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High End Luxury Cars



  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    The last 10 or so posts are a significant improvement IMHO over the usual Lex vs. MB stuff. The analysis in these posts reminds me of a question I have wanted to ask for a long time. When is the best time to buy a HELM? At the beginning of a model run or at the end?

    Clearly, if you are an "early adopter" buying say a new 2007 S Class will give you the benefit of driving the "new" body style for 6 or so years. As a result the initial depreciation should be less than normal because you will have the new body style. Additionally, and no less important, the psychological deprecation should build more leisurely. In other words, because you are driving the current body style you will tire of it more slowly. (My mother never stopped telling us that her 1941 Plymouth was the only "new" car available for 10 years.)

    On the other hand if you buy a new '06 S Class you'll get a quick 10K off the MSRP but probably will be saddled with higher than normal depreciation because it is an "old" body style. I suspect that just like year-end automotive sales, that these additional discounts don't overcome the higher depreciation.

    Finally, lets not forget that the early adopters bear some risk of initial bugs that will need to be worked out. The '07 buyer is a beta tester.

    So, using the S Class as an example, is the smartest move to buy a heavily discounted '06, a new style '07, or next year a debugged '08?

    (For those of you who may think that this analysis is beneath them, let me encourage you to think in terms of pre-tax dollars and opportunity costs. Saving 10K is akin to a 14k raise on your W2 and if invested in say an emerging market bond fund would have doubled in 12 months.)
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    It's a catch-22. True enough you'll be one the first to enjoy the new model, and being the first does have it's perks. HOWEVER, more than usual, there are problems associated with first m/y cars. This occurance is usually more elevated cars, because for the most part they are laden with more techno-gadgetry than we'll ever use throughout the ownership of the ride.

    Mercedes has pushed the envelope even further by developing new-edge technology, which is always the case when the biggest car to wear the 3-pointed star is redesigned. But as cars advance, they get more reliable. It used to be that Honda/Toyota buyers bought those cars on the sole reason for legendary reliability records. Now you have even Hyundai taking accolades for workmanship and top-notch quality and reliability. This is a sign of our time.

    Is it worth it to buy a car in the first m/y? It lies solely with the expression of the potential buyer. DCX upgraded the factories that make German-built Mercedes, so I'd imagine that it would improve the Mercedes once proven track record for good(if not great) reliability. Most buyers of these high-end cars buy them on mostly impulse, not need. So the new '07 S is definetely expressive enough to further the person impulse.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "When is the best time to buy a HELM? At the beginning of a model run or at the end?"

    How about the middle? I think the best time to buy is on the mid-cycle update. That way you get the benefit of some new stuff, tweaked styling, maybe some extra power, etc. but its not a brand new model that could have significant problems.
  • rayngrayng Posts: 70
    OTD means out-the-door. If you prefer to compare prices with just MSRP, Invoice, etc... then do so. But I think buyers of MB in California would benefit from knowing the OTD price from my experiences. We're not publishing manifestos, or car pricing guides. This was my experience. I clearly qualified it by naming dealer, location, and when I bought in addition to what was included in the OUT THE DOOR price. My intention was to our fellow forum users an example of how much MB would discount their 06 S classes. If you are confused, then post your questions. We have many smart and savvy car guys here to help. So Tagman and Houdini1, let's not confuse those who might be confused. I'm sure all of us who read this forum can figure it out for ourselves. :D
  • rayngrayng Posts: 70
    IMHO, generally buy mid-cycle for the reasons you stated. However, if you like the outgoing model, buy at the end but don't wait until the very end unless you don't really care about colors or options.

    Buying in the middle will also give you the benefit of getting more engine choices, interior options, and model choices (hybrids). While some HELMS like Lexus and Mercedes discount heavily at the end of the model run, lower volume HELMS like Audi, Porsche, and Bentley generally will not.

    There's a good argument to buy the at the end of the model run in cases where you like the old more than the new (ie the incoming model has ugly fender flares and bad ergonomics. :D ) In 1998, the outgoing air-cooled 911 was snapped up by Porsche-lovers who lampooned the new water-cooled and watered-down model. Of course the tear-drop headlines brought the traditionalists to tears.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,862
    I think most people on this forum are "savvy" enough to know they have to pay their taxes and licensing fees.

    I agree that OTD means out the door. I don't pay my taxes and licensing fees at the dealership. They are paid later at the licensing bureau.

    To be meaningful the OTD price MUST be in relation to the msrp. That way you can tell just how much the car has been discounted. Adding in taxes just confuses the issue. If you are going to include TTL you might as well include insurance costs, personal property tax, and maybe even that first tank of gasoline.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    "In 1998 the outoing air cooled 911 was snapped up by Porsche-lovers who lampooned the new water-cooled..."

