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.
Apr 13, 2004 (6:10 pm)
"You are right that in the past the production car was a nearly 100% twin of the concept."
Well, I wouldn't exactly call the Lexus HPS a concept car in 1997 or the 1st generation RX300 when it was shown in "concept" form. They really were not concepts. They were full production cars with basically the only differences being things like wheels and grilles.
Also, I saw where that Lexus dealer is going to come up in Freehold right next door to David Michael Benz at the site of a Mazda dealer.
#4696 of 24726 maxhonda99
Apr 13, 2004 (7:00 pm)
If you are ever in the market for a Benz - David Michael are good people to deal with. I've never seen a Lexus and MB dealership side by side and BMW is right across the street in King Cadillac/BMW. But I'll shop down in Ocean and service on Rt 9. Catena is a fabulous dealership - whether you are shopping MB, Lexus or Jaguar.
I wish they will build that HPX. I saw the MB version in Automobile and it is disappointing. It's concept also seemed to look much nicer than the final version - maybe too much platform sharing has hurt the concept design.
Apr 13, 2004 (8:45 pm)
No, my point was that you said that people are waiting for LS' and yet when the same was said about a BMW or MB you didn't believe it. The E500 was indeed scarce when it first arrived, and your local paper doesn't prove anything different. I don't know why you think that just because a dealer has a certain car in stock it means that nobody else is waiting for one to come in, i.e. they may not want the one in stock.
You're right about them testing the waters, but you're also forgetting that right now our diesel fuel is very dirty to put it simply and all the Euro makers are waiting for 2006 when low-sulfur diesel will be required by law. .
I'm in disbelief myself that you can look at the LF-S and the new GS and see the same roofline and rear end treatment, as they are totally different. You don't see how thick and ungainly the rear of the new GS is compared to the LF-S? My gawd you'll believe anything Lexus says or does. Even the people on the GS board don't see what you see. The fact is that if you look back at most European carmaker's concepts the production cars that follow are much closer to that concept than the GS is the LF-S. Even American carmakers get this. What is the point of showing a concept that has a roofline that isn't feasible for production and getting everyone's hopes up? Doesn't make sense. I think we will have to agree to disagree because either way the new GS is not a looker, imo.
#4698 of 24726 European Car Sales
Apr 13, 2004 (9:12 pm)
Should have known that JDP is behind the hysteria/hype about European car sales dropping. A whopping 6.9 percent drop in the first 3 months of the year really does spell the end. They'll be leaving the U.S. market in a year's time. Mercedes will probably have to exit before the end of 2004 because of the staggering 5 percent drop they've had so far this year. BMW being down 2.3 percent this year is also their death knell.
Yet the article doesn't mention that VW's entire lineup is old as all get out and that MB doesn't have a new product this year as at least possible reasons for sales dropping from last year, of which for MB was a record (best ever) year in the U.S.
This type of one-fact hype is typical of JDP because they think that reliability is the sole factor in car buying. Forget the average price of a "domestic" car compared to these high-end European cars that don't have a trunk full of rebate cash. Let us ignore every other possible factor (for sales dropping) because we want to get the public and carmakers ready for our big reliability study that comes out next month. We need for the sales numbers to prove that reliaibility is king so the automakers will buy our results.
#4699 of 24726 European Sales by merc1
Apr 13, 2004 (10:17 pm)
Merc1 is exactly right in his comments about the
article on falling European sales. Powers is all
about reliability studies and their comments
reflect their own self interest. Also not mentioned is that European products are facing a
badly slumping US dollar which is forcing them to
raise prices or at least does not give them the
pricing leeway that the Japanese have. MB has
raised the price on the C Class about $950 since
the US dollar has been dropping. The Bank of
Japan has spent BILLIONS in the currency markets
to keep the yen value from changing much so they
can sell/discount their cars. The European
central bank has not interfered in the currency
markets or changed their interest rates to help
their companies better compete. Also, Japan has
changed their product mix to strongly favor SUV's
not sedans. Europeans still strongly favor sedans
in their product mix. What have Americans been
buying regardless of country of origin?
This simplistic article was written by an unsoph-
icated writer who should know better.
#4700 of 24726 Merc1, Profvh... reliability hype?
Apr 14, 2004 (4:29 am)
Is CR hype? Are owner testimonials hype? The Japanese made their bones with reliability and bang for buck. Americans suffered for a long time due to lack of it. They still suffer. Don't get stuck in THAT whirlpool. Reliability as buying factor isn't going away any time soon, and it only becomes magnified with rising prices. I wonder if questionable styling and frivolous technology is also hype.
No one is immune from market conditions, the consequences of their own marketing decisions, and consumer perception/preferences. European cars are in somewhat of a pillory now, both in fact and mind. Euro fans had better live with it because it is going to get worse before it improves, if it improves, and there is no guarantee this will happen.
Personally, I think those numbers that you make little of are going to get worse. In BMWs case they come on the heels of new products and redesigns. Is that 2.3% Group sales? I heard BMW Brand sales are down 8% YTD. Blame the Euro if you want but history has proven that the human love affair with the car rises above expense. People will spend. How they spend is another story.
