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High End Luxury Cars

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  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,067
    Boring? Are we talking about cars here or dinner companions?

    Anyone who is so easily bored should maybe be considering some professional help. Also, people who should know always say that people who are easily bored are usually very boring themselves. I would certainly second that opinion. Even moderately intelligent people are seldom bored.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    And "manipulation" of the consumer. Marketing is selling an idea, a perception. Whether it's cars, girls, tv shows, whatever.

    Mercedes is kinda beyond marketing, at this point. It is a known quantity, and doesn't need to be "sold" to anyone, per se. If you are looking for a luxury car, you will most likely find a Mercedes on your list of test drives.

    Marketing can be deceiving, very deceiving, but if you are building a business on that angle, you won't be in business for long. You do have to deliver on your message if you are in it for the long haul.

    Great marketing gets you traffic. Great vehicles get you sales, short and long-term customers. Loyal customers.

    US consumers NEED great marketing because there are so many options to choose from. A company needs a strong, effective message to stand out. We need to be inspired, especially with a newer company.

    Marketing sizzles, steak sells, and here we go.

    Marketing is not manipulation. It is inspiration, if done well. People want to be inspired.

    Lexus commercials, especially from 1989, inspired. Mercedes and BMW' legacy, their heritage, inspire.

    That's the difference between buying a Buick and a top-flite luxury car. Inspiration.

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You make good points about Acura but Lexus interiors are hardly paradigms, very far from it IMO. For the most part I think they are incongruous and disproportionate, not shapely at all.

    Every luxury car company has highs and lows in terms of interior design and quality, Lexus included. I just think Acura is lower than most. The ML and GL don't flatter MB. Neither did the pre-refresh C-class. The 7 series is mediocre at best, and the Z4 is like a cave. Audi...uh.. well I don't think the A3 is amazing on the inside. It's pretty hard to find fault with most Audis. At the other end though, Mercedes has the S-class, BMW has the X5, and Audi has the A8. Lexus has the ES and the 600hL. Cadillac has the post refresh SRX. Infiniti has never been known for great interiors, but the new G is very well done. When has Acura knocked one out of the park? Ever?
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    75 percent growth for the A8 is amazing for this emerging market and there are no ifs and buts about it!

    Actually that kind of growth for a particular model is not unusual at all for emerging markets. We are talking about a base of only a couple thousand units a year; high per centage growth is common when numerical base is low, in any market. Just to put in context, the Chinese car market itself grew by 34% last year (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-07/02/content_345100.htm), Ford grew by 86.6%! BMW brand 49.6% (Reuters artical headline actually reads 51.3%, growth is so high, they apparently can't even count consistently in the same article!), Rolls-Royce grew by 60%! (http://www.carkeys.co.uk/news/2007/january/09/12212.asp)

    For what it's worth, Lexus sales growth was 76% in Europe! As a whole brand, not just select individual models! That's to a new numerical base of 50k units!. High per centage growth is common when the market is "emerging" :-)

    Also there is nothing wrong with being a high paid bureaucrat with a nice car

    Interesting take indeed. A8 at about close to $100k local price (after import tax etc.) is roughly 30 times the local average annual income. In comparable ratios, if bureacrats in the US were driving around in cars costing over $1 million, you tell me no corruption is involved. Businessmen and corruption are not mutually exclusive in the developing world. I have my own business associates in China. Few of them have cars like A8 (after all, only a couple thousand were sold in a country of 13 billion). Those who do have cars like that certainly do not drive themselves. Heck, most Toyota Crown and A6 owning businessmen do not drive themselves if they can help it. I wouldn't want to drive there myself, given how crazy the traffic is; if you thought NYC or Boston drivers were rude, try driving in Shanghai ;-)
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Very well said. MB and BMW are incredibly successful in marketting. The good news is that the actual cost of getting one can often be less than what many others may think thanks to rebates of alls sorts that you mentioned (please, other readers, let's not get into a debate over lease again). That makes the cars very good tools for "impressions" as you mentioned and as employee incentives when employer lea . . . er . . . gets one for the valued employees.

