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.
#2999 of 24726 Europeans behind U.S. car companies?
Oct 07, 2003 (6:11 am)
"While Japanese-branded vehicles continue to dominate in terms of long-term vehicle quality, the Europeans have lost their edge over the U.S. domestic-branded vehicles...
The 2003 study, which measures problems reported by original owners of 2000 model-year vehicles at three years of ownership, finds that although there is near parity between U.S. Domestics and Europeans in terms of initial quality, substantial quality gaps appear between the Domestics and the Europeans in long-term durability. On average, models by domestic automakers outperform the Europeans by 49 problems per 100 (PP100) vehicles at three years of ownership.
"Conventional wisdom said that dependability was the property of the Japanese and Europeans," said Joe Ivers, partner and executive director of quality/customer satisfaction at J.D. Power and Associates. "While thatís still true for automakers like Toyota and Honda, itís no longer the case for many of the Europeans. Porsche, Jaguar, Saab and BMW perform well above the industry average in dependability, but many other European brands are bought based on a reputation for long-term quality and fall far short of even the average. This is in stark contrast to the results of the first VDS, conducted in 1990, when Mercedes-Benz led the industry.""
To see the full press release, go to http://www.jdpower.com/cc/auto/releases/index.asp?catid=1 and click on Acura, and then click on the blue icon in the upper right of the grid (i.e., 2003 Vehicle Dependability Study / Press Release).
Personally I had no idea that MB fared so well back in 1990 (they are well below average now). If they can get back to number 1 status, I'll certainly consider them very seriously for my next purchase.
#3000 of 24726 From the Peanut Gallery
Oct 07, 2003 (7:51 am)
The last car I would buy as a sedan replacement is an S-class, LS or 7-series. My space needs and driving preferences would have me spend $75k on an M5 (or even E55) before any of the above.
That said, the demographic generalizations being made above suggesting an older, less afluent Lexus buyer don't hold true within my circles. Examples: A 45 year old business school classmate of mine sold his company in March, 2001 and personally cleared $440 million. Drives: LS430. A 65 year old real estate executive with 6,000 apartment portfolio - S430; his 41 year old son, S500. I could go on.
My former classmate with the LS430 also has a 911 Turbo in the garage which is his "fun to drive" car. His opinion, the LS430 is 90%+ the luxury auto of the S500, with 0% of the maintenance headaches and hassles. He values his time very highly and if he's going to have hassles, it will be over a sports car like the 911 rather than his daily driver luxury sedan. In spite of his success, he has no apparant ego need to flaunt it.
In my circles, the number of people who buy an LS430 (or Q45) because they can't afford an S500 is less than the number who have drifted away from the Mercedes brand over quality control and reliability issues over the past few years. I'm glad I don't need the size of the S or LS or Q. I'm not sure what I would do.
Oct 07, 2003 (8:43 am)
Thanks for your anecdotes, and welcome to the board! It is certainly true that some LS buyers made their choice despite the car's value pricing, not because of it. Bill Gates is the most famous example, and as far as I know he still uses an LS as his daily driver.
An interesting calculation: with his net worth of $46b, if we included EVERY LS and S owner in a demographic analysis, Bill would, all by his lonesome, skew the LS average (mean) net worth upward by $230k! (I am assuming 200k LSs on US roads, which is just a guess based on a 2003 run-rate of 20k or so cars. I am also assuming that he no longer owns an MB...I know he once did, before the LS, but don't know if it was an S or if he sold it.)
Steve Ballmer's $12b would skew the LS430 mean upward by another $60k. Steve is another LS driver, though it is conceivable that he also owns an S.
