Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
#10055 of 24726 Re: Merc1 [syswei]
Aug 08, 2005 (4:26 pm)
But they are not. BMW lease deals are quite cheap and have been for a long time now. A company struggling to manufacture cars to a market that can't wait to buy them can charge a huge premium over everyone else. So why don't we see this - because it's not happening. Even in April 2004 I could have had a 745LI lease at the same cost of a $12K lower priced Lexus, so could anyone else in NJ, and I'm sure in much of the US.
Aug 08, 2005 (5:35 pm)
Thanks for the concise post. I'm not thrilled by the outcome (I couldn't imagine ever owning a Lexus) but clearly the trend is the trend.
As a small side note, notice the non-proliferation of the Lexus dealerships. All are very profitable with no one canibalizing sales from someone one town over. This is the business model of a successful, self confident brand. Look at Caterpillar. They are increasingly giving dealers ever larger territories to better support the customers.
#10057 of 24726 Re: Merc1 [oac]
Aug 08, 2005 (8:43 pm)
1) MB is no longer the de facto, *must have* lux brand. You may not agree, but the market has spoken. The market has expanded (no one argues this) and the many more players, and the many more quality brands have relegated MB to the mainstream of lux car brands, not one perched at the top as in the past. May be it is inevitable that no one stays at the top for ever...But with MB's quality issues (real and perceived), corporate issues (SEC troubles, CEO departure, management shake-up, etc), and production issues (way too many variants, huge costs, low profit margins, etc), and the competition gaining in strength, all contribute to nudging MB to its downward trend (see sales numbers below)...
Says who? You keep saying that the market has spoken, yet you ignore the proof in my previous post blows out that theory about Lexus selling more cars in your given price range of 50-80K. Secondly, you say that Mercedes isn't the "de facto, *must have* lux brand", yet I can't get an answer as to who is? It certainly isn't Lexus. Lexus doesn't have a single car (at least until the IS gets here) that causes a person who is even mildly into cars (not charts, surveys, earnings and who the CEO is) feel like they "must have" one. Lexus is the most boring brand in the luxury car field and certainly the most boring one of the 3 luxury Japanese brands. So if IYO Mercedes isn't the "de facto, *must have* lux brand" I'd sure like to know who is. BMW?
The numbers prove that are just that, the "one perched at the top" for the high-end buyer. They were never the only choice or the most popular choice overall, just the most popular for the high-end buyer.
Prestige and clout isn't measured alone by sales numbers either. Lexus doesn't even have a performance orientated car yet and nothing with anything larger than a V8, so how anyone could think they're on the same plane with MB/BMW in desirability is beyond me. All they have is sedans and suvs and a coupe that drives like a sedan. Mercedes has cars that comparable with Acura/Lexus/Infiniti at the bottom/mid level and at the very least comparable to Bentleys/Ferraris at the top end. That is something Lexus can only dream about. You don't see anyone mentioning Lexus or comparing them to anything but other mainstream brands. They aren't nearly on the same level of desirability to people who know cars as MB is. Lexus is the ultimate consumer brand. Which focuses on how nice the dealership is, reliability surveys, and what type of loaner car is given out.
All that irrelevant stuff about CEOs and what not doesn't enter the mind of most people when they see a car driving down the road, and to suggest that it does is really realistic at all. FYI: Mercedes was always one of the mainstream luxury brand every since the late 70s' or early 80s' when they started offering more and more choices. They haven't been "up there" with the likes of Bentley and such since the , 1920s, 1930's or 1950's. Lexus has nothing to do with this so again I don't see what your point is here.
3) In the $50-80K price range, the LS ($55 - 70K) sells more than the S430 ($70 - 85K) and 745 ($68 - 80K). Feel free to add the E500/55 to the list, just to make the point. But here on this forum, we acknowledge that the LS competes more against the S than against the E.
