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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Lexus remains a case study in how to launch a successful luxury brand from scratch, from how to enlist the best dealers, to how to effectively train dealers and salespeople, to what marketing messages to communicate during the launch. Alfa Romeo and Genesis could have benefited from the lessons the Lexus launch offered.

Lexus remains to this day the most profitable dealership franchise, and has been at the top of the NADA dealer satisfaction studies for 20+ years, followed by Toyota.

Toyota for its part, has been and remains the world's most valuable auto brand; well above Mercedes and BMW.

This is an animation of auto brand valuations between 2006 and 2019
 

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Who cares about such specific demands? Lexus succeeded where Alfa Romeo failed. They had best in class quality for years, best in class dealer experiences, and, frankly, if you're into quiet interiors, great rides, and fast acceleration, best in class cars. The original ES made a mockery of any Mercedes.
And they put their money where their mouth was. If you had an issue, they took care of it. Period.

I’m not a troll...maybe more of an ogre? Perhaps an Orc more so than a goblin....
You sure, you aren't the bridge troll from "Holy Grail?" :geek:
73404


Lexus remains a case study in how to launch a successful luxury brand from scratch, from how to enlist the best dealers, to how to effectively train dealers and salespeople, to what marketing messages to communicate during the launch.
And how to take care of customers. One of my old college buds, who was a Navy Boomer driver (Daniel Boone), his father is a retired M.D. They bought two identical "Lexii" back in the 90s, IIRC. Had a fire caused by the ABS. Lexus FLEW a technician to Evansville, IN to inspect it. They had the forensics done on the car, and found that the ABS had remained in an actuated state after shutting the key off, apparently with the brake on, and eventually caught fire. Fortunately, the house was not damaged, but Lexus took care of things.
 

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And they put their money where their mouth was. If you had an issue, they took care of it. Period.

You sure, you aren't the bridge troll from "Holy Grail?" :geek:
View attachment 73404


And how to take care of customers. One of my old college buds, who was a Navy Boomer driver (Daniel Boone), his father is a retired M.D. They bought two identical "Lexii" back in the 90s, IIRC. Had a fire caused by the ABS. Lexus FLEW a technician to Evansville, IN to inspect it. They had the forensics done on the car, and found that the ABS had remained in an actuated state after shutting the key off, apparently with the brake on, and eventually caught fire. Fortunately, the house was not damaged, but Lexus took care of things.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? :D

Something can always go wrong with any product that you own, a company can’t prevent that. It’s how that same company treats you and handles the situation that matters. You’ll have a much more positive view of a brand if they take ownership of an issue as opposed to treating you like it’s your fault when things go wrong.
 

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Lexus remains a case study in how to launch a successful luxury brand from scratch, from how to enlist the best dealers, to how to effectively train dealers and salespeople, to what marketing messages to communicate during the launch. Alfa Romeo and Genesis could have benefited from the lessons the Lexus launch offered.

Lexus remains to this day the most profitable dealership franchise, and has been at the top of the NADA dealer satisfaction studies for 20+ years, followed by Toyota.

Toyota for its part, has been and remains the world's most valuable auto brand; well above Mercedes and BMW.

This is an animation of auto brand valuations between 2006 and 2019
What are they even measuring?
 

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Toyota enjoys tremendous brand loyalty, so why should it be surprising that their luxury brand should enjoy the same? If customers enjoy the Toyota “experience”, then it would make sense that they would seek a Lexus when moving up to a luxury brand, IMO. My SIL has an older Lexus (es 350 maybe?) that she’s had for a long time, she‘s put a ton of miles on it. To me, it’s as bland as bland gets...but for her it’s been a great car. I too am not a big fan of Lexus, but you can’t argue with their success.

I’m not a troll...maybe more of an ogre? Perhaps an Orc more so than a goblin....
I had an elderly sales rep working for me when Lexus first started. He could not believe the customer service.

The dealership would call him and ask him if everything is OK with the car. Then they would offer to come to his office, pick up his car, take it to the dealership, clean it, inspect it and return it before he would go home for the day.

He said he never had a dealership make him feel that way. He owned Jaguars and Mercedes previously and became a lifelong Lexus owner from that time until the day he died.

