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Luxury Lounge

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  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    Yes, I am quickly becoming one of thos Q-Tips but never behind the wheel of a junk Caddy. Been there, suffered through that!

    My little cotton top head will be seen peeking above the head rest of a 7'er or a ZR-1! (In my dreams!)

    I feel for you but times are a changing even faster now. My industry is shedding jobs like a Labrador Retriever! Funny how money is worth more than people, huh?

    Regards,
    OW
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    A poster some months ago seemingly tore apart their P & L statement. I have the recollection that he showed that they were very agressively booking the lease revenues as though there was no tommorow and not protecting against any downside on the lease residuals. The upshot was that there was almost a Ponzi scheme going on.

    A Ponzi scheme at BMW :surprise:

    I am well acquanted with the latest financials of BMW and I'd love to see this Ponzi scheme argument where ever it is.

    First of all the P & L statements is not where you go to prove that there is a lease program since a high level of lease revenue does not necessarily indicated a problem. In fact it is the balance sheet and certain disclosures that may reveal certain problems and so far there is nothing whatsoever that indicates the problems you are suggesting above.

    And yes BMW's lease program will hit its balance sheet for sure. But so what? Even with the upcoming balance sheet hits it will still have a balance sheet that is the envy of the whole industry.

    GM, Ford and Chrysler are the three top companies whose lease/financial operations are in most trouble because the resale values of their rucks and SUVs are going down like a free falling anchor. :sick:
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    BMW's lease program will hit its balance sheet for sure. But so what? Even with the upcoming balance sheet hits it will still have a balance sheet that is the envy of the industry.

    True it will financially hurt BMW but certainly not to the degree that was previously mentioned .

    e new CAFE standard - Given that BMW is a stand alone luxury auto maker it doesn't have the mainstream brands to fall back on like Lexus and Audi do.

    That in itself can be fatal to the independence of BMW. Interestingly BMW is getting closer to Fiat. Rumor has it that MINI will be sold with Alfa Romeos and maybe even Fiats within North America. It's amazing how things are changing in the auto industry.

    Management execution will determine how sucessful BMW will be with its new Green car division. That is the biggest uncertainty BMW faces ever since the early 60s when it reinvented its firm into a performance sedan maker and scrapped such low margin cars like the Isetta. Now BMW has to do the reinvent itself again but this time with such cars like the Isetta.

    The latest news I read is tha many Americans who visit dealership want lower displacement BMWs but BMW is not offering them because their margins are not high enough. Sooner or later BMW diesels may address this new demand but also they will have to change their ways in terms of offering lower displacement gas engines.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Though I would not short shares of a single automaker today I would not buy a single share of a automaker today because of the substantial changes the industry will face in the upcoming years. The champ today may look like a fool tomorrow.

    Electrical cars will definitelly redefine our ideas about auto luxury or maybe vehicles will become more like commuting battery powered/plug-in appliances. There will be less emotions involved in buying such an electrical appliance and cars may no longer become such status symbols as they are today.

    Here's a good analogy of what the auto industry is going through from the Wall Street Journal:

    In the 19th century the automobile wasn't much competition for the horse. Then, around the turn of the century, a series of innovations involving the internal combustion engine and manufacturing (mass production, assembly lines and interchangeable parts) improved performance, reliability and costs. As car prices fell, the horse, the manure and the "typhus fly" were done for.

    The same thing may be happening today. This March, American entrepreneur Elon Musk started production of his electric sports car, the Tesla. This car accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in four seconds, tops out at 125 mph, and has a range of 220 miles. The $110,000 price tag limits the Tesla to the wealthy, but mass-production models are in the works. General Motors has committed itself to rolling out its electronic vehicle, the Volt, by 2010. Toyota plans a successor to its popular Prius hybrid.

    Recent cost comparisons by Deutsche Bank's auto analysts suggest electric cars will be cheaper to operate than conventional vehicles. Fuel costs per mile for gasoline-fueled cars are $0.27 in Germany, $0.24 in Britain, $0.17 in Brazil and $0.11 in the U.S., with differences driven by local fuel taxes. For electric vehicles, the cost per mile is a mere $0.02. Adding in a battery amortized over the life of the car, the cost is still only $0.10. Batteries will be expensive, at least in early years, but electric cars won't need costly engines or complex transmissions like today's autos

    Wall Street Journal
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    ...many Americans who visit dealership want lower displacement BMWs...

