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Dino: I do believe we all pick and choose which objet petit a for which we will pony up the biggest bucks.
Perhaps in addition to being confused by my friend's decision to go with the thing he thinks is inferior to the BMW (or whatever) he really wants, I am made somewhat sad that he -- a very close friend -- seems to have such passion for something that is not the thing he will go ahead and spend on.
There is always somewhat of a tone, a lament, as he apparently rationalizes not going for the "thing" about which he waxes oh so poetic and is also very knowledgeable about. He cites chapter and verse the performance stats and specifications of this, that and the other Porsche or BMW, etc, then apologizes for the KIA. This is a very successful and well educated guy. Perhaps it is that this behavior seems out of character.
He has no need to apologize -- to me at least -- for his decision. Our friendship is not based upon his possessions -- and there is no way he could think that the case. Had I the means and a spouse who would permit, I'd get him an M3 or 5 series for pity's sake and hopefully enjoy -- vicariously -- him drive it.
I guess a perspective could be that we all settle -- but I don't think that is the planet you are referring to. I do believe most people, most of the time, seek out and acquire the best "things" they can.
If we all hyper-extended ourselves, we all could -- for a time -- live well beyond our means. I believe most of us with decent incomes and relatively to very good credit scores could "score" a $100,000 car. I assume, considering that most of us here are discussing cars that have a median or even mean cost of $50,000+/-, we could "get a $100K car done." By that standard, I would have to concede I have settled. I don't live or think that way -- in the particular case of the car, every mile I drive in my car has, so far, been better than the last. I'm driving what I want to drive (not that I don't also have interest in something better).
Actually, it was the emotional impact of my friend, rather than touting the virtues of his new Optima, chose lamenting that it wasn't a BMW (5 series, as I recall). That's what got to me.
Every mile a smile, as my wife says. If someone willfully, knowingly and deliberately starts down a path that they think will be every mile a "frown", well that too would be some other planet than the one I've lived on for some six decades.
Go on, pull the other one.I think Toyota has plans to install the V8 from the IS-F model into the Camry or ES and will call it the Camry Hellcat.
dino - I guess I should add, too, that I don't actually know that the Japanese LPS brands have previously been humbled, either -- but I think (my opinion) they have, or at least they should be since they so frequently are NOT the winner in comparos in the BIG, IMPORTANT car magazines.
I saw MotorWeek on TV this week and the Lexus GS was tested (not compared), things went along nicely as the car was shown on the track and street -- and then WHAM! John Davis pretty much put the car in its place (which was to say, it was NOT at the top of the Premium car heap, based on comments about handling, braking, etc),
Yet, "everyone" I know who has a Lexus loves them -- of course whenever I ask why, the reason, THE reason, THE #1 REASON, the ONLY reason I can ever get out of them, is either how reliable or durable they are.
Odd, methinks, how I can't ever seem to elicit a comment about a Lexus, Infiniti or Acura that praises their performance, style, switchgear -- oh oh oh, I take it back, once, someone told me how good the sound system in his Acura is (and speaking as a previous Acura TL SH-AWD Advance owner, I agree -- Acura has the best sound systems for mere mortals -- the only one that is better is the hyper expensive B&O option Audi offers for $6,000+).
Don't get me wrong, a sound system is very important in a car -- but, you know, when someone tells me about their 5 series or their new Mercedes E or C, they tell me about the performance, ergonomics, 8-speed or 7-speed transmission, engine, responsiveness, cornering, etc, etc, etc.
My wife thinks that her Infiniti was great -- from a durability (and probably reliability) standpoint. But she ended up with an SQ5 (Audi) because "Infiniti's ain't got no soul." She was against my getting a 2014 IS 350 for the same reason -- told me, I'd be underwhelmed by it's appliance-like disposition.
I do appreciate, too, that I've read, here, the comments -- positive comments -- about the recent EL and LPS Cadillac offerings. And, well, they are hardly known as durable cars -- and no one I know who has one claims they got it thinking it would be the new world champion of longevity. OK, so here I am at age 63 -- I'm thinking I'm still gonna outlive any car I get, so I might as well get one that comes with passion, performance and pulchritude.
Got one more data point for you: when I used to have the Acura, I'd take it to the dealer for service and would talk to other customers about their reasons for being Acura owners. Now, get this -- the BEST answer I ever got was "because I got a good deal." Meanwhile, over at the quattro cafe (and the BMW store service area, too) the folks talk about how much fun their cars are to DRIVE.
Oh, and, yes, I know, this proves nothing.
WEBN = We Eliminate Banal Noise.
Those were the days . . .
"We have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo.
I agree with the following statement made here by one of our fellow posters:
"The more you want to sell, the more you have to appeal to average Joe, even if Joe has more than average income."
What I sense here, however, is that "average Joe" is meant to imply someone who, due to their lack of sophistication, and due to their sheer numbers has been at least partially responsible for the degradation of the "essence" of BMW automobiles (at least the 3 series apparently) ride and handling characteristics. Somehow I get the feeling here that I (we) am (are) meant to hold "average Joe" accountable and to blame for the sorry state of current BMWs steering and ride/handling characteristics.
What BMW did was realize, apparently, that it is better to be popular with respect to your target market rather than attempt to appeal to what some have called the lunatic fringe. If you are the CEO, what is your charge? I would argue it is to first retain market share then to gain market share. If your loudmouth customers won't put their money where their mouths are, do whatever it takes to find the customers and prospective customers who will.
Why is it so difficult, virtually impossible, these days, to find manual transmission cars? If you read what I read, you would think manuals are the best way to go if you want the best performance possible. Were I an auto manufacturer's CEO, and I read these posts and virtually all of the automotive enthusiasts magazines, I would start making stick shifts available all across my car lines. I would spend time and treasure to make certain my brand would offer stick shifts and that my dealers would be required to keep stick models in stock.
My company would suffer, because as Pogo says, "the enemy is us" [sic]. All of us loudmouths who want stick shifts (based on our bellyaching) were all yak and no shak! Stick shifts aren't popular, they don't sell and if I listened to the lunatic fringe, my car company would die on the vine.
Stiff suspensions and steering that offers road feel don't increase sales, in fact they must actually decrease sales or they would dominate.
It is possible to order an Audi A6 with a sport suspension, ultra low profile tires and 20" wheels -- and those tires would be max performance designation and be made of short tread life summer only compounds. You would think the benefits of the lower stiffer suspension calibration thicker anti-roll bars and the above mentioned tires and wheels would be so obvious that dealers couldn't keep A6's so built in stock.
The reality is, the very few sport suspension equipped models are the slowest sellers. Pogo strikes again.
I say we all need to go out and BUY the 3 series all tarted up with every performance enhancing option possible, ditto the Audi, Cadillac and Mercedes (and other brands) models.
We need to shut up, grow up and pay up -- the cars you're (me too) bitchin' about are the way they are because of YOU. If you had forced the issue and actually put your money where your mouth is, well we'd have great performing BMWs (and the others, too) instead of the cars so many of us decry as "not what they used to be."
The way they used to be is not responsive to the market.
Qwit yur bitchin'