The Value Proposition of Luxury Brands

hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
edited August 2014 in Lexus
People generally buy luxury cars because they like them and can afford them. But can they be justified from a value perspective, when you can buy an equally functional car for a lot less? The answer can be no, or yes.

How do we arrive at a "yes"? Let's take a simple comparison between a Toyota Camry and a Lexus ES 350. Both cars are on the same platform, but the ES 350 costs roughly 33%-50% more than the Camry. One justification for choosing the Lexus is that it ages better than the Toyota. What I mean is that a three, five, or 10 year old Lexus looks better (interior and exterior) than a Toyota the same age. When you drive up to someone's house or a restaurant, people who care at all about cars will focus more on the brand than the model year, and this, in many cases, will be reflected in the way you feel about yourself. If you drive up in a five year old Lexus, you look relatively successful. By contrast, no one even notices a five year old Camry. It doesn't draw attention to itself. It isn't the object of pity, but neither does it draw admiration that the owner has achieved some modicum of success.

The difference remains as the cars age. Compare a five year old Volkswagen with a 10 year old Mercedes or BMW, or a Chevy versus a Cadillac, and the older cars still manage to win more admiration.

Okay, I generalized, and there's lots of room for debate on this topic. I've told you the way I see it. You may say, "I just want safe transportation and the lowest cost-per-mile." Or, "I prefer to be annonomous, and don't want to be judged by the car I drive. Besides, the car doesn't make the person." Or, it's smarter to buy a new Accord than, say, a 1 or 2-year-old Acura." Fine. That's why there are so many choices on the market.

Have you debated between buying a luxury model and a more modest one? What factors did you consider, and what did you buy?

Do you feel similarly about the clothes you wear as the car you drive? Some do, and others don't.

What are your thoughts? Are luxury models worth the extra money to you?
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Comments

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Member Posts: 3,425
    We usually drive the 95 T Bird to church, but one recent Sunday, we drove our 94 Town Car. We were surprised to observe other parishioners "noticing" the TC. One lady asked, " When did you get that? It's beautiful." :confuse:
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    An properly cared for old luxury car seems to age better than a normal car, and that old TC is likely a lot more appealing than a new cheapo car if it is pristine and in the right colors.

    The 1989 S-class I once owned got looks and compliments all the time, and the unwashed think my 8 year old E55 is new.
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    I think a luxury car is primarily a personal preference or an image thing. Certainly nothing wrong with that, and they are nice to drive and there is an intrinsic value to that. However, strictly financially, even if the depreciation rate is lower, the greater up front cash and the accordingly larger amounts of cash value lost through depreciation generally argue against it being the best purely financial proposition. I'm sure there are exceptions as there can also be for some popularly priced vehicles, but I think value and luxury tend not to be synonyms.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    Not to mention higher costs for servicing and consumables...although some makes are doing away with that (Jag comes to mind)

    Lux is really only a good value when it is used...and then, you have to be very careful.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    If you view a car strictly as transportation, then I agree completely. The fact that higher trim models of mass market cars generally outsell the very basic ones suggests that most people consider more than just the transportation value when buying a car. Since people tend to keep their cars longer now than in the past, it's likely that how the car ages is frequently factored into the buying decision.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    To my point of view, if the "luxury" car does not excel in performance and styling, then it's a waste of money---too MUCH money for just poofier seats and some wood trim and a few gadgets and 2 inches more leg room. That doesn't justify an extra $20K or so.

    In the "old days", when you went from a Chevrolet to a Cadillac, you KNEW it the moment you got behind the wheel. Now, I'm not so sure you notice much between a Toyota Avalon and a big Lexus.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Member Posts: 3,425
    not so sure you notice much between a Toyota Avalon and a big Lexus

    In the "old days" there wasn't much difference either between the LaSalle & Cadillac.

    The Avalon is the LaSalle of Toyota.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    True but the LaSalle failed as a brand---that should tell us something about having too narrow a dividing line in "tiers" of luxury.

    If I'm spending $75K on a car, I want it to a)dominate on the road and b) make the parking valet's eyes pop out. That's why a Porsche is worth the money to me, and a Lexus SC430 is not.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    Heck, in the 1960s you could clearly see the difference between a Pontiac and a Chevrolet. Some of those mid-60s Poncho interiors are very nice!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,493
    True but the LaSalle failed as a brand---that should tell us something about having too narrow a dividing line in "tiers" of luxury.