    You wish you had a choice, but your gf will want a diamond no matter what.

    hahaha, run! don't look back :-)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    d-man,
    When it comes to design stuff, you and I, due to our specialties, just might see things differently than the others. But whether that is the case or not, I agree with your point in your post. I can see the advantage of real wood, but that advantage can be overshadowed by poor execution.

    The bottom line on all of this is that, even to this day, the interiors of neither Acura or Lexus are anything to crow about. I'd give the edge to Lexus overall, as I always have, but those posts that lg had been making were too extreme and off balance... inferring that Lexus interiors are incredible and Acura interiors have never been any good.

    Heck, they both use the same design theme overall, with some exceptions here and there. Yes, I'll give the edge to Lexus, but an irrelevant edge.

    As you know very well, to this day, the flagship LS model uses conventional center stack / console layout and is executed with good workmanship, but for a HELC, there is an abundance of plastic and the design is nothing striking or special, just conventional that's done well. Acura doesn't have a HELC, as I see it, and that is another reason to expect better from Lexus, but it is not there I'm afraid.

    Even the rear multimedia in the LS long wheelbase is the same design as in a minivan, with the flip down (although motorized, of course) roof mounted screen. These are a dime a dozen and cheap-looking. The BMW has an interesting center console approach that swivels and turns... not fantastic, but innovative, and the best approach is individual color monitors in the back of the headrests, like Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, and others.

    Again, conventional and boring, but well done.

    That's why all this baloney has been going back and forth. Lexus deserves no special recognition for those interiors, and Acura does not deserve such harsh criticism for also building conventional interiors that look very similar in their layout and execution... regardless of whether the wood is real or not. Wood isn't the almightly deciding factor between those two brands, that's for sure.

    Between the Acura and Lexus interiors... I'd say a 6 for one and half dozen for the other... with slight edge to Lexus. That's the balanced reality, IMHO, of course.

    TagMan
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    If your interpretation of driving is going from point A to point B then I can understand that.

    However, if it is not then I must ask- do you derive any pleasure from driving? I do, I look forward to driving everyday. I enjoy the sound of the motor, exhaust, the feel of the road through the steering wheel & having complete control of the car with my hands (via manual tranny).It's almost an addiction.

    I have yet to find a Lexus to deliver "driving" pleasure. Maybe the Lexus IS-F will do better but then again maybe not. From what I hear, they still won't put a manual tranny in their M3 fighter.

    As far as the indirect personal attacks- whatever...
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    To all:

    Let's stop making this personal. We all are entitled to our priorities and, really, we have no right to dictate to others what their priorities should be. Sometimes it's a good idea to just understand that the other person has a different point of view and that's okay - you don't have to agree, but it's all good! There's no need to make differing viewpoints into personal confrontations.

    And please note that we've been losing track of the definition of this discussion. Please remember what we've worked so hard to define - see the header if you don't remember.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Just when I thought I found a disciple!

    LOL!!! ;)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    ggesq,
    I notice you typically post on some of the other forums, and I haven't seen you around here much. Hope to see more of your posts here, as I've been enjoying them quite a bit.
    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Marketing is not manipulation. It is inspiration, if done well. People want to be inspired.

    Your post was well written, almost poetic, Doc.

    Those particular sentences, however, are not completely accurate. They do express your desire for being inspired, and certainly others have that desire, but that does not mean that marketing is not manipulation. To some extent it is.

    Advertising, which is a component of marketing, is designed to do various things. Typically it's purpose is to illicit behavior by appealing to and fulfilling specific emotions... and depending on the product, the emotional fulfillment is not always the same. What a housewife wants from "Mr. Clean" and "Shout" and other cleaning agents may have nothing to do with what she wants from her car, and yet, believe it or not, sometimes it does.

    Since we are about cars and not cleaning agents here, let me assure you that car purchases are mostly emotional purchases, and even those folks that like to believe they have made an intelligent or rational decision, are fulfilling their need to be or look intelligent or act in a self-perceived rational manner.

