High-End European Luxury Sedans

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Comments

  • paldipaldi Member Posts: 210
    Subliminally - this car werks!

    Image hosted by Photobucket.com

    When I spotted this, I thought someone put "Volkswagen" on the trunk. :P What are they thinking?
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    In my circles, MB still has the cache of being the Cadillac of things, if you know what I mean.

    BMW is disdained for the WhaleTail look, yet, has sold more than ever since it debuted. The I-drive is a disaster both from an ergonomics point of view, and reliability - yet, they are selling more of them than ever AND, MB & Lexus are going to an I-drive of some sort.

    Lexus is the fastest growing luxury car in North America - and will likely overtake both MB & BMW combined at some point -not because they're more beautiful, as that would be a real stretch to say, but because they are cheaper, yet more reliable - what Toyota does best. Also, they do what they're supposed to do in spades.

    I remember Nickoseal (sp) engines failing at BMW not too long ago, and they survived, yet, had I had one, I'd be furious and never be back. Cadillac is supposedly making a comeback, but I don't know anybody who used to drive a Mercedes, that now owns a Cadillac. I do know some former Lexus owners who do, but mostly it's Lincoln owners who have Cadillacs in their driveways now. I guess they're back from the pathetic cars they were in the 80's and 90's, but will they ever compete with the foreign makes? I doubt it. Lincoln has decided not to try - they can't afford it, plus they have Jaguar and Aston Martin to refer people to.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Member Posts: 1,150
    Nice summary of the high end market. It would be hard to disagree with any of your observations.
  • dfc3dfc3 Member Posts: 87
    A few things:

    1. In my circles, MB is still tops. I worked at a fast growing company, where the execs were getting BIG increases in comp each year. My boss was a perfect example; he started with a Honda Civic. When he started making good money, he bought a Lexus. Once he struck it rich, he moved to a Mercedes. The CEO of the company bought a Mercedes. So did the CFO.

    2. Smart Money magazine came out with their 2006 rankings; they listed the Lexus GS 300 as the top Luxury Sedan.

    I know these comments are contradictory; I'm not expressing an opinion - just some points....
  • jpvwaudijpvwaudi Member Posts: 139
    Take SUV sales away from Lexus and then compare. The RX is huge. Their cars are basically Japanese Buicks. Reliable, plush, comfy and as tasty as as the Host at Communion. Get the Gold package and a set of lips and rockers. I'll meet you at Denny's near the door at 4. We can discuss Vogue tires over free decaf.
  • dfc3dfc3 Member Posts: 87
    If it matters... the Audi A4 was rated as the best near luxury sedan. The BMW 530i as the best European luxury sedan. This is in the Smart Money article I just referenced.
  • greenbeltgreenbelt Member Posts: 55
    I don't think I've ever seen photos of a new 'brand defining' car that is so ugly as the shots from the Frankfurt Auto Show of the new Mercedes S. It looks like it was designed by some goofy committee that was picking up cues from the auto junkyard.

    The wheel arches are terrible and unnecessary. The wheels themselves are available at the Lexus store for the LS400 from 1997 - 2000.

    If this the 'bet your company flagship', these folks are in deep sneakers. It's the worst looking car I've seen since the new BMW 7 a few years ago.

    No style, no sense of unity, no integrated stance like the MB S of the 'old days'. This is one porker.

    Just one person's view ....

    gb
  • xkssxkss Member Posts: 722
    I don't like the rear of the new S-class of the interior, but the trunk doesn't copy the 7 series because the 1998 Maybach concept predated the trunk of the new 7 series.

    I can't stand the new BMWs coming from the previous ones.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Member Posts: 5,751
    But they are selling like hotcakes. Somebody likes them.
  • sysweisyswei Member Posts: 1,804
    In my circles, MB is still tops. I worked at a fast growing company, where the execs were getting BIG increases in comp each year. My boss was a perfect example; he started with a Honda Civic. When he started making good money, he bought a Lexus. Once he struck it rich, he moved to a Mercedes. The CEO of the company bought a Mercedes. So did the CFO.