Now THAT is customer service!
 

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My standards are lower - (a) the service advisor believes me, (b) they fix the car, and (c) they either do it under warranty or try to soften the blow!
 

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I’d like my experiences at the dealer to be like my experiences at our independent mechanic. They smile and say hello, which is pretty rare at my CDJR dealer. If they don’t fix something right the first tIme, they treat it like a priority to get it done. I have gotten loaners...old beaters for sure, but better than nothing. I’ve never been given a loaner or been assisted with obtaining a rental at ANY of our dealers. They were all in use, or I didn’t purchase whichever service contract. Buick told me I could get a loaner when the parts came in for my wife’s Encore...and then never bothered to call when the parts came in. We ended up taking it to another dealer, and they not only didn’t offer a loaner, they somehow lost my appointment, and then acted like they were doing me a favor by “fitting me in”.

I don’t expect perfection, but an improvement in customer service would be nice. I’m tired of being treated like they’re doing me a favor by servicing our vehicles. It ain’t like the service is free. The dealers get our new cars until the warranty runs out, then all go to our independent mechanic. We’ll see how it goes with our Ford dealer and our Explorer. The buying experience was awesome. We’ll see about service...haven’t taken my Mustang there in a few years.
 

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My standards are lower - (a) the service advisor believes me, (b) they fix the car, and (c) they either do it under warranty or try to soften the blow!
I would add one more thing, and that is that they try to work you in quickly. When my car has an issue that prevents me driving it, I don't want them to say "Sure, just bring it in Thursday next week and we'll take a look". That was my usual experience years ago when I used the dealer service department, and it's one of the reasons that today I use an independent mechanic for everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Where are the Alfa red dots? Are they hiding under Genesis?
Yes. I just checked: Genesis and Alfa Romeo are right on top of each other
 
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I would add one more thing, and that is that they try to work you in quickly. When my car has an issue that prevents me driving it, I don't want them to say "Sure, just bring it in Thursday next week and we'll take a look". That was my usual experience years ago when I used the dealer service department, and it's one of the reasons that today I use an independent mechanic for everything.
If I call my local CDJR dealer to schedule an appointment, it is a 2-3 week wait. If I stop by the dealer and schedule an appointment in person, it is a 1-2 week wait. Having to go to the dealer to schedule the appointment to get a decent response is annoying as crud, but I'm willing to put up with the annoyance for the right vehicle. What I wish they would offer is transportation. The local GM dealer will give me a ride to work or home when I drop off a vehicle and pick me up when it is done.
 

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Lexus remains a case study in how to launch a successful luxury brand from scratch, from how to enlist the best dealers, to how to effectively train dealers and salespeople, to what marketing messages to communicate during the launch. Alfa Romeo and Genesis could have benefited from the lessons the Lexus launch offered.

Lexus remains to this day the most profitable dealership franchise, and has been at the top of the NADA dealer satisfaction studies for 20+ years, followed by Toyota.

Toyota for its part, has been and remains the world's most valuable auto brand; well above Mercedes and BMW.

This is an animation of auto brand valuations between 2006 and 2019
Yes, indeed. They showed exactly how to do it. Build a copy of the midsize 420 SEL lucury car (LS). Pair it with a near luxury loaded FWD compact Camry (ES). Follow up with a V6 midsize GS and subcompact SC coupe. Then add SUVs based on the Toyota models RWD/AWD and then FWD/AWD. Last add a hybrid.

If you tilt at the MB/BMW windmill like Alfa and Genesis you will lose.

How Toyota won was to sell luxury cars together with near luxury cars. ES, RX, NX, and UX are just loaded Toyotas sold at a luxury car dealer and their owners are treated like they bought a luxury car.
IS, LS, RC and LC are Lexus unique luxury vehicles. GX and LX are the big Toyota Land Cruisers in the US, they are expensive enough to be luxury vehicles.

Alfa can't take Lexus on in the US, but Chrysler could.

2020 Q4 sales
Lexus ES (Avalon)13,508
Lexus GS396
Lexus GX (Land Cruiser Prado)9,942
Lexus IS4,879
Lexus LC582
Lexus LS1,334
Lexus LX (Land Cruiser)1,636
Lexus NX (RAV4)19,855
Lexus RC1,169
Lexus RX (Highlander)34,808
Lexus UX (C-HR)4,845

The ones that sell well are just loaded Toyotas, except for the IS.