#3002 of 24726 habitat1
Oct 07, 2003 (9:55 am)
Excellent comments. The oldest LS430 driver I know is 56 years old. When I bring my car in for service most others dropping cars off are in their 40's to early 50's in appearance. In my town which is a wealthy one you see plenty of LS430's and S-class cars and it's probably a 50-50 ratio. It's the 7 and the Jag that you see only upon occassion. There are plenty of LX470's and TLC's at every school and sport event and uncountable ML's and RX's around that you see at every turn. Since I see many of the LS430 and S-class cars at school and student affairs, and since most of them come from homes in the $1-5mln range it's obvious boo20's demographics don't work around here. They are not even remotely close. Anyone can put out a financial tool linking car price to some income threshhold but that hardly means that is who the car is being sold or marketed to. Secondly as syswei states why does it even have any relevance. For what it's worth someone I know well in the $100mln+ wealth range has an LS430, an LX470, 3 old MB's from the late 70's to the late 80's (two of which are SL's) and a VW beetle. He's 55 years old.
Oct 07, 2003 (10:36 am)
"The average yearly income of an LS buyer is 186,000. The average yearly income of an S class buyer is 284,000."
These stats have little to do with who can afford what car. Income should not be confused with wealth, which are two different things.
Somebody may have an income of $300,000 but also have two mortgages, car payments, credit card debt, very little in the bank, etc. They may only be able to afford an Accord. They have a big income but would not be considered wealthy.
On the flip side, somebody may make $100,000 but have no mortgage or any other debt with lots of money saved up. This person could easily buy most any car with cash.
The true measure of what somebody can afford is their wealth (money saved up), not their income.
Oct 07, 2003 (11:49 am)
Well, probably there are no invariable rules on how much money you *should* spend on a car, but I'd wager that there is a real link between yearly income and amount spent on a car, even though there'll be variances. After the bubble, I think there are still people that have significant amounts saved up, but they're dealing with that very conservatively and re-adjusted to live off their salaries, a revolutionary concept for many who were used to spend out of their stock option accounts.
I think both the Lex and the S (and others discussed here) are the type of car people with high yearly incomes consider, because I think they target primarily business customers - a large sedan seldom is a choice out of passion.
I know my dad had a rule to never spend more than 4 x your monthly salary on an everyday car, which I think a prudent approach. In Europe, where company cars are perks and you get a mix of tax benefits and liabilities with it, there rules are different.
#3006 of 24726 S430vs LS430
Oct 07, 2003 (3:46 pm)
Even stodgy Consumer Reports found the S430 to be a better "handler" than the LS430(CR Nov. 03,p58). "handling is not particularly agile,and body lean in corners is pronounced". About the S430(p.59): "The S430 is both refined and enjoyable sporty. It is the most comfortable-riding car we have ever tested,and its agile handling makes it a delight to drive."
This summarizes my findings when I have tested the LS vs Mersedes S.
#3007 of 24726 skinnygboss
Oct 07, 2003 (3:48 pm)
Posts like yours with experience on both sides of the coin are so much better than the ridiculous bashing that goes on here at times. Your feeling about the S-430 vs LS430 mirrors my experience in 2001 when I shopped the S-class. I needed the S-500 to truly compete but still preferred the ride, luxury and phenomenal interior of the LS430 over the S500 which is a truly fine car and not one that should ever be bashed. The fact that you can get the LS430 if you go that route and pocket $18k or $350 a month if you're leasing makes it all the more better. You also sound like me with the 99:1 ratio as I've said the same thing many times. Lastly I never thought the S-class had much road feel or driver feedback which is the biggest mis-representation I've ever read on this board. In fact it and the Lexus were very close in every way. That is the biggest joke of all because if you bash the LS you are also bashing the S-class because they are so close in the essence of what they do and do so well. Now the AMG's may be a different story but that is not a stock car as far as I am concerned.
#3008 of 24726 age demographics/ income
Oct 07, 2003 (4:02 pm)
Interesting story in C&D. Mistsubishi has the lowest age buyer in the industry. 38.
They are actually going after an OLDER buyer.
Better credit, higher dollar purchases, etc. etc.
Food for thought.
How many of you guys have disclosed to the F&I guy or to a customer questionaire, what you actually make?
If you are pulling in 500K a year do you tell them? I don't know anybody who would.
I'd tell them enough to get the loan.
And if you paycash, then how do they know?
The demographics are seriously skewed downward on ANY luxury product.