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High End Luxury Cars



  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    There is only $1k premium for the cdi, so the folks looking for them don't hesitate to get one, if they can find one. Diesel drivers are a curious cult. They like the sound and purr of the engine, the smell of them, the torque. Often times they have had one or more in the past. Gearheads mostly. VW draws a little bit of everybody to their diesels, but the MB crowd usually won't look at anything else. Once the hybrid luxury sedans start to permeate the market, that might change, since they have a good stream of torque as well. We'll have to wait and see I guess, but I have a feeling when the M-class diesel hits these shores next year, there will be much to talk about with RX shoppers.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Sounds like mostly previous diesel owners shopping the CDI, which as I've said before is kind of sad...MB and others deserve more press for modern diesel technology.

    There was an article I referred to a few weeks ago saying that the price premium for diesel would have to increase (can't remember if 2006 or 2007) because of clean air legislation requiring some more gear added to the car.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "I just haven't had a need to add an icon to a post."

    After all that you can't throw the world a smile?!

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I only need the icons when poking fun at Lexus! ;)
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Don't want to re-ignite the MB vs. Lexus flames, but the Wall St Journal and New York Times (among others, I'm sure) have been running full page ads for the new E Class. The key theme, explicitly stated, is that your neighbors will turn "green with envy" and you'll get lots of envious glances as you drive your new E Class with the appearance package which includes "sculpted skirts."

    Now the above ad may seem innocuous, but think about it. These marketing types have been taught since David Oglivy's time to always push your unique selling proposition. Looks like if you work for MB, you think that the main thing you should push is status. Not German engineering, reliablity, longevity, great cornering ability, low 0-60 times, four valves per cylinder, roller cams, stellite hardened valves with random rotators, dry sump oil systems, new multimetal gasket technology that renders leaks obsolete, superpremium tires, suspensions that are self adjusting to road conditions, seating comfortable enough to do Boston to Buffalo in a long day, foul weather performance, low cabin noise at 70 MPH, superior audio, etc. Just that you will drive the neighbors wild with envy.

    Wow. Reminds of me of Rolex. Its sold as eye candy and jewelry. Not a flawless, mechanical timepiece to hand down over the generations. Whatever the merits of Rolex, it is not considered a fine time piece by the watch crowd (see for example
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Haven't seen those ads myself but the approach isn't that unique to MB. Lexus a few years back did an IS TV ad that seemed to imply that the IS would help a man catch rather nice-looking women.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Somehow I find that a little help in that department is a legitimate ad technique. Playing on status insecurity says to me that perhaps they don't want to talk much about the product, like Rolex.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Some anecdotes I recall from… let me see… Ogilvy on Advertising? (Too lazy to look it up.)

    When Ogilvy & Mather got the Rolls account (jeez, long ago), Dave sent his team out to discover the product benefits. One of his guys came back with an observation that the car was incredibly quiet, so quiet that you could hear the clock ticking. Well, a headline turned out to be something like “At 50 mph in a RR, all you can hear is the clock ticking.” Upon hearing this, the chief engineer said… “We really have to do something about that clock.”

    Ogilvy was a giant. One of his rules were… always hire people who are better than you, if you do this the company will grow. Well, it’s great to be an owner and have that MO, but I wonder how many employees are secure enough to take that approach. He surely didn’t subscribe to the CYA method.

    Good subject. How would David Ogilvy sell Mercedes? Perhaps he would resign the account. Ha ha, fat chance. Actually, didn’t he refuse certain accounts?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Other reviews differ of course, but I don't think it's fair to say for the GS that the luxury sports sedan target was flat out missed, more like "not as sporting as the 5-series in the eyes of some reviewers".

