lexus beefed it a bit with their 200t powertrain, but otherwise I stand by my assertion that all they really need is good tech and they'd sell better (again, this is accepting the premise that they're actually not profitable/losing money).
We would have had an IS and LS in our driveway if the Lexus infotainment system wasn't such a travesty. As for their sales problems, all sedans are down and the LS went too sporty for its target market. Their SUVs are long in the tooth and Acura is putting a lot of heat on everyone in the SUV market with the new (excellent) RDX and soon to be released MDX.
Lexus needs to get back to their core values of exceptional attention to detail, incredible customer service and embracing their Japanese-ness. They recognize this and the new ES is a signal of their return to form.
To address the crazy conspiracy poster who insists Japan is doomed and a shell, the majority of Japan's sovereign debt is actually held by its citizens. It's a legacy of the 1989 bubble collapse when the government had to throw tonnes of money at privately held insurance and banking firms to bail them out. They then had to consolidate and eventually nationalize them. The second largest holder is the US, which is a symbiotic relationship as Japan at times the largest or second largest holder of US debt.
The Japanese government has also been hit by misfortune after misfortune and had to introduce huge fiscal packages due to the 2008 US meltdown and the 2011 earthquake. Unlike the US, the Japanese government doesn't leave its citizens destitute after a financial or natural disaster and has spend handsomely to re-build people's lives. Lastly, there was a stimulus bill introduced in 2015 to soften the increase in the consumption tax. All of this will soften over time as higher taxes and returns on Japan's foreign lending allows them to pay off more of their debt.
The biggest threat to Japan is their ageing population, which hampers their ability to expand the economy (and thus the tax base). In the long-run, unless Japan drastically changes its immigration stance, they are going to become dependent on foreign capital.
Last edited by unhappymeal; 09-09-2019 at 11:51 AM.
Many first world nations (France, Germany, etc...) have low birthrates, but are buoyed by strong immigration (same as the US) but Japan will never be an immigrant friendly place - Asia is and remains very hostile to Japan for it's abhorrent actions during the 20th century. As an aside, in Europe the specter of Soviet domination of W. Europe made the Europeans quickly sweep the German question under the rug as one bad actor was immediately replaced with a potentially much bigger and worse actor - the Soviet Union. From suspicion and fear of Germany - the main question that had haunted Europe since the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the ancient threat of W. Europe - Russia - was fully realized by 1945, when the end stages of the war were simply trying to keep as much of Germany out of Russian hands as possible.
That never happened in Asia, so Japan's 20th century legacy remains a sticking point (and sadly, deservedly so).
The regs referenced earlier relate to things like bumper height for pedestrians, and safety things that (while necessary) affect how much leeway designers have in creating a car's look.
And me? No. My car winters outdoors in Vermont. I drive an appliance that does well in winter driving where I don't need to care about road salt destroying it. If I want engaging, I ski the trees. I squander my discretionary money on things other than cars. We all make our choices.
South Korea is aging even faster than Japan. The tax structure in those countries 20 years from now to prop up all the elderly is going to crush them. It will be really hard to manufacture high labor content products like automobiles there. It's not just labor shortage.
Would it be impossible to say that Japan's power structure was overthrown before the 1900's?
How about the Bolshevik leaders, they were trained in New York and funded in the billions by elite banker Jacob Schiff who also financed the Japanese to fight Russia prior.
History is very twisted... we can not take 'western' accounts as facts.
That being said I believe Japan is still a shell state made to serve the western empire. Labour shortage or not, I think its a shortage of Japaneses who are not poor enough to work hard factory demands.
In reality how does Toyota sell such a popular world wide product but yet need money to stay afloat? Because its a puppet company like all other major car companies.
Toyota seeks $2bn crisis loan
Toyota to raise $1.5B in debt offering
I also think the so called safety regulations are mostly an excuse to keep ugly cars on the road and make the consumer pay a high premium for good design.Toyota Motor Corp. is seeking to raise $1.5 billion of debt, according to a prospectus filed June 25.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, BofA Securities Inc. and BNP Paribas Securities Corp. are acting as joint book-runners for the offering.
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Plus I wouldn't be surprised if brand age were tied to pricing to some degree. The Germans keep pushing further and further downmarket which would lower the average buying age. Doesn't exactly mean a CLA is "fun to drive"
I think the problem with Lexus and why they are not profitable is because they have all these dead weights. Pare back the model offering and just focus on what matters:
Two sedan:ES and LS
Four SVUs: UX (but make it suck less), NX, RX, and LX.
