Last post on May 01, 2013 at 3:12 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Lexus GS 430, Acura RL, BMW 5 Series, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Infiniti M35, Infiniti M45, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac STS, Sedan
Mar 17, 2005 (3:24 pm)
Well, I am now officially on Audi's BLACK LIST, I imagine -- the March 14th Business Week magazine article where I am conspicuously named as a loyal Audi owner who feels Audi has lost its touch is "out there," (for all to see) my dealer hears my confused and frustrated rants and raves and even my level-headed lawyer wife thinks my arguments are not the railings of a crazed man and sees my thoughts are mostly "with merit" and "without prejudice."
But, check this out --
We test drove three cars recently: 1 Audi, 1 BMW, 1 Mercedes -- they were all within $1,000 of each other and all about $45,000. Although she has NOT OFFICIALLY pulled the trigger, I'm right now taking bets that my lovely and talented wife will be placing a deposit down on a custom ordered BMW (to be delivered in 75 days from Munich) that will be $100 less per month than a new Audi A4 and (in this instance) have more features and can be had with a stick shift (which the A4 3.2 at this time cannot).
She wanted a car with full screen sat nav -- both the BMW and the Audi offer it (finally).
She wanted a 6 speed manual -- only the BMW offers a choice of auto or manual.
She wanted a peppy 6 cylinder engine -- both Audi and BMW offer this.
She wanted Bluetooth for her new phone so we don't have to buy ANOTHER $995 Audi phone circa 1999 (vintage) that has to essentially go with the outgoing car since it is only able to be plugged into an Audi cradle even though it was supposed to be portable (the 2 2003 $995 phones will NOT port to new Audis let alone another brand -- did I mention they were $995 EACH?).
OK OK OK. Deep breath.
Here is the kicker -- a new Audi A4 without two features: stick shift and bluetooth is $44,750, the BMW similarly equipped is $45,065. The 36 month lease payment on the Audi at our FRIENDLY DEEP DISCOUNT 'cause we bought so many cars there DEALER is (drum roll) $684.00 a month (36 months 15,000 miles per year no money down). At the BMW dealer the brand new, custom ordered to be built according to her exact specifications car is (another drum roll) $585.62 per month same terms!
This is a marketing decision plain and simple -- Audi is (or soon will) letting the business go to BMW -- and believe me the discount at our Audi dealer was more than fair, it was downright generous, but the Marketing Wizards at Audi (AG or America, I don't know which) are not pricing the cars via the financing arm to move.
OK this ONE example may not make or break Rome -- the point is my wife loves Audis. The BMW she is leasing -- or probably will be -- is All Wheel Drive -- this is a more or less apples to apples decision. This is NOT a left over car, this car hasn't even been built yet and it will be at that price and at that lease rate be built and delivered in about 75 days and the deal is firm (I am 99% certain she will take the deal in 3 hours and 45 minutes from now!) I am not in horror about her selection, the BMW is beautiful, it is black and has a terracotta leather interior, sport package, premium package, cold weather package, On*star (BMW's brand, BTW On*star which I have on MY 2003 Audi has been discontinued -- what were they thinking????), sat nav, bluetooth, servotronic, parktronic front and rear, tire pressure monitoring, power everything, automatic lights and rain sensing windshield wipers and sat radio even (18" wheels and tires, also not available at this time on the A4!!! -- but they come standard with the BMW with the sport package).
Oh the humanity.
This sale, if it goes to BMW as I suspect it will, represents an effort equivalent to the sales effort required to sell 5 new Audis -- for it is a "marketing statistic" that it takes 5 times as much "effort" to get a new customer as it does to keep a current (and otherwise very happy) customer.
This is not about MSRP, clearly; this is NOT about All Wheel Drive -- this is about Marketing as a "weapon" or tool in a car companies arsenal of weapons. Letting my wife (who knows everybody and also teaches at the local college of law, as if she isn't out there enough) buy a BMW is damn near a crime, it is certainly a shame, and it is, to be blunt, incomprehensible.
Try this one on for size, I am about 65% certain I will just go ahead and get the new Infinity M35x -- and that is even a bigger leap -- I have never even thought of owning a Japanese car, let alone got this close to leasing one. The A6 is underpowered, lower in content, shorter in warranty, lower in residual, higher in money factor and pretty much similar in feel to the Infiniti M35x and the BMW 5 series -- I know I have extensively driven all three. And, for pity's sake, I have owned (between my wife and me, that is) 27 Audis since 1977.
Dr. Piech warned and/or boasted that all premium cars would HAVE to eventually offer AWD to meet the market's demands. So Audi sits here with its eyes and ears covered while all the other premium and premium wannabees, fulfill Piech's prophecy. What, pray tell, will separate Audi from the rest of the pack when the transformation is fully realized by "the other guys"? -- it used to be Audi = high value, high performance, decent and ever expanding luxury and amenities, a great warranty and service program AND -- the secret weapon: QUATTRO.
Same as the other guy, same as the other guy, same as the other guy, nowadays. The products were able to be differentiated quite nicely thank you when Audi was THE leader (in one respect) due in large measure to QUATTRO. NOT any more. . .they all have it, and in May 2005, BMW will have a 5 series with AWD and all the hoopla that'll surely go with it. And Audis new 3.2 A6 can have its taillights handed to it by the outgoing A6 S-Line 2.7T (which, truth be told was quicker than the A6 4.2 and handles better than even the new incoming A6).
