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High End Luxury Cars

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  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    First off, I don't have to defend Lexus at all costs. All I do is try to intersperce fact amongst our speculation, to produce a more vibrant and accurate picture of our automotive luxury marketplace.

    Calling the SC a "Loser" kind of contradicts this "respect" for Lexus, of which you speak.

    I don't know what direction the SC will go upon redesign. I'd expect a sharper edge to it, overall. But if you labeled the IS300 as a "Loser", you'd have a much better leg to stand on.

    I hope I don't tread on any trademarks for infringement, but name the "Biggest Loser":

    Mercedes R-Class (struggling in it's first 6 months)
    Lexus SC430

    Then name the "Winner".

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "Therefore it doesn’t show up on the radar of the more serious sports car buyer, hence it is no bargain"

    Obviously S2000, Z, or Boxster drivers arent going to like the SC. And I have a pretty good feeling that SC drivers are going to dislike those cars for their lack of space and luxury. I fail to understand how that makes the SC "not a bargain" though. As I said, its competition is the Jag, the big BMW, and the Benz. It undercuts all of those cars by a healthy margin. Thats why its been a sales success. The SC400, which I agree was a more fun car, was not a bargain compared to the CLK, failed to compete on features, and thus was a dud in the market place, despite its general good looks.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Benzster, it seems like we are now in agreement that what draws most of those very serious, often self centered, people into a MB dealership to buy a car is not MBs impressive record of innovation. Rather it is simply prestige, ego, a desire for recognition of life long achievement, etc.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,066
    I never said that service was my TOP priority. The car itself comes first. The great service is icing on the cake.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I had my flow on, having a real discussion going, for the first time in months, and they shut down the servers in the middle of the day.

    I can't decide if Ford or GM runs this place sometimes. :mad:

    DrFill
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    So in other words you're twisting the criteria around to fit the SC430 and not the XLR. The XLR has gotten its fair share of good press and it has come withing spitting distance of the 3K a year that Cadillac said they wanted to sell so that doesn't make it a loser, especially for a come-from-behind the pack brand like Cadillac. I have to be careful here because I'm debating the XLR with elsewhere. :D

    Lets say the SL is more enjoyable to drive, and is better looking. These are subjective standards, and with similar power (Until recently), and a $25k higher price tag, an SC430 becomes a smart buy!

    Yeah if you want less car for less money. It doesn't look as good as the Benz, perform like the Benz, nor does it have the safety equipment or technology of the Benz. It doesn't come anywhere near the standard Lexus theme of offering a nearly equal experience for less money, all the SC430 does is cost less money while offering way less.

    You will disagree, but I find the SC interior to be noticably more opulent than either the SLK or SL. The SLK is quite small, and I barely fit inside. The SL is a little roomier than the Lexus, and has a nice interior, but Lexus has clearly laid the lux on thick compared to the understated SL interior.

    Of course I will because the SC430's interior the definition of gaudy and tasteless IMO. It looks like Lexus tried very hard to create something special only to wind up with something that looks very tacky especially with all the light colored wood clashing with the metallic looking trim with black dash panels. There is way too many themes/element clashing and jocking for attention, IMO. Its for the pinky ring set though I will say the ergonomics are nearly perfect and everything is very easy to use. It just looks contrived.

    Lexus nailed the pricing, and made the XLR seem like a rough draft, for an extra $10k, in comparison. It is a good value compared to the SLK, due to engine and chassis size, and much more luxury inside.

    The SC430 really doesn't compete with the SLK for the simple fact that the SLK is a roadster than one actually drives compared to cruising specialist SC430, the SLK is a much more livelier car. If anything the wannabe 4-seat SC430 compete with the CLK500 Cabrio and the SC430 can't cut it there either. The CLK Cabrio has a back seat you can actually use and of course the styling and driving experience beat the Lexus handidly.

    A lot of people might condiser the A8 "desirable". But is it a "Winner"? People aren't really buying it. It sell 5k a year? I like it a lot, but calling a car like that a "Winner" takes some thought. If it were really a "Winner", wouldn't it sell more?