Drop: IS, GS, RC, LC, GX
Hybrid everything so it is standard powertrain on all the models. Making your customer pay extra for "h" on a Lexus is like Subaru making people pay extra for AWD... yes, in theory you can do it but why?
This is why Lincoln is becoming quite relevant and Cadillac is struggling with identity. Having its house moved twice in the last five years probably hasn't helped Cadillac, either.
Cadillac, like Lexus, seems to be trying to shoot for the luxurious sport segment - something others already do extremely well (and, as a result, have quite the lock on the segment).
Lincoln, on the other hand, realized that what it does well is embrace unapologetic American Luxury combined with some serious grunt under the hood. The 2019 Nautilus I've had the extreme privilege of putting nearly 5,000 miles on since May bears that out. In Comfort mode, the thing actually floats a little. But, put the hammer down and the 2.7 pulls (especially when you're feeding it Premium unleaded). They know their role and do it well.
Lexus and Cadillac need to do some soul-searching and get back to what made them great in the first place.
Last edited by chrisj428; 09-12-2019 at 12:47 PM.
It used to be Lexus was a Mercedes that A) cost 60% of what a Mercedes cost and B) was super reliable, unlike the Mercedes.
These days, MB prices have gone down and Lexus prices have gone up, and, increasingly, we are in a lease-only society so no one cares what the cost is, nor do they care about long term reliability. Plus, the Germans have gotten their act together, so at least for the first lease term, a MB is give or take as reliable as a Lexus anyways.
Couple all that with the hideous Lexus grille and the fact that MB is moving styling and tech forward and Lexus is treading water, and lights out for Lexus.
I kind of wonder what experience you have behind the wheel of a lexus product to make these conclusions about Lexus. I have not driven a current Lexus so I will not comment, but just because the styling (LS, ES in particular) is a bit more adventurous doesn't mean that the brand is trying to become a canyon carver. The IS and GS have always been a bit more on the sporty side. If you buy a regular, non-F version of the LS, I would have a hard time believing it's anything other than pillow smooth. As an aside, I drove a previous LS back to back with the previous 7 series and you could definitely tell the difference between the two. IMO, the BMW was WAY too sporty for what it was. Although slower and much softer, I liked the LS quite a bit more. If I'm buying a full size luxury car, for me, comfort is paramount.Cadillac, like Lexus, seems to be trying to shoot for the luxurious sport segment - something others already do extremely well (and, as a result, have quite the lock on the segment).
Stop, just stop. While I can respect and even appreciate that Lincoln is focusing more on comfort, they've been nothing other than warmed over Fords until, what, 3-4 yrs ago. Lincoln has a ton of work to do. Cadillac has been doing well at the sport-luxury thing, but what you're seeing isn't bad or even confused product, you're simply seeing management confusion about the ongoing direction of the brand.The 2019 Aviator I've had the extreme privilege of putting nearly 5,000 miles on since May bears that out. In Comfort mode, the thing actually floats a little. But, put the hammer down and the 2.7 pulls (especially when you're feeding it Premium unleaded). They know their role and do it well. Lexus and Cadillac need to do some soul-searching and get back to what made them great in the first place.
Cars are becoming commoditized. This was always the endgame as the tech from suppliers becomes more modular/plug-and-play and more evenly distributed. The future is in "transportation solutions", as people buy into a transportation service. The luxury manufacturers are responding by making their cars into ultra-techy lease-mobiles as a means to differentiate, but Lexus seems to be continuing to build their products with a more old-school mentality. They don't have anything competitive with the new X5, for instance, but I know which I'd rather own for the long-haul. Unfortunately, luxury buyers are all leasing these days so that advantage is moot.
Yes those 11 sales would eat into BMW 10 sales.
Speaking of profits, are companies profits or losses all about strictly cars? Do they invest in other things? I worked in a company who made sure their every quarter was a "loss" for accounting purposes. The money just went elsewhere and was redistributed later. Looked bad on paper, but the company was thriving and owners were smiling wide.
I personally don't like MB much, I think their cars are pretty poor overall. They are designed-by-committee leased black taxis for the wealthy. There is definitely room for Lexus to be a more flamboyant version of MB with cars like the LC but the product execution in those segments has been half assed (minus the LC itself) and left to linger.