What does that have to do with anything? You're using one example of one car here, not the total sales numbers of all Lexus and MB models that sell between your original price spread of 50-80K. You stated that Lexus sells more cars in the 50-80K bracket than "all the others" and they simply don't when it comes to Mercedes. The E-Class is a 50K car from the start the GS isn't and you can't count the GS300, only the much slower selling GS430. The LS430 might outsell the S430, but the E-Class crushes the GS and that still puts Mercedes in the lead in 50-80K sales. Check the numbers in my previous post if you don't believe me.
Do these numbers mean anything ? Lexus is clearly outselling MB overall, and about equal in car sales, despite the zillions of MB variants. Like Len (ljflx) often states, too many variants are a weakness NOT a strength. Could be one chief reason MB is not profitable....
No they don't because you originally stated that Lexus sells more cars in a certain price range than MB. Now you're spun it around to say that Lexus outsells Mercedes overall....well...hello we all knew that. You changed your position mid-stream because original statement about Lexus selling more cars from 50-80K than Mercedes isn't provable. Thats only "twisting" I see here. You also stated that Mercedes is no longer the car of choice for the high-end buyers, which is where you came up with that 50-80K price bracket, which I really think is short by 20K on the top end. Then I gave you the numbers that proved Mercedes is still the #1 choice for the high-end buyer, even using your price bracket, not the actual one that should be up to 100K. Nevertheless I stand by my earlier post that disproves that Lexus sells more cars between 50-80K than Mercedes. Now if you have different numbers, and not for just one car, then by all means I'd love to see them. This is the only thing you stated I took issue with. No one here ever debated that Lexus outsells Mercedes. Not once.
#10058 of 24726 Re: Merc1 [blckislandguy]
Aug 08, 2005 (9:00 pm)
Thanks for the concise post. I'm not thrilled by the outcome (I couldn't imagine ever owning a Lexus) but clearly the trend is the trend.
The trend is that Lexus has finally decided to update their previous sales duds, the IS and GS so yeah they're going to finally start selling more cars than SUVS, at least in theory they should. While Mercedes has a 7 year old S-Class, and a middle aged C-Class along with an E-Class that is heading towards middle age, though the E is still a sales leader. Yet this is seen as some negative "trend" at MB, but when the GS didn't even sell 10K units last year, this was seen as normal.
This is why I think it is so pointless to looks at the sales from a few months, as opposed to a whole year and draw all these conclusions, when these conclusions are fleeting at best. It is the exact same thing every year it seems. MB and BMW are having some type or "crisis", yet when Jan rolls around they both manage to top the previous year's sales.
#10059 of 24726 Re: Merc1 [oac]
Aug 08, 2005 (10:50 pm)
Also, in your YTD numbers you use the Jan-July numbers for Lexus and the Jan-June numbers for MB. The press releases you linked are dated exactly one month apart. In short you gave Lexus and extra month in your previous post. Probably just a harmless mistake.
When you look at Mercedes' numbers for the same time period that you give for Lexus it looks more like:
YTD: MB Cars - 100881 vs Lexus Cars - 81849, so Lexus isn't "about equal" with Mercedes in car sales unless you call -19K+ units for Lexus being almost "equal".
Something told me that Lexus' car sales couldn't possibly be within 1800 units of Mercedes' car sales (according to your post) so I had to check that again. Turns out my hunch was right.
As always whenever you look at Lexus and Mercedes-Benz's overall sales, MB is weaker on the SUV side and Lexus is weaker on the car side. That status hasn't changed this year because of the GS like your previous (incorrect) post implies.
#10060 of 24726 Re: Merc1 [merc1]
Aug 09, 2005 (4:59 am)
"Lexus doesn't have a single car (at least until the IS gets here) that causes a person who is even mildly into cars (not charts, surveys, earnings and who the CEO is) feel like they "must have" one. Lexus is the most boring brand in the luxury car field and certainly the most boring one of the 3 luxury Japanese brands."
