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High End Luxury Cars



  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Very good reading. I've often wondered why Mercedes and Porsche didn't do more since their headquarters are literally across the street from each other. I guess this is why Mercedes sold their stake in CTS (Car Top Systems) a few years back. CTS is the company they both started to do convertible tops for both Porsche/Mercedes and others like Ferrari and Jaguar. Now it is fully Porsche owned, or at least it was last time I saw something online about it. They've done the tops for the SLK, SL, 911, Boxster, XK, and F355/360 Ferraris.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree, very well said.

    I think Audi just has a perception problem with being associated with VW for so long in this country. Then there are those who still believe in the unintended acceleration stuff and lastly Audi just doesn't have the infastructure here like MB and BMW. Audi has got to get more dealers in the right places, in other words on dealer's row with MB/BMW/Lexus/Cadillac because from what I read here and elsewhere the average Audi dealer seems to be more accomodating than the average MB or BMW dealer.

  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Somewhere on this board, in memory I recall us discussing about the A8. One of the key points I agreed with then, and will re-state now, is that in the HELM space, a car need something to distinguish it - call it its "calling card", if you will. S had the history/heritage and brand recognition, 7 has the BMW performance-inclined brand awareness, LS has Lexus's luxury, refinement and reliability, what does the A8 have ? Nothing really... Maybe that the previous A8 was an all-aluminum shell. But what does that impart to the buyer ? Jaguar had an aluminum body and that did not buy it any more market share than it already had.

    Len (ljflx) alluded to something missing in the A8... Yes, there is something missing... a DNA... something the NA market buyers can attach to the brand. Currently, nothing. It remains a pedestrian brand, unable to rise to the level that a HELM buyer would associate to a "gotta-have". Maybe the fact that VW remains mirred in a reliability slump, and a third-rate German brand behind MB and BMW in the NA market, is not helping Audi at all... Lexus had Toyota's reputation to buoy its name/brand, Audi had the baggage of VW.... Not something to build upon...

    Finally, a comment about the term *loser*... IMO, there are no HELM car that can be described as a *loser*. Those who argue the SC430 v SL500 really are arguing out of turn. The SL is a roadster, the SC430 is a 2-door coupe version of the 4-door LS430, that is, a plush, luxury cruiser, with 2-doors. Nothing more than that. The SL is a true roadster, powerful, refined, performance-inclined and the top dog in its class. Like the SL, the SC430 is one of a few cars with the least amount of days spent on a dealer lot - about a 13-day average. That is a winner any way you define it.

    And Designman, excellent piece on the VW/Porsche-MB saga... If I didn't look at the poster's name, I'd assume it was written by Len, who has a keen business view to everything. I am surprised you had an interest in the business side of these fine cars.... Great piece. Please do more of this...
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Thanks Tagman and GaryH. I do indeed appreciate the welcome.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    True, Audi doesn't have a calling card like BMW or Mercedes. They used to have an advantage of offering AWD on everything, but BMW and especially Mercedes really have erased that advantage.

    Audi is however has gained a reputation for the best interiors in the business and they're gaining one for leading technology and edgy, crisp design. From what I'm reading here on Edmunds they're also gaining a good reputation at the dealership level too.

    As far as the SL vs SC430 I have no problem with your description of the SC430, which is basically what I said years ago and more recently a few posts ago. It is the comparison of the SC to the SL that really doesn't make any sense to me. The SC430 is sorta like the ES in the way it competes in a segment of similarly priced cars while not having much of anything else in common with them. This it-must-be-a-winner because it sells theory totally disregards a whole host of other factors.

  • psychdocpsychdoc Posts: 147
    272hp, swiveling headlights, heated and A/C'd front seats, power driver and passenger seats with memory, keyless entry and start, xenon headlights, panoramic moonroof, bluetooth, Mark Levinson audio with ipod connectivity, upgraded 5th generation nav system with huge touchscreen that can play DVD's in park, backup camera, radar based cruise control!!!

    All in a package that comes in under $45k. In a world populated by overpriced and underperforming BMW 5 series (pushing $60k for 530Xi) and M-B E350's (@ $55-60k) this thing is an unbelievable steal.

    The only car that even comes close is the Audi A6 but the "3.2" (actually it's a 3.1) engine is slow, slow, slow off the line and it's nav system is a joke. At least the interior is on a par with the Lexus.

    Of course that's just my opinion.

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Now that’s better. The forsythias are rocketing, the daffodils giggling and the sun just kissed the morning dew. Yep, the birds have returned to sing their sweet spring tunes.

    I think Audi is a good brand but it’s just curious why they are missing their piece of the pie. I think it all goes back to Piech who’s abilities are a tale of two cities. VW is a mess and Audi does not have the footprint over here that they should. They’ve got to get their act together as a business... bad, bad business. It’s like the kids selling lemonade from the garage. Some daddy needs to give them a clue.

