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.
#16273 of 24726 Re: The Inside Line article re: Audi [tagman]
Jun 12, 2006 (9:32 pm)
Yeah just read it. A quote from the article:
So, Audi's problem in this market is not product, it's not design, it's not manufacturing, and it's definitely not engineering, technology deployment or product development. The only thing left to blame is sales and marketing.
Audi, Audi where do I start. The biggest problem of which is touched upon in that article is that Audi wasn't allowed to be itself. I've always said that Audi's U.S. bosses didn't have their German counterparts full attention when it came to the U.S. market. This break from being a division of VW should help with that.
Then there are some other things. Audi has some of the nicest dealerships going, most of which in the Chicago area are brand new. They're modern, hip, clean, big, etc. etc., but they're usually not on the "dealer row" with Mercedes/BMW/Lexus. That needs to change until they get on the shopping lists of the folks that compare the L/MB/BMW combo all the time. Last time I checked you couldn't even get a model brochure from Audi's website. What the hell is that? Not as many dealers in as many visible places as the competition and I can't get a brochure on one either - that equals no sale for a lot of folks I bet. There there is the issue of Audi taking their sweet time to bring over their most interesting models. The previous RS6 was a brilliant car, but it was sold for only one model year and it wound up costing more than the E55 and M5 of the day. They seem to be getting better at this since the RS4 is coming over now and it isn't the last year of production for the current A4 bodystyle. The S6 and S8 are somewhat timely also.
Interestingly enough, the Chinese have made Audi so popular to the point that they can get a LWB version of the A6, yes thats right the A6! Audi needs to treat the U.S. market like the European or Far East markets and they'll gain some ground, but the article is right. Audi isn't promoted right and just doesn't resonate with enough luxury car buyers when it comes time to buy and I think part of that has to do with dealership placement combined with spotty advertising and marketing.
Lastly I disagree with the article in the way they seem to blame Audi for not handling the unintended acceleration controversy better. I think anyone else would have given up in 1992 considering that in the 80's they were selling 85K cars and by 1992 they had reached 12K. I mean what else was Audi supposed to do? Mention the controversy in an ad and then refute it? Not. They started building better cars starting with the 1996 A4 and have never looked back, but now it is simply time to tout their many highlights which the article does recognize.
#16274 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [oac]
Jun 12, 2006 (9:43 pm)
Tell me, Merc1, what do MB and BMW have that Audi does not have ? A 12-cylinder super sedan ? Sport-biased cars ? Racing history ? Heritage ? Even sales on a global basis.... When you mention MB/BMW, pls include Audi. Audi is as much a HELM company as MB and BMW ! Ditto Jag (gotta acknowledge Blkhemi and TagMan's request here). Only Lexus needs to be propped into the HELM class on the strenght of its LS sedan. As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL...
Audi doesn't have the product spread that BMW and especially Mercedes-Benz has for one. Audi is rapidly changing this and of course they have nearly everything else MB/BMW has so you're right, but when I said that Audi wasn't a a HELM I was thinking primarily in the U.S. market. Audi as it stands in this country right now they only have one HELM car, the A8/S8/A8L. As far as propping up a brand with one car that competes in the HELM space, Audi is pretty much in the same boat as Lexus in that regard, but you're right their other qualities put them nearly equal footing with BMW and Mercedes-Benz but that disqualifies Lexus outright because they have none of those other things you mentioned in regards to Audi.
Trust, you don't have to build Audi up to me because I think they're 90 percent as good as anything BMW/Mercedes makes. They just don't have the lineup at the moment and they realize this as does Lexus. Everyone does bottom 2 sedan categories and most do the S/LS/7/A8/XJ segment, but even fewer do the convertible/sports cars/roadster segments like BMW and especialy MB.
Lexus on the other hand doesn't have anything even remotely interesting outside the sedan category and even there they lack any real lust objects. There is no way possible you can be a High-End Luxury Marque with just one car (a sedan) that competes at the true high end, otherwise VW is also a HELM too and we all know they aren't. That is why this:
BTW, the word "marques" does not imply a brand with more than one marque car, but rather more than one car company with at least a marque car that fits into the HELM topic on this board.
doesn't fly. Marque does indeed mean a brand not just one sedan that barely gets past 70K which happens to be where BMW and again, especially Mercedes have no shortage of models competiting or any trouble selling. Otherwise the thread needs to be changed to High-End Luxury Sedans, not Marques.
