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High End Luxury Cars



  • Like most information sources, you need to know what the data theyuse is based on. CR uses very limited data, to put it mildly, in evaluating car reliability. Please read the information on this link.

    I like the non-enthusiast point of view that they take. But to say they are the bible seems to me to be giving them way to much credit. If more people understood statistics (and I do) then they would take what CR says as just one of many sources, rather than the only one.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Wow, you know what Mike, thats typical. Read the post again, very slowly....everyone else got that I was talking about the car mags except you. It clearly states in sentence #6 that I'm talking about the car mags. Read the entire paragraph before posting.


    "The reason the auto mags don't want to deal with reliabilty in their analysis is partly
     because the last thing they want to do is bring CR into their stories. Everyone knows it's the
     ultimate resource consumers turn to for nearly anything they buy and the more expensive the item the more crucial CR becomes."

    Says who? If that were the case all these expensive, unreliable cars from Mercedes, Volvo, Audi, Saab, Jaguar and others wouldn't sell at all considering the marks they get. Most (not all) people who typically know what kind of car they want (especially expensive ones) aren't going to be swayed by people who test VCRS and cam corders. You're saying that everyone worships Consumer Reports and that couldn't be any further from the truth. You wouldn't buy an Audi based on what they say, yet over 80K people last year did buy an Audi.

    "The statement that no one would buy a european car if they read CR is a bad one. It
    might be accurate if reliability is the only reason to buy a car but we all know it is not. But to some, myself included, poor reliability is a deal breaker."

    Thats just what I'm saying, thats your case. You place reliability "sky high" but everybody doesn't. Clearly they don't. I'm not saying that a lot of people don't "consult" CR, but to assume that all that do make their purchased based on CR is too big of an assumption for anyone here to make. Again if they did why do so many cars that they say to "avoid" end up selling very well. The placed the CLK on the avoid list, especially used ones...yet the car has the resale of any luxury coupe on the market. Look it up. This only proves that there is a whole group of buyers that either didn't consult CR or if they did, they obviously didn't care. If everyone held CR as a bible the CLK's (just one example) resale would be in the toilet.


    As far as CR having 4 million subscribers...between Car and Driver, Road and Track, MT and Automobile and others like Autoweek, there are far more people at least reading "autorags" than Consumer Reports.

    Unless USA Today talked to everyone that bought a car last year, a newspaper article doesn't mean anything to me.

    VW's sales problems are mainly due to old product, Passat, Jetta, Golf and Bettle have all been around since 1997 or 1998. Ignition coils would be the least of worries for the average VW owner, they have other problems that are far more frequent, I know you of all people know this. The ignition coil problem hasn't caused the headache that the window relay switch problem did in the past. My point is that VW has far more persistant problems than the ig coil and they've had them before 2003, the year of the sales down turn. You have to look at the whole picture. VW also refused to play the incentives game like GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. They only reluctantly gave some incentives on certain cars, not nearly the amount that the domestics give.

    An "estimate" by the WSJ means what? Ok so they estimate 18 million read CR while in a waiting room getting their tire changed and on someone's coffee table. Do you really think the car mags don't reach even more people when they have more subscribers than CR does with at least 4 different major publications that can be passed around.

    You come along anytime anyone else posts anything that isn't factual, yet you're passing a bunch of estimates by USA Today and the WSJ off as fact, two publications that don't know anything about cars in general. All they can do is tell you what people read, not if they make the buying decisions because of it.

    Again, guys I'm not saying CR isn't important...even I have read them extensively when looking at Audis, or that the majority of people buying a car don't consult them, but to say they rule the market and that everyone makes their actual buying decision based on CR is absurd. Otherwise some makes would never get their product out the showrooms. If reliability reports is your thing fine, I personally will never that decide what car I buy, but that doesn't explain why hundreds of thousands of people still bought cars that are listed as being "unreliable" by CR. Everyone doesn't place as much weight on what they say or on reliability. Their road tests are joke. I'll ask again is there an issue out now in which a BMW 330i is in a comparo with a Lexus ES330? If that is the case, and I saw this on another board, CR is clueless on which cars are for which market. Yet they're to be trusted in everything? Thats ridiculous.

