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High End Luxury Cars



  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Tagman - I'd expect the S to do well in the next 6 months. It's pretty standalone out there as the newest and greatest thing. The big issue vs the last re-design is that it has a lot less lead-time (7.5 months vs 18 months) on the LS which is aiming higher and higher into its range. Does the LS crimp its sales or do the two go off and hide from everyone else like two horses running away from the field. I'd expect the latter.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    If I'm MB and have what I think is a hot car and another hot car is on my tail I'd ship a lot of units in the first 6 months. The strategy should be to sell a lot of cars at the highest price while they can and then loosen the pricing in the months before the competitive car is released. Max out pricing while you have the thunder and then loosen it up as the competition causes you to share that thunder. It would lessen some of the pent up demand for the LS if they play it right. There's no time to play the supply and demand games to drive prices sky high this time around. So the normal games that allow dealers to max out profits with over-sticker charges on low supply for any lengthly time just isn't there this go round. MB has to play the game for itself completely this time. Move big volumes to the dealers, pressure them to sell the volume and keep big shipments coming. That's the way I'd play it if I were them. What do you think Tagman?
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    First, this is the one, and only DrFill! Version 2.0!

    New and improved for 2006, with better graphics, faster download times, and 20% fewer calories than Splenda!

    Now, this thing with the sale figures. It may be true. Sales are figured based on dealer purchases, not customer purchases. All I know is most loans, in 2006, are actually bought, or approved, by banks before the customer leaves with the car, making it relatively simple to count sales for a dealership per day, per week, and so on, with dealer-connecting computer programs, of which, regional offices and bookkeepers can download sales information from dealers on a daily basis, then factor in any percentage of buybacks or false sales for any given period.

    Let's say not all of your 3000 dealers (for Ford, for example) aren't on the same computer system. Let's say 500 are off the system, don't have computers, write all their daily sales on cocktail napkins. Is it that hard to have the bookkeeper report their sales for the month to the regional office by Noon on the first? Is that difficult? My dealership knows how many cars they sold last month on the 1st. If you can count cars sold, daily, you can certainly add those days together for a monthly total, right?

    Then the six regional offices report to the national office their findings, then you add the figures from the six offices, write the press release, proofread it, and release it for the afternoon of the 1st. Far from brain surgery!

    I don't see it as that difficult, provided a dealerships bookkeeper can count 15-20-30 sales a day, consistently, and load that into computer software, or call it in to another bookkeeper.

    If the automakers can't do that, I can show them how.

    For a small fee,of course. ;)

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    So I guess the real question is how do we know which method each automaker uses to report sales?

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Can I pat myself on the back now?

    Maybe it's all distributor-to-dealer, but I wouldn't do it that way. It's at best misleading, and couldn't be less accurate.

    What happens when you have a 2005 that just doesn't sell? It sits on the lot all year? How do you count that? You haven't seen an add for a new car that one model year old? Wouldn't that screw up your books?

    My problem is, I'm too simple-mided! :mad:

    Life is as easy as you make it. :)

  • 610looper610looper Posts: 20
    How do I answer this??? I am happy that your engagement with the Jag Super V8 is blissfull. Congradulations...

    You compared your 2001 LS430 w/a European Sport Package to a 2006 A8 and found it ponderous, slow and to have an unacceptable cabin noise level.

    The 2007 S550 was heavy and uninvolving and the CLS55 which is supercharged btw, always felt as if it were working hard, this compared to a 2001 LS430?

    The Maserati, which is 100g's straight out the gate, you're worried about it's "reliability, fuel costs, insurance costs, repair costs and availability of qualified mechanics. And it is pricy."

    So you ended up with a Jag Super V8, but you don't tell us how it compares to the 2001 LS430...

    Why didn't you just buy another LS 430? GS430? When it comes to handling, speed, high performance luxury sedans, nobody mentions Lexus, even with the new IS350 automatic or even Jag for that matter, heck not even Cadillac with the V series... It's the 3 Germans that are the high performance luxury kings still...
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    ... When it comes to handling, speed, high performance luxury sedans, nobody mentions Lexus, even with the new IS350 automatic or even Jag for that matter, heck not even Cadillac with the V series... It's the 3 Germans that are the high performance luxury kings still...