    Isn't it amazing how things can change? The current water cooled 911, known internally as the 997, is red hot and its predescessor, the 996, that replaced the air cooled version, has retained a lot of its MSRP. No one has ever looked back on the air cooled units. Fully 50% of Porsche sales are now Cayennes.

    Speaking of retaining MSRP, I haven't done a lot of research, but my impression is that the 911 has the best resale of any HELM. Moreover, the transaction prices are close to list. Who says that Porsche couldn't sell a HELM sedan to aging boomers?
  • grandaddygrandaddy Posts: 66
    Got to agree with Tagman and Houdini on the tax issue. No reason to include in OTD price. It's a no brainer.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    So Tagman and Houdini1, let's not confuse those who might be confused. I'm sure all of us who read this forum can figure it out for ourselves.

    Sorry, rayng, I can't let you get away with this one.

    Here's why . . .

    I can guarantee you, it’s in nobody’s best interest (except the car salesman’s) to do backwards mathematics to figure out what the VEHICLE's price actually is. Like I said, the OTD price is a good dealer-to-dealer final comparison when purchasing a vehicle, but unless you know the CAR'S price, you are missing the meal's main course.

    Here's the example:

    I live in California. Like you, I'm savvy enough to know a good deal, but I'm not going to learn every state's different sales tax and license and registration fees. Even within different counties of a state there are different tax rates.

    So, if I tell you that a car is 75,000 OTD in California, and it is also 75,000 OTD in Oregon, Nevada, or Illinois, for example, the price of the VEHICLE itself would be dramatically different!

    When you only quote OTD, you cannot determine the actual car's price without first removing the tax and license and registration fees! You may not think so, but that IS important if you want to compare the ACTUAL VEHICLE's final discounted selling price . . . particularly in different regions of the country!

    Do you know all the tax rates in all 50 states, and all the tax rates in all the counties in each of those 50 states, and all the license and registration fees in all 50 states?

    So, when the taxes and license and registration fees can vary so much from area to area, it just doesn’t make sense to keep the price of the vehicle itself HIDDEN. I, for one, like to know the price of the VEHICLE that different people are paying around the country when we discuss it.

    I appreciated your post and the information you offered, but I hope you are willing to see my point of view on this. OTD is fine, yes, but it helps to disclose the VEHICLE price also. It matters! At least IMHO it does, for the reasons I have offered.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    How about the middle? I think the best time to buy is on the mid-cycle update. That way you get the benefit of some new stuff, tweaked styling, maybe some extra power, etc. but its not a brand new model that could have significant problems.

    This is exactly what I was going to say, especially with a Mercedes, but I think it applies with any luxury brand who sticks to a 5-7 year production run. Oh how I wish a 2003 S500 Sport or 2003 CL500 Sport were withing my grasp!!

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The car is amazing. Merc, I finally understand your enthusiasm for Mercedes.


    If you feel this way about a S430 4Matic I can't imagine how you'd feel after driving an AMG model or the CLS500 or SLK350! P.S. don't drive the new S550 it will likely make you forget the S430 and your impulse thinking will get a lot more expensive.

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I should mention, of course, that when it's best to buy might not always be "new" . . . sometimes the best buy is a "used" one. After all, hindsight can be 20/20!

    I think, however, the question has been pertaining to "new", so I'll chime in on that.

    I guess I'll have to disagree with a few of my well-respected participants. But I'll try to explain why.

    IMO, the best time is at the END of the cycle . . . BUT there is a prerequisite. You have to be absolutely sure that you do not fall in love with the replacement model to the point that you will get buyer's remorse over the previous model.

    That said . . .

    At the end of the cycle, FOUR things readily present themselves:

    1. Price is the best, because only at the END of the cycle can the replacement generally cause a more significant "clearance" and "closeout" effect on the previous model that is being replaced.

    2. Resale of a particular model cycle will be at its highest in the last and most recent year. Coupling this with the best acquisition price as mentioned in number one, leaves a compelling financial incentive to buy at the END of the cycle.

    3. Most ALL of the improvements, fixes, and latest options that were made for a particular model generally find themselves in the FINAL model year.

    4. The appearance in the FINAL model year of a cycle generally gets its ultimate and highest level of "tweaking" . . . usually making it the best-looking on the exterior AND interior.

    While all of these things do not always happen as a rule, enough of them usually do happen, and often in combination, to warrant purchasing the last vehicles in a production cycle.

    That's how I see it.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree with that, but only if and I mean only if:

    You have to be absolutely sure that you do not fall in love with the replacement model to the point that you will get buyer's remorse over the previous model.

    Then yes by all means the last year of production is the best time to buy. There have been serveral Mercedes model change overs I felt this way about over the years.

