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.
Apr 22, 2004 (12:58 am)
We're only 3 full months into the New Year, and no all companies are not in the same situation. Some have newer models, so have older models. Some are going through model change over in the spring as opposed to the fall. Some have new products in the hottest segments of the market. Staggered model introductions etc. etc. There a jillion reasons why sales could be off for any particular brand as a whole at any given point in the year. This is why I look to look at the individual models to see who is doing what. Give the spring buying season a few months to lead into summer and then count the totals.
VW is the only brand that anyone has mentioned here that has had a continuous drop from year to year, not MB, BMW or Audi. If I were VW I'd be worried, and they've clearly said as much. Their sales have been in a free-fall for over a year, not the others! Every one of VW's affordable cars date back to either 1998 or 1999. No other brand is even remotely in the same situation, which is their fault. The Phaeton and Touareg are new, but cost a lot of money for VWs. Complete uphill battle there for VW, especially with the Phaeton, which will never be a big seller.
Another factor is suvs. Lexus and Cadillac, to their credit cash in big time here. Almost fifty percent of Lexus' business is SUVs. Cadillac just added a crossover to their product mix, the SRX. Nothing but pay dirt to be had there. Also like Lexus they have a hot 30-40K car, the CTS. The current Seville isn't even on the same page with the E-Class in sales. They dropped the STS version of the current Seville in preparation for the new STS this fall. See how that could affect sales for the whole brand if they didn't have the SRX/Escalade to prop the brand up???
I'm not trying to say that SUV sales aren't significant, just illustrating a point as to why certain brands are grabbing the sales headlines right now. Just think what the sales numbers for Lexus would be without the RX330 and GX470 and Cadillac without the Escalade and SRX.
My point is the Europeans are traditionally weak in the SUV market (which is their fault) and they tend to have model lineups that are thicker at the top end of the price spectrum. Mercedes-Benz in particular when you look at their model/price spread, frankly has no place in a sales race to begin with. I was shocked when the broke 200K units a year. The C-Class (their biggest seller) was way down last month and will probably sink even further once this month's totals are counted. The 2005 model doesn't go on sale until mid-May.
The S-Class came to market in spring of 1999 as a 2000 model and was face lifted for the 2003 model year. The next S-Class is due to come here in the spring of 2006 as a 2007 model. This is also the oldest car in its class yet is only second to the LS430 in sales. That doesn't say anything? Before spring of 2006, which is a long time from now, of course the car will fade away sales wise, this is only natural. The LS430 is on a similar time table and will cool down after this year also.
No I'm not worried in the least about Cadillac gaining on Mercedes in sales. Still doesn't prove who makes a better car nor is the sales race equal for all brands. When Cadillac can sell more then 300 XLRs a month I'll take them seriously. 10K cars is not a lot of ground to make for a brand with a much cheaper lineup of cars overall.
BMW has three new models for 2004. Only the new 5-Series was available from the start of year. I was never sure why you mentioned the 7-Series as being the problem when the car is in it's third model year and is hardly news anymore, a decline here is inevitable. You do realize their new X3 and 6-Series models only went on sale in mid-March? How could you possibly base that theory about BMW's redos not making a difference when 2 of their three new models for 2004 weren't even on sale in Jan-Feb???? Another reason why I say all this hysteria over the first three months is unfounded. Wanna bet the 645Ci Convertible has not hit its stride yet? I'll eat my shoes if BMW doesn't increase their overall sales this year compared to last year!
I think if you truly did factor in everything you wouldn't have made nearly as much fuss about any of this, especially based on a mere 3 months worth of sales numbers.
Apr 22, 2004 (7:04 am)
Was The S class 2ond to the LS in sales...BEFORE THE NEW 430 CAME OUT..
By your theory, because an updated model was on it's way Lexus LS sales should have been way off last year compared to the beautifull S class.
Apr 22, 2004 (7:26 am)
You can't do what you say regarding sales and popular models. Every business has an 80-20 or 70-30 rule or some majority dominating products in which much of the revenue comes from a handful of products. You would have to remove the two highest sellers from each brand if you did what you propose. In the case of MB and BMW you'd have to drill down to the platform level. Plus I'll maintain that most people don't view the RX as an SUV anyway. The GX and LX - absolutely - but the RX is much more like a car and comes from a car platform.
