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High End Luxury Cars



  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I have no doubt that the average MB sells for more than the average Lexus. But I also have no doubt that the difference is less than the 50% (68k vs 45k) implied in your post 5034. The problem with your analysis is that your numbers are not weighted; specifically volume-weighted. Because MB has a broader model range, the existence of certain higher end models and trims, such as the CL and AMGs, that are priced high but sell in smallish numbers, skews your calculations. More so than is the case with Lexus, with its lesser diversity.

    Your overall point about price also ignores the fact that the respective models are not in distinct silos, never to be cross-shopped. You know as well as I that sometimes people will consider the LS vs the E500. There are examples of this on the Edmunds boards. And to some extent this negates your claim that higher prices for some models are the reason for MB's sales performance.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I can't buy those numbers and this is purely from experience. There is no way the S-class sells at a $98K average. That would bean the weighted volume is toward AMG's and S600's when in fact it is way more weighted to $75-77K S430's and $83-85K S500's. Put it more simple I know a very uppity crowd and not one of them ever had a $98k S-class. I contacted many of the folks I knew when I was shopping in 2001 and the most anyone paid was $86k for an S-500. Most had paid $75-77K for S-430's. I also remember very well looking at the 60 day list of inbound S-class cars in 2001 at the dealership. Heavy weighting to S430's in the mid $70's and S500's in the $83K range. I don't even remember a car coming in that was in the 90's and in fact when I asked about things like ABC I was told that those options pushed the car into the 90's and were custom orders. MB only builds a nandful of them as spec cars.

    Just go do a poll on the S-class board - you'll have a hard time finding a person who dropped $98K on the car let alone that being the average. In fact even in reading all the posts over the years the highest prices I saw were a few far and in between $95K AMG's.

    Sorry - I have no doubt that MB's prices are higher - but not by the differences you posted and I certainly know the S-class prices and the E-class prices as well. There is also no way the E-class average is $57-58K. I fully loaded the E430 (4-matic) in 2001 and got to nearly $60K. Above that you had to custom order the car. There was a heavy weighting of inbound E-class cars in the $50-52K range which were E-320's. Most 430's were in the $56K range but represented only a fraction of the total E's. The only way your numbers work is with Enron-like accounting.

    There is though a big difference between custom ordering MB and Lexus. The MB dealer will gladly fulfill your request annd give you a due date and if I remember even set up a tracking ability for you. The Lexus dealer will do it as a last resort and usually has to be threatened. Who knows when that order will be fulfilled.
  • Merc.

    You said the following:

    "Lexus doesn't even compete in the space above 70K. How can this be a level."

    Lesus competes quite well with the $90,000+ 600 SERIES. If we just talk cars specific cars....S600 vrs. LS 430 vrs 700 series..I hope we can get around this Price and Styling Only discussion. Styling, Price, Prestiege, Dependability, quality of the product, Features, Safety, Handling, Ride, are all factors.

    We are talking about the best Production cars in the world and just talking my car is prettier then yours or yours is cheaper so it can't be as good as mine is getting old.

    HAVING MADE MY MORE MATURE COMMENT I can't help but revert to my true self and add (for Merc's Consumption) The buyers have decided with their wallet which car is the best.
  • Whoops:

    Should have said S series which is far more accurate then S600 ...Sorry Merc.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    I agree. The C and the E make up 60% of MB sales. A sales weighted average price would probably be more useful.

    Same goes for Lexus.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    Of course a sales weighted average would be more accurate. But to get that you would need more information that what is readily available in press releases, etc. For example, you would need specific model breakdowns in the model ranges, ie. C230hatch, C230K, C240, etc. And then since Benz has such a huge variation in prices for each model(for example a C240 can run from anywhere around $32K to $45K), you would need a rough estimate of what the average car goes for.
  • flkeyflkey Posts: 11
    Whoa, are you guys not exhausted? Pun intended.
    Lexus is good, Benz is good, but.....
    1. Lex is the better value in consideration of price
       and options. E Benz is prettier. S tired.
    2. Lex fuel filler on left, Benz on right, huh?
    3. I drive a 2003 LS430, 9000 mis, o.a. mileage
       22mpg. I check each tank fillup and electronic
       mileage confirms this figure. City/highway.
       '03 E430 $1000 gas guzzler tax.
    4. Again, for '03, Lex has VVTi. Benz does not.
       The driving experience is remarkable when the
       change lobes with VVTi.
    5. Lex has fore and aft driver seat bolster
       adjustment. Does Benz?

