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.
#14610 of 24726 Re: Merc [drfill]
Apr 09, 2006 (8:50 pm)
The SC doesn't offer the pop-up rollbar, or the performance-oriented acrynyms the Benz does, but it's interior is more luxurious (you have a tristed way of admitting this), and offered the same speed and power for 3 years. A quarter-mile charge was pretty much a dead heat!
So in other words it is missing a safety item that even a VW Beetle Cabrio has? Pretty awful for 65K, IMO. The SL550 (now arriving) erases any similarities the SC430 and SL500 had in straight-line performance and nothing about the SC430 feels or could make it drive like the Benz.
Very little effort was expended on the SL's interior. So you call the SC guady and tasteless. I call the SL a generally weak effort, not befitting it's $100k-encroaching price tag.
Right and more effort was put into the interior of the SC430 to make up for its lacking safety specification, performance and styling. With Lexus its the same thing, lots of beige plastic, wood and kill'em dead with sound systems and leather, but the car doesn't drive or look like anything. This is why I say the SC430 is the last choice in the segment for anyone that is thinking or wanting anything beyond the normal luxury sedan attributes.
The SC sold 17k units in 2003. Name me a premium convertible that sold that many?
This statement is very misleading because you do realize that the "2002" SC430 went on sale in April of 2001 and that Lexus is counting all of the 2002 model year sales, which is way more than 12 months, to arrive at this figure. Come on now did you really think you'd get away with that? I'm sure the CLK and SL sold more than that if we added April-Dec from the calendar year before the actual model year. So to "name" a premium convertible that could sell 17K units, any of them (well any Mercedes convertible) could if you're going to use nearly 2 years worth of sales to arrive at the 17K figure.
You seem awfly impressed with the queer styling of the CLK, which has gone from clear E-class derivitive to....queer. How about something appraching the impcat the original SC had? Will we see that from Mercedes? Or will we get an R350 instead?
I find this really interesting. You're calling the CLK's styling queer, but you're defending a the ladybug/upside down bathtub look of the SC430? Heck yeah I'd take a CLK500 (soon to be CLK550) Cabrio over a SC430 and as far as the original SC400 is concerned it is for 1) in the past 2) nothing from Lexus has looked as good since and 3) Mercedes blew it out of the water with the original CLK and 2000 CL, which is easily (still) a better looking car than any Lexus. Timeless for a car that came out in 1999! I won't even mention what the current SL does to Lexus' 2-door lineup as far as looks, scorches.....
The original SC400's impact was more because of what it offered, not because it was a stunning beauty.
You love to talk about sales, but the SC430 doesn't outsell either the CLK or SL. It is very easy to pick on another segment laggard like the XLR.
#14611 of 24726 Re: Merc [bdr127]
Apr 09, 2006 (8:51 pm)
I'm not sure where you got your 17k figure.... According to autochannel.com, Lexus sold 10,298 SC430s in 2003. Then they sold 9,708 in 2004 and 8,360 in 2005. Looks like a downward trend.
Exactly, he was using 2002 model year sales, not the 2002 calendar year. The 2002 SC430 went on sale in spring of 2001 giving it nearly 9 extra months of sales for "2002".
#14612 of 24726 Re: BDR [drfill]
Apr 09, 2006 (8:55 pm)
Lexus sells over 300k units a year from less than 200 stores, nationwide. And they sold 40k LS in 1992 for over $45k, which with inflation, puts it's price near Audi's A8 today. Numbers of dealers is no excuse.
What does this have to do with Audi? Audi isn't run like Lexus (you'll like that comment). Audi struggles with an image problem and for its worth the A8 has sold much better since the 2004 model arrived.
Again, this is why I think it is downright careless to point to sales as the final determining factor on how good a car is. There are many things that go into who sells what and how many.
#14613 of 24726 Re: Back to HELM [oac]
Apr 09, 2006 (8:59 pm)
I knew you couldn't stay away. Once the boards have you they've got you!
#14614 of 24726 Re: BlkHemi, Two Tings! [drfill]
Apr 09, 2006 (9:02 pm)
With this post you seem to be confusing or trying to muddy up the issue by talking about the Lexus brand instead of just the A8. The A8 has won at least one comparo over the LS430 in MT a while back.