As Lexus adds more to its upper cadre cars, it will become a solid HELM company - LS series, GT450, and potentially another super sedan above the 600hL
True, but in the NOW Lexus don't cut it as a true HELM. No propping should be needed.
#16275 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [merc1]
Jun 12, 2006 (9:53 pm)
in the NOW Lexus don't cut it as a true HELM.
Then . . . what/where? With Infiniti and Acura? The LS is much better than them, IMO. And as I say this, I am not a Lexican as you very well know.
#16276 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [tagman]
Jun 12, 2006 (9:55 pm)
That is why I allowed room within a Tier because as you point out Lexus is clearly above Infiniti and Acura, but they aren't up to BMW and Mercedes either. Esepcially going by Oac's notion on a HELM being a brand that has one HELM car, heck that mean VW fits the bill also. This is why I think I put Audi, Lexus, and Cadillac all on the same Tier initially. They're all looking to move up and join the next higher Tier and it is highly arguble as to who is closest to doing so between Lexus and Audi. Hence me saying they're more or less pretty much in the same boat overall. Lexus does have a big advantage in perception though while Audi IMO makes vastly more desireable cars, but their sales don't show it.
#16277 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [merc1]
Jun 12, 2006 (10:03 pm)
With the soon-to-be LS variants, will we still be talking ONE car in your opinion?
#16278 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [tagman]
Jun 12, 2006 (10:06 pm)
Yeah pretty much because they're all variations of the same theme. The LS460 and LS600hL are no different than if Mercedes only had the "S-Class" as their only HELM qualifying car, but we know that MB has much more than that.
***Unless Mercedes gets credit from the Lexicans for having a model like the S65 AMG that sells way above (Bentley territory) anything from any other brand here.***** Does the S65 get any special treatment or further elevate the MB brand on the Oac scale or is it just another "S-Class" model I wonder?
I think that it is only fair that if the LS600hL winds up opening up new price territory (which it is almost a given it will) for Lexus than the a car like the S65 AMG should get the same credit for selling in uncharted area for Mercedes.
#16279 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [merc1]
Jun 12, 2006 (10:18 pm)
This whole requirement of building more than one car as a HELM qualification . . . well, it seems contraversial . . . subjective, although with merit, but not necessarily definitive in the absolute sense.
Further, as variants of the same model extend into higher price categories, such as LS600hl and S65 AMG, then a rock-solid definition becomes even more subjective.
Which brings me to this . . . no one here can have their cake and eat it too. If anyone is going to place defining parameters regarding the underlying qualifications of a HELM, then those same parameters have to extend to the competition as well.
It's all a losing proposition, IMO. I hate to say it, but I agree with the HOST partly on all of this. It's too restrictive an endeavor. So, why bother?
It ends up being a strategic debate on who qualifies and who doesn't. In the end, we'll be talking about the same cars anyway.
#16280 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [tagman]
Jun 12, 2006 (10:23 pm)
Well of course I totally disagree with that notion for several reasons. If one car is all that is needed, then VW makes the cut with the Phaeton. No matter how badly the car flopped in the market it is still a true HELM vehicle. There are several brands that make one high-end car, but they aren't HELMs. Acura could be counted because of the NSX, but they have nothing else remotely high-end. The NSX doesn't make them a HELM.
#16281 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [merc1]
Jun 12, 2006 (10:36 pm)
I'm not saying that one car may or may NOT be reason enough. The numerical factor is only one factor itself. The whole HELM thing is a myriad of variables that you could spend a lot of time trying to analyze. So, what's the point unless you are trying to create a parameter that works better for one marque than another?
Sure, we could come up with a NUMBER of areas to disqulaify Lexus, for example, such as "only one model", "not enough history/heritage", etc., but these are EXCLUSIONARY approaches that we would use as a tactic to keep them out, right? After all, our beloved favorites are already in the groove. What's the point? Are we trying to define the parameters for HELM validation here?
Should we? Is it necessary? Why?
#16282 of 24726 Re: HELM - Definitions and Clarifications [tagman]
Jun 12, 2006 (10:42 pm)
The numerical factor is only one factor itself. The whole HELM thing is a myriad of variables that you could spend a lot of time trying to analyze. So, what's the point unless you are trying to create a parameter that works better for one marque than another?
True. I think the previous Tier systems I gave was pretty fair?
We could try to decide what the criteria is to be a HELM, but I don't think there would be much agreement there either. Mercedes and BMW are safe no matter what, but Audi and Lexus defenders would never stop coming up with things to try and disqualify the other.