    OK, my 2cents, FWIW. It seems to me you are beating
    a dead horse.

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    If we only knew, for example, Lexus' US (or worldwide) revenues, we could divide that by the number of units and get the true average realized price per car. As far as I can tell, Toyota does not break that number out.

    We'd have to be careful to use revenues from original new car sales only. I imagine that MB "wins" on the service revenue side, due to poor reliability! hehheh.
  • lexus0622lexus0622 Posts: 27
    These postings are a scream! So much energy, so much passion, so much conviction, so much of so much.

    I'm glad that everyone is having so much fun. I love to see the opposing sides go at it and then see the soothing messages of the arbitrators.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Yeah, some Lexus owners have passion...unlike the cars themselves, hehheh.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    "Never have so few posted so much that amounted to so little."
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "Never have so few posted so much that amounted to so little."

    Churchill would be proud indeed !!!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "All I have to say is your theory is obviously flawed of looking at the entire line-ups and averaging the prices. Each lineup is made up of numerous components(models) and saying the sales are higher because price is lower is B.S."

    I think you're getting off track here. All I'm saying is that when you get past the C and ML Mercedes-Benz is at a price disadvantage compared to Lexus. Yes you are correct in the two examples you gave about the ML and C-Class vs the RX and IS/ES, but this isn't the whole lineup which has to factor into overall sales when they're counted up at the end of the year. You continue to ignore the other 7 models that Mercedes has, that cost more than Lexus'.

    "1) The original RX300 and ML320 came out at basically the same time with similar MSRPs. And the RX300 even outsold the ML 2 to 1 to 3 to 1 margin."

    Max I didn't say that price was the only reason why certain Lexi might outsell certain Mercedes'. Clearly the RX outselling the ML isn't price related. I think you know this already. You're trying to apply everything I said about pricing to each and every sales relationship between Lexus and Mercedes at every model level and I never said it applied in every case.

    "Funny thing is, even when the GS300/400 was new in 1998 it was outsold by the 2 year old E-class by about a 2 to 1 margin. I don't see the cheaper price of the GS helping it outsell the GS from 1998 to current."

    Same thing as in the case of the ML vs the RX, the GS wasn't what the market was looking for at the time thus the E outselling it. The GS was a tough sell anyway for other reasons, but those don't pertain to what we're talking about here. I think you know that my price theory is based on the MB's that are clearly way more more expensive than the competing Lexi, or the Benzes for which there are no Lexuses competing. My whole point is that how is MB supposed to climb to the top of the sales chart when they're charging more than anyone else in the luxury car market. This is what some believe on this board, not you necessarily.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't disagree here, you've seem to get my point that MB's sell for more and cost more out the gate, at least once you pass the ML and C-Class. I never claimed that those numbers were sales weighted, only that the average MSRP is higher in most cases and much higher in a few instances.

    As much as I love the E500 I don't think it is as much car as the LS430 for that price and I think most people would agree the appropiate Benz to be compared is the (again) much more expensive S-Class.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I can't buy those numbers and this is purely from experience. There is no way the S-class sells at a $98K average. That would bean the weighted volume is toward AMG's and S600's when in fact it is way more weighted to $75-77K S430's and $83-85K S500's."

    I didn't mean to imply that the average S-Class sells for 98K, but only the S-Class as a group costs way more than the LS430. Even still using your numbers for the S430 and S500, which I agree are the bulk of S-Class sales, 75-77K and 83-85K is still way above the average selling price for the LS430, which is about 60-65K. My point still stands here.

    "There is also no way the E-class average is $57-58K. I fully loaded the E430 (4-matic) in 2001 and got to nearly $60K. Above that you had to custom order the car. There was a heavy weighting of inbound E-class cars in the $50-52K range which were E-320's. Most 430's were in the $56K range but represented only a fraction of the total E's. The only way your numbers work is with Enron-like accounting."

    You've got to stay current. That was in 2001. The average E320 on the lot now ranges anywhere from 52-55K. The base 49K model is sometimes hard to find. The E500 starts at 57K now. Most E500s are easily 60-62K now. Things have changed since 2001 my friend. These prices are way more than the average GS300 or GS430.

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Edmund's car comparator is a good tool for comparing car's features, specs and pricing.

    A comversation with a local realtor made me go take a look at the market another way.

    I think there is another way to look at the luxury lineup. Instead of arguing about pricing differences in traditional market segments, compare cars on the basis of similar sizes, performance, efficiency, warranty, etc. Then look to see what ones in that class cost.

