Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 6:55 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 10, 2004 (7:26 am)
Don't know what you see in your car but I've had the 95, 98 and 2001 LS430's and they just keeping getting better and better. I'm about to take a 2004 LS430 and gave some serious thought to buying out my 2001 because it is so good. Interior is better than ever and I don't see any departure from the excellent switch gear that has been in the car in the past. I don't think they've ever changed it nor do they need to. I'll tell you what is best of all. My lease on the 2004 - which if I get the car I want - will have a $62k sticker (but I may opt for the full ultra lux model) and will price out at $10 a month less than the 1995 I had which had a $56.5k sticker. The 2004 is naturally a safer car and has far more equipment included. I realize some of that is interest rate reduction but some of it is also because the LS430 now has one of the highest residual values in the industry.
merc1 - you'd look great behind the wheel of a Buick. All kidding aside - the NY news media and evening reports had a field day with BMW and Mercedes yesterday. I hope the German execs were paying attention because it's reports like those - which are widespread and can't be missed or forgotten - that make reality overtake perception. You don't think Buick will play up that tidbit as future marketing hype?
Mar 10, 2004 (8:45 am)
I don't think it makes a lot of sense to compare old model reliability with new models. The market demands technology. The market for 2004 MY cars with 1990 technology is tiny.
When I moved to Lexus from MB in 2001 it wasn't because of quality, it was because of features. Only in the last year or so did I connect the absence of LS problems compared to my 98 E Class experience. The MB was out of pocket for 40 days while they replaced the engine. The parking lights would burn out every 60 days until a recall finally fixed the problem.
Lucky for me I still see Lexus has having the highest techology and I get the quality build as a bonus! They don't have all the gadgets though. Lexus botched XM radio. Their NAV lacks the 3D birdeye view. They still haven't made radar pre-crash available. There is no display showing what audio system is playing.
#4384 of 24723 merc1 replaces Tiger Woods as Buick Spokesperson!
Mar 10, 2004 (8:50 am)
As a Lexus owner, I ran out and bought the new CR. I drive a Best Pick!! Maybe I can buy a decal for my RX330 announcing how smart I am...
sv7887...Sometimes I do wish that the autos were simpler. I really liked my 1992 Q45 because of its uncluttered dash and relative simplicity. I don't recall having any problems during my 24 month lease. On the other hand, I enjoyed all the gadgets on my LS430 and RX330 and haven't experienced any problems with them.
merc1...Wouldn't you really rather drive a Buick?
#4385 of 24723 How reliable are CR reliability surveys?
Mar 10, 2004 (9:07 am)
The Consumer Reports staff know their cars, but it's the readers who determine the reliability ratings by sending in their votes, right?
If so, these ratings are statistically bogus from the get-go. If report submission is voluntary, and if it's from a non-representative sector (Consumer Reports readers do not represent MY interests or preferences!), then the data is flawed and the results are worthless.
For example, I'd wager that Jaguar owners who subscribe to CR are an anomaly within the Jag-buying demographic. (Whereas Buick-owning CR subscribers are probably represntative for the fuddy-duddy Buick-owning demographic.) My guess is that Jag-owning CR readers are made up substantially of traditional American-car buyers who have decided to "take a flyer." They ecountered more service issues than they expected, and thus Jag models get low ratings.
NO volunary owner surveys are going to generate good statistics. You need to research actual shop records and manufacturer data for the brand. All the rest is highly suspect, and I think tends to favor the status quo.
Why is JD Power so highly regarded? Because the manufacturers quote it all the time in their advertising. Circular reasoning aside, it's a somewhat too-cozy relationship for my comfort.
While I'm not completely dismissing these surveys, I think they should be regarded with skepticism and not the sole determinant of a person's choice of auotmobile.
Mar 10, 2004 (10:23 am)
But isn't JD Power giving pretty much the same picture as CR? And that survey by the biggest drivers association in Germany, it said the same thing, didn't it?