    MB is definitely still tops in prestige, among the mainstream luxury brands. But what happens as people aquire more money depends on their personal wants, including how much the prestige factor matters to them. I went to a Microsoft meeting back in 1995 and the top guys like Ballmer and Gates had indivdually labelled, reserved spaces at the building it was at. Those spaces had 3 LS400s in a row...and no other brand. It is well known that Gates has had LS cars for awhile (among others), and I think some of the other execs followed his lead. Even back then, Ballmer was worth 10 figures.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Member Posts: 1,150
    I'll bet you Dell doesn't drive a Lexus. No Buicks for a guy like him.

    Incidentally, this mornings WSJ had a big article beginning on page one of the second section on Jaguar's future plans. Seems they are still working on a strategy. Their immediate concern is to cut costs without hurting the value proposition. IMHO they seem to have a good line up, priced right, with some interesting variants (the R models, the AWD X type "Estate Wagon, etc.). Problem is the X Type is going away and nothing is selling. I think Jags marketing is invisible and/or inept.

    I talked with an MD today in his mid 60's who has owned them all: an S Series with the V12, the 911 C4 (awd), a raft of Bimmers, etc. You would think that he would be ready to settle into an XJ8 SuperV8. Nope, He has his eye on the Maserati coupe that is getting good reviews.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    Wow, I missed that article in the WSJ somehow, I'll check it out in the morning, hopefully the janitors won't throw it out - but as luck would have it, this would be the first time in history, they will.

    No question in my mind, the marketing (or lack thereof) is a big part of the problem at Jaguar. I think they have a pretty good and consistent lineup as well. But nobody knows it, and the ads they do run, are stiff and ethereal. Somebody needs to tell the story about how reliable they are now, and how much engineering is in them. Because, people still think they have lucas electronics and stall at will and leak at every joint like they used to.
  • dfc3dfc3 Member Posts: 87
    That's true. Jaguar seems to be one of those brands that doesn't really advertise; in that the most prestigious brands generally don't need to. Yet... Jaguar had some serious problems a few year's back - and they've worked to correct them. Not sure how much the mainstream knows about the earlier problems though.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    I think that's all the public knows....
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    I'm not sure where you all are, but here (Chicago area) Jaguar advertises all the time, especially for the S-Type. Most of the time during the evening and nightly news. They seem especially proud of their standings in the sales satifaction surveys by JDP.

    What Jaguar needs is two platforms. One for the S-Type, XJ and XK. This is pretty much a done done once the S-Type is redesigned because the XJ and new XK already share the same platform.

    Then, and I know this won't happen, Jaguar needs a new small rwd platform that could support a real rwd sports sedan (not the lame awd X-Type) and that stunning F-Type sports car they showed a few years ago. Mercedes and BMW do the same thing with the C/CLK/SLK and 3-Series/Z4 respectively. Ford isn't going to or doesn't have the money for this to happen.

    Jaguar is taking the exclusive, low-volume approach which may work, but they need the next S-Type to be a big hit because the XJ and XK can't save Jaguar alone.

    M
  • dfc3dfc3 Member Posts: 87
    Interesting. Must be a regional thing. Ironically I recently moved to the Chicago area from Maryland. With a name like "merc1", I should ask you your experience with the Mercedes dealers in the area. I'm seriously considering a new purchase soon.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    I'm interested in the answer to this question too......
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Member Posts: 1,150
    I think you are right on the need for an entry level 3 Series contender platform .

    From a business and marketing standpoint what would you think of a merger with Land Rover (I think someone even already suggested this.)? They already share some technology, same sort of customer and marketing focus. The combined company would need 50% less staff support types (Regional Managers, Trainers, etc.).
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    Might work.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    I thought they had something similar to that already? I know Ford wants Land Rover/Jaguar/Aston-Martin under one roof wherever possible.

    I think something like that is exactly what Ford should do. These three are all British and nich makers so a leaner organization is exactly what they need, especially in field operations. As far as their products go, as they are right now they don't step on each other toes and it should stay that way. Land Rover doesn't need to develop a car and Jaguar should stick to cars. If Jaguar has to do a non-car product it should be a "crossover" not a true ruff-n-tumble SUV like a Land Rover. A Jaguar crossover should be a last-resort thing. What Jaguar needs a entry-level sports sedan that carries the brand's heritage with a BMW-grade rwd chassis. I know Ford and Jaguar are capable of this is the $$$ was there.

