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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • 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.
  • 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..

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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.
  • I don't think anybody realistically expects E and 5 to fail in this segment. They're the perennial leaders. No one expected M and GS to suddenly jump in front of the line. You don't turn decades of tradition and prestige on its head. But the Germans got to worry the newcomers will take an increasing slice of the pie, or get a rough equivalence, as happened in the class below.

    It's very similar to the full size trucks and SUV's. Titans and Tundras win just by taking increasing pieces of the market. In the segment, the Japanese have almost of chance of eventually being on par with the market leaders. But in the luxury market, I'd say they stand of very good chance.

    The scary thing for MB/BMW/Audi, they have only the luxury market. So if they lose a large piece of it, that'd hurt. Whereas Toyota and Nissan just dabble in it for even more profits.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I just meant hypothetically, a big drop in E sales would hurt MB a lot more than say, the GS would hurt Lexus.

    "The scary thing for MB/BMW/Audi, they have only the luxury market."

    Thats not really true. DCX has Chrysler, Audi has VW, and BMW is going down market with the 1-series.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "BMW is going down market with the 1-series."

    A 1-series, if it ever gets sold here, will not be mistaken for say a Corolla. It is a smaller BMW targeted toward the premium compact market, but still with a generous helping BMW attributes. The diesel version of the 1-series averaged a respectable 50mpg.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's don't get distracted from the fact that we are talking about Luxury Performance Sedans and not the other vehicles that our topical manufacturers produce ...
  • The scary thing for BMW...they have only the luxury market.

    They also have the Mini. It's not a large segment, but I see enough of them.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Kyfdx...did you join edmunds as a host recently?
  • It certainly appears that I have! ;)

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Kyfdx is our new host of the Prices Paid board - we're glad to have him! :D
  • Mark, I agree completely and also want to add one more point. Multiple dealers selling the same line leads also to sharper pencils, more agressive sales efforts, better marketing, etc. If you are the one , say Jag, dealer in a state you may have an "I've got it, you come get it" mentality.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Gee. I wonder what gave it away! ;)
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