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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah I think RL sales will definitely start to slide once M and GS start to take off. However, I think that Japan's strongest entry, the M, can take a big bite out of the 5.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    There is a flip side to "The Problem". Just as there are people shopping in the 40-60k range who want to make the statement, "I made it", there are plenty of people (possibly even more) who made it who don't want to make the statement. Then there are plenty of people who made it and really don't care what their car says; they just want a car that's fun to drive or appeals to them.

     

    I once said I would never drive a BMW just because of what I thought it said about me (I'll date myself here--this was when "yuppie" was the new word and "yuppies" all wanted BMW's). I subsequently ended up with a 328 because it was fun to drive and I liked the styling. The brand was actually a negative image for me that I had to overcome.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    If BMW & MB think the Japanese can't compete in the mid luxury class, they got their heads in the sand, which would be cut off pretty soon. Look at the MT comparo, the two Japanese finish ahead of the two Germans. The Germans dominate this segment because the Japanese never had strong competitors before, that's about to change big time. They'll probably repeat what they're doing in the entry lux segment, where G/TL/ES are all major players.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't think anyone here thinks the Germans are taking these Japanese entries lightly. BMW and Mercedes are updating engines in the spring as opposed to their normal fall timeframe. That the new E350 is getting a real "sport" package is no accident.

     

    The ES330 is irrelevant here because nobody is chasing the Buick category, the Lexus IS is supposed to be the Lexus of choice in this topic, but it isn't even close to being major player in its current form. The ES330 is for the 60 and up crowd.

     

    Come to think of it, in the lower sport category between Infiniti, BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Acura only Lexus is missing a major player when it comes to sales.

     

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    And yet go to the "Next IS" thread, and all the people that actually own IS300s are going nuts because Lexus isnt keeping the inline, the boy racer styling, or the tiny size. They dont seem to understand that a larger, more adult G35 or TL is what most Americans actually WANT, and Lexus wants to sell cars, not please a few die hards.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ahh...yes it will be interesting to see which route they take with the new IS. Isn't it just so much fun waiting on your favorite brand to introduced a new car!

     

    Lucky for you Lexi guys you only have to wait until March for it to be shown at the Geneva Auto Show, I have to endure probably most of the summer before MB even shows a pic of the next S, not to mention its showing will be in Sept...!

     

    I think Lexus will come up with something a little smaller than the G35 in exterior size, but with comparable room inside. Even the 3-Series is grown larger so they'd be nuts to keep the same size of today's car.

     

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah thats what I'm thinking. Probably a little smaller on the outside than TL, but interior volume better be closer to TL than TSX, or its not going to work.
  • My company has both Honda and Toyota as clients (divisions of these companies in Ohio and Kentucky, that is.)

     

    When taking a plant tour, there are production figures (and according to their management, they do not build "unsold" cars) and prior year comparison figures on display on overhead digital signs. Both of these US/Japanese companies are trending UP either high single digit improvements or double digits (it seems to depend which model is being built for -- our clients built transmissions and suspension components for the Camry, Accord, Avalon and other models, so I cannot give consistent data nor can I analyze it since I don't write it all down).

     

    The point is Audis 2004 US sales were NOT good, the A6 has helped, and, temporarily at least the current A4 is trending down even with incentives (the new .5 A4's are coming in a couple of months). And, comparatively speaking, BMW has not had as great a year as it used to have either (supposedly due to new cars in the pipeline).

     
    Most of the Japansese lines have enjoyed decent and steady improvements. Heck, the only company Toyota seems to "fear" is Honda, and even then, not THAT much.

     

     

    But both Honda and Toyota don't even seem to be aware that here in Ohio (and in Kentucky too) we had a serious economic downturn. They just kept on INCREASING production -- of "sold" cars.

     

    Can't, at this moment, say the same thing for der Germans (and I am a big Audi fan, to put it mildly.)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I thought Honda is having problems. Last time I checked, Accord sales are down, and Honda total sales are either flat, or down. At least for January only Acura was the one gaining anything. Toyota enjoyed a nice single digit percentage gain, as usual, and also as usual, Nissan got another 15 or so percent boost. I think Nissan in the next few years is poised to do some serious damage to Honda's US sales. They already beat Honda in global output, and Nissan US sales arent that far off.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    One reason for Honda's problems is trucks are taking more and more of the market, and Honda got caught short. Nissan's car sales are down too, and I bet that's true for almost all companies. What saves Nissan in Jan was the sales growth of Pathfinder, Frontrier, Titan & Armada, which are all less than a year old. Honda doesn't have any new truck, Ridgeline can't arrive soon enough for Honda.

     

    Another reason for Honda's woes is Toyota's stealing the youth market, which used to be Honda's, with Scion.

     

    What's scary is Ford & GM, which dominate truck market and still lose market share in this environment. Ford & GM invested a fortune in 500/Freestyle/LaCrosse. And they're dated even before hitting the market.
  • Ignoring January 2005 since one month doesn't make a trend, Nissan's car sales were up 6.9% in 2004 from 419K to 449K. Sentra and Altima up 10+%, Maxima and Z down 10+%, although Maxima sales of 76K were above target of 70K. Truck sales increased 57%, so total Nissan branded sales up 26% in 2004.