Hello, Audi -- is this thing on????
Call me, I'll tell you that a few simple (relatively) things can keep you from slipping further. Last year you were "The" leader of the pack, now you are "A" leader of the pack, next year, at this rate, you'll be a "Member" of the pack. My gosh who's bright idea is it to bring out that super super super sexy new VW Passat with a 3.6L V6 and 280HP, smart key, all wheel drive, 6 speed tiptronic and so on and so on for a maxed out price of $38,000? -- and it is pretty much identical in size to last year's A6 for criminy's sake!!!!!????!!! Hello, it sure is quiet in here.
First, get the leasing programs to where the current market is -- you're not alone anymore. Second, get the 0-60 acceleration of the A6 3.2 to ANY number below 7.0 seconds -- it would be simple to do this (just change the final drive ratio on the A6 to a couple percentage points lower -- even if you have to make 6th gear slightly overdriven to preserve the highway milage.) And whatever you do don't let VW come out with a 280HP Passat for $38K when your 255HP A4 is $44K and your 255HP A6 is $52K! --
Mar 17, 2005 (3:48 pm)
(continuing) -- do you think the buying public doesn't know that Audi and VW often share engines (hmm 2.8, 1.8T, 4.2. . . .)
EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK! Who's in charge?
Listen, I've been on the autobahn at 240KPH, I know that when you see the car in your review mirror flick his/her turn signal and you're in the left lane that you have SECONDS to get over even though the guy looks like but a speck in your mirror -- Zooooooooooooooooooom Whoooooooooooooooosh! the Porsche whizzes by -- bye bye!
Audi has been enjoying, in my estimation, life in the left lane, life pretty much with little competition. Audi people seem almost "religious fanatic" loyal to Audi -- much moreso than Volvo, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and the rest seem. I've been to the factory 6 times for pity's sake, it is like mecca for those of us Audi-lovers. But Audi is literally cutting us loose -- they are slipping all the while they're products actually are improving.
Perception is reality -- that is all that counts really. Is the BMW that my wife will probably lease better than the Audi? -- well, not really (the stick and bluetooth are, to her, at this moment, important but would NOT in and of themselves be justification to abandon an otherwise superior car.) The point is, Audi has never been given the respect that BMW has been given and they (Audi) actually now have cars that even those stooges (said for effect, relax) at the major car magazines find difficult to fault -- Audi and BMW are closer to parity than they have ever been and BMW, for whatever reason, has decided to market its products to make them seem (perception, remember) more attractive.
Who's in charge?
What a world, what a world -- cut of my legs and call me shorty if I actually do get a new Infiniti M35x -- which is a super fine car, BTW.
Know thine enemy as I always say.
And note well the words of Pogo.
"We have met the enemy and he is us!"
#1225 of 10338 Mark you have the right idea
Mar 17, 2005 (6:28 pm)
Get the M35x. The car is wonderful. If you have any specific questions ask me, I pick mine up last weekend.
#1226 of 10338 Re: Black List Part 2. . . [markcincinnati]
Mar 17, 2005 (6:45 pm)
Stop sugar-coating it and beating around the bush. Tell us how you really feel.
I'm glad you are thinking so seriously about the M. You obviously have put tons of thought (and antacid?) into this. As I am probably picking up my M35x (for MI winters) next Tuesday, it is nice to see intelligent people reach the same decision--it cuts down on my antacid bill.
It seems like your wife must be a car fanatic also. What does she think about the M and the G35?
#1227 of 10338 Re: Black List Part 2. . . [doc nukem]
Mar 17, 2005 (7:49 pm)
9:35PM dateline Cincinnati -- we have just put the requisite deposit down on the new BMW -- the order will be transmitted to Munich on Friday, and they swear the car will be here May 31 -- who cares if it is June 15 actually, the deal is set -- and they even lowered the price another $4.00 since they had not configured the Servotronic and it is residualized and some other buzz I tuned out.
And, Oh, I have given up on antacids, I have made the jump to Nexium, bypassing Prilosec and Pepcid AC altogether.
#1228 of 10338 Re: Black List Part 2. . . [markcincinnati]
Mar 17, 2005 (7:57 pm)
I sincerely hope you both enjoy the car and all goes well. I'm going to take a break from this particular forum. You have said it all my man. There is nothing left for me to say. Best of luck! and Happy St. Patricks day.
#1229 of 10338 markcincinnati
Mar 17, 2005 (10:45 pm)
Oh, the best laid plans. Interesting story. I would be interested to know how your wife likes her 5. If it were me, I'd go for the M35x in a second though. Then again, I'm not a lawyer.
#1230 of 10338 Re: Black List Part 2. . . [markcincinnati]
Mar 18, 2005 (5:24 am)
"I have given up on antacids, I have made the jump to Nexium, bypassing Prilosec and Pepcid AC altogether. "
On to Prozac - and Valium?
BTW: of all the Boards and all the Forums I follow (and several I have followed for years), I do not believe I have ever seen one (loooong) thread by one person quite like Mark's.
Perhaps there is an appropriate award?
Best of luck on the BMW - did you look at ED for your 5?
Occasionally verbose, but . . .