    This is why I say you can't just look at sales and determine which car is a winner and which is a loser. The A8 is one of the best cars on the road hampered by a brand name that isn't as prestigious as Mercedes/BMW and a dealer network not nearly as large or strategically placed as MB/BMW/Lexus. The car itself a winner and it has never been ranked dead last among its peers either.

    I would call that term rather severe, given we're dealing with relatively successful cars, like Escalade and SC430. Maybe instead of calling them "losers", which is probably inaccurate, maybe some people mean "undesirable"?

    Ok, I agree, but wasn't that you that used the word "loser" first to describe the XLR? Truthfully there are very few loser cars in the luxury segment, so I'd call a car like the SC430 a segment laggard. :P

    There are plenty of #1 songs that I hate, but if you make it to #1, are you a "Loser"?

    The Lexus brand, no, but the SC430 itself isn't #1 in its segment in sales either.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I fail to understand how that makes the SC "not a bargain" though. As I said, its competition is the Jag, the big BMW, and the Benz. It undercuts all of those cars by a healthy margin.

    That is because IMO it doesn't offer the experience of a 6-Series/SL/XK and you're not getting anything more than a 2-door LS430 with a convertible top and that really couldn't be more boring to someone looking at a SL550, 650i Cabrio or XK. I mean seriously look at the SC430 compared to those cars. It isn't even a contest no matter how much cheaper the SC430 is. I think Lexus knew this and decided to price the SC430 at the CLK level and not the SL/XK level.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Well you quoted me a little out of context. I was debating the value of the SC vs SLK as offered by DrFill. These cars are in different categories. I certainly have no problem with the notion that the SC offers value on the luxury level. However, the competitors you mentioned still offer more on the performance level. So, pick your flavor and there’s the value. All I know is, with the SLK350 at $48K and the SC at $66K, it's a no-brainer for the Benz on my score sheet.

    By the way, for someone who has a taste for the likes of Jags and Maseratis, I don’t get your fondness for the SC400. In my opinion it is as plain and uninspiring as it gets... as interesting as a bar of ivory soap. I certainly think the SC430 has more styling booty and panache. Then again, I am one of the few who see some merit in styling of the Aztek and sneer at the new Astons, so I guess there’s no accounting for taste. Merc, my apologies for mentioning those two in the same sentence.

    ;-)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    By the way, for someone who has a taste for the likes of Jags and Maseratis, I don’t get your fondness for the SC400. In my opinion it is as plain and uninspiring as it gets... as interesting as a bar of ivory soap. I certainly think the SC430 has more styling booty and panache. Then again, I am one of the few who see some merit in styling of the Aztek and sneer at the new Astons, so I guess there’s no accounting for taste. Merc, my apologies for mentioning those two in the same sentence.

    Man you said a lot in this paragraph. Sneering at Aston-Martins will not be tolerated and will cause your membership in the Circular Talk Society to be revoked! They SC430 has styling booty and panache? I don't know what to say (or picture) reading that....

    Don't worry about mentioning the SLK and SC in the same sentence, sneering at Aston-Martins that is the more serious offense. :surprise:

    Have you seen the new Audi TT? What do you think?

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Context my man, context! SC430 has more booty THAN the SC400.

    I need to see more shots of the TT. From the front it looks like the best variant of the new Audis. The lateral intakes go a long way in mitigating the dominant fish-mouth grille. And the fender flares don’t seem as egregious as those on the Q7. Judging from that shot, I do like it better than the current version which is as interesting as a paper clip.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    By the way, on the subject of value and Astons, I submit the Vantage V8. Here’s another no-brainer on my score sheet—the Porsche C2S which is some $38K less. That is strictly badge money. The Porsche looks better, drives better (and I don't need to drive the Aston to know this) and flys better—recently clocked by one of the mags (I seem to recall C&D) at under 4 secs 0-60. Want the Aston? Just kiss that $38K goodbye. It's kind of like lighting cigars with 100-dollar bills.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Give you an inch, and you damn sure will take a mile, eh?

