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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    How refreshing to read a couple of posts that get away from the mutual stroking society!

    Hey, it's never too late to enjoy the many pleasures of driving the "Ultimate Driving Machine." hihomike!
    I hope your dealer experience was as good as mine. Not only did I get a great deal, but everytime I came in to test drive a 330i, 545i and X5, the dealer would just toss me the keys and when I told him I would be back in 10 minutes, he would say take as long as you want, wherever you want and have fun.

    I am delighted to say that I have enjoyed the "Ultimate Driving Experience."

    Enjoy your new 530i!
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    I can tell you they morph ... over time.

    I will drive no "LPS" before its time!
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    I got a chuckle after reading your opening few sentences on your post,

    Yep there is a reason I don't own one.
  • . . .I read with some disappointment the July sales figures posted here on edmunds for the LPS group. Audi's A6, once again, was at the bottom of the list (in fairness, it is sometimes above the Acura's RL, but be that as it may the Acura and the Audi are lagging behind other German and Japanese players.)

    So, with my tail tucked between my legs, I got fired up [again] at Audi of America's poor marketing and advertising. I cannot remember the last time I saw an Audi automobile advertisement on my TV. But you can't throw a stone without hitting your hi-def 58" 16x9 screen whilst it is displaying a BMW ad, an Infiniti ad, or the Led Zep er, Cadillac ad.

    What the heck, I surf the web while watching TV with my nifty little 802.11 set up and lo and behold I come across this little URL:

    Cliky Here

    Essentially Audi is on a roll -- a big time roll. They are thinking they will, for the first time ever sell 800,000 cars worldwide. They are also beating their chests on their increased German market share and proclaiming this will be the 12th YEAR(?) of gains in a row.

    But sales in the US are actually lower this year.

    Someone had posted that Audi outsells BMW in Germany -- I know this was a target (is a target) every year, as Audi and BMW in Germany are much bigger rivals than they are here. Several years worth of sales demonstrated that Audi would be #1, then BMW then Audi and so on. Yet it appears that Audi is outsold about 3 to 1 here.

    The entire first 6 months report, which tells a very positive story (worldwide) can be accessed here:

    Cliky Here and You're a Winner

    Here is a distillation, more or less, if you care NOT to cliky:

    "Audi achieved sales records in the first six months in 12 of 20 markets in Western Europe. Great Britain, the biggest European export market, with sales of 45,107 vehicles (41,805, up 7.9 percent), Spain with 28,674 vehicles (23,742, up 20.8 percent), Italy with 27,534 vehicles (26,688, up 3.2 percent) and France with 22,571 vehicles (18,451, up 22.3 percent) deserve a special mention.

    Compared with the prior-year period, vehicle sales in Germany rose by 10.4 percent in the first six months to 126,093 (114,169) vehicles. At the same time Audi increased its market share to 7.5 percent (January - June 2004:
    6.9 percent).

    Sales in Western Europe were up in the first six months by 12.4 percent to 320,598 (285,160) vehicles. At 4.2 percent (January - June 2004: 3.7 percent), Audi’s market share in Western Europe is at an all-time high. New sales records were set in 28 markets worldwide in the first half of 2005." -- Source Audi AG

    I wrung my hands for months when I was about to pull the trigger for a new car about Audi of America's lousy (apparently) "go to market strategy."

    Clearly whatever they're doing elsewhere resonates with the customers.

    My wife muses (proudly) about the "little angles" that fly along side her BMW X3 -- now that is the advertising campaign that worked (for her at least) as did the wet tongue, frozen pole campaign.

    This Lead Follow current campaign just doesn't resonate with 'Merican's apparently -- or if it does it just isn't "out there" enough to get folks to stop by and take a test drive.

    The "Lexus Lady" says she didn't even consider the Audi -- and she apparently has no "reliability" issues with Audi in her experience base that kept her away.

    As the saying goes, one million (or in this case 800,000) flies can't all be wrong!