    I'll skip the marketing and advertising lecture, I promise you, but this is what my college degree was based upon, and I can only tell you that it can be more intense and deliberate than you could ever imagine. It sometimes goes all the way to our physiology and how we are wired. Oh yes, it is manipulation alright.

    And that's one reason there are so many different types and styles of vehicles out there. Not just for function.

    Why does someone buy a Volvo, for example, instead of a Lexus? Why does someone buy a Lexus instead of a BMW? Why does someone buy a BMW or Mercedes instead of a Lexus? Why does Saab sell in such few numbers? Why would someone buy a Pontiac instead of a Buick? Why was the Cadillac Escalade such a big hit? How come so many off-road vehicles have never been off road? Why do so many folks in the South drive pickup trucks? And why have so many of those trucks never been used as a truck?

    Doc, there's too much to cover here on this forum, but trust me when I say it's a lot more than inspiration, my friend, and marketing is indeed in part about manipulation.

    Now, I have a question for you. You said you like the Mercedes SL. Have you owned one? Personally, I haven't yet. I came so, so very close when I bought the Porsche. It was between the Jag XK, the Porsche 911 Carrera S, and the SL550. Similar to blkhemi's choices. I was ultimately after a bit more performance, so I chose the Porsche. No real gripes about the XK... gorgeous car. But that SL almost made its way into my garage... it was a nice combination of style and performance and luxury. The retractable hardtop worked so nicely and I liked the idea of it. Also I gave it high marks for the driver's comfort. And that 550 engine is a good one.

    Anyway, your take on the SL and have you owned one?

    TagMan
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,067
    Yes, thank you, I enjoy driving very much. I don't normally look for excitement when I am driving, but to me, driving is also a pleasurable experience.

    I enjoy driving expensive, well made, competent, engaging vehicles but not especially driving them like my hair in on fire. The boy racer image just does not appeal to me.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I agree with you and would take fake wood over a boring driving experience every time. However, when Acura overhauls its upscale SUV to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz and Lexus, one expects nice wood and a good steering wheel just to remain competitive.

    Seems like the folks at Acura just don't get it. Too bad.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,067
    Tagman,

    Credit where credit is due, a wonderful post and presented very clearly. I agree with every word you wrote.

    I think most people have an understanding of how much advertising and marketing affect our lives but without really being aware of it. I remember shopping for a car for one of my teenage sons (many years ago) and suggesting a certain car for him. He just laughed, shook his head and said, "No dad, that's a girl's car".

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Credit where credit is due, a wonderful post and presented very clearly. I agree with every word you wrote.

    Thanks, houdini, and nice story about purchasing the car for your son. I can only look forward to those challenging days of purchasing a car for my kids.

    So far... my teenage daughter (not driving age, yet) tells me that the Porsche is cool, the wife's Jaguar is for old ladies, the MDX is OK but no big deal, and she would be like to drive a Jeep Wrangler when that time comes. Holy smokes, houdini, now there's a good reason for a Lexus IS... maybe. ;)

    My son, who is only 7 thinks anything that resembles a Hot-Wheel is cool, although he thinks the video monitors in the back of that "old lady's Jag" are cool. The little stinker punched me when I got rid of the Lotus, but he loves the Porsche, as long as the top is down. "Why don't we get a Ferrari, Dad?"

    If it were only that simple, eh?