    Well, the LaSalle Avalon does give Toyota a nice, large-ish car to sell, where otherwise they might have had to dilute a Lexus model. Isn't that pretty much what the LaSalle was there for? To give Cadillac dealers a cheaper, bigger-volume car to sell, without diluting the Cadillac name?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah but nobody knew what to make of the car, especially with all the other GM brands hovering around it a bit too closely. Picture an Avalon, and $200 below it a Bakelon, and $200 below that a Overlon....you get the idea.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,493
    Oh yeah, I think the LaSalle had definitely run its course. IIRC, in later years, its price crept up closer to the real Cadillacs, until it was finally replaced by the "proper" Cadillac Series 61?

    In later years, I guess the Series 62 and later Calais sort of filled the LaSalle's role, although eventually Cadillac figured they didn't need it at all, and dropped it. Eventually, most of the manufacturers just figured that they could cover the same market with one model and 3-4 trim levels, rather than 3-4 different models. For example, at one time Chevy had Biscayne/Bel Air/Impala/Caprice, but by 1986 or so it had been consolidated to Caprice, Caprice Classic, Caprice Classic Brougham, and Caprice Classic Brougham LS.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited October 2010
    Since I haven't driven an Avalon in years, and have never driven nor even ridden in the large Lexus sedan, you happened to cite two models where I agree that paying more isn't worth it. This is true even though the Avalon is a FWD V6 and the big Lexus sedan is a RWD V8. Because the large Lexus, like the Avalon, emphasizes comfort over sport to an extreme. I doubt whether the RWD architecture of the big Lexus really matters much in the driving experience. So, you're right; someone looking for a large, comfortable sedan can't do better than the Avalon from a value standpoint. Although some might choose the Buick LaCrosse over the Avalon, that doesn't disprove your point.

    Now, if you compare a loaded Camry V6 versus a Lexus ES350, one could argue that the ES350 is a better value proposition. Although they share the same platform and drivetrain, I think the ES350 is worth the extra money, since for not too much more it looks more upscale than the Camry, has a significantly better warranty, and it ages better. However, I completely agree that the differences have narrowed enormously from your Chevrolet versus Cadillac comparison. Back in the day, GM made sure that the look and feel, and the driving experience, were completely different.

    I realize that I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth, but I conclude that whether luxury models are a better value than plainer, more affordable ones today depends on which models you compare.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Hmmm....$10K more for an ES 350 over a loaded Camry? I dunno....yeah, maybe, but I think in this case you're paying mostly for the prestige of the Lexus name. I mean, a Camry, in terms of public perception (real or imagined) is sort of "rental car" level, even with the premium pak and the V-6. And you're right, Lexus styling is better. I do see your point.

    However, if you loaded up the ES 350 and pushed it over $40K, this unflattering comparison might fall apart. A $15 to $17K diff between a loaded Camry and an ES 350---well, $17K is a big chunk of change!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    We're now on the same page, Shifty. There isn't much latitude in this comparison, and option packages can easily be the factor that tips the scale one way or the other.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    So, what do other readers think is the wiser choice, near-luxury or high end mass market?
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    The 1963 Buick Riviera was meant to be something of a LaSalle revival. Notice the twin grilles on each side of the central eggcrate grille mimick the tall LaSalle grille of fine horizontal bars. Early mockups of the Riviera actually carry a LaSalle II designation.

    Back in the early 1930s, Buick and Oldsmobile had lesser-priced companion makes called Marquette and Viking. Pontiac was a lesser-priced companion make to Oakland that eventually superseded it.
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    I think the lines between mid priced models began getting all hosed up in the 60's. Cars like Chrysler Newport or Buick LeSabre began chasing Chevy buyers while the Caprice or Ford LTD started going after lower level mid priced buyers. I always liked a mid level car line, but today the low and mid level is covered by one car line like Camry LE vs. Camry XLE. I don't think it will go back.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited October 2010
    In terms of Toyota models, wouldn't you say that the mid level is also covered by models such as the Avalon and Lexus ES350? One could argue that the latter two are the spiritual successors to the Chevrolet Caprice, Ford LTD, and Plymouth Fury III, and that the ES350 is the modern equivalent of the Olds 88, Buick LeSabre, Mercury Montclair, Dodge Monaco and Chrysler Newport.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I'll go you one further. I personally find it hard to categorize *any* car under the $50K mark as a "luxury brand". There really is a difference between a $40K and a $90K automobile.
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    I wouldn't really argue with you. However, given that an Avalon is a Camry with a bit more interior space and a few accouterments you might say it was actually the Newport or 88. Since ES350 are usually equipped with a bigger price spread to Camry than basic list prices, you may also argue it is more like New Yorker or 98 perhaps (kind of rides like one).
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    Luxury has always been a bit vague to me. Cadillac seemed to have a fair amount of distinction between a DeVille and the much upscale equipped Fleetwood. Then they had an Electra fighter Calais for awhile. I guess you could say the mid level Lexus are near luxury while the upper line is luxury. The ES350 has never really been clear to me. Its much plusher than Camry with just a bit more power, but it may be more just a statusmobile than a near luxury car? At BMW the 300 series always struck me as sport oriented rather than near luxury (nice car though).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I guess I'm arguing in the abstract here, or more about "marketing".

