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.
Mar 02, 2004 (9:32 pm)
Your post # 4309 is right on the money. They built cars for the long term, and thus were appreciated for such. Now the competition has forced shorter production cycles and more people are leasing so the first impressions are more important than 10 year qualities.
Gee, that is exactly the point I was trying to make, and you understood it perfectly. The root of MB's problems is having to adjust to that. Older models also stayed in production for 10 years or more in some cases. This practice is no longer competitive, and 7 years is about the norm now. The Germans are still learning how to build a cheaper car in less time, for less time and for less money, not their specialty.
Nope, I haven't driven the A8 or Phaeton. Yes, I have driven the entire 7-Series range. I drove the 745Li and 760Li. I was able to keep the 760Li for about an hour since nobody else was in line to drive it BMW's charity event last fall. Awesome car, but too complicated to master in such a short drive. It's not even idrive that bothers me most it's the styling. I simply can't stand it. Now believe it or not, I'm starting to like the 5-Series. Gulp!
Well you know how much I like the A8, but I'm quite fond of the Quattroporte too. The biggest mistake Maserati made with the Quattroporte is not offering a conventional automatic transmission. Thus it will remain a sports car with 4 doors. I look for their connection with Audi to yield them a proper 6-speed auto in a few years. I think the car will sell well though because people looking for regular luxury cars, MB/Lexus/BMW etc, aren't going to be interested, and those who want something different with 4 doors have just found their ride.
The SL55 AMG remains my favorite car on the market period. Either that or a CL. No Boxster for me, surprisingly I've never like it much.
As usual you've received your mags before me.
Unless you know something I don't, 1998's change over to SOHC isn't even close to being one of MB's problems. The new SOHC engines are much simpler compared to the old DOHC I6 and V8s, which were great, or better depending on who you ask, but they weren't perfect either.
#4319 of 24726 My theory on the A8's failure in the USA
Mar 02, 2004 (9:34 pm)
I think the aluminum body has a LOT to do with it.
It's amazing how that bit of news got around. The "masses" seem aware of the repair hassles, and IMO that has resulted in the kiss of death for both new and used units. Here in the Bay Area you can pick up a late-model showroom A8 privately for the high-teens! Owners have told me they advertise theirs at giveaway prices and go months without a call.
It's a fantastic car by the way. If I lived in a snowy region I'd have one in a trice.
Merc: Are you going to start bashing Masers now?
Mar 02, 2004 (9:37 pm)
"Merc: Are you going to start bashing Masers now? "
What are you talking about??
Mar 02, 2004 (9:40 pm)
For all you guys that think big hp is a waste, the biggest exercise in waste has just been revealed in Geneva.
It is the 500hp V10, 7-Speed Sequential Transmission BMW M5.
E55, RS6, S-Type R, XJR, S55 and any other sedan with sporting pretensions you're done.
Mar 02, 2004 (11:18 pm)
I don't know how I missed this earlier, but Rolls-Royce also debuted a new car today. Well it's a concept, the 100EX. In reality this is a 2-door convertible version of the Phantom. Think Corniche replacement.
Pretty good looking except for the front end, as with the sedan. Actually I like it better than the Phantom. Those trick, rear-hinged doors won't make production though.
See Maybach.ru. and autonews.com or car.kak.net.
Mar 03, 2004 (6:56 am)
Since you mentioned getting the new Automobile magazine, did you happen to read Jamie Kitman's article titled "Crapulent Luxury"? He rattles through a series of problems with a new Jaguar XJ8, BMW 7 and Mercedes, most dealing with the electronics.
Mar 03, 2004 (9:28 am)
Well, it is very successful in Germany, where it claims the title as Autobahn cruising king. Audis by the way in Germany have the reputation for engineering, BMWs for trendy yuppie image, and Mercedes is Germany's image Lexus, though that's been changing. It's interesting to see the different international perceptions on brands.
In the USA, Audi's downfall in my opinion is simply image. It is not regarded as $70k plus material, it's seen as a Euro ride that clearly ranks below Mercedes and BMW in prestige, whereas in Germany it is a BMW peer. I don't think most people know or care about the light metal structure, and if anything I think most customers would see it as an actual advantage, since it suports a high-tech image of innovation that luzury buyers typically like. Few people plan on crashing their cars to the point where they need extensive bodywork...
Mar 03, 2004 (10:23 am)
When the market changes the manufacturers have to change with it or anticipate and lead it. Leasing was a natural occurrence for volume to be maintained or increased as the prices rose. MB would not have been able to sustain that 80's type of business model profitably long-term unless they became a small niche company. The very high prices opened the door for competion, hence Lexus, and at the same time brought about the desire to drive high luxury cars with minimal money down while your money was put to better use elsewhere. It was actually a normal business check and balance effect and one can argue that the Japanese anticipated this better than the Germans in 1989. This is the business side of auto manufacturing. A new entrant has to change the rules to be successful.
You are correct - the Germans have to learn to build the cars differently in today's highly competitive market and at the same MB has to maintain an image above everyone else somehow in doing it. That is no easy task particularly given that mastering sophisticated electronics (which is a big part of the problem) favors the Japanese. In the past they were able to build the best and charge the most and then people held the cars for a lomg long time. Even though the cars were expensive the value was excellent because of the ownership longevity. But that was a different market in a different era before the technology and Wall street booms.
Let me know what you think of the Automobile article on the Maserati. Also why do you think the A8 is such a poor seller? A throwback to the Audi accleration problem in the past maybe? I always thought that was overblown.
#4326 of 24726 lenscap
Mar 03, 2004 (11:02 am)
I read it. That just shows you how they are in over their heads on electronics. I didn't realize MB finished in 31st place of 32 brands in Germany!! Wow.
Selling cars without code written - as per the story - is rather scary. In the computer world we call that beta testing. In the auto world peope are paying $40-$80k+ for cars that certified mechanics, from the manufacturers themselves, don't know how to fix (certain things but it is the most problem oriented things) and even worse have no reference manuals.
That article is probably the most honest article you will ever see in an automobile magazine and is written from a consumer - not enthusiast - viewpoint.
Mar 03, 2004 (8:55 pm)
I misread a Maser-bashing post as having been authored by you, when it was not. For some reason I reflexively think of you when I come across a non-Mercedes bash. <G>