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.
#2598 of 24726 Maybach math
Aug 08, 2003 (6:11 pm)
According to Automotive news MB plans to build 1,500 Maybachs a year, and expects 70 to 80 percent of all Maybachs will be sold to current Mercedes-Benz owners who want more than a top-level S class.
I don't know what percentage they expect to sell in the U.S. but let's assume 50% of production or 750 cars. The latest IRS statistics show that 193,798 tax returns with adjusted gross incomes of over $1 million were filed in 2001. In California alone there were 30,843 taxpayers with incomes of over $1 million.
So, to reach their target sales level they only need to sell one Maybach per each 258 people with incomes over $1 million. I am not a sales guy but this does not appear to be an unreasonable target.
Aug 08, 2003 (6:47 pm)
I'm Italian (with little to no creativity in design) and I think the Italians design the most beautiful cars in the world - but that Maserati Quatroporte isn't anything special to me. Naturally I've only seen pix (in most mags these days) so in person I may view it more favorably. But I think it looks like a Jag up front and a 7 series (albeit a better looking one) from the side. It's the first Maserati I've ever seen that I don't think is special or a car I'd love to own.
We are getting to know one another too well my friend, as I was just going to ask you what your opinion of it is. So what do you think?
By the way - I do like the Phaeton - quite a bit actually - but I still don't see it making it.
No Lexus stops tommorrow - I'm disappointed in you. I still want you behind the wheel of an LS430 and an objective opinion of it.
Aug 09, 2003 (12:10 pm)
bwia - the target you mention is not unrealistic when you put it like this. Then again, 1,500 cars at over $300k is a hell of a lot, historical market trends for ultra-luxury cars in hand. If 50% are to be sold in the USA (which is a perfectly valid assumption), it means they have to sell 2 every day. That is a lot of $300k cars, and can't happen without stealing away very sizeable market share from someone else, Ferrari included. Historically, volumes for such cars have not been as high. We will have to see whether the combined lot of Bentleys, Rolls, Maybach etc etc really deliver on their projections. It will be interesting to observe, especially considering that sales for luxury cars in general (anything over $40k) are down. The super-rich are never as dependent on macro-economic trends, of course, but all you need is for understatement to become chic to really create some hurt in that market. I think there the equation becomes whether something is unique and cool enough to get them to spend yet *another* $300k on yet another car, and while the Maybach might fit the bill, if I had that type of money the Maybach would be one of the last cars to truly get my jiuces flowing. Unless the company forces it upon me as a corporate limo, I probably would not consider it. I'd much rather have something with personality, like a Bentley Arnage. Incidentally, Georg Kacher arrived at exactly the same conclusion after driving the Bentley, Maybach and Rolls offerings, and while everybody's taste is likely to be different, he usually gets the car enthusiast's choice very right.
As to the Maserati, the design all in all is sound, with some Maserati cues (which historically have not been the prettiest Italian cars, I think), but somewhat droopy looking in the front. I think the lower part, scoops and such, of the car front let the design down, they seem kit-car-like add-ons, even though lights and grill and hood are quite nice.
The Phaeton has received terrible reviews in the German press. It's supposed to drive very ponderously and feel heavier than it is. The quality of the cabin is supposed to be awesome, however. It seems getting the first luxury sedan out of the door is always going to be an experiment at first - Audi in its time also took its time getting the feel of the A8 right.
Aug 09, 2003 (4:02 pm)
I wonder if the European pubs dissed the Phaeton because it is a VW and not a lux brand. Last time I was in Europe there was a lot of criticism for VW even thinking of introducing such a car. No one had yet seen it let alone driven it yet people were already lined up against it. Europe is a tough market to crack with its nationalistic and socialistic (cast) system approach to buying goods and services. Remember all the criticism of the Euro Disneyland. I think the car has a better chance of making it here before it does in Europe. But I doubt it will make it here because Audi can't cut it with the A8 and VW reliability and quality is in the basement right now.
#2602 of 24726 Long time reader, first time poster.
Aug 09, 2003 (4:20 pm)
I like the new Maserati a lot. It's front end looks like a big softened Rx-8. And the headlights remind me of those found in the Passat. Am I blind here? Does anyone else see what I see?
#2603 of 24726 300eguy05
Aug 09, 2003 (4:45 pm)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don't dislike it but it doesn't make a great impression with me. Pablo said it well - it has a droopy look in the front and personally I think it has a Jaguar like shape in the front as well. On the side it's a more elegant 7-series to my eyes. Somehow I think the car will look better in person though.
Aug 09, 2003 (4:52 pm)
I actually think the European public, by and by, is far more willing to give new exciting stuff a try than the US buying public, which adheres very strictly to some unwritten buying rules. It was a German mag that trashed the VW in its comparison against Audi and BMW. Interestingly, the only place where I have read question marks about VW breaking into the luxury market has been in the US press - the German mags never questioned whether the VW "brand" could be luxury - fact is in Europe it already is regarded as an uppity brand, VWs always carry a premium against other cars in its category in Europe. The reason given by AutoBild.de was preception of untamed weight, simply based on how the Phaeton drove.
Aug 09, 2003 (5:00 pm)
Incidentally, while re-reading autobild.de to make sure I wasn't making up things about the Phaeton, despite very lukewarm reviews the Phaeton has become the best selling luxury sedan in Germany right away. Introduced in May, it already has topped the Mercedes (next in popularity), BMW and Audi offerings in sales numbers.
Aug 09, 2003 (5:58 pm)
I remember reading in the WSJ maybe 4-6 months ago that the Phaeton only did 50% of VW's first year sales forecast. Could be they were wrong but I think that's what they said.
Aug 09, 2003 (6:15 pm)
There's no mistaking the autobild article: the Phaeton is the best selling luxury sedan in German since it came on the market. The Phaeton wasn't selling 6 months ago, so I am not sure the WSJ article makes sense...