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High-End European Luxury Sedans

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  • paldipaldi Posts: 210
    Subliminally - this car werks!

    Image hosted by Photobucket.com

    When I spotted this, I thought someone put "Volkswagen" on the trunk. :P What are they thinking?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    In my circles, MB still has the cache of being the Cadillac of things, if you know what I mean.

    BMW is disdained for the WhaleTail look, yet, has sold more than ever since it debuted. The I-drive is a disaster both from an ergonomics point of view, and reliability - yet, they are selling more of them than ever AND, MB & Lexus are going to an I-drive of some sort.

    Lexus is the fastest growing luxury car in North America - and will likely overtake both MB & BMW combined at some point -not because they're more beautiful, as that would be a real stretch to say, but because they are cheaper, yet more reliable - what Toyota does best. Also, they do what they're supposed to do in spades.

    I remember Nickoseal (sp) engines failing at BMW not too long ago, and they survived, yet, had I had one, I'd be furious and never be back. Cadillac is supposedly making a comeback, but I don't know anybody who used to drive a Mercedes, that now owns a Cadillac. I do know some former Lexus owners who do, but mostly it's Lincoln owners who have Cadillacs in their driveways now. I guess they're back from the pathetic cars they were in the 80's and 90's, but will they ever compete with the foreign makes? I doubt it. Lincoln has decided not to try - they can't afford it, plus they have Jaguar and Aston Martin to refer people to.
  • Nice summary of the high end market. It would be hard to disagree with any of your observations.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    A few things:

    1. In my circles, MB is still tops. I worked at a fast growing company, where the execs were getting BIG increases in comp each year. My boss was a perfect example; he started with a Honda Civic. When he started making good money, he bought a Lexus. Once he struck it rich, he moved to a Mercedes. The CEO of the company bought a Mercedes. So did the CFO.

    2. Smart Money magazine came out with their 2006 rankings; they listed the Lexus GS 300 as the top Luxury Sedan.

    I know these comments are contradictory; I'm not expressing an opinion - just some points....
  • Take SUV sales away from Lexus and then compare. The RX is huge. Their cars are basically Japanese Buicks. Reliable, plush, comfy and as tasty as as the Host at Communion. Get the Gold package and a set of lips and rockers. I'll meet you at Denny's near the door at 4. We can discuss Vogue tires over free decaf.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    If it matters... the Audi A4 was rated as the best near luxury sedan. The BMW 530i as the best European luxury sedan. This is in the Smart Money article I just referenced.
  • I don't think I've ever seen photos of a new 'brand defining' car that is so ugly as the shots from the Frankfurt Auto Show of the new Mercedes S. It looks like it was designed by some goofy committee that was picking up cues from the auto junkyard.

    The wheel arches are terrible and unnecessary. The wheels themselves are available at the Lexus store for the LS400 from 1997 - 2000.

    If this the 'bet your company flagship', these folks are in deep sneakers. It's the worst looking car I've seen since the new BMW 7 a few years ago.

    No style, no sense of unity, no integrated stance like the MB S of the 'old days'. This is one porker.

    Just one person's view ....

    gb
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    I don't like the rear of the new S-class of the interior, but the trunk doesn't copy the 7 series because the 1998 Maybach concept predated the trunk of the new 7 series.

    I can't stand the new BMWs coming from the previous ones.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    But they are selling like hotcakes. Somebody likes them.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    In my circles, MB is still tops. I worked at a fast growing company, where the execs were getting BIG increases in comp each year. My boss was a perfect example; he started with a Honda Civic. When he started making good money, he bought a Lexus. Once he struck it rich, he moved to a Mercedes. The CEO of the company bought a Mercedes. So did the CFO.

    MB is definitely still tops in prestige, among the mainstream luxury brands. But what happens as people aquire more money depends on their personal wants, including how much the prestige factor matters to them. I went to a Microsoft meeting back in 1995 and the top guys like Ballmer and Gates had indivdually labelled, reserved spaces at the building it was at. Those spaces had 3 LS400s in a row...and no other brand. It is well known that Gates has had LS cars for awhile (among others), and I think some of the other execs followed his lead. Even back then, Ballmer was worth 10 figures.
  • I'll bet you Dell doesn't drive a Lexus. No Buicks for a guy like him.