    Just like you guys could care less about what MT, Car and Driver, Automobile and Road and Track was to say during a road or comparision test. There is no way I could say that everyone that reads C&D (3 million) bases their decision off of what they say. You'd have to conduct and exit poll at every dealer to come to such sweeping conclusions. If such data exists I'd love to read it....Footie?

  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    People are not stupid, at least most aren't. Nobody is going to pay 80 grand for a car that will leave them stranded after six months. I think, one reason Toyota is doing so well in North America is because of their high reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. In fact in the last ten years, Toyota has surpassed Daimler Chrysler to become the third largest auto company in the world. It will be second largest in less than a year if it hasn't already. Toyota I think sold more vehicles than Ford worldwide in 2003. CR is partly responsible for Toyota's success in North America.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    ... It's clear you have no clue as to how Consumer Reports tests cars. Here are some FACTS directly from their website:

    CR anonymously purchases the vehicles they test (40-50 per year).

    CR's 18 automotive specialists, engineers, and technicians not only drive the vehicles on their 327 acre testing facility but thousands of miles on public roads over several months.

    CR uses the yearly subscriber survey to compile data for reliablity and ownership experience.

    Yes, not everyone buys only cars they recommend but the vast majority of informed car buyers look to them for reliable, unbiased data.

    For the consumer who is looking to purchase an automobile that is reliable and is concerned with the ownership experience related to normal car driving - commuting, vacationing, etc. - it is certainly the most substantiated source.

    Of course, CR to the people who purchase vehicles for vanity and "look-at-me" status, is nothing but dribble.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    From the Car and Driver website

    Paid subscriptions for the top four auto mags:

    C&D 1,377,395
    Motor Trend 1,276,811
    Road and Track 751,584
    Automobile 637,437

    Total 4,043,227

    The combined newstand sales for all four is around 500,000.

    The C&D reader demographic may not be a likely shopper for this forum's subject matter. Less than 1 in 5 completed college and about 1 in 5 have professional / managerial jobs.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Interesting demographic data on C&D. I once made the comment that the autorags emphasize performance and high-priced cars over long-term ownership in part because a large fraction of their readers are "dreamers" who will probably never be in a position to buy an SL600 for example. That data is consistent.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Car and Driver, Road and Track, MT and Automobile and others like Autoweek, there are far more people at least reading "autorags" than Consumer Reports.

    << Bad data Mr. Merc ... see post 3936 >>
    VW's sales problems are mainly due to old product, Passat, Jetta, Golf and Bettle have all been around since 1997 or 1998. Ignition coils would be the least of worries for the average VW owner,

    << VW has been working hard for a long time to get a really rotten record of troublesome maintenance issues. But the ignition coil issue really helped them solidify their position. Here's the lead paragraph on an official VW press release last February:

    "AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 4 -- Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Audi of America, Inc. today announced a customer service action in which the companies will ultimately replace the ignition coils in all 2001 and 2002 model year cars equipped with certain engines that have been experiencing a higher-than-normal failure rate. Also affected are very early production 2003
    models." >>

    Do you really think the car mags don't reach even more people when they have more subscribers than CR does with at least 4 different major publications that can be passed around.

    << From the C&D site: estimated total readership 9.9 million. P.S. And that's based on an average readership of 7.5 people per subscriber! Very impressive for an autorag with 42% of its subscribers single men...?>>
    You come along anytime anyone else posts anything that isn't factual....WSJ off as fact, two publications that don't know anything about cars in general.

    << Mr. Hill is not with the WSJ. He's with Alliance Bernstein and is their auto industry analyst. Perhaps he knows a little about cars and car companies... Bernstein is considered "The Best little shop on Wall Street. They do Research Right" by Fortune Magazine. In that article they really praised the tough, independent work that Bernstein does and how valuable their 5,000 institutional clients consider their analysis.

    << But you don't have to believe them either. >>
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Um, last I checked the topic here wasn't exactly car magazines, it's the cars themselves. Maybe we could get back to talking about them for a bit? ;)
  • I know that Mercedes has a much lauded history, but my own recent experience is very disappointing.