    I mean, if the Hyundai Genesis is now a "luxury" car, what does that make a BMW 7 Series, a Mercedes S class?

    If anything can be "luxury" then really nothing is luxury. The word becomes meaningless.

    Of course one can argue if that you think there's a rhinoceros in your bathroom, then there really IS a rhinoceros in your bathroom---so if you think you have a luxury car, and you're enjoying that, who's to rain on your parade?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,493
    I mean, if the Hyundai Genesis is now a "luxury" car, what does that make a BMW 7 Series, a Mercedes S class?

    Well, it's kind of like the definition of "rich" that's being bandied about in politics. If you're in the top 2% or whatever of wage earners, you're "rich", regardless of whether you make $250K per year or you're Bill Gates. Nevermind the fact that the guy making $250K per year probably has more in common with the cashier at McDonalds than he does with Bill Gates!
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    Now we've got a $58K Hyundai out. Didn't VW already try this? Not sure that's going to be much of a mover. For resale I think that kind of money means you'd better get that MB, BMW, Lexus, etc. badge or you may learn quickly about depreciation.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    I think luxury is very subjective, along with value. We all get luxury and value from different things.

    To the driver of a 1996 Corolla, a new leather lined nav-equipped Corolla will seem luxurious. To the driver of a Phantom, a new Equus won't.

    I still can't see the Equus making an impact. Starting at 58K is very ambitious for something with dodgy styling and likely less than world class road manners, all from a name that doesn't have much cachet. Not that it won't sell at all...but with leftover 2010 Genesis being offered on TV here, I think this might be going overboard for Korean luxury. It will be a hell of a used buy in 3-5 years though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited October 2010
    Since the operative word of this topic seems to be "VALUE" I guess what's really important is that the car being touted as a "luxury" automobile had better convey a sense of "money well spent" to the purchaser.

    For a performance car, say like a Corvette, a somewhat drab and unimpressive interior is forgivable because you get more than your bang for your buck in performance. For a Chevy Volt---ditto in another way---you get great MPG, the whole cachet of an electric/gas whizzo-gadget, etc---even with the still somewhat downscale GM interior on a $40K++ car.

    But for a touted "luxury" car, it had better feel, smell, perform and be as quiet and as trouble-free as the word LUXURY implies, --- otherwise, the buyer will not perceive the "value".

    I guess what I'm saying is that the term LUXURY has more to prove than the term "innovate" or "high performance. With "innovative" it just has to be different in some way, even if it doesn't work all that well (CVTs for example? or backup cameras?)....with "performance" it has to make noise and go fast, sorta kinda....but with "luxury" it has all these other roles to fulfill.

    You might not mind if the Corvette's gearshift knob comes off in your hand (oh, just go buy another one) but if your headliner falls off your luxury car into your face while you're driving---you are not one bit happy.
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    "I guess I'm arguing in the abstract here, or more about "marketing".

    I mean, if the Hyundai Genesis is now a "luxury" car, what does that make a BMW 7 Series, a Mercedes S class?

    If anything can be "luxury" then really nothing is luxury. The word becomes meaningless."

    *******

    Well, the Genesis fares better in comparison to the 5 Series, E Class, Lexus GS, Infiniti M, etc.

    What's more "luxury" - the Genesis sedan or the C Class? What about the B Class and the A Class?

    And does it matter that the E Class (w/ weak-engines and pleather seats) serves as one of the most popular taxi fleet models in Europe?

    Also, the royal family of Japan gets chauffeured around in a Toyota (Century) and not a Lexus (putting aside that all Lexus models were branded as Toyotas in Japan until 5-6 yrs ago).
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    I don't know if trouble free is expected, at least not absolutely, or in the global market. The Germans always have quirks or even severe defects, but people still flock to them - the driving experience always seems to make up for it. I will never claim any MB I have owned was trouble free, but I can deal with an occasional hiccup for the good times. And I won't even get started on British cars.