    You're putting words in my posts again. I didn't say that the luxury sports sedan target was flat out missed. I said that if a sports sedan experience or traits are of a higher priority, the GS comes up short. If you put luxury before the sport, as you do (frame) in your reply, of course the GS comes out much better. But if you put sport before luxury as the 5-Series and M45 do then the GS comes up short. Have you driven the 5-Series or M45 Sport? They're very athletic cars and they wear their sporting traits on their sleeves. The M45 Sport in particular is much stiffer riding than any Lexus I've ever been in. The 5-Series also rides in a similar manner. The various reviews are crystal clear about their preferences and their rankings of the various cars display this vividly. The Automobile review put the M45 and 545i at the very back, while Car and Driver put the M45 first. Clearly Automobile was looking for luxury beore sport which is why the A6, GS, and E finished in that order. Also in the Car and Driver test they also mentioned that they might not be saying the things they said about the 5-Series if the V8 model had been present. You forgot to mention that part.

    In the "eyes" of the reviewers looking for sport they put the M and 5 before the GS, and the GS comes out closer or on top when the reviewers are looking for luxury first (like Edmunds/Automobile). Its the same thing as you stating that the GS isn't as sporty as the 5-Series or M cars, didn't say the GS wasn't sporty itself.

  • paldipaldi Posts: 210
    Does anybody care that the Phaeton looks like the new Passat? All Audis look alike, MB and BMW too.

  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    ..but I wonder how many employees are secure enough to take that approach...

    Sadly, in this day and age of job insecurity, not many would.

    How would David Ogilvy sell Mercedes?

    Same way as the current ad agency - play up the styling and never mention anything remotely linked to its heritage or its features. When the S550 gets here, I am sure the ad would play up the new styling and the HP, not the heritage. Methinks if you have 116+ years of heritage, why not flaunt it ? Remind everyone what it means to be owning such a premium brand.... In MBs defense, I suspect Lexus would probably do same for the new LS as well....

    BTW, anyone remember the car in the ad where a guy in a butler suit arranges lots of wine glasses pyramid-like on the hood of the car while the engine was running, to show how truly quiet the car was ? I think that was just spectacular ad, and well done too. Such an ad will do better than just playing on people's ego and envy of their neighbor.

    Talking of neighbors, the lady across from my house just bought a new ES330 . I asked her why she bought the ES. Her answer: "I wanted a Lexus and all my friends liked the ES so I bought one" She had no clue as to any attributes of the car she just paid $40K for. Of course, with 5 cars in the garage, she has more $$$ to flaunt. A perfect candidate for an MB, if you ask me.... ;)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well its the brand identity thing. The Passat isn't a bad looking car to emulate. You could do a lot worse. This uber-VW is a textbook luxury car imo.

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Fine, I'm tiring of this line of discussion. Basically you find the GS not sporting enough for your own tastes, good for you. What you shouldn't be doing imho is criticizing Lexus for somehow "failing to achieve" or "missing" a goal they never enunciated. They never said that they would "out-sport" the 5, only that they wanted a car that would win over some BMW customers. "Denny Clements, general manager of Lexus Division, says the time is right for Toyota's premium brand to win over BMW loyalists disaffected by that brand's move toward polarizing design and complicated electronic controls."
    "From a technology standpoint, the GS employs a sophisticated array of advanced safety, comfort and convenience features that will cause even the most enthusiastic driver to take notice," said Denny Clements

    Based on early sales and on winning most of the comparos against the 5, I'd say they've achieved at least some success against the goals that they actually stated as opposed to the goal that you invented for them.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    BTW, while I accept that some may view the 5 as having better sporting qualities than the new GS, others don't seem to. Have you actually driven a current 5 or GS? (I haven't.) The Automobile comparo certainly didn't like the driving character of the 5. And the C&D comparo was quite critical of the 5's transmission...something that shouldn't be affected by whether the test is of a 530 or 545. Read the quotes in my earlier post syswei, "High End Luxury Marques" #9370, 10 May 2005 9:13 am
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Syswei - agree its getting tiring. But having driven the GS430 hard I can tell you it is very sporty, rides fabulously and is very connected to the road. It's hard to imagine anyone not being impressed with this car in every way - sport, luxury, phenomenal build quality and of course the inevitable great rerliability. The comparo I read faults Lexus - as usual - for sacrificing some handling in order to maintain a better luxury ride. Those type of reviewers are not rating sports luxury sedans in their entirety, they are rating just the highest level of sport part of it. They fail to understand the complete picture that many cars like the GS embody and words like "everyone will love all three cars" are put in as failed counterbalancing points (as well as advertiser protection). For whatever its worth the review also said the GS got the rave looks and easily stood out as the best looking car of the three. Lexus chose not to push the limit on sport because of who they are. If they went full throttle the car would have had a bumpier and harsher ride and that is not, and never will be Lexus. IMO - they found a great balance, though the car actually pushes sport quite a bit more than the luxury ride but will not sacrifice the latter just to win a contest. Does that mean its not a 5-series fighter? Hell no - to be a fighter you just need to be competitive, you don't need to win contests. This isn't a heavyweight title fight. Merc would be only be right if Lexus said its intentions were to build a sportier car than the 5-series.They never said that.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Merc would be only be right if Lexus said its intentions were to build a sportier car than the 5-series.They never said that.