    Incidentally, this mornings WSJ had a big article beginning on page one of the second section on Jaguar's future plans. Seems they are still working on a strategy. Their immediate concern is to cut costs without hurting the value proposition. IMHO they seem to have a good line up, priced right, with some interesting variants (the R models, the AWD X type "Estate Wagon, etc.). Problem is the X Type is going away and nothing is selling. I think Jags marketing is invisible and/or inept.

    I talked with an MD today in his mid 60's who has owned them all: an S Series with the V12, the 911 C4 (awd), a raft of Bimmers, etc. You would think that he would be ready to settle into an XJ8 SuperV8. Nope, He has his eye on the Maserati coupe that is getting good reviews.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Wow, I missed that article in the WSJ somehow, I'll check it out in the morning, hopefully the janitors won't throw it out - but as luck would have it, this would be the first time in history, they will.

    No question in my mind, the marketing (or lack thereof) is a big part of the problem at Jaguar. I think they have a pretty good and consistent lineup as well. But nobody knows it, and the ads they do run, are stiff and ethereal. Somebody needs to tell the story about how reliable they are now, and how much engineering is in them. Because, people still think they have lucas electronics and stall at will and leak at every joint like they used to.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    That's true. Jaguar seems to be one of those brands that doesn't really advertise; in that the most prestigious brands generally don't need to. Yet... Jaguar had some serious problems a few year's back - and they've worked to correct them. Not sure how much the mainstream knows about the earlier problems though.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I think that's all the public knows....
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm not sure where you all are, but here (Chicago area) Jaguar advertises all the time, especially for the S-Type. Most of the time during the evening and nightly news. They seem especially proud of their standings in the sales satifaction surveys by JDP.

    What Jaguar needs is two platforms. One for the S-Type, XJ and XK. This is pretty much a done done once the S-Type is redesigned because the XJ and new XK already share the same platform.

    Then, and I know this won't happen, Jaguar needs a new small rwd platform that could support a real rwd sports sedan (not the lame awd X-Type) and that stunning F-Type sports car they showed a few years ago. Mercedes and BMW do the same thing with the C/CLK/SLK and 3-Series/Z4 respectively. Ford isn't going to or doesn't have the money for this to happen.

    Jaguar is taking the exclusive, low-volume approach which may work, but they need the next S-Type to be a big hit because the XJ and XK can't save Jaguar alone.

    M
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Interesting. Must be a regional thing. Ironically I recently moved to the Chicago area from Maryland. With a name like "merc1", I should ask you your experience with the Mercedes dealers in the area. I'm seriously considering a new purchase soon.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I'm interested in the answer to this question too......
  • I think you are right on the need for an entry level 3 Series contender platform .

    From a business and marketing standpoint what would you think of a merger with Land Rover (I think someone even already suggested this.)? They already share some technology, same sort of customer and marketing focus. The combined company would need 50% less staff support types (Regional Managers, Trainers, etc.).
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Might work.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I thought they had something similar to that already? I know Ford wants Land Rover/Jaguar/Aston-Martin under one roof wherever possible.

    I think something like that is exactly what Ford should do. These three are all British and nich makers so a leaner organization is exactly what they need, especially in field operations. As far as their products go, as they are right now they don't step on each other toes and it should stay that way. Land Rover doesn't need to develop a car and Jaguar should stick to cars. If Jaguar has to do a non-car product it should be a "crossover" not a true ruff-n-tumble SUV like a Land Rover. A Jaguar crossover should be a last-resort thing. What Jaguar needs a entry-level sports sedan that carries the brand's heritage with a BMW-grade rwd chassis. I know Ford and Jaguar are capable of this is the $$$ was there.

    I've always said that either Ford or VW has the best collection of high-end brands.

    Imagine a V12 Land Rover and a XJ12, using one of Aston-Martin's V12s! The recent gas crisis may kill those products though, but a V12 Land Rover would truly put the lights out on any other luxury SUV.

    M
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