    Check out the links -- kinda rounds out the story.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    That's a good line!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Yet Audi does much better in Europe. Go figure.
  • hihomikehihomike Posts: 111
    Yes, I had a great experience with the dealership I bought my 530i at. I went in on a Sunday afternoon, just looking at an 05 530i, when a calm, relaxed young man greeted me, shared with me that the 06's would be out in a few weeks and that he had one coming in in the color and equipment I wanted. I told him what I wanted to pay and ended up getting the 06 at MY PRICE, not his. And yes, he gave me the keys, said to me, "have fun for a few hours" and when I got back, I was sold.

    But not all dealers are like that - just read back through the postings on the "5 series buying experiences and pricing". You'll see what I mean. And by the way, I'm loving every minute and every mile I drive it. Can't say I've said that about many cars I've owned in my life.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm somebody that buys, rather than leases, my daily driver as well. I keep my daily car 5-6 years, and put a good 150K+ miles on it. My '96 LS400 had 156,840 miles on it when I finally sold it, and it never had a single unscheduled service visit. My current '01 LS430 recently passed the 90K mark, and its still tight as a drum. I plan to keep it for at least another two years, unless the '07 LS460 really knocks my socks off. The GS may not have moves like the M, but it offers peace of mind long after the warranty has run out, which is something you dont get with German cars.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Just returned from a pleasant overnight trip to our state capital in Madison, a great university town with supurb hills, lakes, and narrow roads which put the driving skills through a few tests. The RL was supurb and my sweetie stayed calm as we blasted around a few hairpin curves testing the SH AWD. The car stayed on the road like glue. A fun little trip to a great town.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    New thought:
    I couldn't help but think about all those potential Audi buyers in the USA who were following the lead of one of their staunchest long time buyers a few monthe ago and when he threw them a head fake pursuing the M35 sales came to a standstill at Audi. They will get back on track soon enough! ;)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Everyone who has shopped at least 2 dealerships can probably attest to at least one bad experience.
    My best experience was several months ago at a Lexus place. I didn't like the car(GS430) but the man I was assigned couldn't be nicer. It was like I was talking to an old friend. No pressure at all. My experience with him was so good, I recommended a friend to him who eventually bought a GS430 from him. Last week, this wonderful salesman sent me a check for $100 out of the blue because I set up the sale for him. Even better was the terrific letter he enclosed with the check.
    I will be seeking him out in a couple of years as my first stop in that complicated search for my next vehicle. I just hope next time, I like the car as much as the salesperson!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I always lease my BMW's: high residuals, free maintenance; the perfect leasing car.
    If leasing were banned tomorrow, I would probably compromise and buy a Lexus LS430 for the long haul.
    Sometimes you gotta be practical!
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    agreed about the leasing benefits. Interesting comments about dealer experiences, and especially about the salesperson following up with a check for a referral. You must have really hit it off with him.

    Since driving is an ongoing experience, the CONTINUED dealer relationship, most notably service, can have a pretty big effect. When I bought my beemer, I ran into one complete jerk, a sales manager in SF who lied about not having the car I wanted, even though TWO of them were on the lot at the moment, and the salesperson had tried to sell me either of them. I told myself to be mature, ignore the sales manager, and buy the car I wanted. I did buy at another dealership, over the internet to avoid the possible repeat interaction, then felt I had, for once, been more mature than I normally am.

    Within 100 miles, I had a blowout, which would have to have been due to underinflation (I admit I did not bring my tire gauge with me when I picked up the car, and I drove fifty miles back home without checking even once!), or to a defective tire. In any event, the dealer wanted nothing to do with this. While they may not have been legally responsible, it was certainly a nice chance for them to make a good impression. Nonetheless, I bought a new tire myself.

    For weeks I could not get the headlights to stay on for forty seconds after I left the car. Over the phone, the salesperson patiently (and then not so patiently) explained how I could turn off the car, then hit the brights lever. Although I insisted that I knew how to do this, he insisted equally fervently that I was doing it wrong. Finally, the dealer checked the car for me. Turns out they never did a presale check, which would have set the preferences so that this feature would be activated.