    And they never will cos Lexus is all about luxury first, sport second. From a reporter notebook of a ride in the IS350 at the Fuji Motor Speedway, looks like the new IS will give the 3- a run for its sporting money....

    Here are excerpts:

    Although I was only riding in the passenger's seat, there isn't just one word that could sufficiently describe the experience. From the moment I left the Fuji Speedway pit at full speed, I could immediately feel the full force of the acceleration. The meter instantly shot up to 120kph and I was instantly forced back into my seat. Rushing into the first corner, the driver applied the brakes and started his sharp turn. While it was only about 70kph, I could feel the blood rushing up the left side of my head from the tremendous Gs....

    A car can’t be considered to have ran the Fuji Speedway if it didn't try to do a high speed turn around a corner at 160 kph. The car swerved greatly and during that time I thought that we would flip over and spin out. But the car held tightly to the ground and easily recovered. Then the driver accelerated the car up to 180kph. This time he fully applied the brakes− I felt as if I would fly out of my seat, but the car came to a smooth stop...

    If I could, I would have taken that car and drove it at full acceleration all the way home....
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    The only car of the current lineup Lexus would move to all sport is the IS. The mainstream LS, GS ans ES will always keep luxury high up in the equation with the GS leaning more to sport but never giving up its Lexus luxury. The new Gssets that tone wonderfully. The IS is an outlier car for Lexus, hence it is the car that will showcase sport and what Lexus could do with handling if it wants to.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    There’s an argument going that Lexus will never give up sport for luxury, and this is the way the Lexus buyer wants it. Then the IS comes in and subverts that assertion, supposedly being a real sport sedan. That’s OK, maybe they’ll steal BMW and Infiniti buyers. They had better, because logic now suggests Lexophiles will not buy the IS, just as they didn’t buy the last one.

    I don't think it's a bad plan. I just think you guys should get your story straight. You keep singing luxury and then hitchhike right onto sport whenever the opportunity arises ;-)

    Oac... I remember that ad. Yes, it was pretty cool.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    I remember that ad, also. The question is, though, what car were they selling? If we can't remember the car, the ad--while definitely cool--did not quite achieve its goal.

    Granted, this was awhile ago. I might have remembered the car at the time.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I seem to recall either Lexus or Acura.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    BTW, anyone remember the car in the ad where a guy in a butler suit arranges lots of wine glasses pyramid-like on the hood of the car while the engine was running, to show how truly quiet the car was ?

    I'm pretty sure it was Lexus for the LS. It was later copied by Nissan (I think for the Altima) to show that Nissan could achieve the same thing at a lower price point.

    Lexus also did one where an old-fashioned phonograph played in an LS going over railroad ties, and didn't skip.

    Another ad that I find memorable, because it got the point across, was an old one for the 7 which had the car on a turntable, one side showing a plain 7 and the other, as it turned, a 7 in all sorts of racing stripes/decals.

