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.
Feb 27, 2004 (4:08 pm)
Ah yes, the typical MB argument. Any Industrial Organization class will tell you that the consumer prefers variety. MB offers a car for practically anyone. It's good marketing on their part. If they can attract an owner at the C class Entry point and give them a good experience, the owner will likely move up the MB chain as income increases. All these predictions of doom for MB are grossly overstated. Every car company has it's bad times.
I have to agree with Merc on his comments about the Blandness of the Lexus line. They came out in 1990 with excellent and cutting edge cars. (LS, ES, SC) Today, they don't offer anything especially appealing. The IS has little or no fit, the GS is lackluster, and the LS430 has become the More reliable knockoff of the S Class. Don't even get me started on the ES or SC.
People will pay a premium for exclusiveness and "perceived prestige." The Lexus maybe better in areas of reliablity, service, etc, but MB still has originality and prestige on their side.
Until Lexus gets a grip on producing original designs, they're always going to be knocked in this department.
I've seen the pictures of the CLS, interesting concept, but I didn't think it was anything special in looks. Just pure subjective opinion here. To be honest, the only car I liked was the old XJ8. Say what you want about Jaguar, but their designs provoked a real response from people. (except for the X-Type..Yeck!)
Feb 27, 2004 (4:45 pm)
Exactly what I think. MB's on the offensive to cover a weak defense right now. So the new model variations and poweful engines are really a way of supporting a weakening brand name. Remember you still hear MB execs who are in denial about the quality decline. I read one comment last week from one of their top guys who said their cars are as good as ever. Even MB's most loyal fans know better than that. I just watched the HBO show about the US upset of the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics. Comments like that remind me of the Soviet feeling that no one could stay close to them in a game let alone beat them in the 1980 Olympics.
As for all that variety - I honestly can't keep track of all their cars. It's a bit like having 300 satellite stations. I have Dish Network and they added some new stations a while back and I just realized it today.
Feb 27, 2004 (5:19 pm)
"Until Lexus gets a grip on producing original designs, they're always going to be knocked in this department."
IMHO, "originality" is not the problem...only the LS lacks originality. IMHO they could use more "appealing" exterior styling.
Still, it is pretty impressive that they've had such success as a company despite the bland styling, less-diverse product line, and relative lack of prestige.
#4265 of 24726 Merc1
Feb 27, 2004 (7:24 pm)
Something caught my eye in Merc1's recent post
"However you should quit trying to mislead everyone into thinking that Lexus' sales might is based on an all-star lineup of high sellers because it isn't."
No all star line-ups, you say ? Let's see:
ES330 beats C-Class COMBINED in sales
LS430 beats S-class in sales
RX330 beats M-class in sales
GX470 beats.... oopss there is no MB competition
LX470 beats.... oopss there is no MB competition (G55 is worth a honorable mention)
The largest MB sales comes from the pedestrian C-class. The C230/240/280/320 clones.... Without the bottom dregs, where would MB be today ? So where exactly does MB have a lead against Lexus. Only in the E_vs_GS. And the long-tooth of the GS is not helping, not bcos the GS430 is not competitive. Au contraire ! The E320/500 are good-looking designs, I agree, hopefully the new 2006 GS will help, especially if it comes with the rumored hybrid engine and AWD. Just imagine what a GS430H with 400+bhp can do against the E500 ? No contest, IMO.
#4266 of 24726 lexus styling
Feb 27, 2004 (7:26 pm)
To my eye, lexus has been getting too much chrome on the front of the car.
On the other hand the body lines of the car are traditional.. I think it is a loss for us all that bmw made such a radical departure..I personally like bmw and feel that we` the buyers or leasors` of this type of car are better off with bmw strongly in the game. Lexus has done a great job with Mercedes and Mercedes has had to re evaluate to compete. Maybe in years to come bmw will turn out to be right, but right now I am afraid they have stumbled..Why carry the change over to the five series?? Tony ps I own Ls , but would have liked to have had the option the next go around, to have considerd bmw.
Feb 27, 2004 (7:33 pm)
I'd just like to point out that it's not like I am a fan of MB's strategy. While it's true that offering lots of variations for everyone is a marketing strategy 101, it is a strategy that typically doesn't work well with luxury goods. Luxury goods suffer from overexposure. Luxury buyers don't like to see their brand name of choice pitched as aggressively as 7up. I do think MB has been diluting their brand name for a while, and that it is a miracle the image of exclusivity still sticks - perhaps they are doing something extremely smart in managing it, but most likely they got lucky because public perception in matters of cars seems to have a lot of inertia. Don't get me wrong, I think the aggressive claims about lack of quality are somewhat over-stated, and in part stem from comparison with the old expectation that a Merc is built like the proverbial vault, which clearly is no longer the case. MB started building cars to a cost point, and no longer to a standard - oddly enough, it seems Lexus has actually picked up the fastidious habit of overengineering for reliability and a somewhat stodgy an boring image. Which incidentally is the image that MB had in Germany in the late 70s to early 90s: it was the bourgeois choice, and hip young professionals did the Beemer and Audi thing, while their parents bought Mercedes. Truly, it is a fact that's the history in Germany. This is a very different Mercedes from the company that established the brand name. But it's also a different BMW, so we'll see how it pans out.