#4701 of 24726 Article on European Luxury / Mainstream Car Sales
Apr 14, 2004 (4:29 am)
Actually Merc and Profvh the article was published by the Detroit News, in one of their Autoinsider columns on Monday. I think their staff is very professional. They appear to get their information from a number of industry sources besides JDP.
Edmunds was quoted in a another Detnews article today, pointing out that luxury car sales are surging, despite incentives on 'mass market' cars. Markets getting bigger and European makers are losing share for lots of reasons besides their poorer than expected quality and well-known reliability issues. Price is definitely another. They cost too much for what they deliver vs. the competition.
Profvh, 95% of Toyota's vehicles sold in the U.S. are made in North America, including the Lexus RX330 SUV. So the yen isn't a very big issue. They already had significant price advantage in the luxury segment over the competition's less efficient manufacturing operations in Europe whether they build here or Japan.
Plus, most global corporations use very sophisticated currency hedging to amerliorate fluctuations in the dollar-yen-euro ratios. There's nothing new in what the Japanese Central bank, the Fed and EUBank are doing to justify the European car company woes.
If you look at the long term trend data the U.S. has been shifting from cars to trucks and SUVs for a long, long time. Sales of cars on an annual basis is now about 500,000 units lower than the fall of 1998, while the sale of light trucks and SUVs is about 1.3 million units higher.
The growth segments in the U.S. are sporty cars, light trucks/SUVs and luxury cars. The sporty car segment is tiny compared to the other two and has little market impact anymore.
So if you were a global car/truck company, where might you be spending your money to grow and prosper? 500 hp tire toasting, two passenger, ego boxes with flakey electronics and free service because it constantly needs it? Nope, not in this country.
Apr 14, 2004 (4:54 am)
Who published the article is irrelevant to me, it is JDP's harping about sales falling because of what they've found in their reliability surveys is what I find to be utter bs. A 6.9 percent sales drop isn't what I'd call "hitting the skids" but I'd sure trump it up as that if I want to tie that sales decline to my upcoming reliability survey results that are due either at the end of this month or early next month. I'd also ignore any other possibilities as to why certain carmakers sales might be down. There could be different reasons for each brand's decline, that would been seen if anyone at JDP had a clue about other things besides reliability. There are other factors in sales declines at various carmakers.
All of a sudden mass markets expanding is the end of the over-priced European car, yet these brands (VW, BMW, MB, Audi, Jaguar) have been seen as overpriced by people who don't like them for years, yet the American public has decided this unanimously in the first three months of this year. That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while. A 500hp car with a price tag to match is going to make a difference on what sales chart? Right.
The bottom line is that this article is more of the same hype that has been accepted as gospel on this board, and I'm not saying that reliability isn't hurting the European car brands. I'm saying that reliability isn't the sole factor, especially with VW which has made and sold lots of unreliable, over priced cars for years. JDP who supplied this information isn't looking at the whole picture because the whole picture is irrelevant to their organization.
#4703 of 24726 Euro has nothing to do with it
Apr 14, 2004 (5:26 am)
There was a big story in the NY Times (and WSJ as well I'm sure) about the hedging positions against the Euro's strength all these guys had. VW was only hedged to the tune of 70% (everyone else was in 90-100% range with MB and BMW quite safe from the strength of the Euro) and as a result was getting hammered. But it was a double whammy for them - sinking sales volume and sinking profit per car because they couldn't raise prices given the competitive positions of the automobile market. VW is all over the quality issue and is smart enough to realize that it is the main reason for its slumping sales. I read a story yesterday about how they have a whole team assigned to fixing every quality issue that arises in a certain time period. They are horrified by the reports of their quality problems and understand the dangers to the company a lot better than those on this board. The trouble is that team has been on it for a while (though its size was recently increased dramatically) and they can't seem to fix the problem - and that is scary.
In the late 70's the Yen was around 300-1; today it is 115-120 (and got as low as 95 at one point). Think of the fact that Japanese car sales kept increasing (in some cases dramatically) through all that yen strengthening.
Kid yourself all you want on the quality issue but it is very serious and as designman says it's worsening.
I read another story yesterday - perhaps it was the same one (Newsweek or Time maybe) - of how Acura and Infiniti were well positioned to hurt BMW and that the TL was already doing a lot of damage. Even Automobile said the redesigned 3 series - given it's BMW's s volume seller - could put the company in trouble if it is not accepted well.
merc1 - still don't know where I said anyone was waiting for an LS. I said I was afraid of waiting for the color combos I wanted so maybe you are citing that. But let's just let it rest.
Apr 14, 2004 (5:32 am)
You are basically making excuses for the European brands and imho the excuses don't really hold water.
1. dollar/yen/euro. The fact is that despite JCB intervention, the yen has appreciated more in the last 12 months vs the dollar than has the euro. It is about 14% for the yen vs $ YTY, and 12.5% for the euro/$. And until very recently (the 2004 RX330), Lexus had zero North American production, whereas MB (and I believe BMW but correct me if I'm wrong) have had some US production for years.
2. While the SUV trend in the U.S. has indeed hurt the European brands, why don't you see it as those brands' fault that they don't have more competitive SUV lineups? Using SUVs as an excuse would be like me saying, "Well, if Lexus had better styling, their sales lead vs BMW and MB would be even wider." Fact is, the styling is not better, and Lexus has no one to blame but itself.