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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    is to stop talking about each other. You may not make personal comments about other posters. Debate the vehicles all you want but please do not descend into sniping at each other.

    Rule number two is we're here to have fun. Not to get all tied up in knots about what we should be talking about.

    Post about the vehicles that interest you. Respond to the posts that spark your interest. But do not tell others what they may and may not say.

    Last rule for now - if you think a post is out of line, let me know about it by email. Do not take the poster to task, just let me handle it. But do drop me an email, I'd really appreciate it.

    Let's go!
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    merc - Have you read the Inside Line article regarding Audi?

    My interpretation of that article is that it is expremently complimentary of the Audi CARS, but is particularly critical of Audi's management, as further narrowed down to "sales and marketing".

    I don't think the article could have even been much more positive about the CARS that Audi builds without showing a bias. As I said, with regards to the CARS themselves, I found it to be largely complimentary.

    What's your take?

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Which of you posters knows something FIRST HAND about the Lotus Elise?

    Heck, if Pat's gonna give us some room for fun here, I'm going to take advantage. I've been wanting to ask about that car for quite some time.

    By coincidence, I met a guy with one yesterday and he couldn't say enough cool stuff about the car. His take on the vehicle was very positive.

    Any of you DRIVEN it?

    TagMan
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Mercedes and BMW stand alone in this reguard because all the rest are trying to enter the big-money space or have entries that aren't sought out by many.

    Tell me, Merc1, what do MB and BMW have that Audi does not have ? A 12-cylinder super sedan ? Sport-biased cars ? Racing history ? Heritage ? Even sales on a global basis.... When you mention MB/BMW, pls include Audi. Audi is as much a HELM company as MB and BMW ! Ditto Jag (gotta acknowledge Blkhemi and TagMan's request here). Only Lexus needs to be propped into the HELM class on the strenght of its LS sedan. As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL...

    BTW, the word "marques" does not imply a brand with more than one marque car, but rather more than one car company with at least a marque car that fits into the HELM topic on this board.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah just read it. A quote from the article:

    So, Audi's problem in this market is not product, it's not design, it's not manufacturing, and it's definitely not engineering, technology deployment or product development. The only thing left to blame is sales and marketing.

    Bingo!

    Audi, Audi where do I start. The biggest problem of which is touched upon in that article is that Audi wasn't allowed to be itself. I've always said that Audi's U.S. bosses didn't have their German counterparts full attention when it came to the U.S. market. This break from being a division of VW should help with that.

    Then there are some other things. Audi has some of the nicest dealerships going, most of which in the Chicago area are brand new. They're modern, hip, clean, big, etc. etc., but they're usually not on the "dealer row" with Mercedes/BMW/Lexus. That needs to change until they get on the shopping lists of the folks that compare the L/MB/BMW combo all the time. Last time I checked you couldn't even get a model brochure from Audi's website. What the hell is that? Not as many dealers in as many visible places as the competition and I can't get a brochure on one either - that equals no sale for a lot of folks I bet. There there is the issue of Audi taking their sweet time to bring over their most interesting models. The previous RS6 was a brilliant car, but it was sold for only one model year and it wound up costing more than the E55 and M5 of the day. They seem to be getting better at this since the RS4 is coming over now and it isn't the last year of production for the current A4 bodystyle. The S6 and S8 are somewhat timely also.

    Interestingly enough, the Chinese have made Audi so popular to the point that they can get a LWB version of the A6, yes thats right the A6! Audi needs to treat the U.S. market like the European or Far East markets and they'll gain some ground, but the article is right. Audi isn't promoted right and just doesn't resonate with enough luxury car buyers when it comes time to buy and I think part of that has to do with dealership placement combined with spotty advertising and marketing.

    Lastly I disagree with the article in the way they seem to blame Audi for not handling the unintended acceleration controversy better. I think anyone else would have given up in 1992 considering that in the 80's they were selling 85K cars and by 1992 they had reached 12K. I mean what else was Audi supposed to do? Mention the controversy in an ad and then refute it? Not. They started building better cars starting with the 1996 A4 and have never looked back, but now it is simply time to tout their many highlights which the article does recognize.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Tell me, Merc1, what do MB and BMW have that Audi does not have ? A 12-cylinder super sedan ? Sport-biased cars ? Racing history ? Heritage ? Even sales on a global basis.... When you mention MB/BMW, pls include Audi. Audi is as much a HELM company as MB and BMW ! Ditto Jag (gotta acknowledge Blkhemi and TagMan's request here). Only Lexus needs to be propped into the HELM class on the strenght of its LS sedan. As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL...