Mercedes sales for comparison:

Mercedes-Benz A-Class3,600
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT924
Mercedes-Benz C-Class5,697
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class2,537
Mercedes-Benz E / CLS-Class6,709
Mercedes-Benz G-Class2,558
Mercedes-Benz GL/GLS-Class5,244
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class8,839
Mercedes-Benz GLB4,474
Mercedes-Benz GLC/GLK-Class18,639
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class15,994
Mercedes-Benz Metris2,241
Mercedes-Benz S-Class1,959
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class433
Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class474
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter14,988
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I hear derision towards Lexus, as if selling Toyota-based vehicles is somehow a weakness.

Accusing Lexus of selling Camry-based models fails to see the obvious point: that Lexus figured out how to repackage mainstream vehicles successfully. Instead of focusing on whether a platform was FWD or RWD, it focused on the refinement of the powertrains, on the quality of materials, on assembly fit-and-finish, on day-to-day reliability, on the level of customer service and, in typical Toyota fashion, by providing strong value for money and strong resale.

Mercedes and BMW don’t have the ability to rebadge mainstream models simply because they don’t have a volume brand to pull from. They would if they could.

For its part, Alfa Romeo found out the hard way that much of what it thought was pent up demand turned out to be nostalgia. Nostalgia alone is not enough when the time comes to convince luxury buyers to sign a 3 or 4 year lease, no matter what the auto magazines think.
 

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I hear derision towards Lexus, as if selling Toyota-based vehicles is somehow a weakness.
For the longest time Ford, GM, and even Chrysler were successful doing the exact same thing, Only they got cheap and the difference between a Chevrolet and Cadillac (or Ford and Lincoln, or Chrysler and Dodge/Plymouth) was not substantial enough to justify the more premium brand's image.
Toyota hasn't fallen into that "cost cutting while trying to sell an upscale product" trap that the domestic brands did decades ago,
 

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I hear derision towards Lexus, as if selling Toyota-based vehicles is somehow a weakness.

Accusing Lexus of selling Camry-based models fails to see the obvious point: that Lexus figured out how to repackage mainstream vehicles successfully. Instead of focusing on whether a platform was FWD or RWD, it focused on the refinement of the powertrains, on the quality of materials, on assembly fit-and-finish, on day-to-day reliability, on the level of customer service and, in typical Toyota fashion, by providing strong value for money and strong resale.


For its part, Alfa Romeo found out the hard way that much of what it thought was pent up demand turned out to be nostalgia. Nostalgia alone is not enough when the time comes to convince luxury buyers to sign a 3 or 4 year lease, no matter what the auto magazines think.
Darned tootin’. As with any Chrysler sold in the 1990s and even the 2000s, if they spent the right money on it, it would have been luxurious enough to match a Mercedes. Toyota was smart enough to start a separate brand. I will admit I was disappointed in some models, e.g. the Lexus version of Land Cruiser and the IS, but others were just stunningly good for what they were (sofas on wheels). I got 0-60 times matching a Corvette automatic with dead-silent interiors and perfect rides from a couple of test cars when I still got them. They did not miss a trick, except I thought it was stupid to take perfectly good wood and dye it so jet-black that it was indistinguishable from plastic. But the owners knew it was real wood so that's all that matters, right?

Toyota figured out what people want, reliability, pampering at the dealership, and comfort, and they provided it cheaper than Mercedes. Other than a German name and overpriced parts, what does Mercedes offer that Toyota doesn't provide in a Lexus?

And yes, I agree and suggest the market research for Alfa focused too much on car writers.
 

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I hear derision towards Lexus, as if selling Toyota-based vehicles is somehow a weakness.

Accusing Lexus of selling Camry-based models fails to see the obvious point: that Lexus figured out how to repackage mainstream vehicles successfully. Instead of focusing on whether a platform was FWD or RWD, it focused on the refinement of the powertrains, on the quality of materials, on assembly fit-and-finish, on day-to-day reliability, on the level of customer service and, in typical Toyota fashion, by providing strong value for money and strong resale.