    I have recently been through three months of mediocre experience with a new E class. After years of wanting a MB, I finally went for it, but I now regret this deal!!! I have been to the dealer too many times in the past three months for service issues. I also find the interior rather bland for a car that cost so much.

    I went to Mercedes after driving a five year old Lexus GS. However, these days I often think that I would rather be driving my old Lexus. It was more reliable with 68,000 miles than this MB has been in the first three months.

    In the first four months of ownership I have had four trips to the dealer. This is more interesting-- since a close relative also has a 2003 E class, and he also has numerous complaints.

    Meanwhile, my 74 year old mother has recent MB C class, and I think very little of it. What an overpriced piece of junk! It has the Mercedes cache from the outside, but it is really very uninspired basic vehicle. At least her C class has been relatively reliable.

    Of course, the "issues" with the past few years of S class Mercedes has seem well known by most. Admittedly, the latest editions are showing better reliablity, and improved fit and finish, but the past few years of S class production has been far from inspiring. In fact, I have two friends who left the MB fold in the past six months after S class dissatisfaction with 2001 and 2002 MB S Class cars.

    So, I see some of the people here really have an "over the top" love of Mercedes, but I have to wonder whether this is just a lust, like I used to have for this marque, or something based on a real ownership experience. The day-in, day-out ownership experience offers a real life perspective! Try it, before touting MB.

    I am stuck, so I will try to like my Mercedes, but I am having a hard time with it.

    Needless to say, I think that the view from a distance, while dreaming and lusting for a Mercedes, is nothing like the actual MB ownership experience.
  • bluestar1bluestar1 Posts: 112
    Well said ! Maybe some *dreamers* out here need a shot (make that a DOSE) of reality. Living in an island of MB's does impair hand-eye coordination.... Hehehehe just j/k of course.

    A colleague's wife has an '03 E320. Being in the shop far too frequent. Currently in the shop as we speak. She has been driving the loaner M350, and she ain't too happy either. Her E cost her $50K. That isn't anything to snicker about. Yes, the car looks beautiful from the outside, it's the electrical gremlin that is just crippling its image.

    If MB execs are reading these boards, they'd better do something QUICK. Reputation for bad quality and unreliability can be slow to catch on, but once it does, it's all downhill. Can't stop a rolling stone on a downhill slope !

    'Nuff said.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    What you are going through is what I feared so much in 2001. Having nothing but Lexus cars since 1995 (save a Landcruiserin the late 90's- which really is a Lexus for the most part anyway) can really spoil you. In 2001 I looked long and hard at the S-class but lacked confidence in it. I just knew the LS430 would yield three more years of perfection in a glorious car and I feared that the MB S, while a glorious car also, would have a rash of problems. Plus it just didn't match the LS in ride or cabin quietness. Results have perfectly matched expectations on not one, but two LS cars including my business car which is now at 60k miles. I only need one car this go round and in April it will be another LS which I fully expect will give me another perfect trip for 3 years. My first LS in 95 is still running very well - in the care of a friend - and has over 200k miles on it. My 98 car became a Lexus certified car but I don't know where it ended up. Both of these 2001's will make whoever takes them very happy. Not even a hint of a rattle and as whiser quiet as day one out of the showroom.

    A friend of mine just traded his 1998 Landcruiser for a Lincoln Aviator. The TLC had 140k miles on it and never had a problem. The Aviator is giving him a lot of headaches within the first few months. I bumped into my buddy at a school function the other day and he said he didn't know what he was thinking when he switched but he'd trade the Aviator back for his TLC in a heartbeat if he could. It's not easy to move from the near perfect world of Toyota and Lexus. It may never occur for me. You could have had a helluva LS430 instead of that E-class. I hope you leased.
  • tmjddstmjdds Posts: 22
    Finishing up my 3 flawless years with my LS430. Thought about leasing a new one but just had to try something different. I should be getting my 745Li in a couple of weeks. The only things I liked better about the BMW was back seat room and heated steering wheel. Ride, seat comfort, stereo, cell phone integration (Blue Tooth), trunk space, navigation system, quietness were all nicer in the Lexus at 20 thousand less.

