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 13, 2003 (10:54 am)
"1. MB’s higher prices have – in the PAST – not prevented it from being the number one unit seller"
That happened for ONE year, one single year. Hardly proof of anything. It's seems as though you're determined to forget certain key points that I have already listed in previous posts. The year Mercedes was #1 in the luxury market, they did it with a (at the time) brand new SUV. JUST LIKE LEXUS DOES IT NOW. They never did this with pure car sales. I honestly don't know why that is so hard to see.
Now, after about 6 posts you clearly recognize that despite Mercedes higher prices they outsell Lexus on certain models, but yet you expect them to be able to outsell Lexus totally because of that..........again you're ignoring the SUV component.
You also keep ignoring the fact that MB has at least 10 cars that costs more than any Lexus. You're acting like 3 C-Class models priced under Lexus are going to make up for the 10 that are priced way above any Lexus and put Mercedes first in sales. Thats backwards. It 3 vs 10. You can't see that MB's lineup is skewed towards the middle and top end?????? They sell most of their cars for 45-50K or better, right where Lexus tops out, average sales wise. Only the SC430 and LS430 consistantly sell for a higher average price than 50K. The GS430 sales as if it's about as rare as a M5 or AMG product.
Like you stated earlier the "what if" and now "lets pretend" stuff is silly but... The answer to your overall question is NO because unless the "Lex" costs the same as a Rolex, Brietling there is no way the higher priced brands are going sell in the same numbers. What you're reaching for doesn't exists. Curiously enough you left price out of the "pretend" scenario. Rolex's and Brietling's watches costs as much as some of these cars we're talking about here, how in the world would they every sell in greater numbers than a much cheaper brand. That doesn't make sense.
I mean in all seriousness you should really research this. Since anyone can remember Cadillac was #1 in unit sales. Why? Becasue their best selling car, the DeVille used to costs about what the ES330 costs today, that combined with lots of fleet sales put them over the top year after year. The SUV (Lincoln Navigator) is what caused Lincoln, for the first time in the modern era to surpass Cadillac for #1 in 1998. Cadillac was so devestated by this they actually tried to lie about their sales numbers. Mercedes was never, ever in the running until the ML came along. Mercedes' best year prior to the intro of the ML was 1986!!! Even in that year, they didn't sell more than 100K units. True they outsold BMW for years and years, but that too changed in the 90's because BMW became red-hot (with the 3 and 5) and they too costs less, in most cases, not all. Nor does BMW try to sell so many cars at the top end. BMW has only one car over 100K, the 760Li. The Z8 is winding down now, and it never did more than 300-400 units a month. The ML and to a much lesser extent the CLK (20K in a good year), which is a lot cheaper than the previous E-Class based Coupe got Mercedes into the sales race. Only since 2002 did they decide to add so many C-Class variants that I sometimes can't keep track of all of them.
Detroit? Oh yes, I'll be there, it's the single most important autoshow in America. There is so much debuting there (Corvette, Ferrari 612S, SLR, 6-Series, surprises from Audi, BMW and others) this year that it should be mandatory for anyone that even remotely likes cars....lol.
Yep those are the only reasons a Mercedes costs more and a Lexus or Infiniti costs less. It has nothing to do with most of those Lexuses and Infinitis being based on much cheaper every day cars to begin with. Nor does Lexus advertise as much, and Toyota's total advertising couldn't be more expensive for having to advertise for both Toyota and lexus compared to singular advertising for Mercedes-Benz. It's amazing what you can come up with when you only look at half the picture.
"To an enthusiast the SUV doesn't count. To a car manufacturer the enthusiasts who thinks like that is irrelevant. "
And likewise enthusiasts reguard Lexus as being irrelevant. And these enthusiasts do count, other wise BMW, Audi and to a lesser extent Mercedes wouldn't sell as many cars as they do. Your assesment works both ways.
Dec 13, 2003 (12:39 pm)
To each their own, I see now Lexus similarities whatsoever. And I have no emotional investment in either brand. I think the future Benz S looks refreshingly sporty, far less bulbous than its competitors have become. Of course you have to see the car in person to make sure it's not just a flattering angle.
