Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 6:55 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.
#10265 of 24723 Re: Lexux? [merc1] Wrong Framing [greenbelt]
Aug 14, 2005 (10:15 pm)
But you are mistaken to say that Mercedes sales haven't grown as fast as Lexus because of price.
Mercedes sales haven't grown as fast a Lexus, because Lexus outsold Mercedes in market segments where, in general, they are considered competitors.
Well Lexus outselling Mercedes is twofold. First MB, to their own detriment misjudged the SUV market with the body-on-frame M-Class, which also was cost-cut to death to get it down to a Ford Explorer price, which gave it the worst quality scores in MB's history. This right here is the major reason Lexus outsells MB, because MB (and the Germans in general) were slow to spot the SUV trend and react. Score a huge one for Lexus.
The part about price is where I will simply never agree. The LS430 outselling the S-Class, is in part due to a price advantage. I mean take away everything else and you have a car that starts at 57K going against what was until April (S350 is entry level now) of this year a 77K car in the S430. All I'm saying is that has to account for something. How much so I don't know, but to say it doesn't matter is false.
To make a such a broad statement about Lexus outselling MB in general in segments where they are competitors isn't true either. While the ES330 is an entry-level luxury car, its mission and focus isn't really in tune with any other European or Japanese luxury car company's entry level products. In short, no one else is chasing the ES or even considers it a competitor, at least not enough of one to warrant producing such a uninvolving car.
The IS and GS, where MB and Lexus are more of direct competitors, MB outsells them easily so that statement about where they are both competitors doesn't really hold true when you look at all the models.
Something tells me that if MB hadn't dropped the ball in SUV, the sales race would be a lot more interesting because MB has the better sales on the car side already, in most cases where MB/Lexus prices line up more cleanly.
Does MB face an uphill battle of catching up because of the recently acquired rep for poor reliablity? Yes. Back in 1998 the word hadn't got out yet so they would have really had a chance to maintain their lead over Lexus in sales, if they had a better SUV and didn't wait until the 2006 model year to add a crossover.
#10266 of 24723 Re: MB in the press [ljflx]
Aug 14, 2005 (10:25 pm)
But here's what I've been trying to put across to Merc1. You read a story like that and you still have no hesitation to drop $60-100K on one of their cars? Merc's point is historic MB buyers will not be influenced or may not even know. How? It's everywhere. But let's just say you are one that has been hit by the recalls, the repair bills and the inconveniences of seeing dealer serrvice too often or know a few too many people who have that experience. Still no hesitation? I doubt it because the capital requirement is far too heavy. I think a hidden problem in all this is that MB has lost some core customers at the top end and gained some entry level lux customers who always aspired to own a Benz at that low end. But now its not the quality brand of its past legacy. Proof - I have none but I'd bet a lot of money on it.
Here is the thing though...people have been buying European cars for years and they aren't all "performance buyers" either. MB had their share of buyers that would put up with little things to own one, whether it was for prestige, gadgets, or to simply have an "SL" or "S-Class". MB, while traditionally attracting the type of buyer that wouldn't go near a Jaguar because of reliablity, has it share of these buyers too. Ones that just want a MB, despite the bad press.
The statement about low-level buyers doing the buying isn't true either when you look at the numbers. The S and E respectively are still the #2 and #1 selling cars in their classes, despite the bad press. Especially the press about the E-Class. The SL has its market sewn up as does the CLK, so it isn't just entry-level buyers who still buy or want a Mercedes. Did you look at sales numbers from the 50-80K segment, its over 100K for 2004. These are not entry-level buyers.
At some level, some buyers want what they want and don't care about all of this as much as others. How do we measure who does and who doesn't? I really don't know, but at some level this type of buyer exists for MB too otherwise their sales would have really dropped on a level like VW's have over the last few years. I agree that for some folks all the bad news is a big reason for pause, but for others it isn't. The new product launches, under a cloud and all are either selling up to the level expected or beyond in the case of the CLS. The key is for MB to fix this before this type of buyer is gone, like in the case of Jaguar. I think you would agree with that??
#10267 of 24723 Re: MB in the press [ljflx]
Aug 14, 2005 (10:47 pm)
Syswei - this is why I made the statement last year or last winter that MB would lose its throne status position in the future. I still think both BMW and Lexus will pass them in a few years.
Status is made up of many things. BMW has never, ever been as strong as Mercedes when it comes to the status cars. BMW has always been stronger than Mercedes when it comes to the bottom end. This is why these two have co-existed for years and years, with MB always having the higher postion.
BMW had the chance to knock Mercedes off with all new designs since 2002 for every sedan that they make. However when you look at it the 7-Series was too controversial to knock the S-Class off, even in the final years the S-Class outsells the 7-Series both here and worldwide. That is stauts my friend.
An even bigger drop for BMW is the new 5-Series. While I like the car well enough, it isn't nearly the class leader the old one was when it came to driving. I still think it is the best handling/driving car but the design changes have made the press go cold on it, combined with a new M from Infiniti and it hasn't been all wins like the previous 5-Series. The E-Class, while not marketed as a "sports" sedan continues to be just as popular if not more so (I haven't looked the numbers this YTD), and has placed ahead of the 5-Series in any of the comparos I've seen both compared. Do I agree with that from a driver's standpoint, no, but still the comparo was BMW's strong hold.
The 3-Series will contine its traditional ways of beating the C-Class, but this is where BMW has always been the superior car, for those who want more sport.
The only image builder that BMW has at the high-end is the 6-Series, which is far more successful than the Z8 or 8-Series ever were, but at it costs much less than they did too. The 6 and of course the M versions of the 5 and 6-Series, they've always been red-hot cars for BMW. Mercedes on the other hand has a dozen ga-ga cars to counter this and open up for more wallets and open them much wider at that.