    No they don't. They want lower priced BMWs. If they could get V8s for the same price as the bottom end engines, they would.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I like the post, but I disagree that cars will become less of an emotional purchase.

    TM
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    This March, American entrepreneur Elon Musk started production of his electric sports car, the Tesla. This car accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in four seconds, tops out at 125 mph, and has a range of 220 miles.

    This statement shouldn't be interpreted as fact. Just because Tesla says that... How many have they delivered since March? Five, I think? That 220 mile range is also rather suspect. One tester reported being out of juice at less than 90 miles. I believe that Tesla can mass produce the "Model S" at $60K when I see it at a local Tesla dealer.
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    BlockIslandGuy,

    1. Of course you are correct. The key to understand BMW's annual report is its "Net Asset Positions," which is on pages 52-55 in the 2007 report. It contains gems like: "total carrying amount of leased products increased sharply by 24.7 % to euro 17,013 million. Adjusted for changes in exchange rates, leased products would have risen by 33.2 %."

    2. A couple months after the 2007 annual report came out, we saw write-downs on that very same "asset," to the tune of $370 million:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=ahNEACGtfTLE&refer=germany
    This is only the beginning of many write-downs to come.

    3. Just as Brightness04 pointed out a year and a half ago when commenting on 2006 BMW annual report, those "assets" are worth much less than their marked value on the books . . . by extension the revenue and profit numbers are grossly exaggerated . . . it's a rather familiarly odious financial engineeing scene. This particular book cooking mechanism works fine so long as new leases going out the front door out-number lease returns coming back at the back door. That's why "sales" growth is the key to keep it up. That's why the company was so bent on increasing sales volume over the past few years, even as profit margin declined. Now "sales" volume is in decline, all the lease returns will be coming back reversing large parts of the "sales" that are on the past books but never really took place to begin with.

    4. A closer examination of Page 53 gives some hint on why the write-down was delayed into first-quarter 2008. The 2007 annual report even includes items like: "The amount recognised in the balance sheet for pension obligations decreased by 7.8 % to euro 4,627 million . . . The decrease in pension obligations was attributable principally to the higher discount factor in Germany." Hurray! There's more shareholder equity now because central bank raised rates! Talk about marking to model in every way possible to make the book look good. Someone at the BMW apparently realized that the 2007 report might just be the last good annual report in many years to come. Compared to the 2006 report, Company raised cash in 2007 through bond issuance . . . a smart move in light of what's to come soon.

    5. Since Brightness04 suggested that BMW might be a good short candidate over a year ago, the stock has lost 30-40% of its value, and is now trading at 5-yr lows. As far as I know, no other import carmaker is trading at 5-yr low at this point. No, I do not have a short position on the stock; nor did I have any at any time past . . . for the simple reason that I do not feel like getting up early every day and follow the Frankfort market.

    6. It would not surprise me the least bit if BMW ceases to be an independent carmaker in the next 5 years. It has already started off on the same road that Saab did 20 years ago: turbo-charging instead of new engine block development; it's a way to goose the profit margin in the short run by reducing capital outlays that would benefit in the long run. The company is setting itself up for sale. Daimler? Fiat? The collarborations may ease the eventual merger. Toyota is not known for being acquisitive while GM and Ford are in no shape to buy anything. If I have to bet, I'd pick some random Indian or Chinese company that many of us have never heard of . . . similar to Tata buying Jaguar.

    7. That is not to say not going to the BMW dealership period :-) If and when they do run lease deals with heavily subsidized residuals, there can still be decent deals. Hey, if they give cars away for free, why not get one; just don't take any side of a trade where you don't get paid unless they stand behind the deal.

    8. Brightness04 account is no longer active; he spoke the truth one too many time. I'm only opening this account today to give you a sense of closure . . . seeing that you wondered several times aloud in the past year+ where Brightness04 went, and nobody in the know is willing to give you the answer. Thank you for your regard. Enjoy the weather and the cool breeze on the island.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    It would not surprise me the least bit if BMW ceases to be an independent carmaker in the next 5 years. It has already started off on the same road that Saab did 20 years ago...

    :surprise: :confuse:

    I could see something on the order of a Mercedes and BMW merger, but I don't see BMW gasping for breath within 5 years, nor do I see them on the same road as Saab, regardless of the turbos. Numerous auto manufacturers are increasing their focus on turbos at this time.