It'll be interesting whether it pays off for Benz to offer as many higher end models : S, GST, CLS... though I am sure it's part bin magic and they've kept the cost down. There'll have to be come cannibalization of model sales - I suspect the additional models will eat away at E and S sales, and not only at rivals' models. I guess the overall increase in market share, even at increased cost of sales, is the strategy there. It's good for buyers, though, one's got to commend Benz for offering more choice.
Dec 13, 2003 (12:58 pm)
Of course the enthusiast counts but the pure bred enthusiast is a miniscule percentage of car buyers. Otherwise why would anyone buy an Accord or Camry when a 3series or C-class is also within reach.
You miss my point. My point is that good business plays to where the money is not where the enthusiast is. MB and BMW missed the whole change to the SUV market badly. Maybe they cared too much about the enthusiast.
Dec 13, 2003 (3:57 pm)
I am not sure the 3 series or the C class represent "enthusiast" cars. To me, an enthusiast finds a way to wing a 911, or something more unique. The 3 series and the C class and all of their equivalents are mass cars. In Europe, this is the number 1 selling car category by sheer volume, and the US is heading that trend as well. They days when people bought Taurus-like cars en masse are over. Semi-luxury is the standard these days.
As to MB missing on trends, last I checked the M class actually initiated the image urban SUV trend. All Lexus had at the time was the LX, and that was not and is not a high volume car, highly competent SUV as it is.
Finally, if revenue is a validation of anything, Daimler Chrysler's revenue was $160B last year, Toyota's $100B. Financially, the DC/MB recipe seems to work.
Dec 13, 2003 (5:22 pm)
Dec 13, 2003 (6:19 pm)
makes more profit than the rest of the industry combined.
If the 3 and C are not enthusiasts cars (which I question as well) than merc1's claim has no basis. If they are mainstream cars so are about 80%+ of the German offerings. I think the Europeans as a whole missed the boat on SUV's. It's partly because of European gas prices and mainly from misunderstanding the American market. Then they built an awful M-class and BMW has poor reliability with the X5.
Dec 13, 2003 (7:07 pm)
Only a short time ago, Toyota had a huge loss, which makes me take their one year profit streak with a grain of sand. Business Week and industry analysts love to declare short term stuff a "trend" - we'll see. I will not forget they were in deep crisis a shot time ago, and that companies these days can temporarily sanitize their future results with huge write-offs taken at the right time. They are doing a lot of things right, and mostly it has to do with high efficiency cars, and little to do with their luxury offerings - this is straight out of Business Week, which covered them recently.
As to SUVs, again, Merc started the cute-SUV trend with the M class, like it or not, and did a great marketing job with placement in Jurassic Park and such. People scooped them up like mad, and it has been a very profitable model for Benz. And the BMW X5 still wins fair amount of tests, and sells quite well (I've never liked it, though). We own an M, I just view it as a mere utility because to me all SUVs are actually garbage as fun transport. It amazes me some would call any other SUV in this class vastly superior - the overal differences are utterly irrelevant... isn't this a sedan board, anyway?
Dec 13, 2003 (7:25 pm)
The financial market is certainly much more bullish on Toyota's future than you are. Toyota's market capitalization is much more than Daimler Chrysler, Ford & GM combined. You don't get into such a lofty position in the industry by being a one year wonder. They have enough cash resources to take over the entire industry. Read the following link(might have been posted before here):
Dec 13, 2003 (7:41 pm)
Yeah, they are now. It's all of a 9-12 month trend to declare Toyota and Nissan great. DC was the wonder child previously. This seems to go cyclically in the car industry, the next crisis in 3-4 years is pre-programmed. Seach the 2 year+ archives in Business Week and you'll find plenty of articles on Toyota's major troubles. With Nissan, the negative coverage is even more recent. Incidentally, the European car industry went through all of this in the 90s repeatedly - I remember the go-around of managers that were experts in cost reduction and model consolidation well.
And, in any case, whatever that has to do with making better cars is utterly beyond me.
#3720 of 24726 It wasn't me who raise the revenue/profit question
Dec 13, 2003 (7:52 pm)
besides, I always believe it's futile to argue which is the best or most desirable name brand, since different kind of buyers have their own criteria.
Even the less successful luxury brands like Jaguar & Audi will always have it's own hard core loyal supporters that insist his/her own brand of car is the best thing in the world.
Whatever anybody says here won't change anything that happens in the real world anyway.