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High End Luxury Cars

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  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    I have to believe there are still plenty of people who want to get their foot in the door of a Mercedes and could care less about engine power.

    I'm with you on this one, designman. If not, why does the 6 cyl E350 sell so well vs. the 8 cyl E500? When I bought my E320 in 1998, I was fully satisfied with its 6.9 sec 0-60 vs. 6.4 for the E430. I would imagine a lot of people are making the same valuation now, with an $8350 MSRP price differential between the starting prices of the current models (yes, some of which is due to other options included on the E500).

    MB will bring in the S450 as soon as it has excess production capacity over the demand for the more-profitable S550. When that will be is beyond my ken. They're just not going to say when too early for fear of slowing down S550 sales.

    Heck, before they were ready to produce the S550, they even tried to stretch their sales down-market by bringing out an S350 - what does that tell you?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don’t know. I have to believe there are still plenty of people who want to get their foot in the door of a Mercedes and could care less about engine power.

    You could be right, but I don't know either. Guess we'll have to see what they do.

    M
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    I just think they'd be better off at least making the S450 look more competitive on paper with more hp for it.

    Can't disagree with that thought. Timing of ramp-up vs. demand for the S550 may give them time to improve the engine in the S450, but if not then they can always bring it in with a next-year upgrade.

    I think they may be trying to see where the LS460 will price in addition to what you've stated.

    Just think what you are saying. MB the leader, the innovator, the true HELM is holding back trying to see what Lexus the copycat, the pretender, the updated Buick-maker, is going to do? Wow, merc, you really have come a long way in the last year towards looking at things from a wider perspective. I salute you! :shades:
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Just think what you are saying. MB the leader, the innovator, the true HELM is holding back trying to see what Lexus the copycat, the pretender, the updated Buick-maker, is going to do? Wow, merc, you really have come a long way in the last year towards looking at things from a wider perspective. I salute you!

    LOL....picture me grudingly typing this like a stubborn little kid, saying "thank you".

    Seriously though MB isn't above having to re-think things from time to time especially with pricing in this segment. I don't think anyone MB/BMW/Audi/Jaguar etc. thought Lexus would add nearly 100hp to the LS this time around.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Please allow me to throw a potential wrench in the gear regarding the S450.

    I think the S450, in the format we are all expecting it to be, would not necessarily offer MB a clear advantage over the LS460 and it also would not necessarily have enough unique characteristics compared to the S550 . . . and it, therefore, could potentially cannabalize some S550 sales, as well as lose some others to the LS460.

    I suspect that the execs at MB are aware of this. So while the rest of you were posting about the timing and merits of the S450, I started to wonder how the S450 could offer something more unique and special and innovative. I then thought about the new 350 CGI engine. Given the increasing focus on fuel efficiency and power, this might be a viable alternative and a good marketing strategy.

    MB might be planning to use this 350 CGI engine instead of the one we have all been expecting, or perhaps there are alternative BluTech diesel plans, or even something else that we know nothing about yet.

    Anyway, my point is that I am strongly suggesting the possibility that there might be an alternative to the powerplant and model designation that is being considered.

    The advantage could be less cannabalization of the S550, and further distinguishing and distancing itself from the LS460.

    Anyone else want to agree with me on this possibility, or have I gone too far out on a limb here?

    TagMan
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,664
    That's a sick strategy in this green and increasing oil cost enviroment (nearly as sick as bringing out the phaeton) and will be a bomb IMO. Sounds to me like Pietsch is still calling the shots, is as obsessed as ever with MB and is as nuts as ever on business decisions. Lexus bringing out a powerhouse car above the LS and competing in a different segment is the smart way to go. If you are going to brag about low volume high HP cars then move to another car level rather than put an existing HELM on steroids. This is reminding me of a pennant race where a few teams are playing each other in games at the end of the season and killing each other off while other teams feast on losing record teams. Audi, if that strategy is correct, may win a battle but you can bet your life they will lose the bigger war.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,664
    You could be dead right here. It does seem - on paper - that they made the S550 a little too perfect leaving no room for anything underneath it. But an alternative diesel powerplant would circumvent that. They have to have something under the S550 because I'd think that their sales would drop to low volumes after about 18 months if they don't. Lastly I must have read three different stories saying that the American market is the penultimate market for the S class, so to be one dimensional at the affordable level cannot be MB's plan.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    You could be dead right here. It does seem - on paper - that they made the S550 a little too perfect leaving no room for anything underneath it. But an alternative diesel powerplant would circumvent that.

    Man, if we are right about this . . . it's going to feel real good when we see it. What do you think about the other possibility of MB using the upcoming 350 CGI (Stratified-Charged Gasoline Injection) engine? Just as legitimate, don't you think?

    TagMan
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,664
    Or a hybrid of some type.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Audi's super cars have already commanded very primo prices though. The RS6 was more expensive than the last M5, wasnt it? The new RS4 is also BIG bucks.

    Audi's cars have to outpower their competition if they want to be competitive in terms of actual on road performance. The A8 when it came out in 2004 may have had the horsepower advantage, but its still slower than just about every other car on the list.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Or a hybrid of some type.

    Hold your horses. We are talking about a vehicle positioned UNDER the S550, aren't we? If MB introduced a hybrid S-Class, and positioned it UNDER the S550, I think your new shiny LS600hL would take a serious dive. I don't think it is even possible from a build perspective to accomplish that, do you?

