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 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.
Dec 08, 2003 (11:08 am)
We had maybe 10", I was disappointed. It was interesting how badly traffic got snarled Friday afternoon...my office is on a main road and it was crawling, with ambulances having a real tough time getting through. Our receptionist took 2.5 hours to get home...normally it would be 20-25 min. I left later, 6pm, and it was ok by then, plus I live closer.
Dec 08, 2003 (12:21 pm)
You are correct. MB did reduce the price of some models. At one point an SL500 (early 90's) well-equipped would MSRP for about $105k. They reduced that car by almost $20k. And a few years back MB reduced prices slightly while attempting to hold to a fixed-price strategy in the showroom. The invoice costs to dealers did not decrease, so the net effect, even now, is that MBs do not have the markup margins they used to. In general, all the luxury marques have attempted to hold the line on increasing MSRPs for the obvious competitive/marketing advantages.
But... a reduced or stagnant MSRP price doesn't mean too much if the cost to the dealers (factory invoice) increases. The price reductions 10 years ago were accompanied by cost reductions as well.
#3662 of 24726 dial a ride?
Dec 08, 2003 (4:04 pm)
Great idea, but all the electronics in the world will not alter certain fundamental physical factors, such as the roll center, the center of gravity, and the polar moment of inertia. Just as one cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear, one cannot make a top heavy, front-heavy SUV handle like a BMW 530 with 50/50 weight distribution.
And how would the electronics compensate for something like a lack of rigidity in the chassis, brought about by something like a missing B pillar?
At best, the electronics will allow one to alter parameters WITHIN THE DESIGN ENVELOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE PARTICULAR CAR.
Another factor will be cost. Cadillac probably spent big $$ and massive amounts of time taking the CTS to the Nurbergring and tuning it like BMW does. Do you really think some engineer in a lab in Japan can simulate this data? I don't. A manufacturer will not really want to go to all the trouble of studying and accurately modeling the characteristics of each car the "dial a ride" is supposed to emulate, even if the vehicles fundamental dynamics made that possible.
Anyway, it was a great thought . . .