    But otherwise, I agree ....IMO real luxury is a combination of the mastery of certain vehicle traits. Those traits may vary in the eyes of the beholder.
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    "Now we've got a $58K Hyundai out. Didn't VW already try this? Not sure that's going to be much of a mover. For resale I think that kind of money means you'd better get that MB, BMW, Lexus, etc. badge or you may learn quickly about depreciation."

    ****
    The Phaeton started (in today's dollars) at over $70K - no value proposition there (why get a Phaeton when the A8, no big seller in its own right, was only a few thousand more?

    And the LS400 became a big seller due to its value proposition - starting at an original MSRP of $35K.

    As for depreciation, the Equus will likely do better than you think; the Genesis sedan has better residuals than the Infiniti M.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    edited October 2010
    But at the same time, the E and 5 which exist in fleets can be optioned up extremely high - to every bit as high a spec as the Asians mentioned and then some, and those Euros exist in highly tuned AMG and M supersedan forms, which the Genesis and others cannot begin to approach. Huge image boosters. Genesis is a respectable car, but I don't know if it fares better...reviews and sales might say otherwise.
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    edited October 2010
    Btw, Hyundai UK is looking to sell the Genesis and Equus in Britain under a new Genesis luxury nameplate.

    Does the fact that they will be sold in the UK under a luxury nameplate make them "luxury", whereas the USDM Genesis and Equus are not simply b/c they carry the Hyundai badge?

    Does that mean Infiniti and Acura (and until recently Lexus) models sold in Japan aren't luxury since they are sold as Nissans and Hondas?

    And what about Toyota's luxury lineup in Japan - the Crown series as well as the limo-class Century?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited October 2010
    What's more "luxury" - the Genesis sedan or the C Class? What about the B Class and the A Class? "

    None of the above.

    There has never been, as far as I can reach back in automotive history, a case of a car that started out as a humble entry-level automobile, and, using the same brand name, turned itself into a world-class luxury car.

    At best, they might hit the mid-range of "better than your average car", even with a brand name change (aka Acura), but more often than not, they hit a brick wall like VW did.

    I'm sure I'll be in my grave (well, my *jar*) long before Hyundai becomes an acknowledged luxury car as measured by Lexus, Benz, Maybach, BMW.

    Even Cadillac is struggling to live in the cusp of this rarified territory.

    You CAN, however, go downwards with a luxury brand and try to steal a lower marketing niche---this can be risky for the prestige of the top o' the line cars of that marque, but the Germans seem to get away with it.

    But an $18,000 Lexus? Not a good idea. That's what Toyota is for.

    Lexus by the way, was a remarkable achievement in automotive history. Only born in 1990, Lexus beat the stuffings out of Top Dog Mercedes in about 5 years time--put the fear of god into the Germans.

    Lincoln and Imperial never even came close to doing that with Cadillac.

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 41,734
    well, I kinda did this last time I bought myself a new car (going on 5 years ago now). I wanted a not too big 4 door sedan, with a stick, and a good amount of equipment (power seat, heated leather, XM, moonroof at minimum).

    really liked the TSX (although it was hard to find a stick at the time). But, you paid a decent premium for the Acura badge, and a few features (6th gear, perf leather, not sure what all else). The Accord though was roomier, but still not too big outside. Not quite as sporty handling, but still nice to drive. And used regular, not premium.

    but, the big deciding factor was price. Getting the Accord as a left over (2005 MY bought in dec. 2005) at a large discount meant that I probably paid about 8K less, if not more, for the Accord over the TSX.

    getting into that price delta, when you are "of a frugal nature" is a big deciding factor!

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    Well, I totally agree that compact or entry level sedans such as the 3 Series, E Class or IS, much less the ES, 1 Series, etc. are NOT luxury vehicles.

    Otoh, the Equus (or even the Genesis sedan), aside from its current branding, IS a luxury vehicle.

    You include Lexus (well, at least the GS and LS) in your pantheon of "luxury", but until 5 years ago, the GS was known as the Toyota Aristo and the LS was known as the Toyota Celsior in Japan.

    So are you saying that the GS and LS are luxury vehicles in the States, but were not (until 5 years ago) in Japan simply b/c they wore the Toyota nameplate?

    Or what about the Toyota Crown Majesta which Toyota considers an S Class and 7 Series competitor, or the Toyota Century which sits ATOP of the Toyota/Lexus hierarchy?