    Thanks to all for the compliments.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,665
    The one DNA element the A8 has is quattro. In fact it's been the Audi calling card across the board even though half to two /thirds of the US is not concerned about snow and just about all of the US now has an SUV for those conditions. The very few and very far in between A8 drivers I've known actually cited AWD as the reason for buying the car and complained that only the S with it's then (and probably future)$4K extra as being a costly alternative that they had no interest in. When the LS is available in AWD and if the 7 becomes available with AWD then A8 sales may get hit hard. It speaks to Audi's poor marketing that many simply see it as an AWD alternative to the major selling lux plates. On top of that people in the south have little or no interest in AWD and likely view it as a forced option built into the MSRP.

    What's worse is that Audi - with all it's emphasis on AWD in its marketing strategy - completely missed the SUV boom. It makes you wonder how you can have an AWD strategy as your ace in the hole and then you completely miss an exploding vertical market that emphasizes your ace in the hole. As Designman pointed out somethiong is missing in the Audi braintrust.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    :P You are too late! :) LOL!

    "Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!"

    Re: the SC vs. the SL, part of the reason for the HUGE success of the SC is the SL-matching V8 within the Sc430 engine bay. Whether the Lexus built the SC to compete with the SL primarily, at $25k less is debatable. But the SL, for 3 years, would struggle to outrun the Lexus. I'm sure this was used in "walkarounds" often.

    Re: the original SC, having been knocked-off several times (Mazda MX-6 and Buick Riviera the most blatant), and being called, at $45k, "Possibly the best car on the planet!" by C&D, the 1992-99 SC resume wants for nothing. It had to be re-engineered to bring the latest safety equipment cars started to bear in '95+, and Lexus had other plans.

    As Mercedes CLK has ALWAYS shown, matching style with the original SC was futile, so just slap two doors on an E, and call it a day!

    Considering Mercedes had several years to build an SC competitor, the 1999 CLK430 was another weak effort, hoplessly derivitive of the E-Class sedan, as was it's forebearer. I was truly disappointed! The 2002 (?) CLK was less derivitive, but no more attractive. Better interior, doh. :)

    Since you brought up the CL (Comparing it to cars costing half as much smacks of desperation, Merc. You know better!), if Lexus built cars that cost as much as S550, SL550, or CL55, you wouldn't be so apt to hide in an Ivory tower.

    Mercedes better have an anwser for the 600h! That could be 10-12k sales a year, by itself. Those aren't gonna come from Cadillac, or BMW, Merc. :shades:

    What ya gonna do? What ya gonna do when they come for you?

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    The other shoe drops Wednesday, in New York, at 9:25AM!

    Tough act to follow, especially 10 minutes later!

    Be thur!

    The End is near! :surprise:

  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    The one DNA element the A8 has is quattro. In fact it's been the Audi calling card across the board

    Exactly... oac: How could you not associate Audi with AWD? That is their calling card, no question. AWD for the A8, in particular, absolutely is what sets itself apart from its competition.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Mercedes better have an answer for the 600h! That could be 10-12k sales a year, by itself. Those aren't gonna come from Cadillac, or BMW, Merc.

    How about the tri turbo MB diesel? That is if you wanted a safer, better handling, more stylish, vehicle with better gas mileage and more power?
    Oh wait, we already have an E320 with 369 fpt at 1800 rpm, 0-60 in 6.6sec, and range of over 700 miles on a tank of fuel. 27/37 mpg. Is the point of the Lexus vehicle mileage?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Actually I do love cars.
    That wasn't the question. The question was what makes a car a winner or a loser.
    I think the A8 is a good looking car, better looking than the Lexus or the bimmer. I really liked the previous body A8 also.
    However, when you are spending your own money, the smart decision is usually the best one. i like the A8, but wouldn't buy one new because of the depreciation.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,665
    Good luck selling diesels here.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Here meaning US or the area in which you reside?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,665
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    I understand your point. I have been a diesel geek for a while. It is still an outstanding auto. Availability and cleanliness of dispensing are always a drawback. The torque and engine noise are leaps ahead of vehicles of the past. There will always be a market for that technology but it seems that the segment will always be small. Our light truck segment will most likely benefit from the new availability the most.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,665
    I understand your point also.

    I used to work in the liquor industry a long time ago. It's always been the rule that the first to market in that business was the success. There were countless second generation liquors that were better than the ones that were successfully introduced. Can't tell you how many amaretto's I've tasted that blew away Amaretto di Sarona. In a testing 10 out of 10 people would pick Di Sarona behind a new intro in taste and smoothness. It was that way in just about every case of a new entrant. But put them on the shelves of stores and the new entrant just sat there. So it is with diesel - it'll just never get started here and it's so hard to invest in a technology that has been rejected. Hybrids though are a natural and seamless extension of gas.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    cleanliness of dispensing are always a drawback

    I've wondered why my local service station has "diesel mitts" available at the diesel pump. Why is pumping diesel so different from pumping gasoline?
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    I've wondered why my local service station has "diesel mitts" available at the diesel pump. Why is pumping diesel so different from pumping gasoline?

    A lot of people find the odor far more offensive than gasoline... I'm sure you've gotten some gasoline on your hands before? Imagine if that was diesel and smelled a lot worse...
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