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.
#16374 of 24726 Mercedes S-Class is the World Heavyweight Champion
Jun 14, 2006 (7:32 pm)
Only eight months after the European premiere of the new S-Class, sales of the sedan have topped 50,000 units. “The new S-Class has been met with great response worldwide, and our flagship vehicle claimed its position as the world’s best-selling luxury sedan immediately following its market launch in September 2005,” says Dr. Klaus Maier, member of the Mercedes Car Group Management Board responsible for Sales and Marketing.
50K units ain't nuttin' to sneeze at.
#16375 of 24726 Aston Martin Vantage
Jun 14, 2006 (7:44 pm)
Just a little FYI . . . I sat in the Aston Martin Vantage this evening, as a friend of mine just picked his up on Saturday, and he showed it to me today. He wanted this car so badly, he had a deposit in place for two years. I don't know how necessary that was to get one, but he wasn't taking any chances. Gentlemen, this is a truly beautiful car with powerful, yet elegant and graceful styling, both inside and out . . . something most all of you would appreciate.
#16376 of 24726 2009 Audi A7 - YES, AUDI
Jun 14, 2006 (7:51 pm)
Need I say any more?
#16377 of 24726 Re: Doc [merc1]
Jun 14, 2006 (8:16 pm)
Audi as a global company is run extremely well. A recent financial analysis by Price Waterhouse and another financial services company (name escapes me at this time) looked at the VW-Audi Group. This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal a while back. Anyway, the analysis was quite fascinating. Simply put, Audi accounts for 80% of the entire VW-Audi Group's capital value. Consider that Audi makes only 16% of the Group's vehicles. This is quite incredible if you think about it. Furthermore, the article stated that Audi is keenly independent and yields the "quiet power" within the Group. Audi Czar Dr. Martin Winterkorn is viewed as the "Wunderkind" of the German car industry and has considerable influence when he needs to use it. The report tacitly suggests that Audi should separate itself from the VW Group all together. Winterkorn's eyes are on the US. Audi of America is going through major management changes to enhance itself in the the US through various top hirings and change in marketing and PR positions and major dealer changes. So, the Inside Line article is timely considering what is going on now inside AoA. However, we Audi enthusiasts have always known that AoA has lacked proper marketing and PR abilities. It is almost as if AoA wants to hide itself from the world. However, Inglostadt isn't taking that BS from AoA any longer. This change takes time, but change is coming fast.
#16378 of 24726 Re: I blame the Inside Line journalists for you discontent, Hemi! [drfill]
Jun 14, 2006 (8:21 pm)
I didn't know China, all of Europe, Mideast, many parts of the US were timbukto. But, hey what ever floats your boat.
#16379 of 24726 Re: Pass The Digitalis [hpowders]
Jun 14, 2006 (8:23 pm)
Most Comparos have placed he A6 ahead of the 5-Series. The 5-series has scored at the bottom of most comparos in US car magazines not to mention European.
#16380 of 24726 Re: Potpourri... Tagman, question for you... [ljflx]
Jun 14, 2006 (9:18 pm)
In the case of MB you are rewarding them for tremendous inefficiencies in their production process and bad cost controls overall. They have to get those prices because they'd be bleeding to death without them. In CFO land this is the ultimate no-no. On the other hand you are penalizing a brand that is lean and mean and can price aggressively. In CFO land this is another major no-no. All things being relative MB has had to substantially reduce its mark-up over its costs to produce its cars in the last 15 years.
All very nice and what not, but largely irrelevant to this discussion. No one cares as to why a car is priced the way it is, nor do I dispute what you're saying about MB's fixed costs. Everyone knows that Germany is the most expensive place in the world to build a car and add that that a non-Toyota-like way of building them and poof(!) here come your huge sticker prices. You're right, but that isn't the focus of this discussion at the moment. We were debating who is a HELM and who isn't.
But all things are not equal and you cannot penalize anyone that has big cost efficiencies and a big build cost advantage because they are using that as an advantage in price. IMO a HELM is a market perception issue and a lux feature issue.
Sure I can because cost isn't the only issue here. Lexus is synthetic, it is a name plucked out of thin air during a 1987 Toyota board meeting. It lacks the sense of occasion, the heritage, there is no sizzle to the nameplate, nothing to read about pre-1989.