    Sorry to disagree.

    BTW... suggesting that a stock will decline in value when it is in a bear market cycle isn't exactly rocket science. However, if you can consistently pick the big WINNERS in a down market... THEN you've got something!

    TM
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    "but I don't see BMW gasping for breath"

    That's what a turbo is good for. LOL. Pretty soon, BMW will be down to two engines for its non-halo cars in the US market, each with a turbo variant.

    " BTW... suggesting that a stock will decline in value when it is in a bear market cycle isn't exactly rocket science. However, if you can consistently pick the big WINNERS in a down market... THEN you've got something! "

    I seem to remember a distincly different mood here over a year ago. Someone was touting BMW becoming the top luxury brand worldwide. Did you pick BMW.DE to be the worst performing import carmaker stock for the past 5 years? I mean, even in a bear market, there is only one worst, right? LOL. BTW, if you are reasonably certain that it's a severe bear market cycle, picking gainers is a fool's game. Winter 2006 to Spring 2007 was a much balmier time in the market . . . those good old days, as sheep were led to the slaughterhouse.

    BTW, my portfolio is up over 20% so far this year . . . was up over 30% at the beginning of June. June was tough!
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    BTW, my portfolio is up over 20% so far this year . . . was up over 30% at the beginning of June. June was tough!

    Good job, briteone.

    I admittedly do have some significant investments... but I look at those as long-term. To me, being in the market is like using a yo-yo while climbing up a mountain. :)

    In the meantime, I make my money the old fashioned way... I earn it. ;)

    TM
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Dear Brite,

    Absolutely brilliant. Really well done.

    I never even thought of the implications of turbocharging other than I just knew in my gut that to hang twin turbos on garden variety 5 Series Sedans was a strange development and odd at best. With your post it all becomes clear that it is simply a way to postpone investment in a new engine. If the English had thought of it, they could have kept their car industry going for another 5-7 years. (Although the thought of a twin turbo Hillman Minx seems nutty. The one I drove in high school was scary enough going around corners. )

    Is BMW.DE the worst performing stock in the last five years?
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    I let my money ride the market on its own when the market is going up. When it's in a severe down trend, I have to take charge myself and let my employees take more responsibility with my business, which being related to consumer discretionary spending usually follow the market up and down any way, with a couple month's delay. So instead of laying them off, I keep my employees at the same number of hours, so I have time to trade. I'm used to 100hr weeks anyway; that's what's required of me when consumer confidence/spending level was high. I have cut my "earning" job (subject to self-employment tax) to 40-60hrs since last October, giving myself 30-50hrs a week for "unearned income" trading and researching. In a full economic cycle of about a decade, my cumulative "unearned" income tend to out pace cumulative "earned" income by a small margin.
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    BIG,

    Thank you for the compliment. BMW.DE did sort of okay for the first four of the last five years, then in the last 9-10 months proceeded to wipe out all the gains in the previous 4+ years . . . a chart that is typical of companies caught up in financial engineering. LOL. As far as I know, no other import carmaker's stock is trading at new 5yr low's. Yes, owning any other import carmaker's stocks for the past 5yrs would have made money . . . but owning BMW.DE for 5yrs would have lost money!

    I certainly hope the 23-25Euro range will give the stock some support. That would indicate the market just stripping from the capitalization all the fake sales that took place in the previous half decade. If that line doesn't hold, it would indicate that the company's balance sheet is so suspect that banks start refusing revolving credit to the company. In that case, with write downs on top of the sales decline and loan deliquencies (yes, BMW-driving realtors and loan brokers are getting repo'd enmasse . . . soon bankers and financial analysts too), the situation can be dire quite quickly. People in dire financial straights may cough up the money to keep making car loan payments where they know they will have a car at the end . . . whereas leases are by definition zero-equity transactions, why not get a Civic/Corolla now before repo, foreclosure and/or job loss show up on the credit report!

    That's why I suspect some Indian or Chinese company might be the eventual buyer, as they have the cash and those nuevoriche tend to exaggerate the brand value and pay more than a rational player like Toyota would nowdays (you know, like Mitsubishi buying the Rockerfeller Center, only to lose tons of money on it).
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The N54 TT isn't just the same N/A N52 engine with twin turbos hung on. It's a unique and innovative engine. Thinking they are the same thing, but with a couple of turbos hung on in order to avoid investment in a new engine is just plain not the truth. In fact, the N/A N52 is indeed a newer engine overall, and the twin turbo technology on the N54 is also recent and innovative.

