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.
Dec 07, 2003 (10:38 pm)
It simply amazes me how sales are one minute the proof that a car company is finished and the next they don't mean anything. Now, at this very moment Mercedes-Benz has lost it's way because they are not selling as many cars as Lexus, BMW and Cadillac is closing in. There always seemed to be one business minded person in here to understand that Mercedes' sticker prices alone shouldn't have ever allowed them to compete in the sales race. That remains the case I see. Gee, I wonder why Maybach can't outsell Bentley and Ferrari can't outsell Porsche, price shouldn't keep this from happening, it's the cars that aren't up to snuff. Lets not pay any attention to the fact that Lexus' sales dominance over BMW and everyone else is based solely on SUV sales, not their supposed to be oh-so great cars. Yet nobody can see that the IS, GS and even the LS have either fallen in the last year (LS), or never sold good period, GS and IS. Nevermind that Mercedes' competing models either sell at the same rate S vs LS, or better, E vs GS, C vs IS, while costing thousands more. It is written nowhere else than in the Lexus handbook about sales equal the best. Interestingly enough the same problem exists at work with management, crunching numbers until they are silly. No reguard or thought about anything else.
Yep, a 6 percent drop in one month after years and years sales records surely spells the end.
Now Mercedes will resort to selling taxis and turn to fleet sales to make up the difference.
Even Mercedes' traditional market position between a BMW and whatever softer-riding cars that have always existed before Lexus is seen as being "stuck". Amazingly this has worked for years and years all over the world, with BMW now having stated their goal is to become more diverse and offer more product to reach their mainl goal of outselling Mercedes worldwide by 2008, yet Mercedes is stuck in the middle. Again this is only in the Lexus handbook of market rules which are dictated by whatever sales numbers are posted in a given month, lets ignore everything else.
Quality control problems with specific components can't be changed in short order with changes at the supplier level, production line, or facelifts to current products, because these things are too expensive, but a styling direction can be changed in short order with what I guess is a cheaper task, a total redesign of cars that have just been introduced. Makes perfect sense to me.
Let me set the scene early, this same crowd will surely cry foul next couple of years, when and if the 1-Series and X3 allow BMW to pass Lexus in sales. They'll say that the 1-Series and X3 aren't "luxury vehicles". This same group can't even acknowledge that the Lexus sales juggernaught is being fueled by 1 car (ES300) and two SUVs (RX, GX), yet none of them claim that Lexus is finished despite not being able to give away the IS, GS models.
I've haven't read so much nonsense in quite a while, at least on this board.
Here's in interesting concept that will surely be shot down in minutes after this posting. Since we're dealing in future predictions of gloom and doom. Here's a nice "what if" scenarios. What if Mercedes had 3 SUVs to equal Lexus'? Going by the two brands sales relationship in cars, Mercedes' SUVs would sell just as well or better than Lexus', but lets not even think about anything like that because it wouldn't fit in with the current hysteria.
Well honestly its a very sleek concept, but it doesn't do anything for me. It doesn't have any surface details or anything, it just a sleek blob to me. That said, I'll wait for the real car, which should have some more detail to it.
#3649 of 24726 MB's current state
Dec 08, 2003 (4:14 am)
I just want to go on record here and give MB it's due.
The current problems seem to be related to the hyper advanced electrical systems that MB has decided they want to be a leader in.
Not the powertrains and body.
The areas where they are having problems seem to be afflicting the German auto industry as a whole.
#3650 of 24726 Hyper Advanced?
Dec 08, 2003 (5:15 am)
I assume that the 'Hyper Advanced' is tongue-in-cheek right? As in wink, wink!
Dec 08, 2003 (6:29 am)
I will bet that the 1-series and X3 will be flops in the US and could drag down the nameplatess very badly. At those price points consumers are seeking value not a luxury brand. Nor will consumers buy a luxury brand that fails to deliver real luxury though there will be some that are fooled initially. But it will be the equivalent of buying a fake fur coat. There is an elasticity of pricing (particularly in the US) that a luxury brand should not go below. Those cars will break that threshhold. It's not a bad decision to build the cars but it will be a bad decision to market them here.
