should offer both AWD and a manual on the IS350 for 2008. There is no excuse for not doing so. Infiniti and BMW are getting it done. Lexus needs to get that done. I don't wanna hear about clinics and focus groups and what someone told you in 2003. This car is designed to bring in new customers. Offer what those customers are buying elsewhere. :mad:

    DrFill
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    The SRX and Infiniti FX are in a dead heat, which surprises me, since the SRX is more versatile and larger, plus is sold at more dealerships.

    The G35 hasn't even sold 30k sedans this year.

    The G35 couple, in it's prime, would sell 70k a year. Maybe get back there next year, or 2008.

    And the GS is at 23k, the M35/45 at 21500.

    More scores at the top of the hour.....

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Lexus should offer both AWD and a manual on the IS350 for 2008. There is no excuse for not doing so. Infiniti and BMW are getting it done.

    I agree. You can't get both at the same time from Infiniti like you can from BMW, but at least you have the choice at all. Heck, even the TL-S, a lowly front driver, has a 6MT option.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I like Audi's red\white gauges a lot, I think they are up there with Lexus EL gauges as the best in the business. I'm with you on BMW though, the red\red is not something I would want to look at for hours.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The SRX and Infiniti FX are in a dead heat, which surprises me, since the SRX is more versatile and larger, plus is sold at more dealerships.

    The SRX's problem is the Escalade. Without that, the SRX would be doing a lot better. Although without the Escalade, its questionable as to whether Cadillac would even still be around.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I've always hated how BMW has red guage lighting to "keep you alert".

    I'm with you on BMW though, the red\red is not something I would want to look at for hours.


    DrFill and Lexusguy... The red which is really orange lighting is actually easier on the eyes, less glare. I think if you tried driving for extended periods at night, you would change your opinion. Plus, I find the illuminated BMW dashboards to be ethereal.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I think if you tried driving for extended periods at night, you would change your opinion. Plus, I find the illuminated BMW dashboards to be ethereal.

    While I've never driven a BMW at night for any length of time, I don't have any problem with the LS430's gauges. Night time glare is a big issue for me, (I wear glasses). I wouldn't buy a car if I didn't like the gauges at night. I keep the LS's gauges one notch above completely off, and they're fine. (Although its worth mentioning that my '01 has red needles on white gauges. I'm not crazy about the white\white in the newer 430s.) I also drive with the NAV screen off unless I need directions.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Yep, my eyes are sensitive too and this brings me to Xenons which I don't care for becuase it is harder to see outside the immediate field of illumination, similar to viewing stars within the confines of city light.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    this brings me to Xenons which I don't care for becuase it is harder to see outside the immediate field of illumination, similar to viewing stars within the confines of city light.

    I know exactly what you mean here. But it's not so much the fault of Xenon as it is the linear projection pattern of some of the headlamp assemblies. They are not all the same, and some are much worse than others.

    Some projections are too darned linear, and when this happens it appears as though there is a solid line that divides where there is light and where there is not . . . the projection area is extremely bright, and the rest is as dark as a black hole. There is simply not enough diffused light to accompany the main projection beam.

    I don't care much for overly-linear headlights either.

    TagMan
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