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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    A reporter is hoping to talk with people who own vehicles equipped with many gadgets and who have found the technology overwhelming at times, maybe to a point they might not use it anymore, or maybe have never used it since they bought the car.
    Please respond to jfallonedmunds.com by Wednesday, September 7, 2005 with your daytime contact info and a few words about your experience

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  • Hmmm, this smacks of an article that seems to start with a "bias" -- unless of course, several folks from both sides of this issue are interviewed and represented.

    Those here with the LPS cars may have been technology adverse BLPS (before LPS), but it is hard to imagine someone remaining thus after just a few days with the technology interfaces offered in these cars.

    But, I do understand the need to find "technology adverse" people to make for perhaps an interesting article.

    Who, however, would actually admit to being apparently "against progress?"

    :confuse:
  • aas5aas5 Posts: 50
    This is what I said when I first saw these pictures. Too much of influence by the AM design...
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I dont have any problem with it being the poor man's... well.. the less rich mans V8 Vantage. I think Id rather have the Jag because of all the electronics you cant get in an AM. Astons are made for driving, not making phone calls via bluetooth.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Could there be an RL owner out there possibly who rarely uses his Nav system and lives in a small city that doesn't use live traffic reports available on his system? Perhaps! Is ALL technology really progress? Time will tell. ;)
  • I certainly was not saying that looking like an Aston Martin was a bad thing! I just was surprised at how much- it looks like a copy.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    That's because the designer of the 07'Jaguar XK8, Ian Callum, was also the designer of the Aston Martin Vanquish, and the DB9.
  • Makes sense...
  • They sold 2623 of them last month. Anyone have the results for the other LPS?
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Was reading Motor Trend today about Callum who was a touch peeved by suggestions the XK looks like an AM..."What the hell did people expect" he said..."It's a Callum car!".... "I have a set of rules by which I design cars. I'm not going to dumb down just because I'm working on a Jaguar. If anything, I'm going to work harder to make sure it's better than the last car I did."
  • Luxury Mid Size sport sedans August 2005 US sales numbers:

    MB E-class: 5.011
    BMW 5-series: 4.359
    Lexus GS: 3.335
    Infiniti M: 2.623
    Acura RL: 1.721
    AUDI A6: 1.509
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Interesting. The number show there is a disconnect between the buying public and the journalists who review these cars.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Interesting. Good results for GS, as well as M. The RL also appears to finally be getting the numbers Acura had projected, but not more. Poor 'ole A6 brings up the rear again.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Very true...but there are so many other factors that affect numbers including production volume, dealer networks, marketing, and I wonder what % of the buyers read the car magazines to ultimately determine which car is right for them. I am basically a loyalist and will probably buy another Acura someday regardless of the numbers.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Nothing surprising about the numbers. To buyers in this class, brand prestige is probably the number 1 factor. So it follows that MB and BMW make the most sales.

    Not to say that the E and the 5 are not great cars on their merits, they are, but a car like the M really doesn't get too much "brand" love. When's the last time you heard someone say, "I want an Infiniti because it's an Infiniti"?

    The "disconnect" is there because car reviewers usually don't put too much emphasis in the prestige of the brand.

    The A6 isn't doing too bad, someone has to be last... there's just so much good competition out there.

    BTW, the 550i is on BMW's website now. That thing's gonna be a hoot to drive.

    I wonder when the E500 is going to get the 382 hp 5.4L. Perhaps they're waiting until the redesign?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I think its partly prestige, and there's also something of a tradition factor at play here as well. The M may provide more for less, but it also has no tradition in the segment, and its buyers have to be willing to ignore that. Even if every buyer of the original M45 went back for the new one, that still would only account for probably less than 10% of the current car's sales, which means that the M is really rocking the segment in terms of conquest sales.

    Cars like the E and 5 on the other hand probably have a pretty large percentage of repeat buyers, many of whom probably dont even bother to look at the competition at all. They just trade in the old 5 for a new 5 and are done with it.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    When people say they want a BMW, they understand they are buying a car with certain characteristics. This is no different than saying: "I want a Lexus". Voila - instant brand identification. This is the so-called brand prestige.

    In order to earn repeat business the manufacturers must keep giving the customers what they want. With the introduction of the new E60, I would think if people didn't like the car they would have jumped ship. BMW must have hit upon a winning formula inspite of the nay-sayers view of the contrary.