I just find it interesting that many of the arguments I hear used against Lexus in here are arguments that made the round in Germany by BMW and Audi owners to attack Mercedes about 2 product generations ago.
And - those who know my posting history know I am no irrational Lexus fan. Their designs are indeed stodgy and boring to my eye. And yet their value proposition is exactly what Mercedes stood for originally to a certain degree, and I think it admirable that they seem to swim against the stream and make cars known to basically have the potential to outlive their owners (which was the claim that made Rolls Royce great initially in turn - cars that could be inherited from genration to generation, a wise albeit initially stiff investment).
#4268 of 24726 Automobiles annonymous!
Feb 27, 2004 (8:21 pm)
I feel like I'm at an automobile anonymous meeting. So with that said I would like to say " I like the way the Bangled 745i looks, I like the way it drives and I even like idrive( at least the '04 version)!" Fine there I said it.. Has anyone considered the possibility that people have different tastes and tolerances for new technology. Most of the posts read like like authoratative reviews yet I suspect few posters on this thread are anything more than well studied but opinionated consumers. I have in the last 6 months driven many luxury sedans including the LS430, A8L, 745i, 745iL, RS6, E55, S500, S55, XJ-8, XJR... I am overwhelmingly convinced that most automotive reviews are biased either by preconceived notions of the reviewers or financial interests of advertising clientele. The 745i has gotten a bad rap making it one of the best luxury vehicles to buy or lease right now IMO( which since I am a consumer you can take with a grain of salt). I can give anecdotes of people trading in their MB's and LS430's and loving the new BMW just like anyone else can post the opposite. Each car brand and model have their strengths and weaknesses. But the fact that so many are trashing the 745i is great. As a result I've gotten the best buying experience ever in dealing with the 745i. Way better than I have been treated in Lexus or MB dealerships, past or present.
IMO the LS 430 is utterly and completely boring no matter how reliably it performs. MB is simple not worth the premium it demands and its numerous buttons are no easier or more reasonable than idrive. And as long as I'm on the subject of idrive, it can be mastered in a short period of time. It really can, unless taking a few hours with your new vehicle is out of the question. You don't need to be a computer programmer or German. There are actually a lot of people out there that like idrive. They're just not posting on this board or complaining.
So I don't mind the Lexus lovefest...I'm happy you all are so pleased. You can even continue the MB vs. Lexus banter. Just keep some objectivity,flexibility, and I dare say humility when it comes to real change and innovation even if in your honest opinions it's seems to be in the wrong direction.
#4269 of 24726 Technology's limit is the end user -- e.g., iDrive
Feb 27, 2004 (10:12 pm)
ksury said: "And as long as I'm on the subject of idrive, it can be mastered in a short period of time. It really can, unless taking a few hours with your new vehicle is out of the question."
For most people, it is out of the question. I owned an previous-generation 740i at the same time as an engineer friend of mine owned his, and I pointed out to him that because he didn't bother to study the manual, he was never aware of half of what his car could do: the details of its trip computer, sound system, climate control, and so on.
He happily admitted I was right. If he didn't know about it, a feature wasn't important to him. He just liked the way the car drove.
iDrive does not afford today's 7-series owner the luxury of mental laziness. If you don't do your homework, you're not going to enjoy this car. Period.
BMW is painfully finding out what today's high school teachers already know: Western society is dumbed down almost beyond recognition. At a time when half of American university freshmen require remedial English because they are unable to comprehend first-year texts, iDrive and related technology is "too much like work" to bother absorbing.
All of which is bad news for those of us who are willing to read the docs and reap the benefits of advanced technology.
What irritates me most about the iDrive fiasco is how the automotive press, who should know better, collectively dumped on it.
Did they not realize most iDrive settings are made during a single dedicated setup session, so the car is "programmed" to the owner's most detailed specifications? Apparently not. They gave the impression the driver is supposed to fiddle with the iDrive system's multiple levels while actually driving.
Thus misunderstood, BMW's revolutionary user interface probably didn't stand a chance. More's the pity for the rest of us, because any incentive for the manufacturers to experiment with advanced interfaces has just been killed.
Feb 28, 2004 (5:53 am)
Just my opinion, but I think brand dilution comes more from reaching for lower, more 'mass market' price points than from proliferating versions. If all the variations are at high price points I don't think it hurts the brand, at least not much.
Feb 28, 2004 (5:57 am)
I liked your post. You are right, some here can be too dogmatic or arrogantly authoritative at times, and sometimes without much in the way of actual experience to back up their views.