    If you want to like Volvo and Saab vehicles, that's fine, but please explain why you've got a grudge against BMW for goodness sakes!!

    Quite frankly, I'm only on my first BMW vehicle in my life, which kind of surprises me given the way I go through cars... but I just can't imagine anyone not liking BMWs... they've got sooooooo much cool and fun factor, it's almost unfair!

    TM
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Who said BMW is in financial trouble?

    And, since when is a little cooperation with FIAT group suggest that there is a problem? A deal like that would be made only to cooperate with MINI and Alpha components, anyway.

    BMW Sets Global Sales Records, Enroute to Another Record Year

    The BMW Group increased sales of its BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands by 4.7% in the period from January through June to reach a total of 764,874 automobiles (prev.yr.: 730,285). This made the first half-year of 2008 the most successful in the history of the BMW Group in terms of sales. Nevertheless, the company was not entirely able to avoid the difficult economic trends in important individual markets such as the USA and Japan. As such, global sales slipped 2.8% in the month of June to 146,138 units (prev.yr. 150,308).

    Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing: "In the first half of the year we were able to report solid growth, as planned. Despite difficult economic conditions in certain automobile markets, the BMW Group aims to improve on last year's sales level for the year as a whole. However, we will continue to monitor world markets and their performance so as to react as necessary."

    Deliveries of the BMW brand were up 2.4% between January and June to 637,569 (prev.yr.: 622,415) vehicles. The main drivers of this growth were the BMW 1 Series with 116,919 vehicles sold (+66.4% / prev.yr.: 70,282), the BMW X5 with sales of 63,352 (+30.5% / prev.yr.: 48,533) and the BMW X6 with 6,082 units already delivered. In the first half of 2008, further increases in sales were posted by the BMW 3 Series Cabrio (33,476 units/ prev.yr.: 23,353 / +43.3%) and Coupé (46,277 units/ prev.yr.: 44,642 / +3.7%) as well as the BMW 5 Series Touring (24,460 units/ prev.yr.: 24,115 / +1.4%) and the BMW 6 Series Coupé (5,048 units/ prev.yr.: 4,741 / +6.5%). In June BMW delivered 121,576 automobiles to its customers and, thus slightly failed to reach the sales level of the same period last year (-4.8% / 127,770).

    June 2008 also brought two milestones for the BMW brand: Its best-selling model, the BMW 3 Series sedan, has now been delivered more than one million times around the globe since its market launch in March 2005 (1,002,052 in exact figures). By comparison, its predecessor sold about 945,000 models in the first 40 months. BMW M GmbH also celebrated an anniversary in June: 30 years after launching production of its first series-produced model, BMW M GmbH delivered its 300,000th vehicle - an alpine white BMW M3 Coupé - to a customer in Regensburg. The city in eastern Bavaria is also the location of the BMW plant where the high-performance sports car is manufactured.

    The MINI brand continues on its successful course with sales up 17.9% in the first half-year to reach a total of 126,810 vehicles (prev.yr.: 107,576). In June more than 24,448 (prev.yr.: 22,465 / +8.8%) MINI were delivered worldwide. A strong contribution to the continued growth in MINI sales was made by the third member of the MINI family, the MINI Clubman, which has complemented the product range since mid-November of last year. In the first six months of 2008 24,774 Clubman were sold; in June the figure was 4,811 vehicles. That means that every fifth MINI sold is now a Clubman.

    Growth in Europe, Asia and South America in first half-year

    A comparison of the major regions shows mixed developments in sales for the first half-year. While the BMW Group was able to achieve strong growth overall in Europe, Asia and South America, it could not match its sales figures for the previous year in North America and Africa.

    In Europe the number of deliveries totalled 470,225 vehicles, surpassing the previous year's figure (435,971) by 7.9%. The company easily sold its most vehicles in Western Europe with 446,032 units sold (+6.6% / prev.yr.: 418,571). Eastern Europe continues to enjoy a strong pace of growth. In this region the BMW Group sold 32.9% more vehicles in the first half-year, bringing the total to 21,479 (prev.yr.: 16,165) units delivered.