    I'm really shocked at the E class numbers. With some of the doom and gloom talk about Mercedes on these boards at Edmunds, it would seem the buying public wouldn't want one if they were paid to take one.
  • I drove the 2006 A6 4.2 with adaptive suspension and loved it. It was not a special order car, so your dealer is wrong. The place I bought my Audi had 3 4.2s with adaptive suspension during the time period I looked. At the end of the day, however, I bought a 3.2 A6 with sport package and just about everything else and am very happy. The ride with the adaptive suspension is by far the best I have driven, although the ride in the MB E350 is close. However, at some point you draw the line on cost, and I had a tough time paying 8k more for a car I liked only marginally better than the 2005 3.2 A6 I bought. If the ride in the regular A6 is too stiff for you, the adaptive suspension is the answer.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,896
    I think availability has a lot to do with it... Infiniti and Audi dealerships are few and far between, compared with BMW, Lexus, etc....

    A lot of people still wouldn't recognize an Infiniti, if it bit them.. That doesn't mean it isn't a comparable or even better car...

    regards,
    kyfdx
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  • sac guy: How were STS sales?

    Yes, there's a definite disconnect between these sales and the recommendations of the car mags, etc. You would think buyers of MB and BMW would be avid readers and followers of auto tests. But, true, prestige (and traditional buying habits) are important here. I'm also surprised at the continuing high sales of the GS (mainly the GS300) which was really panned by Consumer Reports, and then panned again in their most recent issue, labeled "a disappointment," etc., etc.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I disagree. People who are spending $40-$50K on a car know that market segment. They may have already made up their mind, based on their criteria, that car x is the car for them and cars y and z don't cut it. But they know what they are getting for the money, what they are not getting and what the compeition offers.

    To me the decision process is the same as buying a house. You know the market, you know the comps and you make a decison based on your variables.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,896
    Two Infiniti dealerships in the SW Ohio area (Dayton-Cincinnati).. Compared to three Mercedes, four BMW, three Lexus, three Audi, double-digit Cadillac.. Many, many people in this area would be 30-40 miles from the nearest Infiniti dealer... Most people can't even spell it correctly..

    Plus... they don't have dealers in a lot of the medium-sized cities.. I'll use Evansville, IN as an example.... Lexus and BMW both have dealerships there.. Over an hour away for Infiniti.. You can get a BMW in Bowling Green, KY, the home of the Corvette, but you have to go to Louisville or Nashville for an Infiniti.. That has to affect sales numbers.. I'm sure I could find hundreds of similar examples..

    I think you are over-estimating the knowledge and interest of the average buyer.. The typical buyer doesn't read C&D, research their car on the internet, etc.. You do that.. I do that.. Most of the members of Edmunds do that... But, we are a very small percentage of the buying public, even for luxury cars..

    In other words, sales numbers mean nothing in regards to the relative value of the cars... If GM puts out a crummy car ( :surprise: ), it will still sell 100K copies, just because of the superior availability and distribution..

    regards,
    kyfdx
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  • What we should be looking at here are average dealer sales. There are probably 10x as many MB dealers as Infiniti in Northern NJ area. Does anyone have the national figures for dealerships. How many? What are the disparities between largest and smallest? How many are part of "supermarkets" as opposed to dedicated shops. In the supermarket scenario, buyers can be swayed b/w brands. Also, model offerings need to be considered. MB E- and BMW 5 have many more models to sell than Acura (1). We cannot just say MB sold 3x as well as Acura if they offer 6x as many vehicles in that class!!! So many factors make up these overall sales numbers, that is difficult to compare success.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Your point is well taken to some extent the distribution network affects sales. But isn't that all part of the marquees overall game plan? Isn't the fact the BMW, Mercedes and GM have an extensive distribution network part of heritage?

    "If GM puts out a crummy car ( :surprise: ), it will still sell 100K copies, "

    If GM is changed to BMW/Mercedes/Acura/Infiniti/Audi in the above that statement would not hold true. GM has conditioned the American people that it generally sells "crummy" cars. The LPS lot has conditioned the people they sell premium cars. People do know the difference.
  • I have to agree with kyfdx. In Grand Rapids, we have all of these dealerships. However, if I were to live in Lansing (with Infiniti dealerships 1 hour away in G.R. or 1.5 hrs in the metro Detroit area), I would never have considered the M. I would probably be driving a GS or an RL (at least I think there is an Acura dealership there). I would not want to take my M to a Jiffy Lube, nor would I want to drive it one hour for routine maintenance, much less other needed service.