    MB ads, on balance, I find to overemphasize status, which I find personally unappealing. For example, the entire nomenclature system, calling something the S-Class or G-Class or whatever, seems to try to highlight socioeconomic stratification. Like, if you buy MB, you're higher class than your neighbor.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    The IS is an outlier car for Lexus, hence it is the car that will showcase sport and what Lexus could do with handling if it wants to.

    Put another way, this is the Lexus that clearly should be sport first, luxury second. And from the visual inspection of the 2006 IS350 and the impressive spec sheet, it looks like it may hit the mark. Of course, we don't know anything about its underpinnings (suspension setup, gearing, etc) of this new car yet to suggest/imply if Lexus will actually leap ahead of the 3-series with the new IS. Hopefully, it will get into the auto rags hands prior to its October release so that we can get some *evaluations and analysis*.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Assuming the IS mounts a formidable challenge to the 3 and the reviews support this, I think they should position it as such in their advertising and be aggressive about it. The reviews alone are not going to make it fully achieve its sales potential. In addition to performance, there is a lot of BMW branding and brand loyalty to overcome. IMO they have to go directly at them. Also, don't forget that Lexus has to overcome its own image and branding if they want to sell a real sport sedan. It will not be easy since the new 3 appears to be better than the last one with regard to performance. This is BMW's turf. It will be exciting to watch. But I don't care how good the IS is, it has its work cut out.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    That was definitely the LS that did the ad - to emphasize the smoothness of the engine.

    I saw that MB ad on the E-class in the NY Times today. Based on the ad you're going to buy a car - at least in part - so that others envy you. Don't you just love ads that appeal to people's insecurities? The ad actually suggests insecurity as a reason to buy an MB. It's a dumb ad that should be pulled ASAP.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    This is BMW's turf. It will be exciting to watch. But I don't care how good the IS is, it has its work cut out.


    BUT, putting the new IS side-by-side with the new e90 shows the contrast in styling and interior appointments. The IS handily beats the Bimmer in both areas. Left to prove for Lexus are the handling, the brand image, and the buying public's interest. If Lexus hits any 2 of the 3, the new IS will be a huge success.

    BTW, did you read the WSJ or USA Today article (last week, I forget the date) where they reported on Toyota's incredible success with the youth market (Scion brand), the mid-level market with the hybrid (Prius), and the luxury market with its Lexus brand. They showcased a company that is on a fast track of success and it will take an act of nature to stop them. Quite a revealing article, imo....
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    A looker. In my opinion it's the most attractive vehicle in Toyota's kingdom. And thank God, because it's like a locust invasion.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "The IS handily beats the Bimmer in both areas"

    Sorry, that is only wishful thinking and you might add IMHO.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Not sure what you mean by MB design coming back. The mid and late 90's iniated more stylish MB designs. The cars before that were far more bland and boxy. The S-class in the posted pix - IMO - is a noticable falloff from the current design and if it has that RL/7-series trunk deck then it's a big falloff. I also don't like the creased line on the side. Maybe its me but the S almost looks like a big Honda in those pix. The only car that looks good to me there is the CLK.. However, I do believe merc1 posted those pix a long time ago and dismissed them as fakes.

    How big is this new S supposed to be? I read somewhere that they are going back to the 209" range.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Speaking of social stratification etc., an old high school friend called recently and reminded me that in high school I was in the A Section and he in the C Section. The problem is he continued that the A Section students didn't do very well in their careers because they were too bookish. "That's why Mercedes has a C Class but no A Class!"

    Oac, you are absolutely right. MB should flaunt their 116 years of German engineering, technology, etc. But, and this is the point I was gently making, if all they flaunt is status because they can't/won't talk reliability, durability, four valves per cylinder, goes like mach snell (forgive my GI German) etc. then they are on the slippery slope to becoming just a bauble. Like Rolex is today. Simply a consumer good with no inherent perceived differences other than it is a status object. Like Izod used to be (until it lost its status because consumers in the mid-60's found the jerseys were cut wierd because the French moved the production to Asia).
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    A Section students didn't do very well in their careers because they were too bookish...

    You know what they say, too much education hurts the brain....But seriously, MB has the A-class; its just not sold in the US (yet).

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