    TagMan
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,664
    On the surface - No - but who knows for sure. I think they have an ace in the hole somewhere though. Maybe they go the route of a V6 hybrid. On the otherhand if they are really surprised by the demand of the S550 maybe they are trying to figure out that next move as we are writing.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I think they have an ace in the hole somewhere though.

    So do I. Absolutely an ace.

    BTW, I believe that the CLS may be the first car to get the new 350 CGI engine . . . this fall? I'm not positive, but that's what I remember. Merc would know more about that one.

    TagMan
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    "The A8 when it came out in 2004 may have had hte horsepower advantage, but its still slower than just about every other car on the list."

    The A8 is slower NOW. It hasn't received the upgrades that the others in it's class has gone through. That said, the '07 with 350hp should correct all of it's "slowness". A 4500 pound car that scoots to 60 in 5.9 seconds is not exactly slow. The new engine is said to take 0.5 secs off of the time. And it will return better mileage with a switch to FSI.

    Moreover, yes those relatively low-volume special edition RS 6's and RS4's commanded mucho dinero, but they were/are best in class. But now were talking mainstream A8's and A6's. But I don't see in the foreseeable future Audi topping MB in terms of asking price. Audi is sort of like Jag and Lexus, they do incremently increased pricing, not jump 5k-10k with every makeover. Does this make them a "value"(dare I say it)? Maybe.

    And as to the amount energy that the new engines will use, I'm not sure what the numbers will be as to ascertain the mileage, but with each variant of FSI, the numbers have jumped 20-30% in economy, so it'll be worth it in my book to produce competitive engines and making them cleaner and more efficient at the same time.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    According to AS, a coupe and convertible version of the Q are in development. This is apparently the coupe version testing at nurburg with fake rear door camo.

    http://www.autospies.com/images/uploads/large/SP32-20060502-094339.jpg
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    His comments are not based on any sound market analysis but reckless speculation. How does he know unit volumes will fall "enough".

    And why is he quoting 50% rise in price. Did I ever say 50%? Raising price from 58,000 to 71,000 raises prices by 22% not 50%. This means he needs math classes.

    I have consistently said that LS 460 should be priced same as 750i.
    At that price LS will still have 10,000$ advantage over 86K S550.

    If you choose to ignore my previous posts where I have repeatedly said the same thing, its your problem.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    why is he quoting 50% rise in price

    I wasn't quoting, you simply interpreted it as such. I was merely throwing out an example. Did I use italics or quotation marks?

    His comments are not based on any sound market analysis but reckless speculation....I have consistently said that LS 460 should be priced same as 750i.

    Why should it be priced there, exactly? Is that your sound market analysis? Or is it more like reckless speculation?

    Have you performed surveys or conducted focus groups that allow you to know the price elasticity of demand for the LS? Do you also know what Lexus' incremental margin is on the LS? Please enlighten us, because otherwise, you might just be guilty of reckless speculation.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    Very clever Designman!

    When did I equate "new values" with "cut-rate? :mad:

    New values is not even a part of HELM and you are indulging in baseless discussion on the wrong thread. New values means IS, GS, ES, not LS. "Prestige Luxury" is higher end LS such as LS 460L and 600hL and thats what the topic is here.

    "As such, Toyota has moved to the beat of its own drum, it’s their DNA and if the perception of status in the auto world is to change, Toyota cannot change. Their plan has already worked and it seems there is no reason to think it will not continue this way."

    The case in point here is Lexus LS not toyota. BTW their plan has only just begun. Globally, they are still far behind. My My, designman, are we rushing here? ;)

    The comparison with cigarette smoking is dead wrong. Everyone knows lung cancer and injuries to health. This is way off the mark.

    The zebra cannot change its stripes, but life can certainly evolve into something more complex, richer and more beautiful.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    Thats because in terms of heritage and cachet;

    1. S
    2. 7
    3. LS
    4. A8

    In all other measures except driving dynamics LS is second to none. If you sum total the advantages and disadvantages the prices should be

    1. S550
    2. 7, LS, A8 in same ball park plus-minus 2000$.

    Yes paradigm will always be about making money thats why I am arguing in favor of lexus transforming itself from "Value HELM" into a "premium HELM". Now its your turn
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    I never questioned Lexus' smartness or their marketing savvy. All along I have admired Lexus and especially LS. All of us know thats true.

    Do you think Ford, GM and chrysler lacked smarts and sophistication? That they did not have whiz-kids? That they did not have deep reserves of managerial savvy in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Yet they made so many mistakes and did not foresee many trends.

    Did Audi lack smarts and sophistication? Yet they are so late to SUV market that its a joke!

    Did mercedes not know how to smartly cut-costs while not sacrificing quality and reliability? Did Daimler have lack of smarts? I for one think they have the most sophisticated managers and some the best engineers world has known? You cannot simply blame one man like Schrempp, its always a group decision and team work, I do it every day!!!

    Why was Lexus so slow to realize diesel trends in Europe?

    Garyh1, please learn management and then jump to conclusion, otherwise you will burn yourself. You are speculating on "Lexus would have" and "Lexus could have"!

    The fact is even the smartest companies need advise and sometimes great companies do make great blunders. Lexus is unquestionably one of the top 2 or 3 most sophisticated organizations in the auto-world, yet on some occasions they may overlook or miss important ideas.

    Remember what Jack Welch, perhaps the greatest CEO of 20th Century said, "Even the greatest of us can learn from a child". This shows that we must not assume things always, and always keep our eyes and ears open even to a child.
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