Last post on Dec 06, 2013 at 7:58 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37, Acura TL, Lexus IS 350, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac CTS, Volvo S60, Audi A4, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#14609 of 16984 Re: Price creep [nyccarguy]
Aug 05, 2012 (4:36 pm)
I've been out of the car market (and off these forums) for a couple of years, but our recent decision to replace my wife's SUV brought me back. When we went to look at the MDX, the Acura dealer, seeing us arrive in my 2004 TL 6-speed, asked me if I wanted to test drive a new 2012 TL AWD 6-speed manual.
I know all about BMW vs. Acura relative to driving dynamics and feel. (As evidence, we are paying $16k more for an X5D than the MDX would have cost). HOWEVER, if budget was an issue and I was lamenting ELLPS creeping towards and above the $50k price point, the current deals on the Acura TL's would be compelling to me.
The dealer (Pohanka in VA) is currently offering $9,000 off on a TL-AWD Tech for a net price of $34,900. Was the TL as satisfying to drive as the RWD 335is Coupe that I drove when we were X5D shopping?? No, but I suspect it would be just as satisfying, if not more so than a 2013 328ix. And the price is compelling - a mere $25k less than 335is sticker
As a side note, I referred a buddy to a BMW dealer in Baltimore that had a brand new 2011 535i 6-speed manual on their lot for 12 months. Sport package and lots of other options put the sticker at $59,000+. I told him to hand he dealer a check for $45,000 and dare him to rip it up. He got it for $45,500.
#14610 of 16984 Re: Price creep [m6user] - It was worse back then...
Aug 05, 2012 (6:00 pm)
Interesting to see your 10 year price comparisons showing 14%, 21% and 33% increases for MB, Audi and BMW respectively. I happen to have an old Kelly Blue Book that I pull out occasionally as a reminder of how crazy things were in the "old days". Here are some base price stats that show what the decade from 1985 to 1995 looked like by comparison:
1985 Mercedes 190E - $23,730
1995 Mercedes C220 - $32,000
Increase = 34.9%
1985 BMW 325e - $21,700.
1995 BMW 325i - $34,120.
Increase = 57.2%
1985 Nissan Maxima SE - $13,699
1995 Nissan Maxima SE - $22,989
Increase = 67.8%
1985 Honda Accord LX - $10,824
1995 Honda Accord LX - $18,880
Increase = 74.4%
1985 Porsche 911 Coupe - $31,950
1995 Porsche 911 Coupe - $63,055
A few takeaways from this analysis:
(1) It's pretty amazing how modestly prices have gone up in the 17 years since 1995. If they had continued to climb at the 1985-1995 pace, a BMW 328i would now have a base price of $73,600 and a 911 Coupe would be a mere $200,400.
(2) Back in the "old days", even a bottom of the line BMW or Mercedes was a relatively rare symbol of status, costing over twice as much as a Honda Accord or 70% more than a ELLPS Maxima. When I bought a 1995 Maxima SE, the 325i was over 50% more. Today, the base price of a 328i is only $5,000 more than the base price of a 325i 17 years ago. And only a similar amount more than a Maxima.
Draw your own conclusions as to what this means relative to ELLPS today. Frankly, I think a lot of people today are stretching to get themselves into a BMW, Audi or Mercedes when, back in 1985, or even 1995, they would have not even considered it and had to "settle" for a Honda Accord or maybe Nissan Maxima. I'm not so sure that was a bad thing.
#14611 of 16984 Re: Price creep [m6user] - It was worse back then... [habitat1]
Aug 05, 2012 (6:11 pm)
I think your little study (thanks for it, BTW - informative). Only makes me wonder if cheaper cars (subcompacts went up even more). I blame our government that knows better what's good for the people (airbags, stability control, ABS, emissions, fuel economy, the list goes on). As always defenders of the people end up hurting them much more - they always throw in arguments that it is only "a little more", but over time it those very people who pay for it through their noses. It seems that it is bottom car prices that came closer to luxury cars - as they were galloping up, the luxury cars were dribbling, as those mandatory features were there anyway and smaller price differential created more incentive for people to reach, even if stretched.
#14612 of 16984 Re: Price creep [habitat1]
Aug 05, 2012 (7:04 pm)
Hey habitat1. Good to see you back on the forum here. Saw on another thread that you no longer have your beloved 911 C2 Cab. My automotive condolences to you.