    In Asia sales climbed 8.7% to 83,386 units (prev.yr.: 76,725). Within this region the Chinese markets continue to experience particularly dynamic growth, with 35,468 vehicles sold by the end of June - which is 25.1% more than in the previous year (28,362).

    Faced with the continuing weakness of the economy and the overall contraction of the automotive market the BMW Group saw sales shrink 4.0% to 157,913 units (prev.yr.: 164,441) in the USA in the first half of the year. Nonetheless, the company did better than the market, which in the USA contracted by 10.1% in the period from January through June. Sales in Central and South America, on the other hand, increased over the same period: by 8.4% to 7,486 vehicles (prev.yr.: 6,906) and by 24.4% to 4,350 vehicles (prev.yr.: 3,496) respectively. Overall the American markets were down 2.6% to 183,935 (prev.yr.: 188,900) units.

    In the African markets, including its largest single market, South Africa (11,174 units/ prev.yr.: 13,223 / -15.5%), sales in the first half-year also fell by a total of 11.6% to 14,708 vehicles (prev.yr.: 16,630).

    Rolls-Royce Motor Cars presented 495 automobiles (prev.yr.: 294 / +68.4%) to its customers in the first six months of the year. In June 114 vehicles were handed over to customers (prev.yr.: 73 / +56.2%)

    The Motorcycle segment was unable to maintain last year's level in the first half of the year. Sales decreased by 5.6% to 55,932 units (prev.yr.: 59,230). In June 10,904 motorcycles were delivered, which is 5.9% less compared with the same month last year (11,591).

    BMW Group sales in/up to June 2008 at a glance
    In June 2008 comp. with prev. year Up to and incl. June 2008 Comp. with prev. year
    BMW Group Automobiles 146,138 -2.8% 764,874 +4.7%
    BMW 121,576 -4.8% 637,569 +2.4%
    MINI 24,448 +8.8 126,810 +17.9%
    Rolls-Royce 114 +56.2% 495 +68.4%
    BMW Motorcycles 10,904 -5.9 55,932 -5.6%


    TM
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    "The N54 TT isn't just the same N/A N52 engine with twin turbos hung on"

    Yes, N54 engine block and head are much simplified and cheaper to manaufacturer than N52 . . . the biggest changes being

    (1) aluminum block vs. N52's magnesium block with aluminum liner;

    (2) removal of valvetronic

    That explains why non-turbo version of N54 develops much less power than N52 and N52KP. Ironicly, the two engine characteristics removed were the primary improvements N52 had over previous engines.

    "I just can't imagine anyone not liking BMWs"

    Like their cars, but don't like their business practice. Two separate issues. In fact, I wish the company management had done the right thing so that it can survive in the coming economic lean period, and continue to bring us the decent cars in the long run (at least continue to be a viable competitor).
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    Advertising profession spinning at its best :-) None of it addresses the core issue: the quality of "sales"; what constitute a sale? "Sales growth" of 5% , or even 10%, is quite meaningless when "leased product asset" is growing at 24-33% at the back end! So why is the stock reaching 5yr lows when no other import carmaker stocks are doing the same, despite supposed new record in sales? Here's a hint: new sales records are easy to achieve if one gives away the shop. All the now-defunct mortgage lenders, and even Enron, were setting new records of growth as little as one year before their spiral into oblivion . . . they were simply giving away the shop to people who should never have been their counterparties, while hiding losses from those "sales growth" in accounting tricks. You have to dig into their detailed report to see the quality of their "assets," not merely the headline stories.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    image

    WOW!! :surprise:

    Source: The Passionate Pursuit
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The point is that in your earlier post you suggested that BMW hasn't spent any money investing in their engines. I couldn't disagree more, and nothing could be further from the truth.

    We can expect some of their powertrain projects to be revealed very soon.

    TM
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    WOW, is right!

    It has been obvious that Lexus has followed BMW's design direction ever since they first introduced the latest LS. Even before this latest 7-Series, there were hundreds (probably thousands) of posts on the internet discussing how the latest LS was a copy of the BMW design theme. Many of those posts were here, and are in the archives just waiting to be reviewed.

    The latest 7-Series it is a nice evolution of the BMW design theme. History has shown us that it was Lexus that had previously decided to step in and grab some of the BMW design elements with their latest LS. It is only natural to expect the newest BMWs to evolve their OWN design theme.