    It's the Germans that get all the good press. That doesn't mean that the other cars aren't good. Cadillac's V-series performs quite well. And Lexus is Lexus...
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Your system will neer happen. There's no financial need at the auto mfr level and they're not about to put in a system that tracks real-time retail sales data for the knowledge of a bunch of auto enthusiasts. In fact what you want done opens up a system for mfrs to overpay dealers who would "purposely" overstate their retail sales so that they get added incentive monies from the mfrs. As it is the RL Polk data is badly needed by auto mfrs for many reasons and one of them is to audit dealers real sales with checks of the Vins to the registratin data that Polk reports on. That same data is bought by auto analysts everywhere at the brokerage houses to track the health of the industry.

    Trust me on this - I know the information industry inside out.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    What do you think Tagman?

    lj, I think the S-Class selling price over the next months will be determined more by supply and demand than by any strategy. Sure MB will want to sell as many as possible. That's typically the case anyway.

    With regards to the margins, MB doesn't generally have massive margins to begin with any more, and any premiums OR discounts will be a matter of . . . once again . . . supply and demand. Once the new LS emerges onto the scene, the supply and demand for the S-Class is likely to be affected, but by how much is to be seen. If the new LS diminishes the demand for the S-Class then the prices on the S-Class will naturally have to ease.

    The flip side to this is that when the new LS first hits, pricing might be rather lofty in the beginning, also due to supply and demand, and those tight prices on the LS could potentially send a few folks over to the MB camp.

    lj, I continue to like and appreciate your intuitive business sense.

  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    I saw the S Class in person yesterday. It looks much better in person than in pictures. They had a nice blue S550 in the showroom. The wheel fenders don't look so obvious in person. The inside was nice, but not breathtaking...I didn't like the iDrive knob in the center though..They had a bunch of leftover S Class from 2006 as well. Those cars were much better looking..

    This all has me wondering..Do you think I would be able to get a good deal on the leftover S Classes? Do you think the build quality of the last run would be better than what we've seen in the past?

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm sure any M-B dealer would be more than happy to give you a sweetheart deal on last year's car. Why would you want a seven-year-old design though, especially when cars like the A8, and XJ are available, as well as the upcoming Lexus?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    This all has me wondering..Do you think I would be able to get a good deal on the leftover S Classes? Do you think the build quality of the last run would be better than what we've seen in the past?

    Yes and Yes. On MBworld people are easily getting 10K off the remaining 2006 S-Classes. Yes the final production years should be the best. The build quality was improved for the 2003 facelift, so I think you're really asking about reliability. Naturally the final year should be the best.

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Nice classy expensive looking envelope from MB with a bunch of S-class pix and details inside inviting me to take a test drive. Very well done by MB - IMO - as they did it with a bunch of small index card like data points and pix rather than a big clumsy brochure. After looking closely at the pix I think the car looks its' absolute best in a direct side view, particularly in a darker color. I really dislike the wheel arches but in general the car is growing on me and in that pure side view I'm prone to agree with Tagman that it is a a beautiful car. But the angular views from front and back expose the wheel arches too much and - in those views - the car loses some of its lustre - to me at least. Oddly enough I think the LS is the opposite - at least from my perspective - and looks weakest in the direct sideviews and best in the front and rear angular views. I'm looking forward to seeing both cars at the NY auto show and may try to get in and take a test drive of the S before then.

    I do agree with SV that the interior is a bit of a disappointment on the S but I like it better than the old S-class interior.

    SV - I think the old car is one heck of a value right now but it's really going to be blown away by the new car and the effort MB seemsto have put forward with it and the LS will also blow it away. That's a tough call.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    I think you are giving too much credit to German management and unions. I doubt that they could ramp things up quickly and then turn it down. Flexibility isn't exactly their strength. Speaking of German(ic) management, there was an interesting piece in this mornings Fianacial Times on the flashy guy (Rietzle?) who used to run Ford's PAG. When he left PAG, he went to work for Linde Industrial Gas. Recently Linde purchased BOC Gases and he said: "From now on Linde will no longer be run like a German company."
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Gee, I haven't received ANY marketing info since I turned down their invitation to take that grand tour of the R-Class. Oh heck, I know they'll find me . . . they always do.