Lexus has conquered countries in 10 years, what has Audi done again?
Besides the U.S. market in terms of sales, what other countries would those be?
#14615 of 24726 Re: The P Connection [designman]
Apr 09, 2006 (9:08 pm)
Very good reading. I've often wondered why Mercedes and Porsche didn't do more since their headquarters are literally across the street from each other. I guess this is why Mercedes sold their stake in CTS (Car Top Systems) a few years back. CTS is the company they both started to do convertible tops for both Porsche/Mercedes and others like Ferrari and Jaguar. Now it is fully Porsche owned, or at least it was last time I saw something online about it. They've done the tops for the SLK, SL, 911, Boxster, XK, and F355/360 Ferraris.
#14616 of 24726 Re: BlkHemi, Two Tings! [blkhemi]
Apr 09, 2006 (9:14 pm)
I agree, very well said.
I think Audi just has a perception problem with being associated with VW for so long in this country. Then there are those who still believe in the unintended acceleration stuff and lastly Audi just doesn't have the infastructure here like MB and BMW. Audi has got to get more dealers in the right places, in other words on dealer's row with MB/BMW/Lexus/Cadillac because from what I read here and elsewhere the average Audi dealer seems to be more accomodating than the average MB or BMW dealer.
#14617 of 24726 Audi A8 - my take
Apr 09, 2006 (10:44 pm)
Somewhere on this board, in memory I recall us discussing about the A8. One of the key points I agreed with then, and will re-state now, is that in the HELM space, a car need something to distinguish it - call it its "calling card", if you will. S had the history/heritage and brand recognition, 7 has the BMW performance-inclined brand awareness, LS has Lexus's luxury, refinement and reliability, what does the A8 have ? Nothing really... Maybe that the previous A8 was an all-aluminum shell. But what does that impart to the buyer ? Jaguar had an aluminum body and that did not buy it any more market share than it already had.
Len (ljflx) alluded to something missing in the A8... Yes, there is something missing... a DNA... something the NA market buyers can attach to the brand. Currently, nothing. It remains a pedestrian brand, unable to rise to the level that a HELM buyer would associate to a "gotta-have". Maybe the fact that VW remains mirred in a reliability slump, and a third-rate German brand behind MB and BMW in the NA market, is not helping Audi at all... Lexus had Toyota's reputation to buoy its name/brand, Audi had the baggage of VW.... Not something to build upon...
Finally, a comment about the term *loser*... IMO, there are no HELM car that can be described as a *loser*. Those who argue the SC430 v SL500 really are arguing out of turn. The SL is a roadster, the SC430 is a 2-door coupe version of the 4-door LS430, that is, a plush, luxury cruiser, with 2-doors. Nothing more than that. The SL is a true roadster, powerful, refined, performance-inclined and the top dog in its class. Like the SL, the SC430 is one of a few cars with the least amount of days spent on a dealer lot - about a 13-day average. That is a winner any way you define it.
And Designman, excellent piece on the VW/Porsche-MB saga... If I didn't look at the poster's name, I'd assume it was written by Len, who has a keen business view to everything. I am surprised you had an interest in the business side of these fine cars.... Great piece. Please do more of this...
#14618 of 24726 Re: Back to HELM [tagman]
Apr 09, 2006 (10:57 pm)
Thanks Tagman and GaryH. I do indeed appreciate the welcome.
#14619 of 24726 Re: Audi A8 - my take [oac]
Apr 10, 2006 (2:20 am)
True, Audi doesn't have a calling card like BMW or Mercedes. They used to have an advantage of offering AWD on everything, but BMW and especially Mercedes really have erased that advantage.
Audi is however has gained a reputation for the best interiors in the business and they're gaining one for leading technology and edgy, crisp design. From what I'm reading here on Edmunds they're also gaining a good reputation at the dealership level too.
As far as the SL vs SC430 I have no problem with your description of the SC430, which is basically what I said years ago and more recently a few posts ago. It is the comparison of the SC to the SL that really doesn't make any sense to me. The SC430 is sorta like the ES in the way it competes in a segment of similarly priced cars while not having much of anything else in common with them. This it-must-be-a-winner because it sells theory totally disregards a whole host of other factors.