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High End Luxury Cars

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  • jagboyxkrjagboyxkr Posts: 53
    Lots of BMW 3-Series are built in South Africa, I think. Others are built in Germany. The Z3 Roadster is built in Spartanburg, South Carolina, one of those "known US factories". Volkswagen's Jetta and some of its other cars I believe are built in Mexico, along with the original Beetle - a hot seller over there. It is funny to note that it sometimes takes less money to build cars and their parts and then pay to ship them to other locations than it does to build them where you sell them!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes some of that is true. A percentage of C-Class cars are built outside of Germany for U.S. consumption. The CL, S, E and CLK for U.S. consumption are built in Germany. Now parts I'm not sure on, they could come from anywhere. I do know that MB has operations in South America and South Africa and some on the C-Class boards have indicated that they wouldn't buy a C unless it was made in Germany. Whether or not that resulted in better quality I'm not sure. Some E-Classes are built in China from knock-down kits, but only for the Chinese market.

    On a different note, I really don't care where they build the 2003 E, cause me in love all over again(!):

    http://www.mbusa.com/microsite/2003e/index.jsp

    M
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    BTW...BMW's Plant in Rosslyn, South Africa has the highest quality of any plant in Europe or Africa per JD Power and Assoc.

    Bill
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    Go BMW! and South Africa
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    Remember the idiot who was throwing a major stink in Smart Shopper a few months back (Was a major troll IIRC) about some BMWs being assembled in SA?

    Where's the jerk when ya need em? ;D

    Bill
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Anyone think this car is going to cut it in the US. After reading about it in Automobile and looking at it closely I doubt it.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    I doubt it will be a success.

    Cars that were priced in the "near Luxury" class without Luxury badges have always been failures.

    Millenia
    Diamante
    Cressida

    etc...

    Bill
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    actually those were near-entry-luxury, Bill--

    this is an example of the original Lexus LS400, which was basically a cheaper Japanese Mercedes.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Lexus was a separate name, with exemplary service and a soft sell approach. Dealer showrooms were different and luxurious to begin with, making the buying experience very different than buying a Toyota. The original LS400 rode and acted like a very luxurious car - it was only the pricing that put it in the near lux category. The VW approach is to keep it under the same badge. VW's car is the "people's car" and the brand recognition tied to that is your everyday average car. I doubt Lexus would have made it if you had to buy an LS400 in the same showroom as a Corolla.

    In Europe people pay for status. They'll pass on a value deal and overpay for a name with status, even if the status car is arguably a lesser car. I think VW loses on both continents. Besides that I'll never understand why they are trying to undercut Audi to begin with. Can you imagine Toyota coming out with a car that would compete with a GS430 or LS430. Even the TLC is probably going to bite the dust, or change markedly because of the LX470. Can you imagine MB creating a Chrysler to compete with an E or S Class. The strategy makes no sense whatsoever. Audi, with a much more respected brand image can't sell 2500 A-8's in this country on an annual basis in the first place. I also agree with bentwoodvolvo - it looks like a nearlux car rather than a true lux car. A European Acura at best.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The Phaeton doesn't look like a luxury car? Interesting considering how style-less so called Japanese "luxury" cars are.

    I think the car will meet will *some* success here due to it being a good product first, and if Automobile Mag is right about the price, a 12-cylinder car for 62K is an awesome concept. I agree with those who think this big VW is going to hurt Audi. If I can get a Phaeton W12 for 62K why would I pay 75K for a Audi A8 with only "8" cylinders? Very true. I don't think VW is really going to make much fuss about the Phaeton here, they'll just sell what they can and leave it at that. The problem with VW's strategy is that they are seemingly trying to turn VW into a full-fledged luxury brand, that simply won't work. Now if they just want VW to be represented in every segment, thats a brilliant idea. They must not forget that the Jetta and Passat have saved them in this country, they must not ever forget that. If VW revamps their dealers, customer service practices and treats a Jetta buyer the same as they would a Phaeton buyer their idea/concept would be realized.

    I don't doubt for a min that it'll be a hit in Europe, but here it's the VW dealer that will hinder the car, more so than the car's price. But yes it does put Audi in a very tough position.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I remember earlier you were questioning why Mercedes, Rolls, and others would put so much effort into such a small market. That same issue of Automobile has an article on that very question. In short all the big dogs are in a peeing contest. Like any other competitive outbreak the consumer wins, but now insert the word >rich< in front of consumer. Between Maybach, BMW's New RR01 Rolls-Royce, Bugatti, and VW's new Bentley's the super rich are going to loose their minds trying to decide on which one.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Yeah - I saw that and it was a good story. But apparently automobile felt the same way as me. In the case of MB it puts a cap on them and eventually the Maybachs and that group of cars will lower price to grow. Give it 5 years or so before that happens. What I really question is why introduce a loss leader when you already have a successful brand. Loss leaders pave the way, they don't trail success that's already happened. Anyway that's just a business case. I think what really happened is MB couldn't resist the concept once someone proposed it. By the way even though the article said the sector would double or triple in 5 years, that type of growth in such a tiny sector would have minimal impact on the financials of the company even if it were highly profitable.