    Audi doesn't have the product spread that BMW and especially Mercedes-Benz has for one. Audi is rapidly changing this and of course they have nearly everything else MB/BMW has so you're right, but when I said that Audi wasn't a a HELM I was thinking primarily in the U.S. market. Audi as it stands in this country right now they only have one HELM car, the A8/S8/A8L. As far as propping up a brand with one car that competes in the HELM space, Audi is pretty much in the same boat as Lexus in that regard, but you're right their other qualities put them nearly equal footing with BMW and Mercedes-Benz but that disqualifies Lexus outright because they have none of those other things you mentioned in regards to Audi.

    Trust, you don't have to build Audi up to me because I think they're 90 percent as good as anything BMW/Mercedes makes. They just don't have the lineup at the moment and they realize this as does Lexus. Everyone does bottom 2 sedan categories and most do the S/LS/7/A8/XJ segment, but even fewer do the convertible/sports cars/roadster segments like BMW and especialy MB.

    Lexus on the other hand doesn't have anything even remotely interesting outside the sedan category and even there they lack any real lust objects. There is no way possible you can be a High-End Luxury Marque with just one car (a sedan) that competes at the true high end, otherwise VW is also a HELM too and we all know they aren't. That is why this:

    BTW, the word "marques" does not imply a brand with more than one marque car, but rather more than one car company with at least a marque car that fits into the HELM topic on this board.

    doesn't fly. Marque does indeed mean a brand not just one sedan that barely gets past 70K which happens to be where BMW and again, especially Mercedes have no shortage of models competiting or any trouble selling. Otherwise the thread needs to be changed to High-End Luxury Sedans, not Marques.

    As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL

    True, but in the NOW Lexus don't cut it as a true HELM. No propping should be needed.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    in the NOW Lexus don't cut it as a true HELM.

    Then . . . what/where? With Infiniti and Acura? The LS is much better than them, IMO. And as I say this, I am not a Lexican as you very well know.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That is why I allowed room within a Tier because as you point out Lexus is clearly above Infiniti and Acura, but they aren't up to BMW and Mercedes either. Esepcially going by Oac's notion on a HELM being a brand that has one HELM car, heck that mean VW fits the bill also. This is why I think I put Audi, Lexus, and Cadillac all on the same Tier initially. They're all looking to move up and join the next higher Tier and it is highly arguble as to who is closest to doing so between Lexus and Audi. Hence me saying they're more or less pretty much in the same boat overall. Lexus does have a big advantage in perception though while Audi IMO makes vastly more desireable cars, but their sales don't show it.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    With the soon-to-be LS variants, will we still be talking ONE car in your opinion?

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah pretty much because they're all variations of the same theme. The LS460 and LS600hL are no different than if Mercedes only had the "S-Class" as their only HELM qualifying car, but we know that MB has much more than that.

    ***Unless Mercedes gets credit from the Lexicans for having a model like the S65 AMG that sells way above (Bentley territory) anything from any other brand here.***** Does the S65 get any special treatment or further elevate the MB brand on the Oac scale or is it just another "S-Class" model I wonder?

    I think that it is only fair that if the LS600hL winds up opening up new price territory (which it is almost a given it will) for Lexus than the a car like the S65 AMG should get the same credit for selling in uncharted area for Mercedes.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    This whole requirement of building more than one car as a HELM qualification . . . well, it seems contraversial . . . subjective, although with merit, but not necessarily definitive in the absolute sense.

    Further, as variants of the same model extend into higher price categories, such as LS600hl and S65 AMG, then a rock-solid definition becomes even more subjective.

    Which brings me to this . . . no one here can have their cake and eat it too. If anyone is going to place defining parameters regarding the underlying qualifications of a HELM, then those same parameters have to extend to the competition as well.