    This discussion about problems with the BMW and iDrive makes me a little nervous. I would have thought they would have figured out all the problems by now. Does anyone know of someone who had a 2004 7 series buy back? I now the 2002's and some 2003's were bought back.
  • I just got back to Town Hall after traveling again and tmjbbs' question about BMW 7-Series "buy backs" got me thinking. I have certainly heard of BMW, MB, Jaguar and Audi buy backs - although other then with the last couple of years with MB and the BMW 7-Series, not in what I perceive as large numbers.

    Has anyone ever heard of a buy back of a new Lexus LS? I have not but wanted to ask you all. I assume there must be some but I have just never heard or read of one for a LS.

  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
       We've all heard the stories of MB's so called demise. I'm sure our German friends are going to address this issue. I don't see how they can ignore it, given that the Reliability issue is Lexus' prime marketing tool.

    The LS is a good car, but they too are prone to defects. My 2002 LS430 has had the following Issues:

    Steering Wheel Groans upon Retraction (Fixed under Warranty)

    Wiper Sensor Failure. Replaced under Warranty.

    So, that's nothing terrible compared to the MB stories we've heard. The only thing I can say is that my 1992 LS was better. The sole issue was a burnt out tail light at 11 yrs of age. Aside from the fact some idiot hit it two months ago, everything was fine. This brings me to my next question:

    With the 92 LS giving me a nightmare post accident (6 trips to the dealer now) I'm thinking of buying a (3-4 yr old)Pre-Owned high end Lux car. What's the best bang for the buck?

  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    You should be able to get a good LS 430 between $40K and $46K for MY 2001-02. There are several on the market now coming out of leases. The cost can go up by $2K -$3K depending on the mileage and the installed options. We just got a 2001 with the UL package (all available options)for around 44K from a dealership in MD. Let me know if you need additional info about the dealership.

    Best wishes in your hunt!
  • tmjddstmjdds Posts: 22
    When I shopped the 2004 Lexus LS430, the Lexus dealer told me he would give me $38k for my 2001 and if I knew somone that wanted it, he would turn it around for $500. Add $1500 and get the Lexus certification to 100k mi. My car has only 21k miles, black w/ML.

    I ended up buying a 2004 745Li. The BMW dealer is also giving me $38k but don't know if he could (or would) turn it and certify it.

    The only used sedan I would ever buy is the LS. The others sound like they could be a handful when they are out of warranty.
  • I know of a LS430 buyback, in the past month. About 1,200 miles. Serious engine problems, that they were not adequately fixed.

    The dealer actually suggested trading the vehicle for a new car. The owner speculated that there may have been some advantage to this for Lexus, so that it was not reported in Lemon Law statistics. But it could have just been the usual terrific Lexus service.

    In any event, it was all surprising.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    From test driving it I can tell you it is smoother and silkier still (if you can believe it) with more road feel, good handling (the sport suspension has fabulous handling) and more power due to the six speed. Very quick in 0-60 and excellent torque. The interior is virtually unchanged, remains very very quiet (a bit quieter than the 2001 model) and the back-up camera is great. I'm a leaser so I will take the 2004 in April. The body style is also a bit more agrressive and the car looks spectacular in black, flint mica and cypress. If you go the sport route the 18" wheels make it look better still. If you take it than you should lease because the big change is coming in 2006 as a 2007 car and you'll be much more desiring to change then.
  • We've got two 2003 745Li's with every available option (except sport package and adaptive ride package) and have never had a single problem.

    iDrive is very easy to use once you understand what it's doing.

    I hope you enjoy your 7-series.

    We've got nearly a year on one of them already and it has been flawless.

    The other we took delivery of in May and have not had any problems either.

    What options did you order for the 7?

    Both cars are identical in terms of equipment except that one is Toledo Blue and other is Titanium Silver. Both have flannel gray interior leather with dark ash high gloss wood trim.

    They are equipped with:

    Luxury Seating Package:
    -20-way front active comfort seats w/heated seats and air conditioned seats, massage, and 4 position memory

    Premium Sound System:
    -13 speakers with Logic 7 digital decoding technology

    Convenience Package:
    -power close doors and trunk

    19" radials - a must have (look much better than 18s)

    Rear Comfort Seats:
    -14-way power adjustable rear seats with heating and air conditioning, 4 position memory

    Tire Pressure Monitor - has already saved us once!