    I disagree with you on the Phaeton - I doubt it will cut it in Europe or have sustaining power.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Got my Motor Trend in the mail and on page 27 is a pix of 2006 S-class. Move is away from stately rich looking car to more sporty look. I prefer the current style to this, but being in my late 40's I've reached a stately age. Maybe people like v-12 power will like it better than I do or maybe you just have to see it in the flesh. But, unlike the 7, it's certainly not going to turn people off. It's still a great looking car, but until I really see it my first impression is I like today's model better. On the next page is a pix of a Ford Five Hundred that will debut in 2 years, and I must tell you it is quite similar looking to this 2006 S design.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about the super VW. I think it will do well in Europe, but will do just "ok" in the U.S. About it not looking like a luxury car, I don't see how you could say that.

    The next S-Class is years off, the current S is just about to get it's first face lift this fall. I'd wait until the actual car is shown before drawing styling conclusions on it. You always seem to find some resemblance between some Ford product and the S-Class. Do you think the LS430 looks like the Avalon?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    On another note, AMG is having an all day gulp(!) $850.00 event in the Chicago area this summer. Talk about finding out whether or not I'm a true Benz fan or not, this will do it.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    For $850 you can buy a hell of a digital camera or camcorder or even a decent computer these days. It's a lot of cash for that but if it gives you a lot of enjoyment, don't hesitate to spend it.

    As for the comparisons on cars I can see why you would think the Avalon and LS430 have similar looks but the Avalon lacks the grace and stately looks of the LS. Inside there is no comparison. I also wouldn't say the Avalon looks like the old S which is what the LS430 is accused of copying by yourself and others.

    As for that 2006 (assuming that sketch is a good one) and even the current S, I simply think that as a car tends to a more sporty look, and away from a stately look, they are going into a class of design concepts where it will look like designs of other cars or vice-versa. It's just natural. That Ford five hundred and that S sketch look alike in the pictures to me though I'm sure the S will have a more massive look in person. I also think MB has to be careful here because the older richer buyer prefers a stately look to a sporty look. Some of these design concepts are aimed toward the younger rich crowd but with the Wall street boom over and the easy money days past that buyer may not be plentiful.

    Lastly - the post Ejerod made on the S-class board is exactly what I feared would happen to me if I chose the S over the LS430. He's a lot more forgiving than I would have been. They definitely have to correct these problems. Did you also see the article on the 7 on that board. Scary - if you're a BMW fan.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I just might take that advice. That 850 bucks will be probably my only chance to drive a SL55 AMG or a C32.

    On the next S-Class. I don't think getting sportier/sleeker will hurt the S-Class. The current car already broke away from years and years of upright, stodgy design and it's the best seller in the class worldwide, and still sells well in the U.S. The 2003 face-lift will only enhance it's following. The current car is to me the best looking large sedan on the road, especially in AMG guise.

    Yes I read Ejerod's post. But he did buy another S-Class. I find that most interesting.

    Yes I am BMW fan (German car nut period), but it pains me to say that I just can't bring myself to like the 7-Series. Remember the styling test I told you about? Well the BMW 7 failed it categorically. The car is extremely well made, brings new stunning engine and suspension technology to the table, but is as ugly as all getout. BMW was oh so close to having true category buster as everyone likes to say they have nowadays. One ugly car is almost unexcusable, but man if the copy this look to the 5 and 3 Series cars BMW is done.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    So why are they planning on copying the 7 knowing the heavy criticism they are getting? From what I've read the 7 isn't selling well at all. The pix os the new 5 I've seen look awful. In that design they chose you need to lengthen the car for it to have a chance to look decent. The Li does look a tad (just a tad) better then the i. But as you go to the smaller 5 and 3 the car will look uglier still. This design does not grow on you at all, and in fact looks worse to me the more I see it, which is not very often.

    Jaguar must be one very happy camper because I'm sure that's where many 7 buyers will head.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well thats the problem. The car IS selling very well, much better than the previous car. So BMW may not see the design as a problem. I'm thinking that once all the people who just want the latest and greatest all get one then sales will slide. BMW's regular 7-Series folk are not buying this car, but somebody is....for the moment.

    I went to look at the Mini Cooper yesterday (cutest little thing on the road, btw), so I had to look at the 7 one more time. The saleman I talked to advised that they are back ordered for 4 months, and he may have been telling the truth, there wasn't a 7-Series to be found.

    M
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    The comment in the BMW 7 article that really got me was this: "A BMW spokesman, Wieland Bruch, says the initial quality of the new 7 Series is comparable to its predecessors as well as competitors a few months after launch." He doesn't really believe that, does he?

    This article is really disappointing (if not exactly surprising). I was (am) rooting for the 7 to be a success, and I want them to (a) fix the car's hideous tush and (b) drop i-drive as a standard feature. If they do that, and get their quality straightened out, they should be alright and I will consider a 7 when I trade in my LS. If they don't, BMW may not be there to consider (at least as a realistic competitor) by that point.
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