Dec 08, 2003 (7:00 am)
I finally received my Car & Driver over the weekend and it had a harsh review of the BMW X3. Their main complaint centers on the horrible ride (sounds as bad as the Infiniti FX45). And in order to rush this thing to market it is not even being made by BMW, but by a third party in a factory in Austria. C&D also had complaints about the new 5 Series, questioning not only its styling but some of the electronics since they ruin the pure driving experience.
Yet, despite these issues there will always be people who buy these cars simply because they say "BMW."
Dec 08, 2003 (7:27 am)
You wrote "Lexus' sales dominance over BMW and everyone else is based solely on SUV sales....What if Mercedes had 3 SUVs to equal Lexus"
Look at the numbers, 2003 YTD through September (per Autosite.com):
total Lexus 93,884
total MB 23,303
So what it MB had 3 SUVs instead of 2? Right now, Lexus outsells MB by 4x while offering 1.5x the number of models (and 1.0x the number of variants, since the ML comes in a 350 and 500, and not counting the ML55 and G55).
It is the vehicles that "aren't up to snuff", to use your words.
You ask "What if Mercedes had 3 SUVs to equal Lexus". And I ask: What if Lexus had as many CAR models as MB does? Lexus has 5 car lines, IS, ES, GS, LS, SC, while MB has 7 lines, C, E, S, CLK, CL, SLK, SL. Lexus has 7 variants of those 5 lines, while MB has 25 variants of its 7 lines (not counting AMG models).
But in reality, we don't have to play "what if" games. Customers have voted with their wallets, and Lexus, despite the lack of heritage and lesser prestige, has come out ahead in the REAL market.
#3654 of 24726 MB price cutting
Dec 08, 2003 (7:30 am)
Not predicting that it WILL happen, but I still think it could be done without hurting the brand. Didn't MB have 10-15% across-the-board price cuts in 93 or so? Didn't seem to hurt the brand.
Dec 08, 2003 (7:35 am)
When you get a chance to drive the LS430, drive the Ultra edition (the $71,000 model) I think you will be surprised how much road feel there is when you put the car into the stiffer mode, you will also be surprised how fantastic the ride is.
#3656 of 24726 IMHO: Dial-A-Ride is coming
Dec 08, 2003 (10:18 am)
Just some speculative thinking about how modern systems technology and software enables engineers to reproduce feel and experience:
Re the Lexus sport ride, I think the general trend to provide multiple ride settings is the harbinger of what I think of as Dial-A-Ride, followed by Road and Location aware Suspension settings.
GM's new rheological shock absorber system ( ferroelectric damping ) is adjustable in real-time by Digital Signal Processor technology to provide not only instantaneous response to the 'bumps' encountered, but also the style of the ride in jounce/rebound dynamics.
Since the 'feel' is in software, you can imagine a Dial-A-Ride option in the future. Like BMW for this stretch, hey dial-in a 540i, E320 for this piece, Dial-it-in, Lex for super smooth cruise during the hour long conference call, Dial-it-in.
I wouldn't think that BMW will program in MB nor MB BMW. It will be too hard for them to let go of their 'unique' feel.
Since this is largely electronics based and a such differentiator, I think I know who might. They'll get it right. Imagine copying the 'feel' and driving response. I can hear the howls from Germany now "voo cannot do dat!"
Then the GPS integration will occur and the RDS radio pickup info on road conditions. You can tell it what you want, ask for suggestions, or just let it do the right thing.
Dec 08, 2003 (10:50 am)
The "what if" scenario on MB having 3 SUV's is a silly one. If they thought they could beat or compete well with the RX330 they would have done so by now. This is a weak spot in their armor and is partly a function of not having good platforms to build off of.
I know a bunch of RX owners around here and they think of it as more of a car than a truck. Count it however you like but it's not truly in the LX, GX suv family. It's more of an elevated luxury sedan to me. If I bought one I'd still need an SUV. That's my personal judgment point and serves what the determining factor on what the RX330 is to me.
Syswei - We ended up with about 20" of snow down here in central NJ. I never saw it snow as heavily as it did on Saturday afternoon for about 3-4 hours. More than a foot fell in that timespan.