The 1961-1969 Lincoln Continental, with its suicide doors and slab sides, is recognized by most as the styling pinnacle of the Lincoln brand in the postwar era. Very nice early examples are worth pretty decent money, but a ’67 in beyond-basket-case condition is worth whatever scrap cars are fetching per ton. Here’s a thoroughly used-up ’67 that I found recently in a Denver wrecking yard. (Read More…)
Tag: luxury cars
“There aren’t many bad cars on the market,” is the trope trotted out by auto reviewers when justifying their enthusiastic response to whatever is trotted out in front of them at the Lowes Santa Monica on Wave 2 of the latest press launch. The post-recession era is one where the quality of the average car has never been higher, at the expense of idiosyncratic flaws that give cars character. Sure, there are always the whipping boys of the market, namely cars people actually buy like unibody crossovers and some that people don’t, like big, front-drive sedans.
“You know, I always wanted a…”
Those words are about as common as kudzu at my Georgia car lot.
They aren’t usually reserved for the late model vehicles though. When it comes to the primary drivers, customers are always willing to fork out the money for their dream car.
It’s the second older dream car, or third-string beater dream car that slides down the scale from want to nothingness.
You know what the most popular ‘almost’ car is these days?
In the new $29,900 CLA coupe’s first full month of U.S. sales, Mercedes-Benz sold 4,895 units in October, helping the brand post a 25% increase over last October’s sales and double it’s lead over BMW, the number two luxury brand in this market.
This is the Lexus LS460, the luxury boomer that built the brand. It was the Lexus LS that launched the Automotive Battle of Hastings back in 1990, attacking the European establishment with devastating competence. The 2013 Lexus LS460 is still that great, and yes, the ride is still more Chris Craft than hardtail.
Andy Palmer, who is in charge of global future product planning for Nissan, says that the company’s Infiniti luxury brand is considering a sporty four door flagship to compete in the segment defined by the Porsche Panamera. A likely candidate would be Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura’s Infiniti Essence concept first shown at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show. However, an Infiniti flagship would not reach the market before 2017. It would be part of Nissan’s goal to grow Infiniti into a global luxury brand by the end of the decade.
Infiniti has not competed head to head with European luxury marques in the S Class or 7 Series segment since the early days of Nissan’s luxury brand and the original Q45. Instead Infiniti has built its brand around a lineup of sporty sedans, coupes and crossovers. “We can’t just take on the opposition directly,” said Infiniti chief Johann de Nysschen while speaking to Automotive News. “We have to bring our own unique flavor to the global market.” (Read More…)
Early on, recent reintroductions in the small luxury sports sedan segment have only had the slightest negative impact on the BMW 3-Series’ category-leading market share.
Viewing the segment narrowly, the 3-Series – sales of which now include the 4-Series, which BMW hasn’t chosen to isolate – saw its market share fall from 27.2% in September 2012 to 26.2% in September 2013.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class sales shot up 44% in August 2013, a 2008-unit gain. This improvement followed up on July’s 10% year-over-year improvement, which put an end to four consecutive months of decline for the now-recently facelifted E-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s core midsize model.
Most legendary cars achieved their status thanks to unique ideas, original design, character (whatever may that be) or joy they bring to their owners and drivers. So, is it even possible for a pragmatic, coldly efficient and mostly derivative car to become a legend?
When the first Lexus, called LS400, was introduced in 1989, it certainly wasn’t the most original car on the market. In fact, it not only looked a lot like a W126 Mercedes S-class of the time, it was even named similarly (remove the L and the car would fit right into the naming system Mercedes started using a few years later). And it was no coincidence – the LS400 was a result of Toyota brass’ decision to move their business upmarket. The Voluntary Restraint Agreement between the United States and Japan limited the number of Japanese cars that could enter the country, making it a smart idea to charge more for each of them and clear more profit. The LS400 might have been a bit of a loss leader at $35,000 for a base model that nobody ever saw in dealerships, but it paved the way for hugely profitable successors and showroom companions like the ES300 and RX300.
A report in Automotive News Europe (courtesy of Bloomberg) highlights just how much growth potential there is for BMW in China. Karsten Engel, BMW’s top man in China told the outlet
“Strong growth in future will come from the smaller cities, and the strong growth will also come especially from the western region…There are 100 cities with more than a million inhabitants in China with no premium car dealers at all, so this shows the huge potential we’re having in this country,” he said in an interview in Beijing.
Put another way: in 1994, BMW sold 800 cars annually in China. Now, they sell about 900 per day.
After newly elected President Barack Obama slapped a punitive tariff on made-in-China tires, China looked for a good tit-for-tat and quickly found one: The US imported $1.8b worth of Chinese tires in 2009, while China imported $1.1b worth of US-built cars in 2008. A retaliatory tariff was slapped on Escalades et al. Now, the same is about to happen to BMWs and Benzes coming from Europe.
“China is considering imposing import duties on high-end European cars following complaints over subsidies that enable EU carmakers to sell in China at a loss,” Reuters reports. That, of course, is only half of the story. The EU slapped a punitive tariff on made-in-China solar modules, despite opposition from a majority of EU countries, most notably Germany. Not surprisingly, China fights back. (Read More…)
Lincoln is cutting their free maintenance program in half, from 4 years/50,000 miles to 2 years/24,000 miles. (Read More…)