    The third initial problem was that I had to leave the car for a three-day weekend, fifty miles from home, to have them set this silly preference that they should have set initially. And I got a Ford Fiesta to drive to a wedding.

    Alright, just my initial experiences, but plenty of chances for them to do SOMETHING courteous. So nice salesperson or not, this kind of relationship can sour fairly quickly if they don't care about your happiness after you buy.

    Sorry-you can all break out those fake violins now. And I won't tell how it got much worse after this. Unless you ask.... ;)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Since all the other day people posting on Edmunds have left their day job computers and are on the way home/eating dinner(there's a sly commentary in there somewhere), I seem to be the only poster out there, so speaking for "the gang" please tell us, how much worse your experience got.

    Funny how they can screw you on the service and then they beg you to give them good evaluations on the phone afterwards like their very lives depend on it. If they simply provided a humane service experience, the evaluation would easily take care of itself.

    In NYC, the BMW staff all seemed to possess a phony courtesy which was so disingenuous, that it actually made me really uncomfortable.
    I much prefer the Sarasota way. They are direct and to the point, talking like robots. No emotion. No small talk. Fine.

    So when I met this diamond in the rough Lexus salesman talking to me like I was one of the humans, I was completely bowled over.
    I really hope within the next 3 years Lexus can produce a less somnolent vehicle because I would like to give him my business.
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Actually, I got calls the first seven times I had service, like clockwork.

    Then I got zero over eight visits. Your guess is as good as mine.

    The later service problems included two separate problems with airbags that they told me:

    1. "Probably" OK, without seeing the car. Gave me an appointment six weeks away.

    2. They had to break through the interior door material on my front passenger side because the lock froze in the locked position. I consider this a safety risk, and to their credit, they gave me an appointment in two or three days. Then they said it was "double-locked", thus necessitating the breakage.

    They had to special order a part to fix the airbag, told me they would call me when it came in. Six weeks later, no word, I made an appointment anyway. I picked the car up that afternoon, and the service person gave me a hard time. He said they had gotten the part, returned it because I never came in to pick it up, and they did not fix the airbag that visit.

    Other problems included the engine failsafe warning light coming on and the engine not starting numerous times, starting around 1400 miles. They did look at it twice, then told me it was "probably" due to an aftermarket radio. They also told me it was no longer under warranty because of the radio. When I asked how much of the electronics in the car fell under this exemption, they pretty much told me everything did.

    Other smaller stuff: The automatic light setting was staying on until ten in the morning, then coming on at three in the afternoon. They kept the car all day, found the lights shut off at noon, and did nothing. When I made them look for a technical bulletin, they found it, reset the sensitivity (which also changes the sensitivity to rain), and the car was fine. But I had to show them in person, and wait an hour instead of having the car ready for me. I know, small stuff.

    There's more, including the anti-lock brakes shuddering for ten seconds if I hit a bump while applying the brakes. They did nothing about that because I didn't reproduce the problem driving it with them in the car. To their credit, at least they drove with me. To their discredit, they didn't even check the system (!), and I had a near rear-end accident when I hit a bump and the brakes shuddered severely for a hundred feet in traffic. My pants got a bit dirty.

    You want more? I've got it. But I feel really guilty going on and on. My poor friends laugh at me with each new story, although they all are happy I didn't suffer any permanent (physical) damage.