    I recall that there were MANY posts here that discussed this when the latest LS was released. It was quite a discussion and there was a significant consensus that the LS had obviously adopted some of the BMW design theme for itself.

    Lexus spokesmen even admitted targeting BMW, as was shown in several posts at that time.

    TM
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    "The point is that in your earlier post you suggested that BMW hasn't spent any money investing in their engines. I couldn't disagree more, and nothing could be further from the truth. "

    Your "point" can not be further from the truth :-) Never did I suggest that BMW hasn't spent "any" money investing in their engines. So stop the strawman tactic, will ya? BMW is just taking "the easy way out" on engine development. BTW, unless you are taking pay checks from BMW, there's no need to launch into personal attacks against me, is there?

    "We can expect some of their powertrain projects to be revealed very soon. "

    So do you have inside information as a result of working for the company marketing? And/or is it along the lines of those powerful and fuel efficient BlueTec fizzleware promises? LOL . Please do share, what is there besides cranking up the pressure on 35i to make it 40i with about 330hp? BTW, brightness04 anticipated that "engine development" too more than a year and half ago, although he thought the moniker would be "38i." Guess BMW marketing is a little more aggressive than he thought. LOL

    Turbo charging the 4.4L V8 to make a 50i is certainly interesting; turn up the pressure, and the company might just be able to maket a 60i without V12 inside at all.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Maybe, it's my imagination, but I am under the impression that you are constantly referencing brightness04... unless you ARE brightness04 under a new name... LOL. Let's just say that the connection seems more than typical, and your posting style is similar enough to raise the question. ;)

    Regarding engine investments, as I reviewed the posts, it was more of b.i.g.'s interpretation of your post, than your post itself, that I was replying to... so I will address him directly regarding that instead of mentioning it to you.

    Recently, I have read some interesting information regarding the upcoming powertrain advancements coming from BMW. I will try to locate them and share them with you when I get the opportunity.

    My point is that BMW isn't slacking off in engine and powertrain development. If anything, they have been a world leader, IMO, with regards to engines.

    TM
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Hahaha, it's funny to see how people go to the extreme to defend BMW...

    Anyone with half a brain will know who copied who by just looking at the rear ends of both cars.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    Right, BMW copied Hyundai!!!!!

    Regards,
    OW
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Right, BMW copied Hyundai!!!!!

    Bro, I am with you on that!

    ;)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    My history of "defending" marques is simple. I believe that Mercedes is the marque with the history and prestige behind it. I have "defended" Mercedes Benz historically here more than any other marque.

    My recent ownership experience with BMW has been fun and eye-opening. The products are sexy and fun to drive. I have no long-term history to remark about their reliability from a personal standpoint, although I have heard very mixed reviews form posters here regarding that.

    BMW's financials are interesting, but the views expressed here have been extremely polarized, and I remember posting a BusinessWeek article about BMW that became a source of major debate on this forum. So, the state of their finances continues to be a matter of diverse opinion.

    Speaking of Hyundai, I've defended them as well when the Doc was posting here and pretty much ruled them out. Well, duh!... think again!!!!!!!!! Did I just read in the news that they are now the 5th largest in the world? And, trust me, they have BIG plans, and the technology to see them through.

    I have defended Audi when many have ruled them out, yet Audi is in the beginning of an ascention in the U.S. market, but current market conditions are challenging them and nearly everyone else.

    I don't defend Lexus much, because there isn't much to defend, IMO. Their sales are certainly fine, with exception of recent trends, and they are an ultra reliable line of boring cars and SUVs, based, in part, on their Toyota counterparts. The exception is the IS model, which seems to me to offer a little more style and fun factor than the typical Lexus. I don't think it's a secret here that I don't particularly care for Lexus vehicles, in spite of their reliability, although I'd consider a small Lexus hybrid to purchase if it was cool enough. I'd also consider the new RX 7-passenger SUV, if it turns out to be nice. SUVs are utility vehicles, and that's partly how I view Lexus anyway... reliable utility.

    Honda is my absolute favorite Japanese car company, and I make no reservations about that either.

    We can go down the whole list, but I think most know where I stand... so I won't go down the whole list of my favorite vehicles or those I do not care much for.

    When I "defend" a car, or car company, I seldom do so without some sort of concrete data to back up my position, or an actual ownership experience, or an extensive personal test drive to draw from. In the past, my posts were more elaborate, but I found too often that I was actually providing too much information... it was overkill. So... unless it is critical to a point I am making, I generally post my perspective with a minimum of back up. Sometimes, I don't post any facts at all unless it becomes necessary to "prove" a point to someone that is posting erroneous or questionable information.