    It's all a losing proposition, IMO. I hate to say it, but I agree with the HOST partly on all of this. It's too restrictive an endeavor. So, why bother?

    It ends up being a strategic debate on who qualifies and who doesn't. In the end, we'll be talking about the same cars anyway.

    Make sense?

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well of course I totally disagree with that notion for several reasons. If one car is all that is needed, then VW makes the cut with the Phaeton. No matter how badly the car flopped in the market it is still a true HELM vehicle. There are several brands that make one high-end car, but they aren't HELMs. Acura could be counted because of the NSX, but they have nothing else remotely high-end. The NSX doesn't make them a HELM.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I'm not saying that one car may or may NOT be reason enough. The numerical factor is only one factor itself. The whole HELM thing is a myriad of variables that you could spend a lot of time trying to analyze. So, what's the point unless you are trying to create a parameter that works better for one marque than another?

    Sure, we could come up with a NUMBER of areas to disqulaify Lexus, for example, such as "only one model", "not enough history/heritage", etc., but these are EXCLUSIONARY approaches that we would use as a tactic to keep them out, right? After all, our beloved favorites are already in the groove. What's the point? Are we trying to define the parameters for HELM validation here?
    Should we? Is it necessary? Why?

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The numerical factor is only one factor itself. The whole HELM thing is a myriad of variables that you could spend a lot of time trying to analyze. So, what's the point unless you are trying to create a parameter that works better for one marque than another?

    True. I think the previous Tier systems I gave was pretty fair?

    We could try to decide what the criteria is to be a HELM, but I don't think there would be much agreement there either. Mercedes and BMW are safe no matter what, but Audi and Lexus defenders would never stop coming up with things to try and disqualify the other.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    If one car is all that is needed, then VW makes the cut with the Phaeton. No matter how badly the car flopped in the market it is still a true HELM vehicle.

    I don't want to beat this little horse any more than necessary, but Merc1 your continued push for the Phaeton as a HELM car flies in the face of the fact that this car is no longer in production, at least here in the US. How can VW be a HELM when they do not sell any other car in the luxury category, that is where Audi comes in ? Lexus, MB, BMW, Audi, Jag, all have cars and/or SUVs that are in a luxury class, VW has none. Nada... The ill-fated Phaeton was short-lived, so I'd not trumpet VW here whatsoever. Can you even buy one today ?
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The official "merc1 tier system" was good. Arguable, but good, and fun. The HELM definition thing is not as good because it is exclusionary.

    Whatcha think?

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Which of you posters knows something FIRST HAND about the Lotus Elise?

    Likely Designman or Lexusguy, or Habitat1 (LPS board) I think at least one of them has driven it. There is a guy at my gym that has one, but I've never talked with him about it. Amazingly small car, and by all accounts handles pretty much like a go-kart.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Like an "F1" go kart. Apparently the '06 handles more like a race car . . . a very responsive one.

    Talk to the guy at the gym . . . when you get the chance.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't want to beat this little horse any more than necessary, but Merc1 your continued push for the Phaeton as a HELM car flies in the face of the fact that this car is no longer in production, at least here in the US. How can VW be a HELM when they do not sell any other car in the luxury category, that is where Audi comes in ? Lexus, MB, BMW, Audi, Jag, all have cars and/or SUVs that are in a luxury class, VW has none. Nada... The ill-fated Phaeton was short-lived, so I'd not trumpet VW here whatsoever. Can you even buy one today ?

    Well technically the car is on sale until the end of 2006 OAC, they sold a whopping 17 of them last month and 157 YTD...lol!! Seriously though, the point about the VW Phaeton is as current as the one about Lexus currently only having the LS430 at the moment. VW also has a luxury SUV too, the Touareg can reach 50K just like any MB/BMW/Lexus/Audi SUV. You can't count out VW because Audi is supposed to be the luxury arm and VW admittedly got it confused. The VW products are still there.

    In reading your question about VW again, you're asking how can VW be considered a HELM car, that IMO is just worded wrong. VW isn't a HELM car, the Phaeton is which by your declaration of having at least one HEL car making a brand a HELM puts VW in, at least until they import/sell the last Phaeton.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I can go with that, but good luck on trying to decide what the HELM criteria is. I might take a crack at it after some thought.

    M
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