    Or what about the Infiniti Q45 (still sold as the Nissan Cima) or the M (Nissan Fuqua) - both outranked by the Nissan President until Nissan decided to stop production?
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,306
    "Rich" can also vary by location. The guy who makes $250K may be rich if he lives in Appalachia but would only be considered (maybe) upper middle class in San Francisco.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,615
    edited October 2010
    how do we pronounce Appalachia? With a long "a", like the "a" in late? Or with a short "a", as in apple? We've always pronounced it with an "a" like in the word late. Then when the Appalachian Mountains were in the news a couple of years ago the dorks at HLN/CNN pronounced it with a short "a"!

    CNN is one annoying and obnoxious news agency. Dialing up Alex Jones and his infowars.com website will teach you more than watching CNN nonstop for 25 years.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    Do we know for sure the Genesis brand will be launched in the UK?

    Seems like a pretty ballsy move given the inability of Lexus to develop a similar following to the local brands in the UK or EU as a whole - and IMO Toyota is still regarded better there than Hyundai. Some Lexus are true luxury cars, but you can spend all day in a major European city and never see a LS...maybe part of being luxury is being accepted and embraced in the market.

    JDM is about a quarter the size of the EU and around a third of NA. I don't know if anyone mimics it.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    C is the entry level MB sedan, not E.

    I think the JDM does things differently than the west.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited October 2010
    As long as it has the Hyundai nameplate it will not register as a "luxury" vehicle in most people's minds I don't think. The term seems meaningless when applied to the Hyundai, because "luxuxy" is a relative term, and compared to *real* luxury cars, it's not going to cut it IMO.

    E.G., a pair of really nice shoes from Sears are not a $600 pair of Ferragamos and you're not going to find them being shown off in the best places.

    It's a wannabe kind of thing IMO. It doesn't fool the people who know the difference, I guess is what I'm saying.

    Now, if you want to argue that a Hyundai may stay on the road as long as a Lexus, or that the Sears shoes are better for hiking than the Ferragamos---no argument from me on that.

    I think Edmunds put it very well in their initial commentary on the Equus:

    "You don't buy a Hyundai to impress your friends -- not yet, anyway. The 2011 Hyundai Equus should impress potential owners, though."

    And, more to the point:

    "Plain styling; modest low-end torque; longish braking distances; constantly having to explain why you bought a $60,000 Hyundai."
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,493
    I think the 1970's screwed up the idea of luxury for a lot of people. Traditionally, in the US at least, usually the bigger, more powerful, and more plush the interior was, the more luxurious the car was considered to be.

    But when the first fuel crunch hit, the European cars were finally able to make some serious inroads. However, their concept of luxury was different from the American...small cars with interiors that were downright bleak compared to the Americans.

    And, as Americans started demanding smaller cars that were nicer, we got "luxury" editions of compacts, like the Dart S/E, Valiant Brougham, Nova "LN", Granada/Monarch, Seville, Versailles, etc. Some of these cars were downright plush inside, and, in the American context, were more "luxurious" than the more expensive European cars. Now, I wouldn't call most of these "luxury" cars, except for maybe the Seville and, to a lesser degree, the Versailles.

    I am a believer though, that there's different levels of luxury. Just like there's $250K per year rich and there's Bill Gates rich, there's BMW/Audi/Benz/Cadillac/etc luxury, and then there's Rolls Royce, Maserati, Bentley, Maybach luxury.

    And where, exactly, would something like a Ferrari or Lamborghini fall? Certainly you'd think a car that costs $100K, $200K or more would be a luxury car, but they're all about performance. Ride, comfort, amenities, and so forth, are afterthoughts. I'd look at them as more of a "trophy" or "high priced toy" than a luxury car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You mean those big pimpy American cars of the late 70s? I always thought of them as "faux luxury"----as W. C. Fields said of Mae West: "She's a plumber's vision of Cleopatra".
  • ctlctl Member Posts: 129
    We seem to focus too much about brands (Toyota/Lexus, Hyundai/Genesis) and forgot about the most important factor of luxury and prestige - price. A 35K MBZ C, Lexus ES, BMW 328, Hyundai Genesis... are not luxury cars. A 60K Equus however, while a Hyundai, should be considered one. A Jaguar XJ at old days, while crappy and not providing a reliable overall luxury experience, IS a luxury car at 70+K.

    The real luxury are the ones that need not worry about values. Values are the way they entice you with a luxury image/brand.