I can see the issue dr. fill raises clearly because in the US Audi lacks the first one but has all, and then some of the second one. I certainly consider Audi a HELM - I just don't think they will ever make it big here. It's not going to be overcome by marketing either. It's an image problem and it will take a phenomenal US investment to overcome.
I see the issue and the point that he is making, but my point wasn't that Audi is above Lexus, it was that neither Audi or Lexus is on the same, equal level as Mercedes and BMW. I agree it would take a miracle in today's market to get Audi to the volumes and presence that other HELM's enjoy, but anything is possible. In 1992 they were at 12K units a year and really on the brink of leaving the U.S. market, despite what Audi management said at the time, they were.
This whole status thing with Lexus changes by the hour. One minute we're told the Lexus equals MB/BMW and yet in the next we're told that MB/BMW's higher status helps them sells more cars at the top end. I mean it can't be both. Either Lexus is equal to Mercedes/BMW in the prestige/status game or they aren't. At 17 years of age and only one true high-end vehicle I say they aren't even close in overall position, but they are still highly regarded for sure.
VW doesn't have the pockets to make such a major distribution investment and the competition is way too fierce. To see that latter point just look at Lexus vs VW in sales. Lexus outsells or nearly outsells the cheap brand and before too much longer will outsell VW and Audi combined. It's also why the Phaeton was such a waste. That money should have been put into Audi for a greater UD dealer network and a much better looking dealer network. All the marketing in the world is worthless without a foundation investment and Audi lacks foundation in much of the US. Hence it's perception will always be lacking. Much of it's sales is highly regionalized to the northeast and over time more and more AWD offerings from the big three in the group will cut into that market share.
Again I agree with most of this, but the reason I brought up VW was because of the instance by OAC that a HELM is sedan not a "marque" as the thread header says. If we're going by what a sedan costs and the category then that puts VW in, though we all know that the VW brand isnt' a HELM. This inclusion of a brand based on one car was the flaw in that theory. That is what I was pointing out to Oac. Again, I agree with much of what you've said here.
I've never had a handling problem with the LS and despite all the MB handling comments on the board over the years I find that there is virtually no difference between an S-class and an LS in handling and agree with syswei that the S has gravitated more and nore toward the LS in the last few years.
Impossible because if that were the case the S would have worse handling and the car has only gotten better in handling especially since the 2000 model vs the old tank 1992 S-Class. All cars have gotten quieter and more refined over the years, its called progress. There is no way the S has move in Lexus' direction while all the time the LS was becoming basically a copy of the S-Class' design with the LS430. When you ape an entire bodystyle that is more than "moving in a direction" of your competitor. The S-Class always put luxury first even back in the day when it was only an S-Class and a 7-Series so saying the S has moved closer to the wannabe S, when the wannabe LS got it's mojo from the S in the first place doesn't make sense to me.
#16381 of 24726 Re: Doc [reality2]
Jun 14, 2006 (9:23 pm)
Nice post, and I agree, but Lj does have a point about Audi and the way it has been run/marketed at least up until this point. I've always thought that AoA didn't have the full attention of their German bosses when you look at how they've hap-hazzardly introduced cars here in the past. That said I think it will take a lot of time and some serious effort to get Audi up to BMW/MB sale volumes and overall standing with U.S. luxury car buyers. Audi just doesn't make it onto the average luxury car buyer's shopping lists, that is the main problem because I think if more people actually drove an Audi they'd buy one.
#16382 of 24726 Re: The Doc's still at it. [blkhemi]
Jun 14, 2006 (9:27 pm)
You, Merc, and the others can argue until the cows come home about why Audi is 2nd or 3rd rated, but why is Lexus not with the rest of the competition in Europe?
Well as you know I'm a huge Audi fan, but my point with the Doc was that if Audi isn't a HELM neither is Lexus. I know that doesn't sit well with you and reality, but I promise it will be the only time I say such a thing about Audi. Car for car I think Audi has the best looking lineup of any luxury car maker. They don't have a questionable or funny looking model in the bunch, IMO.
#16383 of 24726 Re: Mercedes S-Class is the World Heavyweight Champion [tagman]
Jun 14, 2006 (9:45 pm)
50K units ain't nuttin' to sneeze at.
No it isn't. The only thing left is to see how it is holding up. Not sure if the 07 would have been included in the recent JDP surveys. Consumer Reports will report on the new S when???