One interesting thing is how the Swedes are doing so much better than the Germans. Aren't two Saabs (their entire lineup) and three Volvos on CR recommended list? The Germans place two or three on it. Weren't the Swedes in quality trouble just a couple of years ago?
If the Germans studied how the Swedes turned it around, their problem will be forgotten in a few years. And I expect them to.
Mar 10, 2004 (11:44 am)
In comparing the quality of an early 1990's Lexus to those of today I was attempting to make a statement of Absolute Quality. I've had a 92,98,and currently a '02 LS430. I paid $42.5K in 1992, $59K in 1998 and $64K in 2002. I buy cash and not lease, b/c I like to hold on to them if possible. I do realize that the trend has moved toward leasing..I guess I am one of the old timers.
My statement simply concerned the solidness that the old car possessed. Feel the switches and controls in the new cars, they don't have the solid feel that a W126 MB or original LS does. The chrome on the radiators are thinner, and the switches have this tinny feel to them. Call me crazy, but I thought I'd put it out there.
My previous post questioned the validity of the Technology craze in today's cars. I believe that Absolute quality has fallen as a result. Does anyone think these cars are built to last 20 years like a W126 MB or 90 LS? Keep in mind I'm talking about Long Term ownership here (>5 yrs) I point to my statement from my last post: The more complicated the design, the more issues you'll have. What do you all think?
#4388 of 24723 There is a term in business:
Mar 10, 2004 (1:03 pm)
Loss of Business due to Durability of Product.
If these cars (ie the high end of the market) last as long as 20 years, it'll drive down the market within a few years, and the manufacturers surely do not want that.
#4389 of 24723 Fair/unfair perceptions of quality.
Mar 10, 2004 (1:27 pm)
I agree with others here that the perception of the public is not always accurate.
But - seeing big headlines in the major papers highlighting the 'unreliablity' of German cars will help form the perception of the public.
Most consumers are not real car junkies and will just skim a small part of the information that is available.
Merc/BMW/Audi management is well advised to take the quality/reliability issue very seriously.
At 47, I am old enough to remember how Cadillac management and fans dismissed negative feedback 25-30 years ago. It is much less costly in the long run to maintain brand image than to try to restore it once it is lost.
#4390 of 24723 Survey Debate
Mar 10, 2004 (2:07 pm)
Are CR and JDP accurate? It depends!
Car surveys are like TV surveys.... we know it is inaccurate from year to year but that is fine because you cannot possibly control for all anomalies!
However in the lager scheme of things the data is vaild because the effects are cumulative in nature - they take samples every year - such that after a number of years the picture gets more accurate and increases in accuracy the longer a trend can be traced.
For example, Lexus has won so many awards for so many years in JDP and CR that you really would be hard pressed fault the data. That is assuming of course the test itself is 'valid' - testing what it suppose to.
On the other hand, if you get a car model that seems to be good for only one year, it may just be an anomaly.
Moral: So when quoting such data, like all things in life, context is critical... think trends not individual years!
#4391 of 24723 excellent points
Mar 10, 2004 (2:08 pm)
Scott and Vcheng - great points.
vcheng - I do think some of these cars will go 15-20 years but there are so few buyers who want to hold them more than 5 years anyway. The market has moved on due to acceleration of auto improvements and stronger than ever competition.
Scott - I remember the Cadillac denial also and the MB/BMW version is a mirror image of it. But you know what - it happens in business all the time - in every industry - and it could happen to Lexus and the Japanese in the future as well.
CR - not statistically weighted but always on the leading edge and well respected and believed in. Witness all the press coverage it got yesterday. As well getting a statistically weighted car sample is not the same as getting a statistically weighted TV viewership behavior sample ala Nielsen's TV ratings. CR won't publish the data if there is not enough volume from its members hence the NA's on the newest cars. Where it has the volume - and it has plenty for cars like the LS430 and S-class - it publishes its survey results.