    TagMan
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If I'm not mistaken - which I could be - no Acura qualifies as a high end luxury vehicle. Am I wrong?
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I ran across an article recent that may answer some of the why's that you lised very well:

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/Commentary/Flint_Why_People_Buy_Cars.S- 192.A11746.html

    That answers why people buy vehicles that have attributes/special abilities that get used very infrequently. As to why people buy certain brands instead of others, reliability expectations and image certainly do matter (aside from size, performance etc. that can be immediately measured; reliability expecations and image are not immediately measurable for the specific car that one can sit in; they tend to be statistic measures and perhaps even more intangible value for "image"). IMHO, people who pick the 2nd-tier luxury brands over the top (non-exotic) tier brands, e.g. the likes of Volvo and Saab instead of Lexus, MB and BMW, usually for two reasons:

    (1) cost; that's self-explanatory;

    (2) Image issue. Being overly extrovert may not work well in certain circles. For a long time, most of my clients were in the $50-150k income bracket, having myself arriving in a car that is substantially better than theirs simply wouldn't go over very well. That start to change in the last couple years for the better, so I will have less restrictive selections later this year (I'm on a 3yr new car cycle). It's quite understandable that image issue may well work in the other direction for someone else; once upon a time, I drove 5 series (actually two of them, consecutively), when working for myself without either boss or direct client interaction, and I was single ;-)

    IMHO, so few Saabs are sold because there are so few dealers, leading to both maintenance hassle and price non-competitiveness. The same may be said of Audi in the US, to some degree. In places where there are a lot of Saab dealers, like New England, Saabs sell very well.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    No. You are technically correct.

    Since the MDX was mentioned by 5 different posters recently, (see posts # 23394, 23374, 23379, 23384 and 23438), I thought it was "in play" here. But as it is only priced in the mid $40's, it surely doesn't qualify as a HELV and shouldn't be discussed here. :)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    That's my understanding as well, Pat, which I mentioned to designman in post 23429, when I said:

    Acura doesn't have a HELC, as I see it, and that is another reason to expect better from Lexus, but it is not there I'm afraid.

    So... guilty of off-topic posting I'm afraid.

    TagMan
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    If I'm not mistaken - which I could be - no Acura qualifies as a high end luxury vehicle. Am I wrong?

    NSX

    When it comes to sedans and SUVs, but not sports cars, I think of real wood as being a requirement for being considered a true "luxury" vehicle.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I don't believe a racing car is exactly what the HELCers usually have in mind. Something usually a bit more sedate and conservative-enveloped in fine Corinthian leather and wood from the same premium-fertilized tree.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I agree with you hpowders, even though we talk about sportier high-end cars from time to time, and appropriately so... HELCers have this in mind... the finest materials and workmanship, luxurious in nature, classy styling, good design execution, good driving dynamics, and creature comforts are all part of the HELC picture. Beyond those physical attributes are sometimes image attributes as well... prestige, status, etc.

    TagMan
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I was of course well aware of that fine Acura machine and sure wouldn't turn one down if offered, but it just doesn't fit the gestalt of what many high-enders associate as a HELV.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,067
    Pat, no the MDX and the RL certainly do not qualify. Sometimes cars like these are mentioned just for comparison sake and for something to measure against, not because there is a lot of interest here. Just my take on why they come up from time to time.

    Fact is, I'm just as interested in the various posters and their opinions as the actual cars anyway. But I will do my best to stick to the rules.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    ...the MDX and the RL certainly do not qualify. Sometimes cars like these are mentioned just for comparison sake and for something to measure against, not because there is a lot of interest here. Just my take on why they come up from time to time.

    Exactly! The posts that I placed about the Acura interiors, for example, was only in response to the blatant statement by Lexusguy that Acura has NEVER made a decent interior and that Lexus interiors were so much better. Well, as it turned out, other than the wood, they were all darned similar... incredibly similar!

    But I will do my best to stick to the rules.

    Pat, I'll also be more careful. Sorry. :blush:

    TagMan
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Now that everyone has defended and/or apologized for his postings about Acuras, let's move on - 'kay? :)
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    IMHO, "cars" as used in the forum title is an inclusive term, meant to include not just sedans, but also SUVs and sport cars.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    If what you say is correct, the thread should probably be renamed HELV instead of HELC.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    The change from HELV to HELC was a "management idea". IMHO motivated by commercial reasons....wanting to show up more often in web searches. I guess they're entitled.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I didn't realize we were known as HELV once upon a time.
    Saves me some time going to the copyright office! :)
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