    So, you've still got some minor complaints about the wheel arches? I bet they'll grow on you over time. I've already been seeing a number of the new S-Class cars showing up in the community, and I still do think it's a very beautiful car as you so kindly remembered. Seeing it in person more and more, I have to say that I've been getting bugged ever so slightly by the trunk at certain angles. I don't know exactly what it is and I keep thinking that it will go away, but it doesn't go away. It sounds a little odd, I know, but I'll need to spend some serious time staring at the car, I guess, to figure it out. When I do figure it out, I'll let you know. In spite of that "quirk", overall, I have serious respect for the styling. I've been way too busy lately and I also still need to get in and give it a whirl.

    I truly think that the new S-Class has a re-kindled level of "presence" that I haven't seen in a Mercedes sedan in quite some time. It's a welcome back feeling.

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Are you following Idol this year? What's your thoughts? Simon's predjudices are bothering me but I think he identified properly the two girls who are likely to go this week. After that it is going to be super tough as the talent is immense. Mandisa is No. 1 in the ladies to me at this point and i love her name. Catherine Mcphee is real close and Kelly Pickler is the most captivating. Paris Bennett and Lisa Tucker are amazing talents and both being only 16 makes it all the more amazing. I like Ayla as well and can't believe she is only 17. Lisa Tucker looks like she could be Lionel Ritchie's daughter with those looks and that voice.

    I'll give you my thoughts on the guys tomorrow after they go on. But at this point I think the first guy eliminated - Patrick Hall - was more talented than half of the guys left. The Harry Potter look alike from Long Island should have been gone last week.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    "Gee, I haven't received ANY marketing info since I turned down their invitation to take that grand tour of the R-Class. Oh heck, I know they'll find me . . . they always do."

    Maybe you need to buy a Lexus first and then they'll come after you aggressively. Seriously - I just got it today - give it a few days.

    Block Island Guy - They likely built the units shipped over a longer than normal period of time given it's the initial shipment.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes I have. I like Paris and Lisa, but they've got to sing some younger songs. Simon may be rude at times, but he is right on the money IMO. I mean Kinnick and Melissa are leaving Thursday night I bet. Yes Mandisa really brought it tonight. It is a shame, but Kinnick is going home because of one bad performance. Just like Sway got voted off last week, though he was one of the best guys there.

    I'm really shocked in that your take on the show tonight mirrors mine exactly, unlike our take on!!!

    Oh, for Simon to say he likes Kelly Pickler better than last year's winner was an astounding remark! Kelly will make it the next 2-3 weeks and possibly to the end based on that statement from him alone, unless she does give a really bad performance between now and then. I don't see that happening though.

    I was so glad when Brenna got voted off last week. Her attitude was terrible. Her and Bobby, the guy that did the Barry Manilow number a few weeks back had no place in Hollywood period!

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    My pics from the Chicago Auto Show. Forgot to link them here a few weeks back.

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    If only the Dakota became a Rampage! I'm a big fan! ;)

    I used to watch the first couple of seasons of AI, but Simon is accurate, but not funny or witty, just cold and snotty. Randy and Paula bring little value with their opinions. Simon is the star of the show, and he's not made for TV. Maybe radio?

    Those are some fly names, doh (Ayla, Mandisa)! Very original, without being pretentious and psychotic.

  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    The old S Class has a nicer design. I, for one, could do without all the complicated interface systems that are coming out in these cars. I normally try to buy cars to keep them, as I've done with my 1992 LS400. I really haven't been able to find a car that really tickles my fancy. I'm put off by the new designs from all of these High End companies. They concentrate more on fancy and IMHO pointless gadgets and focus less on design and style.

    The new S Class has a nice presence, but the old one is one of the best looking designs in a long time. This car has a nice sleek upscale presence to it. I'm not looking for a dragster, I think the 250 HP in my 92 LS is more than enough. I'm not looking for Night Vision either..