    The SC doesn't offer the pop-up rollbar, or the performance-oriented acrynyms the Benz does, but it's interior is more luxurious (you have a tristed way of admitting this), and offered the same speed and power for 3 years. A quarter-mile charge was pretty much a dead heat!

    Very little effort was expended on the SL's interior. So you call the SC guady and tasteless. I call the SL a generally weak effort, not befitting it's $100k-encroaching price tag.

    You seem awfly impressed with the queer styling of the CLK, which has gone from clear E-class derivitive to....queer. How about something appraching the impcat the original SC had? Will we see that from Mercedes? Or will we get an R350 instead?

    The SC sold 17k units in 2003. Name me a premium convertible that sold that many?

    Are you saying if Lexus sells 17k SC430s it's first year, and Cadillac sells 3-4k, the Caddy is not a loser?

    You may fall for GMs PR spins, but not me. No way.

    Now if they are willing to admit that Lexus is 500% better than Cadillac, then that garbage has some credibility.

    I dig the A8, but it won't sell, and I can see how someone would call it a "Loser". It barely outsells the XLR!

    DrFill
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    The SC sold 17k units in 2003. Name me a premium convertible that sold that many?

    I'm not sure where you got your 17k figure.... According to autochannel.com, Lexus sold 10,298 SC430s in 2003. Then they sold 9,708 in 2004 and 8,360 in 2005. Looks like a downward trend.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    I certainly wish this was not the case. I would say the prestige was built on history, but the younger segments are not in touch with it. They don't know why they think the way they do. That only gets them in the door. With so much info available, it is hard to get to what MB thinks matters. I would ask a customer what was important or what they liked about their current vehicle and relate the info accordingly. If I had talked about seat squibs to an uninterested party, they would have left and bought the cupholders every time.
    what draws most of those very serious, often self centered, people into a MB dealership to buy a car is not MBs impressive record of innovation. Rather it is simply prestige, ego, a desire for recognition of life long achievement, etc.
    Hmmmm... well yes. I would agree sorta. If you mean a lottery winner. JK :D It takes a certain type of personality to be successful to the extent that an SL purchase is obtainable certainly. "Rewarding ones self".... I think I can dig that up in copy with MBUSA on the tag line.
    That is why librarians and teachers buy Subaru and CEO's and NBA players buy MB's. :blush:
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I meant, 2002, the first year it was produced. Sorry.

    Merc

    Lexus sells over 300k units a year from less than 200 stores, nationwide. And they sold 40k LS in 1992 for over $45k, which with inflation, puts it's price near Audi's A8 today. Numbers of dealers is no excuse.

    If it's "All That", people will go get the car. People wait 3 months for a Mini Cooper. Or Prius. If it's great, people will pay over sticker, drive 200 miles, wait 3-4 months to order one, etc.

    DrFill
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "By the way, for someone who has a taste for the likes of Jags and Maseratis, I don’t get your fondness for the SC400. In my opinion it is as plain and uninspiring as it gets... as interesting as a bar of ivory soap. I certainly think the SC430 has more styling booty and panache.:

    Woah, I never said that I think the SC400 is the best looking car ever, or that its one of my favorite cars. When I was talking about the SC400's styling, I meant in context to a 1992 car design. When the SC hit back then, it looked great, certainly much better than the Lincoln Mark VIII, the BMW 8 series (still had pop up headlights!) and the Benz S-class coupe\CL class. The critics at the time also praised the car's styling, and it earned a 10-best award.

    The SC430 certainly has more booty, I will give you that. But it was an ugly car in 2001, and its still ugly.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Let's see if I got this right. Because the A8 doesn't have the mind-boggling sales of the LS or S, that makes it a loser? I'm not quite following that assumptions as the A8 has the beans to play in this arena, not something the current bloated LS can say, what with it's Buick Park Ave-esque styling.

    I'm the proud owner of '06 A8 W-12 and am very impressed with the car. Top quality and craftsmanship SHOULD be the focus of the perspective buyer, not because it sales so well I guess I'll buy one too.