    Of course, when it comes to opinions, we all have 'em, and there is no "right" or "wrong" in that department. Once in a while there's been a shortage of respect, but I'm sure doing my darnedest to make sure I respect every poster here, no matter what they post.

    I imagine it might bother some posters that I don't necessarily like the model or brand car that they own. I am sorry about that. I never mean it to be personal. I truly hope that no one is upset in any way with regards to my posts that seem to be in support or against certain vehicles.

    To put it another way, I have great friends that drive cars that I hate.

    So... you Lexus guys, I don't mean anything personal in any way. You are still good guys, IMO, and I enjoy your posts... so keep 'em coming... Without those posts, there'd be a lot less interesting discussion.

    Now, where was I? "Defending" BMW? Really? Hmmmm... Imagine that... ;)

    TM
  • briteonebriteone Posts: 27
    Tag,

    You are absolutely right in saying that opion is something everyone has one . . . as they say, just like . . . :-) Over time, the cumulative validity of those opions do form a grade on the person's credibility. Citing fluff marketting and PR material does not contribute to a person's credibility. I do not remember the Businessweek citation, but in any case, it's a classic contrarian indicator: they also ran a cover story "Dynamo at Enron" for February 2000 issue praising Ken Lay! Just about 10 months before company collapsed and a year or two before Lay was indicted and eventually convicted and died, supposedly heart-broken from the conviction. Yes, Andrew Fastow was on the cover of CFO magazine in November 1999, a little over one year before his arrest.

    Magazines routinely nail the tops and bottoms like that, in the exactly opposite direction! Are they professionally gullible? Perhaps, remember their job is selling ads. OTOH, IMHO, there may be something else going on: they may well be intentionally fed the misinformation, to be promulgated to the public, so the insiders can unload the stocks, bonds and whatever other ware they have. The coincidences over the years are just too much. In that case, the writers did not even believe what they were writing; they were writing it in order to draw their salary checks.

    Regarding company finances, everyone can bet their opinion in the stock market five days a week. If you have real faith in BMW's finances, now is the "best" time to buy the stock in over five years! (No, I'm absolutely not recommending buying the stock even now! Brightness04 recommended shorting it over a year ago . . . could have made 30-40% profit on following that advice)

    On issues of particular technology, like BlueTec Diesel, there isn't a futures market on the specfics; that's why Brightness04 invited you to a private bet since you professed so much faith in a powerful and fuel efficient Bluetec from MB that would be competitive against Lexus' hybrids. That was about two years ago; any Bluetec sedan from MB that would deliver more power and consume less fuel than GS450H by the end of this year, by then a 3-year old product . . . or any Bluetec Midsize SUV from MB that would deliver more power and consume less fuel than RX400H, by then a 5-yr old product, would win you the bet. . . yet you refused. That speaks volumes on how much real faith you had on the subject that you were pounding the table on.
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    I can't imagine liking, or disliking a car based on the business practices of the manufacturer.

    Then again, it is somewhat representative of the Lexus mindset. It's rarely about the passion for automobiles with the Lexus demographic. Louiswei, and others do a good job of smashing that stereotype, however, they are a small number, that is not representative of the average Lexus consumer IMO.

    I wonder if people don't like Ben&Jerrys ice cream because they are left leaning liberals? What a profound waste IMO.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    that is not representative of the average Lexus consumer IMO

    And you seriously think the MAJORITY of the BMW and Audi drivers are into driving more than the badge?

    I'll admit BMW and Audi make more sportier cars and the percentage of their owners who are actually into driving is definitely higher than Lexus. However, saying that (dhamilton, I know you didn't) MOST people who buy BMW and Audi are because of the driving dynamics over the badge is just plain silly in my opinion...

    Also, how do you define the term "passion for automobile"? Maybe the Lexus owners are more into the interior fit-and-finish, better looking wood trims, softer leather seat, more comfortable ride or the overall styling, are those not "passion for automobile"? Just because they don't like to take corners at high speed doesn't mean they don't have a "passion for automobile".

    By the way, I think the new 7-series is a major improvement over the current gen but it was definitely influenced by the LS styling, especially the rear end.
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