Can you imagine Coca Cola sales without coke and diet coke?
Apr 22, 2004 (8:30 am)
Here's some stats about sales proportions as relates to the overall product line-ups sales:
Mercedes thru 1Q04:
C-Class and E-class sales totalled 28,209 out of a total of 49,159 in sales. That means about 57% of Benz sales come from just 2 classes of vehicles out of 9.
BMW thru 1Q04:
The 3-series range(Not including Z3/Z4) totalled 27,430 units vs. total BMW of 52,970. that equates to the 3-series carrying 52% of the sales load. That's right one model range out of 8.
Lexus thru 1Q04:
The ES and RX range totalled 41,449 vs. total Lexus of 65,392. That equates to 2 product lines making up 63% of total Lexus sales. Or 2 model ranges out of eight.
And I know another claim leveled against Lexus a bad thing is that Lexus sales are mostly SUV(which BTW is not Lexus fault if other companies can't design proper SUV that will sell).
Thru Q104, Lexus SUV sales have come out to 51% of total Lexus sales.
#4787 of 24723 Liquid seeks its own level
Apr 22, 2004 (9:08 am)
To me the above stats mean luxury and status have more significance to the lower-end buyer than they do to the manufacturers. The lower-end buyer wants a piece of the upper end. The manufacturer wants the supermarket bucks. Can't blame them, but this is helping to drag down the quality, reliability and mystique of the high-end luxury marque. As the world creeps toward economic parity, I see a world rife with mediocre products.
#4788 of 24723 designman
Apr 22, 2004 (9:40 am)
I think a couple of things are going on.
1. As the lux brands (maimly MB and BMW here) go down market they get more buyers and hence have to mass produce. This wasn't their planned business model so they don't do it so well. They were designed to be a boutique shop and venturing away from the initial business plan is always a problem - in any business.
2. The involvement of sophisticated electronics in cars also is a move away from their engineering prowess and is not a core strength and in fact is a pronounced weakness.
3. Both of the above play strongly into the Japanese hands because they are very well versed in mass production since that was their original business model and they are masters of electronics. The Lux car building move was made on top of that business model. It is easier to go from A to B than from B to A.
4. Many of the German car fans point to the things that have made the brands famous as still being great. I agree with them and don't think for a second that German engineering or the core of their automotive strengths have declined. They probably have gotten better. It's just all the electronics built around them that don't fare well. Unfortunately car building isn't as simple today as in the past and the competition is fiercer than ever - particularly at the lux end.
I don't think you will see an NFL in the car industry. I think you will see a continued strive for high quality everywhere. I just don't think everyone will get there. The Japanese are there already though with their leading brands.
VW - different set of problems. Something has gone wrong there.
Apr 22, 2004 (1:14 pm)
Weak profits from core brand sales doesn't seem to be stopping VW's pursuit of new cash deals. Witness today's Wall Street Journal: "Volkswagen sait it and two investors plan to buy Dutch fleet management firm LeasePlan from ABN Amro for $2.38 billion."
Should customers be worried if VW appears not to be?
#4791 of 24723 Excellent points
Apr 22, 2004 (3:49 pm)
Made here by Ljflx and Designman.
My posts and links speak to ANNUAL sales, not mere 3 months sales, as many others are talking about. Check out the links again. They are annual sales and trends. DCX is down 0.4% in market share, and BMW is up 0.2%. Toyota, OTOH is up 0.7% in market share. Troubling, I am sure to Detroit, is that Toyota threatens to become #2 in US, ahead of DCX, which, IMO, is the real point I am driving to. DCX needs a wake-up.
But ljflx's points are right on the money, and may help rationalize some of what the market trends foretell today...
#4792 of 24723 Re: designman [ljflx #4788]
Apr 22, 2004 (4:09 pm)
"3. Both of the above play strongly into the Japanese hands because they are very well versed in mass production since that was their original business model and they are masters of electronics. The Lux car building move was made on top of that business model. It is easier to go from A to B than from B to A."
Your premise is correct, however mass production gave way to Lean Production long ago. What was developed as the Toyota Production System (TPS) is now a management philosophy across all companies in the Toyota corporate empire. Toyota insiders refer to TPS as the "Thinking Production System". Problem solving at the value-added worker level is their core asset.
These concepts are at work throughout the Japanese Automotive world in one form or another.