    My therapist told me it would be cheaper to buy a new car than to pay him to go over all this! ;)
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Oh, BTW, first airbag problem was real, a faulty seat activator.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree about the importance of a good dealership experience. I've been very happy with Rehal Lexus in Carlisle, and I'm sure I will be back for my 3rd LS purchase in another year or two. The service from the Jaguar shop two doors down though has been pretty poor, enough to make me want to end my relationship with them by getting a Porsche.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    About 2 1/2 years ago I was on the way to the airport quite late in the evening in my 325i.
    After riding on the interstate for about 15 minutes, the car jolted like I ran over a water buffalo. The emergency sensors were activated, the right side airbag was deployed and the car came to a complete stop. I managed to get it over to the shoulder. I did not see anything that I may have run over. But it was quite dark. I watched other vehicles go by and everything appeared to be normal on the interstate.
    I started the car and it drove fine and I proceeded toward the airport, a little shaken, I must admit.
    At the parking garage, I didn't see any damage.
    It was a faulty seat activator.
    I wrote a letter to BMW. I wanted a different car. They refused. They fixed it for free and the vehicle was trouble-free after that. But that explosive noise of the airbag deploying and that jolt was surely enough to kill somebody with a heart problem
    I hope I never experience that ever again.
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    I'm glad it was the passenger seat!
  • bondguy1bondguy1 Posts: 228
    How many people like leasing an Audi because the free scheduled maintenance is included? I happen to love the A6 (05') and liked my 02' A6 but I would have to think about getting one in 3 years when my lease is up if all maintenance isn't included. I have driven Japanese cars in past (Lexus and Nissan) and on a 36 month lease never had a major problem and don't think I ever even had a brake job (not one that I can remember spending $700+ dollars on at least. Someone told me that some of these companies like Mercedes and Audi did research and found that most people put this free maintenance lower down on list of importance to them. Mercedes did away with it, Audi is limiting it on 06' models and BMW will probably follow suit soon after.
    By the way, I never got the correct answer...is all scheduled maintenance including brakes and W&T items covered for 4/50 on my 05'?
  • No. It is NOT included anymore -- Audi has always retained the right to change the program. They did. From a practical standpoint, it may NOT be as big of a deal as we are apparently making of it.

    Let's keep the dialog going.

    I have had so many issues over the years that seemed to be going to cost me money -- almost always a miracle happened and Audi came to my rescue.

    Let's not assume the worst, yet.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I'm lucky I was riding solo!
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Forgive me if you mentioned it and I've forgotten. What beemer do you have now? What options did you want/get?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Very interesting stuff, thanks.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Uh this is America the land of indebtedness - most folks have no problem whatsoever living in debt up to their eyebrows. Most folks are way over-extended in housing, plastic, cars, etc. All the more easier with leases - all folks have to do is make a monthly payment.

    Yeah I know. I refuse to do it that way, I'll wait until I can comfortably afford the luxury car of my choice.

    M
  • including the anti-lock brakes shuddering for ten seconds if I hit a bump while applying the brakes.

    My brakes do this too (02 530 sp). Did you get any resolution? I didn't realize that it constitutes a problem, although I wondered about it; the increased stopping distance is a definite concern.

    I know the brakes work properly because I didn't total my car the day I came around a curve at the bottom of a hill to find that the truck in front of me had come to a dead stop. In fact, I didn't hit him at all, although I really thought I was going to. Obviously, there was no uneven pavement on that stretch of road.

    ABTW, to comment on an earlier thread asking for the shemale point of view (I didn't read for two days and missed some 10 pages of postings!): I bought my car because it has a stick and I love the way it handles (also, I need the rear seat and trunk space). It doesn't look bad, either--although I never would have chosen silver if I were buying new--but I prefer the e46 for looks.
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    Mark:

    As a current A4 1.8T owner, I feel your pain about Audi. I recently drove the A6, and I just can't understand how it's the lowest seller of the bunch. One thing I would comment on is accessibility. There are only 3 Audi dealerships in all of North Carolina, and the closest dealership to me in Cary, NC (near Raleigh) has a 2-3 week wait for service. There are 2 Mercedes dealerships, 2 BMW, 4 Cadillac, etc.. The second Lexus dealership in Durham is almost up and running.

    I almost moved closer to the coast near Savannah GA. Audi just opened a dealership in Charleston (about 70 miles away), but prior to that the closest was in Jacksonville (2 hours!). Savannah had it's own Lexus, BMW, Mercedes dealership. Could it be that Audi just is not interested in the NA market? Not that I'm complaining- I don't want a dime-a-dozen car! However, if someone from a town smaller than mine looks around and sees a few Cadillac dealerships, is he going to drive 2 hours to by an Audi? I doubt it!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I got a 545i with comfort seats, folding rear seat and steptronic automatic transmission. My wife does not like the sport seats so I didn't get the sport package.