I've never driven a TL SH-AWD, but know its got some chops from what I've read. What'd you think of the brakes compared to the BMW? I don't track or race my car, just looking for a little fun on my 6 day/week commute like I did with my 2001 Prelude Type SH for the 1st 9 years of its life. I wasn't "getting it" from the 2010 TSX I inherited from my wife (lifeless electric power steering, crummy brakes). I love my 2011 328xi. I just don't know if the new F30 328xi will be worth it so sparsely equipped as I "built" last night. Especially when a TL SH-AWD Tech comes loaded for a similar sticker. I've still got 2 years of research to decide about my next purchase.
#14613 of 16984 Re: Price creep [m6user] - It was worse back then... [habitat1] [dino001]
Aug 05, 2012 (7:20 pm)
You make a good point. Adding incremental costs for safety requirements will increase the cost of lower price cars by a higher percentage than expensive cars.
But I still think the biggest difference over the past 2-3 decades in what we now label the ELPPS segment is that BMW and Mercedes are now considered "affordable" by a much larger percentage of the population because of their conscious decision to employ a product mix and pricing strategy that competes for this market. Perhaps partly in response or retaliation for Lexus, Infiniti and Acura moving into their previously unchallenged luxury territory.
Anecdotal example: Back in about 1969, I had a friend whose aunt drove a new Mercedes. She would pick us up from grade school 2-3 days a week. People used to stop and stare at the car - and be even more shocked when they saw a woman driving it. At one point, she was interviewed by the local newspaper and asked how it felt to be the only verified single female that owned a Mercedes in a city of 100,000. She worked for Navy Intelligence, spent a lot of time in Europe and got the Mercedes through a diplomatic/military purchase program at a huge discount, or so she said.
Today, I'd make a bet that if I drove 15 miles to the nearest Wal Mart, I'd find at least a dozen Mercedes and BMW's in the lot. Hell, I think you can buy a Mercedes at Costco.
#14614 of 16984 Re: Price creep [nyccarguy]
Aug 05, 2012 (7:40 pm)
Thanks, but no condolences needed. I had a good 5 1/2 years and 30k miles with the 911 and my daughters couldn't fit in the back seat anymore. But if the bank account recovers in time from our upcoming X5 Diesel purchase, I could possibly see a new Cayman in my garage sometime next spring.
Regarding the TL vs. BMW, my own 2004 TL 6-speed has Brembo brakes standard. I believe the 2012 TL SH-AWD 6-speed manual does as well. In my car, they are great, and way, way better than the crappy brakes on our MDX or the automatic TL's I was given as service loaners. My 2004 is FWD, so it has all of those performance pitfalls, but is still a reasonably fun car.
I would never seriously consider or recommend an automatic or FWD TL over a BMW. The 6-speed manual TL-SHAWD might be worth a test drive for you to make the call yourself. Interestingly, I was NOT very favorably impressed with 2011/2012 535i 6-speed manuals. I wasn't seriously in the market, but when we were shopping for the X5, was being tempted by some great deals. But after a few test drives, I concluded that the new 5 series felt heavy and a bit dull compared to the older models or the (outgoing) 3 series.
#14615 of 16984 Re: Price creep [m6user] - It was worse back then... [habitat1]
Aug 05, 2012 (9:26 pm)
The general inflation rate will of course affect any price increases in addition to governmental regualtions. I believe the period you mentioned, 1985 to 1995 has substantially more inflation than the period I tracked, 2002/3 to 2012/13.
Mortgage rates were in the 9-10% range back in the late eighties. I remember refinancing in 1992 to 7.5%, down from 9.5%. If you consider the "hyper" inflation of the late 70s and early 80s(I can actually remember getting pay raises of over 10% several of those years) car prices may have been catching up somewhat. I believe they lag inflation by a couple of years as manufactures try to hold the line on prices until profit pressures become too great to resist.
#14616 of 16984 Re: Price creep [m6user] - It was worse back then... [habitat1] [dino001] [habitat1]
Aug 06, 2012 (5:19 am)
This is good story. However, in 1969 Mercedes was only making cars that were market positioned equivalent of today's S-class and top of E-class. Model 190 (predecessor of C-class) was introduces somewhere in late 70s or early 80s, don't know exact dates. The ELLPS simply did not exist back then. There was a small BMW and Europe has always had cars like those, but the concept was pretty much unknown in the US. So the bridge was gapped from both sides (cheap cars becoming not so cheap and expensive brands introducing less expensive models)
#14617 of 16984 Re: Price creep [m6user] - It was worse back then... [habitat1] [dino001] [habitat1] [dino001]
Aug 06, 2012 (5:56 am)
You are exactly right - and that's the essence of my point. An ELLPS segment that has BMW and Mercedes competing against Japanese and even American cars for the same buyer didn't really exist until about 1995 or later. Prior to that, it was easy. We all knew our place in car society. And now Hyundai is on TV with ads comparing their Genesis to a Panamera S?? Holy cow.