    I've always said that either Ford or VW has the best collection of high-end brands.

    Imagine a V12 Land Rover and a XJ12, using one of Aston-Martin's V12s! The recent gas crisis may kill those products though, but a V12 Land Rover would truly put the lights out on any other luxury SUV.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    No personal experience as far as buying goes, but like any other brand they have some bad apples here and there, according to relatives/friends I know with Mercedes.

    In the Chicago area I've heard nothing but good things about Fletcher Jones, Orland Park, Naperville, Luarel, and Motor Werks.

    I'd ask around on the "Prices Paid" board or the Mercedes specific topics to see how the after-sale service shapes up for various Chicagoland MB dealers.

    M
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Member Posts: 1,150
    Jay-zus, a V12 Land Rover!! If the housing boom doesn't implode, this could become the next have-to-have car. Lots of people who bought the Bentley GT are ready to move on. They found out that two other dentists in the same neighborhood also pulled out home equity and bought them.
  • dfc3dfc3 Member Posts: 87
    Merc1,

    Appreciate the insights. You've had some good posts throughout - I've dug into some of them. Haven't bought an MB yet - I've been Volvo brand loyal for a while. But... my 2004 S60 may soon get replaced with a 2006 C-series.

    Motor Werks is probably the 2nd or 3rd closest to me. MB of Arlington Heights is the closest (formerly Mark Motors).

    I'll follow your suggestion.

    Regards,

    dfc3
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Well you might be right, and the V12 Land Rover Range Rover is or was in development, but they were having problems getting the V12 to fit.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    I've been to the old Mark Motors when it was a family owned thing, but I'm not sure if it still is since the name has changed. I remember one of the salesmen telling me that the "old man" was sick and his son was going to take over and that it was time for a change. Have they moved or are they still on Northwest Highway?

    The Motor Werks also has a new store in Hoffman Estates on Higgins right after Higgins crosses over Golf Road.

    Let us know what you do.

    M
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    I like the idea of a V-12 Jag
  • paldipaldi Member Posts: 210
    Today's news is Porsche is buying 20 percent of VW. Maybe now they'll advertise the Phaeton.

    image
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    Can't get my head around the W configuration of those engines. I've tried to figure them out, but can't. VW needs the capital injection for sure, but I don't think the Phaeton is ever going to work with a VW badge on it. For that money, it should be an Audi. It's like tryhing to get $80,000 for a Ford. Even a nice one. Not gonna happen. No matter how much you advertise it.
  • bdr127bdr127 Member Posts: 950
    Phaeton is ever going to work with a VW badge on it. For that money, it should be an Audi. It's like tryhing to get $80,000 for a Ford. Even a nice one. Not gonna happen. No matter how much you advertise it.

    I absolutely agree and have always said that to a couple friends that always drool over the Phaeton....
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Today's news is Porsche is buying 20 percent of VW. Maybe now they'll advertise the Phaeton.

    I'm not surprised. They don't wany anyone to take over VW and end their partnership with them. That would be a huge blow to Porsche considering how the Cayenne pretty much got them through the lean times before the new 911 and Boxster arrived on the scene.

    Besides Porsche and VW have been linked by blood, if not officially, for years.

    M
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 201,000
    "It's like tryhing to get $80,000 for a Ford"

    Actually, they are getting around $180K for a Ford... Ford GT

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  • bdr127bdr127 Member Posts: 950
    Actually, they are getting around $180K for a Ford... Ford GT

    But "how many cars" X $180k are they getting?..... Weren't they only making something like 20 of them?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 201,000
    I don't know what the plans are.... but, I'm betting they sell more GTs than Phaetons..... ;)

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  • paldipaldi Member Posts: 210
    So the universe shifts... This is the old view of the planets. What's going on with Lotus these days?

    image
  • paldipaldi Member Posts: 210
    This might help you visualize the W configuration of two V6s joined at the crankshaft. Notice the staggared pistons on Each bank. One row of 3 is 1/2 of one V6 and the other row is 1/2 of the Other V6.

    image
  • anthonypanthonyp Member Posts: 1,860
    That a good picture...One picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks I do wonder why it is so extra expensive? Tony
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    "Actually, they are getting around $180K for a Ford... Ford GT "

    Well, yeah, in about the same numbers as the Phaeton has been sold! But that's by design in Ford's case.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    Thanks paldi. VERY helpful, and I had no clue, but now it makes sense. I'll bet rod length is interesting! I can't see how this would run smoothly, but I presume it does.
  • paldipaldi Member Posts: 210
    To understand this thing perfectly, may I direct you to this link?