Mercedes and BMW don’t have the ability to rebadge mainstream models simply because they don’t have a volume brand to pull from. They would if they could.

For its part, Alfa Romeo found out the hard way that much of what it thought was pent up demand turned out to be nostalgia. Nostalgia alone is not enough when the time comes to convince luxury buyers to sign a 3 or 4 year lease, no matter what the auto magazines think.
You take a statement of fact as derision and accusation. I take it as a path forward. The powertrains are the exact same ones offered in the Toyotas. They are the same under the skin.

BMW actually is making models on the Mini platform.

Nostalgia sometimes sells. The problem with Alfa was the attempt to go upmarket where it had never been and combine that with nostalgia. If they made the Mazda convertible with a 2.0 an Alfa they could have succeeded with nostalgia. A powerful TTV6 is a Maserati hallmark, not an Alfa one. Fiat tried nostalgia in the US for a model that was a failure here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
You take a statement of fact as derision and accusation. I take it as a path forward. The powertrains are the exact same ones offered in the Toyotas. They are the same under the skin.

BMW actually is making models on the Mini platform.

Nostalgia sometimes sells. The problem with Alfa was the attempt to go upmarket where it had never been and combine that with nostalgia. If they made the Mazda convertible with a 2.0 an Alfa they could have succeeded with nostalgia. A powerful TTV6 is a Maserati hallmark, not an Alfa one. Fiat tried nostalgia in the US for a model that was a failure here.
Actually, Fiat succeeded with 124 Spider. Trust me, I own one: Spider is a better Mazda MX-5 in every way but in sales.

Here’s a fact: the problem with Spider was not that it is a Fiat; the problem is that it is a 2-seater convertible. Consumer demand for roadsters is minuscule, no matter what badge you slap on it. The really baffling part is that FCA would go into this ignoring this basic fact; be taken by surprise by poor sales and end up pulling the plug. Slapping an Alfa Romeo badge wasn’t going to change any of this; 4C ended on the exact same boat.

The other part that is baffling is that FCA thought it could price its all-new Spider above the segment standard from Mazda believing that consumers would fall for it: FCA priced Spider’s MSRP above MX-5, but transaction prices ended being significantly below. That’s just crummy pricing. FCA went into this with too much wishful thinking and not enough business sense.

I, for one, am glad FCA brought Spider back. I love my Spider. But I never had any illusions of what a rebadged 2-seater would accomplish. That appears to be a lot more than FCA calculated.
 

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Actually, Fiat succeeded with 124 Spider. Trust me, I own one: Spider is a better Mazda MX-5 in every way but in sales.

Here’s a fact: the problem with Spider was not that it is a Fiat; the problem is that it is a 2-seater convertible. Consumer demand for roadsters is minuscule, no matter what badge you slap on it. The really baffling part is that FCA would go into this ignoring this basic fact; be taken by surprise by poor sales and end up pulling the plug. Slapping an Alfa Romeo badge wasn’t going to change any of this; 4C ended on the exact same boat.

The other part that is baffling is that FCA thought it could price its all-new Spider above the segment standard from Mazda believing that consumers would fall for it: FCA priced Spider’s MSRP above MX-5, but transaction prices ended being significantly below. That’s just crummy pricing. FCA went into this with too much wishful thinking and not enough business sense.

I, for one, am glad FCA brought Spider back. I love my Spider. But I never had any illusions of what a rebadged 2-seater would accomplish. That appears to be a lot more than FCA calculated.
By that standard Alfa succeeded with the Giulia. It met all goals except sales. Some teething problems at first, but that is expected with an all new platform.

2 seat 4 cylinder mid engine sport cars don't sell enough to be a consistent feature in the marketplace. Federalizing the 4C was a complete waste of money.
2 seat 4 cylinder front engine convertibles do slightly better. The car should have been an Alfa with the low boost 200 HP 2.0T running on regular, with a hatchback body option.
Even 4 seat RWD 4 cylinder sport sedans sell poorly. Alfa could have done better if they offered 200 HP and 270 HP 2.0T engines running on regular.
They really would have done well with a Lexus ES competitor, but a FWD car that large should be a Chrysler, not an Alfa.
 
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