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
#618 of 10338 The problem...
Feb 03, 2005 (1:03 am)
We are a special group. My wife makes fun of me because I test drive a new car every week. However, my guess is that the majority of buyers in the 40K+ market are just as concerned with what the car says about them as they are with the car itself. That is the problem I have with the Acura and the Infinity models. The exterior styling does not say "I made it". Mercedes has recently been very successful with taking styling cues from their $70K cars and applying them to their entry models. How do you take the styling cues from a $20K car (Honda Accord) and apply it to a $48K car (Acura TL). It's insane!
Lexus, on the other hand, is acquiring the cache to compete on a nameplate only basis. However, the competition to the GS300 comes from within the company. In 1998, I purchased the ES300 over the GS300 when the price difference was less than $5K. Now, how does your basic Lexus buyer justify the $10K difference today? Are the things that are very appealing to us (rear wheel drive, "sportier" driving characteristic going to work with the average buyer? We'll have to see.
One tell-tale piece of information was the sales figures for November. The new Audi A6 basically lifted sales directly from the 5-series. Does anyone actually imagine that the M35/45, GS300 or RL will take a piece of the BMW/Audi/MB market share? Unfortunately, I believe that Acura, Infiniti and Lexus continue to fight over what is essentially a small, niche market.
Feb 03, 2005 (1:12 am)
"Does anyone actually imagine that the M35/45, GS300 or RL will take a piece of the BMW/Audi/MB market share?"
BMW and Audi sales are flat, and Mercedes sales are way down. Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus are all up. So I'm going to say, yes.
#620 of 10338 Re: ckelly14 [lexusguy]
Feb 03, 2005 (1:51 am)
You may be right, and I'm anxious to see what happens when M35 and GS come to the market. However, I would be cautious about interpreting what's going on across the board for what's happening in this segment. Again, I think that the TL vs. 3-series vs. c-class buyer is different from the RL vs. 5-series vs. E-class buyer. Although the E-class is floundering and the RL is doing great, the 5-series and the A6 have all dramatically increased sales vs. 2004. I'm surprised at this given how the styling of the new 5 series has been received.
Car Jan 04 Jan 05
5-series 2675 3278
A6 815 1209
E-series 3866 2725
RL 489 1371
GS 690 434
M45 205 90
Now, you can interpret statistics any way you wish. We'll see what happens with the intro of the new M35/45 and GS. Although BMW and Audi will take a hit, my guess is that the biggest loser in March will be Acura.
#621 of 10338 Sales..
Feb 03, 2005 (1:56 am)
One month doesn't indicate anything definite, especially Jan which is traditionally a slow month for luxury cars sales anyway. Mercedes and BMW both posted gains for the year 2004 compared to 2003, only Audi dropped. Usually only hot models post any gains for Jan, like the RL for Acura and SLK for Mercedes, the rest are usually flat or decrease. Even Lexus had drops across the board for their cars in Jan.
The new Infiniti M and Lexus GS won't start to impact sales until April-May, providing they both go on sale in March.
Feb 03, 2005 (3:52 am)
Yeah I think RL sales will definitely start to slide once M and GS start to take off. However, I think that Japan's strongest entry, the M, can take a big bite out of the 5.
#623 of 10338 Re: The problem... [ckelly14]
Feb 03, 2005 (5:32 am)
There is a flip side to "The Problem". Just as there are people shopping in the 40-60k range who want to make the statement, "I made it", there are plenty of people (possibly even more) who made it who don't want to make the statement. Then there are plenty of people who made it and really don't care what their car says; they just want a car that's fun to drive or appeals to them.
I once said I would never drive a BMW just because of what I thought it said about me (I'll date myself here--this was when "yuppie" was the new word and "yuppies" all wanted BMW's). I subsequently ended up with a 328 because it was fun to drive and I liked the styling. The brand was actually a negative image for me that I had to overcome.
Feb 03, 2005 (5:50 am)
If BMW & MB think the Japanese can't compete in the mid luxury class, they got their heads in the sand, which would be cut off pretty soon. Look at the MT comparo, the two Japanese finish ahead of the two Germans. The Germans dominate this segment because the Japanese never had strong competitors before, that's about to change big time. They'll probably repeat what they're doing in the entry lux segment, where G/TL/ES are all major players.
Feb 03, 2005 (6:08 am)
I don't think anyone here thinks the Germans are taking these Japanese entries lightly. BMW and Mercedes are updating engines in the spring as opposed to their normal fall timeframe. That the new E350 is getting a real "sport" package is no accident.
The ES330 is irrelevant here because nobody is chasing the Buick category, the Lexus IS is supposed to be the Lexus of choice in this topic, but it isn't even close to being major player in its current form. The ES330 is for the 60 and up crowd.
Come to think of it, in the lower sport category between Infiniti, BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Acura only Lexus is missing a major player when it comes to sales.
Feb 03, 2005 (6:31 am)
And yet go to the "Next IS" thread, and all the people that actually own IS300s are going nuts because Lexus isnt keeping the inline, the boy racer styling, or the tiny size. They dont seem to understand that a larger, more adult G35 or TL is what most Americans actually WANT, and Lexus wants to sell cars, not please a few die hards.
Feb 03, 2005 (6:39 am)
Ahh...yes it will be interesting to see which route they take with the new IS. Isn't it just so much fun waiting on your favorite brand to introduced a new car!
Lucky for you Lexi guys you only have to wait until March for it to be shown at the Geneva Auto Show, I have to endure probably most of the summer before MB even shows a pic of the next S, not to mention its showing will be in Sept...!
I think Lexus will come up with something a little smaller than the G35 in exterior size, but with comparable room inside. Even the 3-Series is grown larger so they'd be nuts to keep the same size of today's car.