  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    I bought the S430 4 Matic. I didn't like the look of the S550 at all. It just didn't do it for me. I didn't bother driving it because the shape and instrument cluster put me off. I drove the CLS too, but opted for the S Class because it had 4 Matic and Pre-Safe. CLS is a pretty car, but not practical for me.

    I realize that this car will not be as reliable as my Lexus cars, but I also think it will not strand me by the side of the road either. When I first drove the S430 I couldn't tell the difference between this and my Lexus. My son told me, "You're driving it too slow!" (I was doing only 50 MPH on the highway). So I took it up to 75 MPH and the salesman activated the Sport 2 Mode on the Airmatic..Big Difference! Airmatic is a nice tool, but I hope it doesn't break anytime soon!

    I also noted that Mercedes has all sorts of interesting features. They have this brand new nanotech paint that apparently is 40% more scratch resistant than other cars. It's been around since 2005. What is a dual circuit braking system? I also didn't know it has a single CD slot in the front in addition to the 6 CD changer in the back. It has a real time Tire Pressure Monitor and Oil Analysis monitor. I gave up Bluetooth, but the salesman told me Mercedes will offer an upgrade for pre 07 cars soon for about $225. I wanted the wooden steering wheel, but that was 1K extra. I passed on that one.

    This car is a good product, and the dealership is even better than my Lexus one. I had a much better experience with this Mercedes dealer than I've had with the Lexus dealers here. It might just be a regional thing, but they really go out of their way to make you happy. The salesman insisted that my family relax, brought me and my wife coffee, and refused to let me test drive the S Class demo until he had it washed and vacuumed. He pulled out a S430, S350, and CLS 500 for me to drive. I'm very happy with the experience.

    At the end, the GM of the dealership came out and shook my hand and said, "Congratulations, and Welcome to Mercedes Benz." No one at Lexus has ever welcomed me before. Yes, I realize this is part of what you pay for, but everything they did had a classy touch to it. I've been really ticked off with the Lexus dealer's Service Department, so I decided that it was worth it.

    My son wanted to buy me the S350 for my birthday. Since I picked the S430 he insisted that he pay half. I said no, but he took my credit card away and placed the deposit on the car. How about that? I had no idea he's been cooking this plan up for over a year. I turn 61 in two weeks, so it's a birthday present from him.

    My son negotiated the whole deal. He got 10K off MSRP plus full Kelley trade in value for my car ($48K) plus all scheduled maintenance paid for 39 months. The trade in was the sticking point. We couldn't hold for 49-50K because their own Lexus dealer had a similar car to mine on sale for $53K. I know their profit margin is around 7K and I know the residual of this car is falling because of the impending release of the LS460. I only paid $55K for it anyway, so a 7K hit for 15 months is fair. It did some some scratches that needed to be touched up too.

    I get the car tomorrow, for the first time I'm very excited. The car is this Pewter color over Charcoal. At least to me, it looks amazing. I'd seen the same car in Dubai and few years ago and was blown away.

    I'm not sure what forum I should be posting in now. Do I get to post in both Lexus and Mercedes ones?

    Thanks to everyone for their comments!
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    What is a dual circuit braking system?


    Most all recent vehicles of all brands at all price points have this feature.

    Basically, the brake circuit is divided into two zones, so that in the event of one's failure, there is still adequate braking with the second.

    Specifically, the zones are often diagonal, with the left front linked to the right rear, and then the right front linked to the left rear.

    There are versions that do a three-wheel split by linking the front left with BOTH of the rears, and the front right with BOTH of the rears.

    I am not certain if any of the systems use a four over four, but the answer to your question is clear enough that there is a split zone of one type or another to offer a greater degree of safety.

    BTW, dual-circuit braking is not ABS, which is an additional anti-lock braking system feature that has been around in most vehicles for quite some time also.

    Even the handy tire-pressure monitor and oil useage monitor features are presenting themselves in all types of cars at all price points lately.

    Your new car sounds terrific, and I just know you will enjoy it for many years. You will never forget the wonderful way your son celebrated your 61st birthday!! You are very blessed!!

    OH! . . . before I forget . . . Happy Birthday!

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Congratulations!! (Where do I get a son like that ... :blush: )

    You are welcome to post in both of those discussions, this one and every other one you find interesting. ;)
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I forgot, back in the day, my walkarounds also included a mention of the dual circuit braking, so it's not just luxury cars that have the feature!

    I thought he was referring to the elctronic brake-by-wire, introduced in the E-Class when it was launched, accompanied by conventional braking systems.

    Mercedes was catching some flak for the totally artificial, on/off, brake feel the electronic brakes provided, virtually preventing a dignified roll to a halt. :mad:

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Congrats and enjoy.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    SV - Glad to see someone as impulsive as me though I'm more of a sucker for early adoption of electronics. Best of luck with the S430.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Congrats on the S430. I'm sure you'll enjoy it, maybe even more than your outgoing LS.
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