     

    Honda car sales up 2.5% in 2004 (Civic up a few percent balanced by Accord down slightly). Toyota cars up 10.7% in 2004. All figures do not include luxury marques, but Toyota's does include Scion.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    A lot of Honda's losses to youth are their own fault. They've been WAY too conservative with the Civic. We get a Civic TypeR maybe once every 10 years, if that. We also have no RSX TypeR. Honda decides Americans for whatever reason dont want that, and they give sales away to Sentra SE-R, etc.
  • car company out there. They introduced these two FULL SIZED cars, the Freestyle and 500/Montego, with a 200 hp engine. Can anyone explain this to me. Why would anyone buy them? Watch for those huge rebates coming to a market near you. they keep blowing it?

     

    They pay big money to these marketing and R&D guys and this is the best they can do? All the had to do is put an extra 30 hp in those vehicles to make them competitive from the get go. I think they blew it completely.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Agree, Ford needed that new 3.5L about 10 years ago. I dont think Chrysler is worried about the 500.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Mark, The RL forum host Pat recommended we check this forum out and so when I spotted your post I had to say hello. Did you ever get to test drive the RL or the 300C AWD?

    PS. Road & Track (Feb) mentioned that the RL was selected "Japan's Car of the Year"
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Apparently, "Car of the Year" is given by two separate sources in Japan. The Legend got one and the Fuga got the other.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    As far as I know, Honda's the only manufacturer who likes to kill off successful model lines that appeal to youth. And they did it three times: Civic hatch, CRX & Integra (especially sedan). Everyone seems to make big mistakes over a long term, except Toyota.

     

    I meant Nissan's car sales were down in Jan 05, not in whole of 04.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Seems to me I heard somewhere about Nissan Fuga winning some award in Japan but I could not find it.

    Honda Legend (2005 RL) Car of the year in Japan info can be found on the following website: http://www.carpages.co.uk/honda/honda_legend_13_11_04.asp?switche- d=on&echo=95907205
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    I did some more checking and found that it in the previous year Fuji (Subaru) won. Did not see anything again on Fuja.

     

    http://www.aiada.org/article.asp?id=27494

      

    "The Car of the Year award went to Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries’ Legacy sedan last year, and to Honda’s remodelled Accord/Accord Wagon two years ago."
  • This tracks with my original post -- Honda up single digits, Toyota up double digits.

     

    I did not reference Infiniti since I was only talking about my personal walk through the plants and looking at the production statistics on the overhead signs. Toyota is up about 4 x over what Honda is up based on these stats -- but, to a certain extent, up is up.

     

    There are some cars and vans in both of these companies' pipelines which may provide a boost to their sales.

     

    Right now it would appear that Infiniti is trending sharply upward (don't know if that is included in Nissan numbers or not) -- and the prod stats I see DO NOT include Lexus. However, Toyota seems confident that a 275HP Camry will boost sales yet again.

     

    Toyota is certainly on a roll, and although not as much so, Honda is far from out.

     

    The new M35AWD certainly looks interesting (after reading the MT piece.)
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    275hp Camry? Is the Camry getting the 3.5 V6 as well?
  • NO, not yet -- so when we were at the Chrysler dealer which happens to be in a huge auto mall, we wandered over to Infiniti and took a nice long test of a 2005 Infiniti G35x (we were impressed).

     

    I even got a price on an M35 (no lease figures, just MSRP -- but that is on the web site). The G35 was $39,410 +$250 for a rear deck spoiler. The selling price was $36,022+the rear spoiler -- and w no down, the lease was $555 a month (for 36 months as I recall.)

     

    Considering the price asked by some European makers (speaking of the lease price), the Japanese seem to be attractively priced.

     

    Problem is my wife is having "perception" difficulties with the Japanese car. She has had only German cars, she is "suspicious" of their quality (believe it or not) and how they are perceived by the population in general.

     

    I tried to assure her that the reliability reputation of the Japanese cars was higher than any German car. But she keeps thinking the Japanese cars, somehow, are not as solid as the German and other European brands. I guess her pecking order would be German, Japanese, American.

     

    But, I mentioned that the Acrua dealer for the first time actually has an RL sitting outside "as if it is the demo!"

     

    We will be testing it soon.

     

    The excuse up until now has been that all the cars have been presold; the current excuse it that the "extra" cars are for the Cincinnati Auto Show which is Feb 17 - 20th and they are keeping them "perfect" for the show.

     

    We need to order at least one car no later than April (we need to dump one of our Audis by July, and with a 14 week lead time, well you figure it out.)

     

    We have a soft order already for a new 05.5 Audi A4 -- but after driving the G35x, my wife for the frist time in her life is actually thinking she might accept an automatic.

     

    I was very pleased with the Inifiniti and the dealership -- it reminds me of a fine hotel, when you go into the dealership they have a greeter who offers you coffe, tea, soft drinks or bottled water; the interior is soft and subdued but still well lit (but not harshly lit).