These or similar words are your mantra but they are meaningless when it comes to MB as far as I'm concerned. I know a lot, and I mean a lot of people who owned MB's over the years and not one of them was even remotely close to me in car enthusiasm. You paint this issue as if MB was Porsche, loaded with a majority of people who are car nuts. It's not - far from it. People historically bought MB because it was money in the bank on quality, reliability and retention value. In all three of those things Lexus has taken that spot. That is what OAC is talking about and also Blcklislandguy. The 15K or so AMG cars that are bought - rougly 1.5% of MB sales will hold a high degree of accuracy on your point but even there I am sure that there are plenty of people who are not car nuts.
#10061 of 24726 Re: Merc1 [merc1]
Aug 09, 2005 (6:47 am)
If MB is as good as you claim, how do you explain that people who own or owned both Lexus and MB all say that Lexus makes a better car, ie. reliabilty and quality, etc.?
#10062 of 24726 demogrphic tidbit
Aug 09, 2005 (9:48 am)
first-generation IS...attracted young buyers with a median age of 29 vs. 39 for a median 3-Series buyer. In fact, only one other vehicle, the tC from Toyota's youth-oriented Scion division, has younger buyers than the IS, Colon said. It also attracted new people to Lexus showrooms -- 90 percent of IS 300 buyers were first-time Lexus owners.
#10063 of 24726 Re: Merc1 [merc1]
Aug 09, 2005 (10:46 am)
Good eye on the links. So MB continues to outpace Lexus in car sales, that's good for MB. Hope they continue to do well.
But more broadly on the theme of my original post, I don't know about your circle of friends or family, but only a small minority of people I know aspire/own an MB. Two friends own an MB - E320 and an S500 - that's it. The majority are BMW, Lexus and Infiniti buyers. I am 42, and my circle don't consider MB as a car to have. We look at MB as the car brand of the past, that our parents/grandparents lusted after. The status symbol of old money.... This is our time and our generation. In fact, one of my good friends, an attorney recently traded in her E320 for a G35 and a GX470. She claimed that she wanted more *fun* out of driving, hence she got rid of her MB.... I have more friends driving a BMW than a Lexus. That influenced my desire to own one, a 3-series. Loved the e46, but deathly afraid of repair costs on a used Bimmer. MB is a good brand but highly overated and over priced, for what you get. To get best value, buy a used MB with an extended warranty (CPO-ed). How can such a brand (MB) be the *must have* lux brand when it is plagued by so many *issues* ??? And these are catching up to the reputation and mystique of MB as a brand... hence the departure of Mr Schrempf. If you don't see the correlation of the MB brand decline with the CEO departure, then you are more fanatic than I thought....
#10064 of 24726 Merc1 will love this
Aug 09, 2005 (5:37 pm)
"To improve Mercedes quality, Zetsche will have to promote techniques developed by companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. aimed at finding and correcting the root causes of defects -- an approach at odds with the more traditional method of inspecting and repairing defective vehicles before they leave the plant."
It comes from this column:
If I dropped $85K on a car I wouldn't be happy reading that comment.
Somehow all of this is hardly the mark of a leader and it's way too much in the news. Has MB ever gone through turmoil, loss of quality and loss of profitability like this? Certainly not in my memory. They are Damliers big problem right now. The more I read about it the more I realize MB is losing it faster than even I think. Of course Merc will read bankruptcy into this but all it means is a loss of face, a loss of pride, a loss of capital/profitability and a business plan that canot afford another big mistake. Somehow I think putting Maybach styling into the new MB designs is the beginning of a big mistake. The Maybach is a flop so why emulate it?? Maybe the design was put together when Maybach was planning on selling 1500-2000 cars rather than the 500 they sold. Perhaps iit was too late in the game to change the design. Who knows - but at one point there were some questionmarks about the timing of the debut of the new S. Maybe the factions in the company were in disagreement.
The other funny part of the column is the industry researcher who says MB was standing still. Seems to be quite a counter to Merc's posts that they will never stand still.
Lastly - this bribery investigation line in the story by the US government is the first I've heard of it. As wel it seems like Cordes is highly desired to stay on but that he has no interest.