    This is the way the majority of non-luxury cars are done - where entry means small and midsize means midsize.

    I did this an found that Lexus doesn't do well with the IS300 as a small luxury car offering, while Infiniti does. The ES is too large to be a 'small' car.

    Here's my small luxury car comparo:

    MB C Class YTD sales 21.3K units
    BMW 3 series YTD sales 34.4K units
    Infiniti G35 YTD sales 23.5K units
    IS 300 YTD sales 3.5K units <--- only one in class that doen't offer AWD

    Here's my midsize luxury car comparo:

    MB E Class YTD 17.3K units
    BMW 5 series YTD sales 14.7K units
    Lexus ES 330 YTD sales 24.1K units
    GS fits here too 2.5K units

    Here's my large size luxury car comparo:

    MB S Class YTD Sales 5.5K units
    BMW 7 series YTD Sales 5.3K units
    Lexus LS YTD Sales 10.5K units

    This pretty much lines up cars with similar features, specs, performance and size.

     I think that consumers have figured out that the traditional definitions of entry, mid and premium for the luxury market is way off the mark in terms of the value proposition.

    I asked a realtor friend yesterday why she had a new Lexus 330 and not a Mercedes E. She said, "same or better features, rock solid reputation, 1/2 the lease price." So why not get a C Class. "Too small".

    IMHO, the MB.s aren't class leaders in anything but high price.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    Do you have a trust fund or just a very tolerant employer?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I do understand your point that a higher priced product is less affordable, limiting its audience and therefore sales. I hope you understand my point that if additional value (prestige in this case) is present to offset the higher price, then unit sales need not be lower than a lower-price, lower-prestige product.

    After thinking more on this, I want to try to synthesize these 2 viewpoints. Let me draw on an analogy I made months ago. Suppose a housing developer offers two models of home, model h4, 4000 sq ft on 1 acre, and model h5, 5000 sq ft on 1.25 acres. Your point is that if h5 is priced 25% higher than h4, it will sell fewer units. I can agree with this, because the price is 1.25x, and the content is 1.25x; therefore, affordability will limit sales of h5 relative to h4. HOWEVER, if h5 is priced at only 1.05x h4, do you see that h5 will sell more units that h4, even though h5 is still priced higher and is therefore &#147;less affordable&#148;? If buyers see sufficient content (i.e., they smell a bargain), they will buy more of the higher priced unit. I am saying that there is some price, maybe between 1.10x and 1.20x, where unit sales of h5 will equal h4. In other words, there is a balance point, say at 1.15x, where the &#147;value proposition&#148; (meaning content) offsets the &#147;affordability factor&#148;.

    In looking at MB versus Lexus or anyone else, we don&#146;t know the dollar value that buyers place on prestige, and we don&#146;t know whether the price/prestige ratio is beyond the balance point or not. So imho we actually can&#146;t say whether the price of MB vs Lexus, taking MB's extra prestige into account, is limiting unit sales of MB vs Lexus or not.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    With all the talk on sales and prices, nobody mentioned (unless I missed it) that Mercedes last week announced a recall of 680,000 cars worldwide. This includes E-Class sedans built after March 2002, E-Class wagons made after March 2003 and SL models built after October 2001 because the electronic braking system has failed on some E-Class and SL-Class cars.

    The recall affects more than 143,000 cars in the U.S., according to Automotive News.
  • mbukukanyaumbukukanyau Posts: 200
    will be more than 400 Horses Supercharged Northstar. The M5 500 might not be on top for too long
  • lexus0622lexus0622 Posts: 27
    Of course we all saw that. But you weren't supposed to mention it! Didn't you get the secret message?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I hope you understand my point that if additional value (prestige in this case) is present to offset the higher price, then unit sales need not be lower than a lower-price, lower-prestige product."

    I never denied that prestige favors Mercedes-Benz and it does make up for some sales of course, but this is only the case if the person can afford ($$$) to buy into this prestige. Simply put if you don't have the money prestige means nothing. You seem to imply that everyone can just buy up if they see the prestige, and that simpy isn't the case. Prestige or not, 20K is still 20K and if you don't have the option of stepping up all the prestige in the world doesn't mean anything.

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    First of all, 20k doesn't reflect the real world, even at the S430/LS430 level. It's more like 13k there, and less (or nonexistent) at the E/GS, C/ES, ML/RX levels. Just go to the website, search for the S or LS among the whole network, and click on 'msrp' to sort by price...the median in-stock S430 is $75,380, the median in-stock LS is $62,189. I know that looking at inventory isn't a perfect guage, but annecdotally, I don't see many people on edmunds or cl talking about shopping for base LSs.