    Heated Steering Wheel - nice when it's cold

    Active Cruise Control:
    -Awesome system that maintains a specified distance between you and the car in front of you, modulating speed to maintain that distance

    Electric Side and Rear Window Sunshades:
    -electric rear window and both side windows on either side-all of them are electric!

    Park Distance Control - neat feature, use it all the time.

    Both of my grandparent's have these cars and they have absolutely no problems with iDrive and both are computer illiterate. I think you'll enjoy that 7!

    Welcome to the club!
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I shouldn't watch football games and post at the same time. I'm trying to figure out how I answered your post on this board. I thought I was on the LS board.

    Let me know what you do.
  • Does anyone know whether any test data or actual driving reviews will come out on the Bentley Continental GT before they start arriving in the states?
  • tmjddstmjdds Posts: 22
    Got Jet Black w/Black Leather. 19" rims, luxury seats, conv. pkg and prm sound. Heated steering wheel, PDC and shades.

    I asked the salesman what the dealership does with the buybacks...he said they go to auction and are advertised as "Buybacks" so the new buyers know. He said some smaller private dealers will sell them without advising the new owners. He said most of the 2003 745's on the market are probably buybacks.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I'm sorry if this was already discussed when I was out of town (I don't think it was), but JD Power had an interesting study released in late December. It measured the retention rates of auto brands when customers of a new vehicle replace it with another new vehicle.

    Here were the top scores:

    1. Chevrolet (60.8%)
    2. Toyota (59.3%)
    3. Mercedes (58.7%)
    4. Ford (58.1%)
    5. Honda (55.5%)
    6. Lexus (54.3%)
    7. Hyundai (52.9%)
    8. Cadillac (50.8%)
    9. Subaru (50.2%)
    10. BMW (50.1%)
    11. Kia (49.9%)
    Industry average 49.3%

    Below average luxury brands:

    14. Jaguar (45.5%)
    16. Land Rover (44.3%)
    17. Audi (44.2%)
    20. Porsche (40.4%)
    24. Acura (36.6%)
    25. Infiniti (36.5%)
    30. Volvo (31.9%)
  • The Porsche replacement is a no brainer--The guy got married-- Tony
  • Anyone want to guess why three brands with supposedly bad reliability problems (Jag, LR, and Audi) have significantly higher retention than Volvo?? Caddy even has retention? ( I thought that when you bought a Caddy it was your last new car?) Chevy out ranks Toyota?? Kia is 10 points above Accura?? I think JD Power got himself into some Christmas eggnog when he wrote this December report.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    No doubt Chevy and Ford's numbers are heavily influenced by their trucks, where buyers tend to be very loyal. I know a number of people who would own nothing but a Suburban; others have owned a long series of F150's.

    To the extent brand loyalty is influenced by reliability, I'm surprised by the low numbers for Acura and Infiniti, which are always rated towards the top by J.D. Power. Probably more a reflection of "near luxury" buyers wanting to move up to "true luxury" models as they can afford it - each brand has had relatively unattractive top end models to keep buyers in the fold. That and the fact that the near-luxury segment has become very competitive as of late, with buyers having many attractive alternatives from which to choose.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I just read an article in Automotive News stating that VW dealers were upset only 330 Phaeton W-12s were offered for sale in the U.S. (all black with ivory interiors). So it seems VW will make more of these cars for the U.S., but with a steep price increase. The car is going up from $83,515 to a whopping $95,215. This is puzzling considering the car is not selling well in the U.S. (or Europe either). VW sold 343 Phaetons in November and December (only 225 of 607 dealers sell the Phaeton). The article gives no explanation for the huge price increase.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Or better yet, using the exchange rate as an excuse to pad the bottom line/gouge the buying public?

    Best Regards,
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Among other things, vwguild (VW salesguy) and some others have talked about the price increase over in Volkswagen Phaeton, in case anyone here is interested in that discussion.
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