    I've owned all of the big-league rides, most recently a S65 AMG and BMW 760il. Both were great cars, respectively. And yes, they do outsell the Audi, by quite a wide margin. But it's the build quality and customer service of the Audi that did it for me. Maybe it's the small dealer network that affords such great customer service. But it does work. Not something that I can say for my recent experiences with Mercedes and Lexus.

    Lexus,M-B,BMW,Jag, even Caddy outsell Audi. Yet somehow this makes the car look bad. Not necessarily true. The A8 is more that deserving of a place in the big-leagues, sales or not.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Those darn servers reminded me of the old movie line from Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman . . . (spoken with a southern slang) "What we have here is a failure to communicate!"

    Anyway, Doc, I wanted to get back to you on that SC stuff we were ping ponging with.

    Here's what you said, Doc:

    Calling the SC a "Loser" kind of contradicts this "respect" for Lexus, of which you speak.

    Not at all. C’mon now, Doc. I absolutely do respect Lexus, but NOBODY bats 1000.

    As far as the Mercedes R goes, I am already on record on that one. But once again comparing the SC to other vehicles with issues, or to losers, whether the R, XLR, or anything else, does not somehow change or elevate the status of the SC.

    Let me put it this way . . . Placing the SC in the gloomy shadow of other losers is not the best way to view the SC, IMO.

    Is the SC well crafted? Yes, of course, but that’s simply not enough. Like I said, Lexus is aware of this and the replacement will be proof of a better direction.

    If I truly believed I have unfairly slammed the SC, I would be apologizing right now . . . but what I do believe is that history will prove that a future replacement Lexus sports coupe will more likely be a real “winner”, and it surely won’t be the current SC.

    :)

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Here's more like what I would expect from Lexus in the sports coupe department: (play the video)

    http://www.autospies.com/article/index.asp?articleId=7004&categoryId=23

    But here's the one (from our friends at BMW) that I really like!!!!:

    http://www.autospies.com/article/index.asp?articleId=7006&categoryId=21

    TagMan
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Like it or not, sales volume is the final arbiter in the winner or loser category.
    How well a car does in its category determines alot about its fate. Slow selling cars are withdrawn or overhauled, good sellers are lauded by the motor co. and beloved by dealers.

    The A8 is a fine car, but it clearly can't match the salea of the BMW or Benz or Lexus.
    Consider the A8's twin, the VW Phaeton. A car with "loser" clearly stamped on its hood. As a car it may be a fine one, but it hasn't clicked with its intended market demographic.
    Resale is also different for the winners and loser in the auto market. A8's have been wonderful bargains on the used market because of their also ran status.
    According to Manheim, a 2002 Audi S8 w/ 50k will fetch @ $25,000 at auction.
    A 2002 BMW 745i w/ 50k will fetch @ $35,000, ditto for the S500. The S8 started at $72000 that year, the bimmer @ $68,000.
    If you are buying used, the S8 is the way to go, but if you bought one new, your taking a 10k bath compared to a bimmer owner.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The SC430 certainly isnt the first time Lexus made design and execution mistakes with a product (that would be the '93 GS300) and I'm sure it wont be the last. Its hardly perfect, but at least this time Lexus has the sense to not let it sit on the market for 9 years.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The SC430 certainly isnt the first time Lexus made design and execution mistakes with a product . . . but at least this time Lexus has the sense to not let it sit on the market for 9 years.

    Good point, Lexusguy. And, of course, Toyota/Lexus has a treasure chest of resources to do something about it expeditiously.

    I give them credit (and respect, in case the Doc is reading ;) ) for acting quickly.

    TagMan
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Thank you - houdini1.