    If someone is getting a loan, what does that 13k difference mean, a 36 month rather than 30 month loan, with equal payments each month? If someone is leasing, how much does it mean...a 4 year rather than 3 year lease or something? Personally I've always paid cash, maybe ljflx or someone can help out with the lease discussions.

    But I will grant that some INDIVIDUALS may be priced out of the market by the S430. Even if they don't want to buy an E500 instead, the mistake you make in your thinking is not considering the other side of the coin. To wit, there are some INDIVIDUALS who just won't consider Lexus because for them, they must have THE highest-prestige mainstream luxury sedan, period. Lexus just can't be considered, for such individuals. So just as price may exclude some individuals from the S430, lack of prestige may exclude some individuals from the LS.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Lease differences in some cases eliminate the MSRP differences altogether. Phaetons and A8's at higher MSRPs can be had at lower lease prices than custom lux LS30's and much lower than ultra lux LS430's which are cloesr to their MSRP's. No one seems to care. I paid $40 more a month for my $62K LS430 in 2001 then I would have paid for a $73K A8. I knew I was getting the better car and three years later that LS is worth more than the A8. People who were leasing ultras in 2001 were paying far more than comparably priced A8's and BMW's and in some cases more than am S430. Ultras at $71K in 2001 were going above $1300 a month whereas the $75K S430 I priced was around $1250 per. That was because Lexus was uncertain how well its first $70k+ car would retain value. The joke was that it turned out to be the most in demand LS back then.

    I said before a $77K 7-series was around the same lease price as the $65K LS430 two months ago when I leased but I had no interest. Finally the S430 was about $180 more than my 2001 LS430 and the price difference was $13K MSRP. The S500 price difference was about $350 more in 2001 then now but that MSRP price difference was $22K. To anyone above $250-300K in income those lease price differences would likely not be a big deal unless they were fully loaded with high mortgages on a first home or were carrying pretty high mortgages on a first and second one.

    My personal belief and experience are that the people reaching for prestige are not the S-class buyers but the E-class buyers. That's why Lexus will more easily convert an S-class buyer to an LS than an E-class buyer to a GS or LS. The other feeling I've picked up is a simple "in denial" thought process that anyone can match or exceed the revered Germans. Many of the people I've met in the past that put Lexus down had never even sat in a Lexus car. When they finally did they were amazed and in some cases converted over on their next purchase.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836 2/

    This car could give the MB S600 a run for its money; although the exterior looks like it is from the 80's. The inside is very nice though. Lexus should consider this car as a spring board for their new super sedan.
  • Merc:

    The vast majority of LS owners can affort an extra $20 or $30,000 for an S class...Many have owned the S class in the past...

    I went with the LS because of higher quality and dependability...I think you have acknowledged those qualities in the LS vrs S class in the past.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    For the second time this week, I'll have to echo your words....

    "IMHO, the MB.s aren't class leaders in anything but high price."

    But, Merc1 argues that since the S is averagely priced at $98K, its slow sales is a combination of price and old styling ! Do MB fans not argue that MB styling is much better than the LS, yet use this excuse of the S styling being 4-yrs old as a rationale for its slow sales; and this is compared to the "vanilla" styling of the better selling LS !!! Makes no sense to me using this line of argument. Another angle to consider is that the S and LS have comparable features, and in some cases the S have some features not found in the LS. Examples are the "Pre-Safe" system of MB and the 7-speed (auto) tranny. The LS only just added a 6-speed (auto) and has no "Pre-Safe" like MB. Do these extra geering and gadget make a difference to sales or performance of the S over the LS ? Sales - NO, performance - NO. SO why is MB selling less than the LS ? The higher prestige of the MB *may* justify its higher price, the better reliability of the LS *may* justify its higher sales. And nothing to do with styling - old, new or vanilla .... Maybe ?
  • scottphillipscottphillip Posts: 249
    Must be last century...

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I believe the V12 in the Century is only 5.0 liter. Given that the next LS may, it is rumored, have a 4.5 to 5.0 liter V8, and will definitely have hybrid to further boost performance, I'm not sure I see Toyota/Lexus ever doing anything further with that V12.
  • lexus0622lexus0622 Posts: 27
    Looks like an old Chevy Impala with little ears! Hope I never see one state side. Lexus would be OUT OF THEIR MINDS if they used any design features from this car, period.
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