    Imagine what the M's numbers would be if they had a similar dealership network as BMW, Lexus, or MB.
  • The Queen City (not counting Dayton, the Gem City to our north) has one Infiniti Dealer and two Audi Dealers (just to use an example.)

    While I can NOW hardly go one single day without seeing a "new" A6, I can go two weeks without seeing an Infiniti M35 or 45, sometimes even more.

    Our lone Infiniti dealer is on our "north east" side of town, the two Audi dealers are on the north and "far eastern" sides of the city. One of the Audi dealerships has recently moved to a new $7,000,000 facility and car sales have increased from an average of 30 cars per month to 50 cars per month (mostly A4's I would guess.)

    Plenty of 2000 - 2004 A6's are around. Infinitis, other than G35's are pretty few and far between.

    For the record, I live on the north east side of the city and I would imagine someone on the south or west side would have to really really be motivated to buy an Infiniti M since it is possible for the distance to the dealer for some folks to be as far as 40 to 60 miles.

    Cincinnati, then, probably has had more Audi (A6) sales than Infiniti (M) sales -- but perhaps because, in part, to a phenom known as "distance decay."

    I can't prove it, but it would seem that if there were additional Infiniti dealerships (even one more) that the number of M sightings would increase.

    The fact that the simple moving of the Audi dealership (one of them) some 16+ miles to the east has raised sales from 30 to 50 per month is an impressive feat.

    Someone somewhere knows, for instance, how many BMW dealer locations are here in the US -- ditto for the other LPS cars. Cadillac, despite its sheer number of dealerships does NOT quite (yet) jump to the top of the list of LUX/PERF cars at least in the crowd that I frequent (30 - 50 somethings, married, degreed, professionals.) Usually (in this woefully inadequate group) Japanese cars of any pedigree (Lexus probably gets a pass -- and we do have more than one Lexus outlet here in greater Cincinnati/Northern KY) need not apply.

    But, to fully disclose for those who don't know, Cincinnati is a GERMAN city with an annual Oktoberfest that is said to be second only to the one in Munich -- so our somewhat German car LPS bias (over the Japanese contenders) is not all that shocking.

    A drive through the upper middle class neighborhoods here often finds lots of BMW's, Mercedes and Audis -- not to overlook the Volvos, VW's and the countless SUV's and mini-vans (from all manufacturers, perhaps notably Honda, Toyota and DC.)

    Despite my personal belief that Audi's A6 "ought" to sell better than at last place -- perhaps, as suggested above, distance decay and market penetration do indeed play a significant role.

    In contrast, one of the BMW dealers here in our fair city is the largest in the state of Ohio and at an orientation for new owners meeting, they disclosed they sell 1300 new cars per year (and there are two Cincinnati based dealerships in town.)

    One of the BMW dealerships is owned by a mega dealer group (as at least one of the Audi dealers NOW is) -- and much as I personally like the family owned dealer atmosphere, perhaps mega dealers do, despite their often impersonal auras, "move more product." Lee I. himself says "the most important part is 'the deal'," perhaps has if to say, moreso than "the cars" themselves.
  • I think you are over-estimating the knowledge and interest of the average buyer.. The typical buyer doesn't read C&D, research their car on the internet, etc.. You do that.. I do that.. Most of the members of Edmunds do that... But, we are a very small percentage of the buying public, even for luxury cars..

    Excellent point; and I agree completely. I tend to think that passion plays a major part in car buying. While passion no doubt involves brand prestige and loyalty it also involves a test drive - which is where availability plays a huge part. The typical buyer must get in and drive the car. This is especially true among buyers new to the LPS segment. Do not underestimate the fact that large numbers of these new buyers are leasers who are over-extended.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Yeah Yeah Mark...I'm remembering the recent Iacocca TV commercial with the grand daughter... "It's like you always said Grampa..."If you can find a better car, BUY IT" (and many of us in here DID!)
    (BUT He's STILL the greatest car salesman of our era even B4 Snoop Dog, :shades: )
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    E-class: 26%
    BMW 5: 17%
    Lexus GS: 12%
    Infiniti M: 21%
    Audi A6: 23%

    M-B has the most to lose if their car fails in the segment, followed by Audi who can use every A6 sale they can get, considering total sales for August were just 6,473. On the other hand, the GS is no big deal to Lexus.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The low GS percentage is probably due to the fact that Lexus sells so many darn SUVs.
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