    Benzster - I see the service department 6 times in 3 years and that is why I am going to buy a car??? You've got to be kidding with that comment - it's as far out in left field as it gets.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Its been a well-rested 3 months away from HELM. I see I haven't been missed.... maybe Designman or Merc1, eh ? I must confess I did miss many of you, so I hope to re-acquaint myself back to the board... all in due time... First, gotta catch up on many of these posts.. Lots to read.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    1. I didn't call the A8 a loser, but I said "I can see how someone would call it a Loser"

    There is a difference. The LS might be better than all the premium sedans you can name, but the A8, to me, is the MOST desirable!

    2. My point is getting twisted quickly, and often.

    As I've said several times before, there is more than one way to be a "winner" in the marketplace. YOu can outshine others dynamically, in comparisons, change the marketplace, or just outsell the competition.

    By comparing the SC to cars that are "Losing" in the market or segments, I am disproving the SC as a "Loser".

    I don't believe in degrees of "Loser". The A8 doesn't sell, and doesn't win comparisons. And it hasn't affected it's segment, except to bring in the Pheaton, which was a true "Loser".

    AS MUCH AS I LIKE THE A8, I'd have to slap a "Loser" tag on it. That kinda goes for the Audi line, in general. It really isn't the A8's fault. The company hasn't made any headway over the last 10-15 years.

    Lexus has conquered countries in 10 years, what has Audi done again?

    The SC has EXCEEDED sales expectation for 4 years in a row. Does Lexus, or it's many owners, see it as a loser?

    Resale values? How they doin'? Ok.

    For Lexus, I'd call the ES250 (1990-1992), the GS300 (1993-1997), and the IS300 (2001-2005), "Losers".

    That's all. Considering many companies are currently dragging 2 or 3 around, per year, that's pretty impressive, for 15+ years!

    There's a difference between cars you may not like, and "losers".

    DrFill
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Gee, my first thought was that these are HELMs that a value investor like Warren Buffet might love. Here you have the chance to buy something at more than 50% off list. Then I realized that even a Warren Buffet couldn't afford to run these star-crossed, four year old maintenance headaches. Even BMW concedes that they can't debug the '02 7 Series, the '02 S Class doesn't inspire any confidence and an out of warranty S8 Audi sounds like a combination migrane/nightmare.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    Yes you have Hi Tony
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    For some of us the name Audi has been meaningless until a dealership is near by...For me that wasn`t until a year or so ago...After owning Lexus from the beginning of time, I loked at BMW and Audi this time ...Almost got the BMW, but due to a screw up at the last minute, took a hance and ordered an Aud a8...It has been a superb car for me...As far as I am concerned there are only two other people on the planet that own a8---blkhemi and emass....We have all been very pleased so far, so for me I beg to pardon but I disagree with your opinion of the word `loser`..as it applies to the a 8...Sometimes to enjoy life you have to break away from the majority thinking and go it alone---let resales fall where thy may in a few years, but enjoy the `decision now and also to be able to say I made a mistake if you happen to have made a mistake....So the three of us a-8 owners right now are enjoying the car...no mistake and no looser . I really think that Lexus has challenged the Germans and the Germans have responded as Merc has ever so patiently ,over the years, brought to my attention....Tony
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Howard Stern owns an A8 too. He's got the love.

    DrFill
  • cashcarcashcar Posts: 15
    Which is the "best car" depends
    totally on how it will be used and who will be driving it. A "soccer Mom",(a Volvo, Subaru or any "PC"
    minivan),a floor trader looking to have hotties jump into his car,( Porsche,
    Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin), a loyal grandson going to visit his retired grandparents in Florida perhaps,( an
    "S" Mercedes), a CEO with a chauffeur
    who seeks anonymity, (a VW Phaeton
    W12), a love affair substitute you
    can dump when you wish, (a Maserati),
    and so on and on and on. Different
    strokes for different folks. At least
    in this country you don't have to
    settle for a Trabant or Dacia, whether
    you want it or not.
    Ever heard of the "Tatra" by the Czech
    who taught Dr. Porsche all who knew
    rear engine design.
    There is a lot of history out there
    and many different national
    preferences. In Germany, if you tell
    a local you want a Mercedes, he will
    tell you to call a Taxi.
    Try them all, you have earned it !!!
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