When you look at the real high-end BMWs like the 90's 8-Series and recent Z8 BMW doesn't even begin to have the "status" of MB at the upper end, they can't even get a foothold in in the specialty markets where MB builds a lot of their image. BMW is the only one of the 3 high-end German makes that doesn't have a supercar in their lineup like MB's SLR, Porsche's Carrera GT. Even Audi has one on the drawing board.
BMW being king on the lower half and MB at the upper and overall due to much more successful high-end products like the SL and CL, is pretty much the way it has always been, and I don't see that changing. This new S-Class according to those who are into European cars and post on the pro-European boards elsewhere say the new S is poised to demolish the only high-end car BMW has, the 7-Series.
The way I see it BMW has had their chance, only Lexus remains with a chance to knock of MB. This will have to take place on a worldwide scale and it will require more than just a super LS to do it. MB has many attractive products in all sorts of niches all over the world.
Status isn't just this stuff we talk (argue) about when it comes to corporate matters, the cars have an equal part in building status and that is where the others, BMW and Lexus don't cut it at the high end, because both of them have been doing much better than MB on the corporate side for years, yet even certain everyday MB products are still in control of their market segments, both here and overseas. Not to mention all the high-end models that you see in one form or another every month somwhere being compared to this and that. That is also status.
#10268 of 24723 Re: merc1 [ljflx]
Aug 14, 2005 (11:11 pm)
It's like unneeded bad advertising. On the opposite end of the spectrum I never believed Audi had a real acceleration problem in the 80's yet all those news reports took their toll heavily.
Yeah that was really something, and it was based on a problem a lot of Americans still have, not knowing how to drive. Right after that everything from Camrys to 300Es were claimed to have the same problem, yet not one car from any brand was found to have a default. Such nonsense nearly killed Audi in this country. They sold a little of 12K in 1992-1993 I think, but they hung in there. Now I think their problem is exposure, and of course bad rep in the reliability surveys. We were having a discussion about Audi's dealerships on another board. They never seem to have one in the same areas with MB/BMW/Cadillac/Lexus you know the usual "dealers row" area of your average metro area. I think Audi has an exposure problem that is just as big as their reliabilty problem. I actually think Audi could sell more cars if they had more dealers in strategic places, or at least in more places where other luxury cars brands are represented.
#10269 of 24723 Re: sos [stroudman]
Aug 14, 2005 (11:34 pm)
I have had to acquire a taste for the new S, but I can say I have gone from thinking it was o.k. to liking it pretty well. I've seen better photos more recently, and I guess seeing it in the flesh will determine my real opinion. Late jan early feb is what I'm hearing for availablity, plus the saks 5th ave., or whatever limited edition cars they're making only 40 or so of, that will be sold in october, if I remember correctly. The 450 is either mid model intro for '07, or maybe '08. I'm excited about the car, and we're starting to take orders for them, which is good to see. I'm not too proud to admit that I'm a little nervous about all the new tech going into this car...I hope it's not a repeat of the 220.
Well I like everything except that rear fender arch, so I too will have to see the car in person before making final judgement. In some pics it isn't as bad as in others. Of course darker colors hide it, but a Mercedes has to look good in silver so that is no good if they have to be in darker colors all the time. The interior appear to show a level of quality and detailing not seen in any Benz since the previous SL or W140 S-Class (at the beginning of its production, not the latter years). Yes it appears that the S500 will be a 90K car to start with 100K easily attainable, with the 335hp S450 being closer to 79-81K.
#10270 of 24723 Re: sos [merc1]
Aug 15, 2005 (4:06 am)
Yes it appears that the S500 will be a 90K car to start with 100K easily attainable, with the 335hp S450 being closer to 79-81K.
OK, I'm too lazy to go look on other boards...what are the major innovations that the new S is going to introduce (not counting the fenders )? Stroudman talked about the car being loaded with high tech.
#10271 of 24723 Re: Merc1 [merc1]
Aug 15, 2005 (6:53 am)
For the money one pays for MB, even one, ie. me, gets stranded by the side of the road is unacceptable. And let me tell you, the dealer didn't treat me nice either. That's why Bussinessweek says MB is now a "quality has-been". Please read the article "Dark Days at Daimler" in BW before you post again. We all want MB to get back to "one of teh world's most-admired premium rands" again.
#10272 of 24723 Re: MB in the press [merc1]
Aug 15, 2005 (7:38 am)
Survey after survey says MB's status is nowhere what it USED to be and you are the only one that stills says it's the same. Is this the power of ONE?
#10273 of 24723 Re: Lexux? [merc1] Wrong Framing [greenbelt] [merc1]
Aug 15, 2005 (8:20 am)
Have you just acknowledged that Lexus outsells Mercedes in the Luxury Sedan LS vrs S....and SUV markets....but Mercedes outsell lexus in TAXI's so they are the better company?
This is the high end Luxury Marque board...Shouldn't the Mercedes Taxis and Mercedes As and Bs and Cs...be compared to ...Fords and Chevies and Kias?
#10274 of 24723 Re: MB in the press [ctsang]
Aug 15, 2005 (8:22 am)
Disagree. I for one still believe MB is number one in status but it slipped badly and they now have challengers that are getting so close to it in stature that it may not mean much anymore. As far as I am concerned MB pushed the status advertising the past few years because it needed to re-enforce something that had slipped so much in people's perceptions. I doubt it worked and it was probably a big waste of ad money. You never saw ads pushing status so hard in the past because MB quality spoke for itself and its customers certified it by selling used cars for such super high residuals. That was true status, but those days are over.