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The Value Proposition of Luxury Brands



  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    edited October 2010
    Brands don't remain static. Genesis, and even more so Equus, are in their infancy. I think we should wait until the second generation to judge whether they'll remain a low cost knockkoff, or become worthy competitors to the established luxury brands.

    Whether Hyundai's RWD premium models remain part of the Hyundai brand, or are spun off into a separate luxury brand, as Infiniti has done, they'll have to overcome the heritage and first mover advantage of the German brands. While these are significant headwinds, I think it's too early to count the Koreans out.

    I've wondered whether Hyundai's subconscious aim may be to settle some old scores by beating the Japanese brands.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    edited October 2010
    question mark! Heck, the South Koreans are eating the lunches of many a carmaker now. I frankly don't know why the Germans are even narily in the fight to sell compacts, much less luxury cars right now.

    If I wanted a luxury car right now I'd either buy a midsize Suzuki Kizashi (winning awards left and right for being a driver's midsize car-look it up if you don't believe me) or a Genesis sedan from Hyundai. Not a German.

    I'd buy a Toyota Boat...oh...I mean Avalon before I'd buy any German luxo car. They're over-rated and overpriced and over-hyped. Kind of like Lady Gaga.

    No, I don't know if she's overpriced. That is a bit of a stretch to assume that, eh?

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • If the Kizashi wants to be a "luxury" car then we need a new word to describe a Mercedes S Class and similar cars, in the same way that if we call a 20 story building a "skyscraper" the what do we call larger buildings? I mean, is Tony Danza really "famous"? :P
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    edited October 2010
    I think a lot of the problem is that no one agrees on the definition of luxury, or whether it can apply to a car or must it apply to the whole brand.

    A lot of luxury features a decade or two ago are now standard equipment which makes it all a bit of a moving target.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,647
    edited October 2010
    Well it's like the old joke----if some unemployed laborer gets inspired, cleans himself up, buys new clothes and starts working as a shoe store manager, we admire him---but if a former CEO gets a job doing the same thing, we take pity on him.

    So yeah, for a Hyundai, the Equus is a luxury product, but for a Mercedes, that same car would be a down-market product.

    So one's view of "luxury" depends on from where one is viewing it.

    Just labeling something doesn't make it so.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    edited October 2010
    but for a Mercedes, that same car would be a down-market product.

    Like their taxis, A Class, B Class, "executive" cars, Sprinters, smart cars, lorries, etc?

    For all I know, Tiffany may sell refrigerator magnets too. ;)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,914
    edited October 2010
    Kizashi, a luxury car? A mostly FWD car with mass market VW-esque styling? With all due respect....puh-leeze :P

    Here's something for you to do. Go out to a local dealer and drive the luxury market leaders - LS, S, 7, A8. You don't even have to drive a new one. You can find 5 year old examples of any of these for 30K, or 10 year old examples for no more than 15K. Go drive one for an hour, put it through some tests, and get back to us.

    Germans rule the luxury roost, both on this continent and on this planet. In other markets, smaller German cars also find plenty of buyers, and even here people have no problems buying what could be the greatest new car gamble, a VW.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,914
    The thing about the lower line cars is that they don't pretend to be anything but what they are.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    And does the Equus need to pretend to be something other than it is?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,914
    Yes, over time there is evolution, but I think fanboys or nationalists get a little ahead of themselves, especially lately. Judging by some stuff that has been posted on this forum, the German and Japanese highline models might as well stop production now. I wouldn't count the Koreans out - especially if H can nail down large car design and suspension tuning... but I find it hard to automatically look at something like the Equus as the new LS instead of a new Phaeton. Saying "wait a year for the better engine" is pretty much a handicap, too.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,914
    What is it, exactly? According to some, it is equal to an S/LS/A8/7.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    What is it, exactly?

    Why, it's a luxury car. :)
  • yes but a Mercedes garbage truck says what it is, right on the side :P

    Mercedes makes work pants as well as designer jeans.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    edited October 2010
    So, Mercedes is a brand name of a company that happens to make, among other things, luxury automobiles. It doesn't follow that they are a luxury brand then, eh?

    Can a garbage truck be luxurious?
  • relative to other garbage trucks, I suppose so, but relative to a Bentley Arnage, no.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    edited October 2010
    And what if someone wonders if an interior shot of the rear seats in an Equus could possibly be taken in a Maybach, as recently happened over in Mystery car pix....?

    Or will people just fixate on the brand and ignore the actual vehicle idling in front of them? That's just a garbage truck - oh wait, it's a Mercedes, must be a nice one.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,914
    Well, if the person has never seen a Maybach before, or has no memorized knowledge of one, how are they to know?

    There's more to it than brand, there's a design element to it too.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,914
    That it is, in the eye of the beholder especially. Is it the same as a S/7 etc? Or an E/5? Or what? Luxury cars are subjective, and are very categorical - maybe an endless amount of classes.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,774
    edited October 2010
    Well practically speaking, currently there are 3 mainline luxury autos in the U.S. The LS, the S, and the 7, with the 7 being a.w.o.l. for the last few years. That just leaves the LS and the S. Two very fine automobiles that take turns winning comparisons, but as far as VALUE goes I would have to give the nod to the LS.

    The LS costs about $20 grand less than the S when new, but after 4 or 5 years they are worth about the same, or very close. To me that equates to better value. Just because I drive an LS doesn't mean I'm biased. I forgot the A8 and it is also a viable contender.

    I have an open mind about the Equus and I hope it is a roaring success.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,647
    edited October 2010
    But a Maybach shopper will know, and that's what counts.

    I'm rooting for Hyundai, too, to make a splash. Competition improves the breed! Look what Lexus did for Mercedes after all.......

    If I were appointed King of Hyundai, what I'd do is:

    1. Ditch the Hyundai name. Call the new marque "Genesis" or similar

    2. Put in an engine that's worthy of a world class luxury car. This means POWER to crush you back in your seat. Maybe even twin-turbos or a SC on the Genesis V8 would work, if Hyundai doesn't want to develop a new engine (very $$$ to do that).

    3. Continue to coddle and seduce new customers as they've been trying to do, with valet services, free iPads, free loaners, even fitted luggage, champagne in the truck, personalized owners manuals, you name it---pour on the glitz.

    4. If the car sells in reasonable numbers after 2 years, add 20% to the price and build a LWB version.

    5. Do something with the styling.
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