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#60 of 109 Re: On Luxury Hyundais [hpmctorque]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 21, 2010 (8:00 am)
I think Kia is on Death Watch in the USA. I know, most people don't agree with me, but that's what I think. In Asia of course, different story.
Speaking of Asia, it's possible that Hyundai is taking note of what some economists insist is "the future"---that the entire weight of global wealth, production and capacity will shift East in the next 25 years. In other words, the Twilight of the West---not disaster or ruin certainly not, but a shift to a new world out there somewhere.
I can see this in terms of car production, as the USA and Europe are very "mature" markets---to sell a car here, you have to steal the sale from another automaker. Nobody in the USA or Europe "needs" another car.
So with the rising upper middle class in Asia, and the declining upper middle class in America, maybe testing a luxury brand here in the USA for future marketing in Asia isn't such a bad idea.
It's better than developing a car for Asia and trying to sell it here--that has never worked really well. It would be easier to possibly de-content a luxury car for Asia, than spiff up an Asian car for the USA.
#61 of 109 Re: what's luxury [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 21, 2010 (9:13 am)
I had a current generation Escalade as a rental the last time I went out west. I felt like a complete tool driving it, and it was missing some features (like keyless ignition) that I thought would be standard on a luxury vehicle. Also, one of the gas struts popped off of the tailgate glass when I opened it. It drove quietly and unobjectionably enough, but at that price level, I don't think that's sufficient.
#62 of 109 Re: Passat vs. A4 [hpmctorque]
Oct 21, 2010 (9:21 am)
The Passat has a nice interior and good driving characteristics. I see that VW is currently selling only one model of the Passat this year, with (I think) navigation as the only available option.
The A4's interior is over-the-top for a mid-$30k vehicle. It used to be slightly smaller than the Passat (which itself was slightly smaller than other midsize sedans), but I'm not sure if this is still the case. I loved the A4 that I leased, and might lease one again if there were a similar killer lease deal, but I wouldn't want to own one (or a Passat) out of warranty.
#63 of 109 Re: The Value Proposition of Luxury Brands [fintail]
Oct 21, 2010 (5:12 pm)
"The Century can compete with Maybach? Where? Among rabid Japanese nationalists? The Maybach is priced pretty much in Rolls territory...does the Toyota compete there too, really?"
I didn't bring up the Century to debate how it holds up against the Maybach, but rather to show that one can't simply go by nameplate in considering what is a luxury vehicle (let's try to say on topic, shall we?).
The Lexus LS460 is generally considered a luxury sedan and a competitor to the S Class, 7 Series and A8.
Otoh, the flagship of the Toyota lineup is not the LS460, but rather the Toyota Century - so one can't simply dismiss the Century as not being a luxury sedan simply b/c it is branded a Toyota (get the point?).
And yeah, considering that the Century hasn't changed much over the decades, I'm sure the Maybach is the better car; but the Century, nonetheless, is a more luxurious sedan than the LS460.
The Century is mostly handcrafted w/ a 48 valve V12 engine and amenities like powered side window curtains.
The Century Majesty goes even further w/ the luxury and has things like marble runningboard and costs about $500K.
#64 of 109 Re: The Value Proposition of Luxury Brands [j2j]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 21, 2010 (5:12 pm)
Well that might be Dubai's idea of luxury, but not America's.
#65 of 109 Re: The Value Proposition of Luxury Brands [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 21, 2010 (5:15 pm)
So according to you, a Lexus 430 is "luxury", but the near-identical Toyota Celsior is not (even tho, the Celsior came w/ more amenities than the USDM LS430).
OK - makes sense to me.
#66 of 109 Re: On Luxury Hyundais [hpmctorque]
Oct 21, 2010 (5:20 pm)
"I think Hyundai tested the waters with it's luxury models. As they see that they can compete, they'll establish a luxury channel. Don't know if they'll do the same with Kia."
Kia has no plans for a luxury channel (there is no point since the RWD platform and V8 powerplant they would use comes from Hyundai).
Kia is just going to bring over the Cadenza/K7 (large, upscale FWD sedan) to compete w/ the Maxima, Taurus, Avalon, Impala and Azera; but they do have a smaller, RWD sedan in the works which is going to be their sports sedan.
#67 of 109 Re: On Luxury Hyundais [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 21, 2010 (5:34 pm)
"I think Kia is on Death Watch in the USA. I know, most people don't agree with me, but that's what I think. In Asia of course, different story."
OK - now you lost any credibility w/ that statement.
Kia is not only one of the fastest growing brands in the US, it is already the 8th best-selling brand (not counting truck-based GMC) and has a 3.1% share of the US automarket.
The Kia Sorento is a huge success (beating the Honda Pilot in YTD sales) and the Soul dominates its segment; the Forte/Koup and new Sportage also sell pretty well.
But the new Optima will surpass all of that and do somewhere btwn 12-15K units monthly.
And I don't quite understand all this talk about the US and EU being "mature" markets and hence Hyundai/Kia won't have as much growth opportunities.
H/K will probably overtake Honda/Acura in US sales in 2012; they have already overtaken both Honda and Toyota in Canada and Europe.
#68 of 109 Re: The Value Proposition of Luxury Brands [fintail]
Oct 21, 2010 (5:38 pm)
"Does the JDM accept the Celsior as a luxury car more than a high value car? That's a good part of the answer."
Yeah, the JDM is totally OK w/ the Japanese royal family riding in the "budget"/high value Century.
The JDM accepts the Celsior, as well as the Crown Series and the Nissan President, Cima, etc. as being in the luxury segment.
Just as Europeans don't see BMW or Mercedes being nearly a luxury brand as Americans do.
#69 of 109 Re: The Value Proposition of Luxury Brands [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 21, 2010 (5:54 pm)
"Journalists don't get to decide what is a luxury car, nor to forums hosts. Buyers do, ultimately, along with the public's perception of the buyer and his/her decisions. "Successful" or "fool"?
So we'll see who pays $60K for a Hyundai and if the "luxury" label really sticks, or is dismissed by public perception."
Well, considering that buyers are purchasing more Genesis sedans than the Lexus GS, Infiniti M and Audi A6 - I guess that means the latter 3 aren't "luxury."
Also, considering that the Maybach has bombed in the US (and pretty much every other market), I guess that means the Maybach isn't luxury as well.
"The LS400 was an instant luxury car, not in spite of its lower price, but because the Mercedes was so grossly overpriced.
Here again, the general public didn't vote the Benz OUT of the luxury market, but voted the Lexus IN. The LS400 was an impressive debut and nobody said '$35K for a Toyota??'"
Nice spin job.
And oh, there were many comments at the time the LS400 launched about the Lexus being a Toyota; the only thing that got them to overlook it was the ridiculously low MSRP.
Also, I guess that means the LS460 isn't a luxury sedan in Europe due to its poor sales in relation to its competition (selling about as well as the Phaeton).
Otoh, I guess the LS460 is more luxury than the Audi A8 in the US, since it handily outsells the A8.