    Understanding "W" Engines
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Member Posts: 1,150
    Thanks for the global map. Are the circles representative of turnover or annual volume?

    The study of international relations (see the recent book about the Pentagon's new mental map of the world) teaches us that that those that trade together have growing, stable relationships. Whats with these unconnected companies like Peugeot, Honda, Lotus (which is really a consultancy), and Toyota? Don't they play well with others?
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    As when you posted that before, its a very interesting graphic.

    Let me see if I can update it.

    MG-Rover went belly up and then the Chinese divided up the scraps. It isn't clear as to what will happen with the remains yet.

    Of course we've all read about Porsche buying into VW, but it wasn't known to most (me either until recently) that Porsche already owned 5 percent of VW.

    Maserati is no longer under the full control of Ferrari, instead they have been folded back in to the Fiat Group.

    Of course we all remember reading the debacle about DCX and them selling off their shares in Hyundai.

    Peugeot SA is a huge company, one of the largest in Europe, surprising considering how ugly (IMO) French cars tend to be.

    Yes, Honda, Toyota, Lotus, Porsche continue to go it alone.......

    M
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,285
    VERY surprising, Merc, also consider how HORRID Peugeots are! I'm astonished that Renault can actually own a controlling interest in Nissan.....
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Well actually that doesn't surprise me about them having a controlling interest in Nissan. Nissan was nearly finished in the 90's due to pitiful cars that very few wanted anymore. They still don't have the quality of a Honda or Toyota, but they've turned their styling and competitiveness around. Now they make either controversial looking cars (ugly imo) like the Maxima or some good looking ones like various Infinitis. Other than the Infiniti M series Nissan is still in need of some interior designers imo. The other big difference is that they make some cars that are constantly competing for top spaces in their segments, especially on the Infiniti side of the house.

    M
  • xkssxkss Member Posts: 722
    Why buy a VW Phaeton when you could get an Audi A8 with an aluminum chassis and better styling?
  • xkssxkss Member Posts: 722
    Rover and MG are dead.

    Panoz and Saleen aren't shown in that picture.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Well styling is a matter of opinion. I think they both look good with a slight nod going to the A8 only because it looks more futuristic than the VW, which looks more conservative.

    M
  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    My concern is that Porsche is taking on something that is beyond them.

    VW is hurting badly these days, even in Germany. I think that it would take the kind of financial muscle that Toyota has to turn VW back into what it once was.

    IMO the Panamera sedan (with coupe and cabrio versions) and an entry level roadster are so much more logical for Porsche's future.

    The easiest time to overextend yourself is when things look really good financially.
    I know this from personal experience! ;)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 201,000
    It is a stock purchase with excess cash... Could they lose money on the investment? Sure.. but, if the cash is excess, it shouldn't affect the rest of the company....

    This isn't like the merger of Chrysler and Daimler... If VW goes in the crapper, Porsche just writes off the investment... I didn't see anything that requires them to make a continuing investment in the company, or absorb any of VW's losses (other than what would be reflected in a lower stock price).

    Much ado about nothing, IMO

    regards,
    kyfdx

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  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Thank you. I'd been wanting to say that for days now. They already had a 5 percent stake in VW anyway. They're doing exactly what you said they are and just protecting VW from being taken over by someone that wouldn't continue VW's partnership with Porshce. Porsche isn't trying to turn VW around. They couldn't do that if they wanted too. It seems as though anything a German company does nowadays is some grave mistake, even a highly successful one like Porsche.

    M
  • scott1256scott1256 Member Posts: 531
    A board of directors has a responsibility to use company reserves in a way that maximizes share value for the shareholders.

    IMO (and that of many others) the choice by Porsche directors to invest in VW does not represent wise use of Porsche's capital reserves.

    A company is never more than one or two bad decisions away from trouble. Porsche has a great product line and reputation now! I would hate to see them slip back to the brink.
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