IMO, there are even on an accelerated decline (well before the covid-19 madness, that is)...
Infiniti never did particularly well. Lexus has always been popular. I think people keep them longer because they are genuinely more reliable.
I disagree the interiors are dated. I think they have some of the nicest design. Mercedes is too much and BMW is very generic.
Different priorities. I think what the Germans prioritize better aligns with what Americans are after when it comes to luxury.
My last car was an Infiniti, and it was objectively good and reliable. But the interior was dull and dated (even for its time), it had a button for everything, and it was more noisy than it needed to be. Current Infinitiís havenít evolved a whole lot since that old 09 M35, so itís easy to see why theyíve fallen way behind. Theyíre due for a massive lineup update. But it isnít here yet and Iím not sure how soon itís coming.
Lexus is always at least one generation behind on interior styling. But people like my mom love them.
Acura makes cars that a 16 year old would think are really cool, but they arenít buying $40k+ luxury cars.
Lexus got too deep into selling based on reliability to be able to take the technology and performance leaps that premium buyers pay higher transaction prices for.
Acura and Infiniti got too deep into to relying on being the cheap option for people who want a better brand than their neighbors Honda, Nissan, Toyota etc. but donít want to pay for a BMW, MB etc.
I donít know if it comes down to winning or losing, but more just having your spot in the industry. Something like RX or MDX has been very successful to a point where it doesnít matter what it is better or worse than.
Mercedes peaked in the 80's. Simple, solid, tasteful, reliable, comfortable. Downhill since.
Honda & Toyota peaked in the early 90's. Downhill since.
Depending on who you ask, VW peaked in 1990-1992, or 2002-2004. Downhill since.
I'll give Audi a little wiggle room- and stretch it to 2008. Downhill since.
Many many reasons across all those brands. Direct injection, smaller motors, bad styling both inside and out, fake engine noise, smooshy clutch, shifter, and steering feel, dumb ass big wheels with rubber band thin tires, etc etc
No offense to chocofrappe dude but the success of the CLA in America (along with the cringey glow in the dark emblem) showed me that German brands are omnipotent. Hell, the fact that the G-Wagen- a terrible street car- is a top ride in LA, shows how crazy the power of brand is. I wouldn't say Lexus flat out beats the Germans, but they've made better cars every now and then over the brand's history. The OG LS put the industry on notice. The RX300 invented the luxury crossover segment. Etc. No matter.
A lot of German cars are now derivative lease machines on the strength of their brands. There is no beating that. I just saw a 2GC today
Last edited by CTK; 03-19-2020 at 09:43 PM.
At least when it comes to Infiniti, it seems like they have just sort of given up. The 1st/2nd generation G35/37 and the M35/37/45/56 were competitive and even better than "the Germans" in some respects. They were the more entertaining, more reliable, less expensive, and less refined options. Then they sort of dropped the ball. I've owned two modern-ish Infinitis (the horror), and I can't say that anything they sell currently appeals to me all that much. Then again, nothing BMW or Mercedes makes does either. I'm curious how their plan to electrify everything turns out. Maybe they can make an electric motor feel like a VQ... make it not particularly smooth or efficient. If so, sign me up.
I'm not sure that Lexus didn't "catch up". The RX sells 2x more than the next best X5, the ES outsells the 5-series, and the IS... well, that doesn't sell. Those things went downhill after the first generation IS300.
Iíd say they are about where Toyota / Honda were in the late 80ís. Reliable, cheap to buy, cheap to fix, easy to work on.
So I suppose that could be considered catching up, but still better than decline in my mind.
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Infiniti is so irrelevant now it's not even worth talking about.
Lexus seemed to have lost focus after about 2010 or so. The brand became dependent on RX to move volumes but Toyota kind of sat on its butt while competitors lapped it. Why did it take Lexus 17 years after Acura MDX and 12 years after Audi Q7 to put a 3rd row in the RX? And why despite all those years of watching the market evolve and expand, the 3rd row of RX is uninhabitable for people with legs?
The LS also shows sign of this Lexus malaise. It's not class leading in any particular way and it is also not a bargain like it was.
The only Lexus that has continued to deliver and resonating with buyers is ES and that is kind of the problem with Lexus... it totally aced the mid size luxury sedan game but midsize sedan (sedan in general) is a dying segment (both metaphorically and literally... traditional luxury sedan buyers are old). Why is there no ES 4 door coupe? Where is the Lexus EV? It's not a brand that younger people entering the luxury car segment today want to buy.
Last edited by bzcat; 03-19-2020 at 11:01 PM.
The "Lexus hasn't made a profit in 2 years" thread had some good insight: https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...ighlight=lexus
Lexus management really lost the plot when it came time to replace the 4th Generation LS. They was much internal debate to do with that model and they turned out a product that did nothing for the brand. That was also around the time they went back and forth on the GS replacement. And now the IS replacement is going to be a half-assed effort because the segment is dying. They also haven't truly embraced full EV, still don't have a large crossover, and their BOF products' replacements are delayed.
The ES is well done though. Lexus will get back on track but we're definitely in a malaise era. Like Lexus just graduated college and still doesn't know what it wants to do.
^What bz and Tango said.
Infiniti was never within spitting distance of BMW and Benz, but Lexus was on top in the 2000s. I remember when my mom got an Ď04 RX330 right when they came out. It was one of the first cars (in the US) with a backup camera, adaptive xenons, a pano roof, and IIRC a power tailgate. Toyota was really leading the pack in terms of tech and convenience. The LS460 felt like a victory lap; in 2007, it was wild to see a car with an 8spd transmission that could park itself.
Then what happened? I canít think of a single trend-setting or segment-leading Lexus product released since. The third RX, HS, CT, and IS C are best forgotten. The GS, GX and LX are ancient. They were a decade late to the compact CUV class and they still donít have a proper three-row crossover - let the GX die already. Theyíve dumped hundreds of millions into developing two excellent flagships that nobody is buying (LC and LS). They donít have a relevant halo product - they sat and watched while the R8, SLS/GT, NSX, and i8 were out to play. While their chassis are much improved, they donít have the motors to compete with the S/43/M Sport lines, let alone the full-fat German performance offerings.
They just donít have a clear identity anymore. I donít doubt that Toyota will work hard to fix this over the next decade, but itís been a strange and slow decay for them.
Lexus lost the plot when they decided to follow their parent company's lead on hybrid everything. Instead of offering higher performing drivetrains across their lineups, they offered worse performing hybrid variants which offered little to no benefits over the standard drivetrain vehicles other then getting a blue Lexus badge to subtly announce that the owner spent a bit more to hold up traffic because the throttle mapping is tuned for economy.
They still have a Performance category on the website, with 3 actual performance variants of the standard the lineup. They all share the 2UR-GSE is now 14 years old and it's received one major revision in 2014 which did give it a healthy bump in power. The only thing remotely close to that from the Germans is the N63 which is now on it's 4th major revision since its original release in 2008 and that doesn't include the S63 which has also have 4 different variants. They've also offered 4 different transmissions with S63 engine over the years, the ZF6, ZF8, DCT and the 6MT.
For the BOF SUVs they didn't even bother doing anything different because enough people would continue to buy their recycled 20 year old products that doing complete overhauls wasn't worth it. By platform sharing with the parent company, any sale was a sale. They've been coasting on the badge and reputation for years and as long as people continue to buy them for that, that's all that matters.
Last edited by ND40oz; 03-20-2020 at 04:25 AM.
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