     

    Night and day difference between the premium cars and the more pedestrian cars at the dealership level. The five star Chrysler dealer was much more downscale -- good analogy: the premium car dealerships are like a fine leather sofa, whereas the non-premium dealerships are like a vinyl sofa. There is a certain something that the Premo guys have figured out.

     

    Premo guy's sales office: modern and new wooden desk with high back leather desk chair and matching guest chairs. Chrysler dealer, metal desk, metal and vinyl chair, similar guest chairs.

     

    Now, this does not somehow mean that the expensive look at the premo car dealership is "better" or that the downscale look is inferior at the other dealership.

     

    The entire "tone" of the relationship appears to be set by the look of the dealership is my point. Of course we are paying for the glitzy look at the Infiniti dealership.

     

    I guess I could get past the metal desks if the sales people at the Chrysler dealer didn't seem so "slimy." "Are you folks in the market to buy TODAY?"

     

    The Inifiniti dealer talked about the weather, the car, music, his family, our family and seemed to be much more interested in building rapport. Indeed we had to ask about the car's price -- he never once made any overture that would be perceived as "attempting to close the deal NOW!"

     

    So refreshing, reminds me of the Audi dealer and the BMW dealer and Mercedes dealer who one week after our test drives sent thank you cards, handwritten, to boot.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Thank you cards arent uncommon. I've gotten ones from the above three that you mentioned, plus Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, and Volvo.

     

    I know your wife likes the Audi, but I would strongly suggest the '05 G35x. I've had at least a half hour behind the wheel of that car, and its magnificent. Lexus quiet, wonderful exhaust note, near V8 power, and best of all, you'd never know its AWD. My salesman was quite comfortable with me taking a few corners way too hard and letting the tail slide out. Probably because its just as easy to reign it back in. The car never felt like it was out of control.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    "Problem is my wife is having "perception" difficulties with the Japanese car. She has had only German cars, she is "suspicious" of their quality (believe it or not) and how they are perceived by the population in general."

     

    I know I had perception problems with the Japanese products following WWII and rightly so. but I believe it was during the 70's the Japanese imports (Most of their products) began to take on a different persona and look at them today.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Just look at Volkswagen vs. Toyota, which is essentially worlds worst vs. worlds best. Times have changed.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    "Just look at Volkswagen vs. Toyota, which is essentially worlds worst vs. worlds best. Times have changed."

     

    Interesting things are happening though, for example:

    "Kodak moves ahead of Japanese giants in US digital-camera market"

     

      http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20050202-1356-digital- cameras.html

       

    Does anyone have numbers on American vs Imports purchase trends in the USA?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    VW might have the worst reliability but they have a way better image than boring Toyota does with younger buyers. Toyota had to create a whole new brand just to get the younger buyers that VW gets automatically. VW's designs and styling in general make Toyotas look like kitchen appliances, reliability and all. This new Avalon is about the ugliest car I've seen in years, or since the last one was first shown.

     

    The new Jetta looks to be a disappointment though, it looks way too much like a Corolla in overall shape and in the rear. This new Passat however is going to put the Camry and Accord on the trailer just like the current model did in the comparos back when it was introduced, and with a 280hp VR6 (and true luxury car features) it should do the same with the Avalon and Maxima too. Lord knows it kills these two ugly ducks in design.

     

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "Kodak moves ahead of Japanese giants in US digital-camera market"

     

    Moves ahead in what? Sales? Last time I checked, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Fuji own the dSLR pro market. NOBODY has a camera like Canon's 16.7MPer.

     

    merc, I will admit, the Passat is sleek looking. I still wouldnt buy one though.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,685
    G35X Lexus quiet? Gotta differ on that point. While I agree the engine/exhaust note is lovely, I ended up buying an '05 Acura TL because, among several reasons, it had a significantly quieter and smoother ride. The G has quite a bit of wind noise (as agreed upon by a coworker who bought an '04 G35x and was surprised by the wind noise at speed) and engine/road noise. Great handler, wonderful power and the '05 interior upgrades are nice (and needed!). Really enjoyed the hour long test drive, ended up a tough decision. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend the G35 to anyone (just test drive first, of course!).

     

    Evil wife drives a Lexus. Although the G is much louder, I'd buy the G over the Lexus in a heartbeat...

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm reading the new issue of Autoweek and they have an Autofile section on the RL. It is amazing that people are cross shopping the RL with the S430 4Matic, 745i, and A8L. Only to say that the RL cost 25K less and give you most of what those cars give you??? WhAt? The RL is slower than all of them and doesn't even begin to offer the space in those cars. What am I missing here? Whats worse it that Autoweek mostly agrees with most off-base assesment. No mention of the mid-level Inifniti, MB, BMW or Lexus models that all appear to beat the RL in one way or another, either price/performance or at least on performance. Forget the German cars for a moment, the M35 smokes the RL. Do people really think a car with passenger seat adjustments of a 20K car is the level of a 7-Series, S-Class or A8 because it has standard awd and 300hp underperforming horses, with "still bland" styling?

     

    M
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