    With that, what's a Equus? I really don't know.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well I think the buyer of a luxury car needs to definitely perceive "value" in it, especially at those prices.

    This is probably why Jaguar will be on the ropes soon enough, and why Cadillac still has credibility issues as a Lexus competitor.

    The Escalade, however, seems to convey value + luxury even though we all know it's just a Chevy with lots more POOF in it. Somehow, the size, the bling, the connection with sports figures, etc., makes it work as a "luxury" item. Maybe it's because BIG and CHROMEY and OSTENTATIOUS is what America does best? I mean, our best selling car is a truck, right?

    I don't see how Hyundai is going to pull this off with that badge on the grille.
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    edited October 2010
    Putting aside the claim that Toyota sold the LS400 at a loss for a couple of years; that would mean that the LS400 was not a luxury car either since it had an MSRP of just $35K.

    Also, there is a problem of pricing btwn countries.

    For instance, the USDM Genesis is decontented from the KDM Genesis in order to keep the price down (doesn't have the adjustable air suspension and other goodies); so does that mean the KDM Genesis sedan is luxury car since it sells in the $50K+ range in Korea?
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    Lexus and Infiniti now have their own "tuner" sub-brands as well; Hyundai will have one as well in the not too distant future (there's a reason why they have been developing a 5.0 supercharged Tau V8).

    As for high "specs", the Toyota versions of the Lexus lineup (i.e. - Celsior instead of the LS) were higher spec'd than their American Lexus counterparts - which leads to an interesting question - which is more "luxury" - the higher spec'd Japanese Celsior or the lower spec'd LS which is sold under a luxury nameplate?
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    The final decision hasn't been made by Hyundai's higher-ups in Korea, but Hyundai UK is taking some preliminary steps and they are really pushing for it.

    If they indeed go ahead w/ it, I agree it would be a ballsy move (much tougher for a Genesis brand to gain traction in Europe than over here), but Hyundai and Kia have been having a lot of success in Europe lately, recently overtaking Toyota in sales.

    Plus, I don't think they are expected anywhere close to BMW, Mercedes or Audi nos.; otoh, it would be better if they wait until their compact, RWD sedan is ready.
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    "C is the entry level MB sedan, not E."

    ****

    Right, I got mixed up typing while thinking about the ES.
  • j2jj2j Member Posts: 147
    edited October 2010
    "As long as it has the Hyundai nameplate it will not register as a "luxury" vehicle in most people's minds I don't think. The term seems meaningless when applied to the Hyundai, because "luxuxy" is a relative term, and compared to *real* luxury cars, it's not going to cut it IMO.

    E.G., a pair of really nice shoes from Sears are not a $600 pair of Ferragamos and you're not going to find them being shown off in the best places.

    It's a wannabe kind of thing IMO. It doesn't fool the people who know the difference, I guess is what I'm saying.

    Now, if you want to argue that a Hyundai may stay on the road as long as a Lexus, or that the Sears shoes are better for hiking than the Ferragamos---no argument from me on that."

    *******

    Not quite the proper analogy.

    Not saying that the Equus is as good as say, the 7 Series, but one can buy $80K+ diamonds from Costco and save oneself a few thousand bucks for eschewing the baby blue box (Tiffany's).

    Or instead of paying full price for a pair of Ferragamos at Saks, one can buy it at a discount from Saks Off.

    Methinks you are mixing up what a luxury car is w/ luxury brand.

    Hyundai is not a luxury brand, but the Equus is a luxury car, just as the Toyota Century is a luxury car (on the level w/ the Maybach and not the lower S Class).

    And oh, curious that you didn't bother reading further (much less posting) about what Edmunds says about the Equus.

    "Even with this minor demerit, the 2011 Hyundai Equus is a genuine competitor to other luxury sedans, both midsize cars like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class and flagships like the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class. The Equus is solidly engineered, remarkably quiet and indulgently comfortable, and that's on top of its exceptional feature content and relatively affordable price. While some will turn away because this car shares its badge with non-luxury automobiles, open-minded drivers (or those looking for luxury without flaunting it) will find the 2011 Hyundai Equus to be an intriguing vehicle."
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,222
    edited October 2010
    What's the Infiniti tuner line that can compete with AMG and M? I know Lexus has the F-series, but with its bland appearance and fake exhaust tips, it hasn't won a huge following, and reguarly comes in behind the competition. I'll await that supercharged H, haven't seen anything about that.

    Does the JDM accept the Celsior as a luxury car more than a high value car? That's a good part of the answer.
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