    I have it now for 2 1/2 days and have high parking lot anxiety. I'm sure some pharmaceutical company has a pill for this!
  • I don't exactly know if I am "pained" by Audi's apparent attitude. As I posted, earlier, they are currently riding high on their 12th successive year of growth.

    Just not here.

    Their go to market strategy, advertising, other marketing (including the lease deals), configurations and now an erosion of the Audi Advantage puzzle me.

    Of course, America is important to them -- "if you can make it here. . ." (and not just New York New York.) But perhaps we are more symbolic than we are of practical and financial merit. Audi does OK here -- but sales are down, while BMW and Mercedes (with recent quality problems that have by-passed Audi's reputation by some measure) with higher MSRP's (but often lower lease prices) outsell Audi by 300%. Yet in Germany, the people buy more Audis than Bimmers (at least this go round.) Audi and BMW trade off for being top selling in their segments.

    Lots of Mercedes taxicabs for certain -- but I am not counting them.

    So Audi does poorly with cars that I have had direct experience with -- and I know the cars are "equivalent." The A8L can go head to head to head with BMW and Mercedes, ditto the A6 and generally the A4 can at least be a rival for the 3 series.

    BMW may indeed be "better" in some or many ways -- but you would think that would be reflected all over the world. Apparently the distances as measured by sales are not that far apart (3 to 1 for the BMW) elsewhere.

    Pained? No, not really. Remember, I had put my money down on an M35X before Audi's hail Mary play to keep me an Audi owner. I had already started down the path of brand disenfranchisement (if that is a real word).

    I think the A6 is a fine car, it is much closer in all the things that make up the driving and owning experience to the BMW and Infiniti than its sales numbers suggest (here in the US.)

    Puzzled? Yes. And somewhat frustrated. I used to care a whole lot more than I do now. Audi and I had become emotionally separated and now we've agreed to try to work things out. We're still seeing our marriage shrink so to speak.

    I am very pleased with my car and my dealer. I do not regret anything thus far.

    The thing is, I used to be the kind of person who would buy a new Audi and immediately start wondering what the next Audi would be like -- actually looking forward to it and all.

    Now, I am looking at the broader LPS segment and seeing lots of good cars and wondering how they will attempt to keep and or win my business. The cars are very very similar -- Audi (in my estimation) used to be the clear leader, it was clearly differentiated from the other LPS segment players. It certainly is distinctive looking (but so are the BMW's and Cadillacs, etc.) -- but it is now one of a group of 6 or 7 or 8 very very similar cars (sorry to say this if you think your "fill in the blank" is really unique.)

    Audi's marketing seems hell-bent to kill the company in the US, while their product continues to improve. Beats me what they're thinking. :confuse:
  • I love that ... imagine forcing yourself to choose the Ultimate Driving Machine in a list created by people you don't know, limited to six vehicle so the host site can squeeze advertising links to each manufacturer at the top of a page.

    The folks at Porsche might want to chat with any other German car company and say, ummm.... "Ulitmate Driving Machine", er uh, "show me".

    So make sure when we make absolute statements here, we use the abbreviation:

    ITLA - in the list above.

    Works in lots of forums besides this one, come to think of it.
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    2 1/2 days??!!! Wow-you are still in the state of euphoria! What is the speed limit there?

    As to pill, there are certainly some you could take, but you wouldn't be able to drive while taking them.....damn! I am slowly getting through this phase, but you are in the throes. Maybe they could make that clear bra thing for the whole car...

    I liked my tranny, and don't know how much they have improved the newer version. Although I felt like I was cheating a bit by not having a manual, I live in the city, and could not use it very often to justify the daily commute. Besides, resale value the way you chose it will be better. I know you are not thinking about that, though.

    Did your wife try to talk you down a level? You know, "why don't you get that engine with the better gas mileage?" What led you to pay the bonus and get the 8? Oh, and when does the break-in period end? How close are you?

    The great thing about that car is that you really don't have to wait for the break-in to be over, though. You can still find some curves and get instant satisfaction without going over 4K!
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