    My hope is that the last run of these S Classes will resemble the quality Mercedes is legendary for. As it is, the 2006 model has enough gimmicks to make me content after having a LS430.

    Don't get me wrong, the LS430 and upcoming 460 are great cars, but I feel something is missing. Their designs lack a certain flair. I've been primarily a Lexus buyer for the value and reliability side of things. The 92 LS has some of that flair I've been talking about. The car is nearly 20 years old in design, but does not look "Old" at all.

    I think the outgoing S Class will hold up well in that regard, much like the W126 cars do. I nixed buying a S430 last year because of the 12K premium they wanted, but now it looks like I could possibly get one for a more reasonable sum...We'll see what happens. My wife will kill me for even mentioning trading my LS in. It's a 2005 with only 7,000 miles..

  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Sam, you're a pretty savvy guy. I agree that the intense electronics are a turnoff.

    Having said that what about a new XJ8? Great design, flawless exeucution, great quality (e.g., JD Powers awards), no electronic overkill, and decent pricing. Sure, it doesn't have the same "presence" as an S Class. So what? Your constituents (employees/patients/clients/customers/vendors)won't think you are out of touch with them.
  • rayngrayng Posts: 70
    Of course, but pickings will be slim. Since the '06 s has ceased production, you won't have a lot to choose from. Check inventory online if possible. In l.a., Southbay has their new cars online and you should be able to guess many of the option groups by msrp. If you are able to locate the car of your choice, go to carsdirect or mbworld to get a ballpark price. When I helped my buddy get his s350, we knew that carsdirect usually buys from penske or rusnak at $13k below sticker. You should be able to get at least $500 to $1000 off carsdirect prices. For those in l.a., downtown and penske were more willing to deal than newport, southbay, rusnak, and fletcher jones. Watch out for Southbay. In my experience, they lure you in with low advertised demos then switch you to something pricier. We walked out and bought from Penske.

    Our deal was
    '06 s350
    3 year extended warranty
    $64105 otd (always talk #s in otd)

    You should get similar savings from your local dealer.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Small point. Infiniti is not a brand for discussion on the HELM board.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I figure Kevin's High school lit up the phone lines and Paula's got to stop her stupidity over his singing ability and cuteness. He has no voice and he's not cute. She's influencing the vote with all her silly fawning. Gideon has more talent in his right pinky than Kevin has in his whole body. Too bad about Ayla also as she deserved better. Simon seemed very upset that these two were eliminated and he should be. At the same time I can't say that Melissa should have gone as she is quite talented and differences between her and Ayla were small. But you can drive the fleet of all the brands we discuss here between Gideon's talent and Kevin's talent. If Kevin ever won the contest the record label would cancel their contract with Idol. What's really bothering me is that if they did this right and not partitioned out guys and gals once you reach the final 16 we'd probably have 8 gals and 4 guys left in this group of 12.

    BTW what did you think of the Lexus LF-A sports car? I don't remember seeing any comments on it from you.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    The deals are astounding that are being offered on these cars. A close friend of mine just bought a brand new S65 AMG.

    MSRP: $171k
    Price OTD: $132k, with the extended warranty.

    And seems that M-B's resale values are still rock solid. He traded his beloved(he loved this car more than he did his wife) '99 S600(box-body) and got $29k for it, which it was in impecable condition. There are some dealers around here advertising the last of the '06 S350/430/500's for $10-$15k off of invoice.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah I couldn't believe that Gideon got the boot before Chicken Little. You're right, it was a total disgrace and shame. I'm betting on either Ace or Mandisa to win it.

    I think the LF-A sports car has the right proportions and stance, but the details needs to changed IMO.

  • rayngrayng Posts: 70
    Steep discounts off msrp and high resale values are contradictory. The '06 w220 will depreciate significantly, putting downward pressure on market prices across the entire line. Just check autotrader and ebay to see how mb prices have fallen. Used prices are often as high or higher than new.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Merc and I have stated our opinions in the LF-A forum.

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