10 December 2014

Having Your Cake & Eating It Too : Premium Marques

When people fork out money for a more exclusive car, they want to feel rewarded for the extra they spent. These cars come loaded with features, yet often these marques do not figure highly on reliability surveys. Are they worth the extra money? Probably not in a rational analogy, but hopefully they compensate by making the buyer feel special. So we will not look at super luxury but the in between premium cars.

European marques: They dominate this segment, particularly those from Germany. Usually they emphasize driving dynamics and up to date features. Due to the latter, reliability can suffer. My take: German marques are now so commonplace, they are not very exclusive.

Japanese marques: Reputation built on safe motoring, but not aggressively marketed so they are eating dust on the sales road. My take: Their makers have been quite passive and that is not good enough.

US marques: They are not available globally, but those that are have a style that appeals to some. I mean, where can you buy a Cadillac and as for Lincoln...Better than they used to be.  My take: They have an image problem.

Now what are some stand out brands on various points?

Brand I would like to own: I don't have much desire to own any of them. Call me a proletariat but mainstream cars do the job fine. My tip: Save some money and buy a more basic car if it fits your image OK.

Best for style and class: This has to be Jaguar, although the range of vehicles is limited. They all look so classy and drive really well. They also win reliability surveys these days. Another worth a mention is Maserati, with even less of a range mind you. They certainly have class. My tip: The new XE.

I love the style of the XE

Safest marque: If you are very concerned with you and your family's safety, just go to the Volvo dealer. If you want to know why just click here. My take: No one takes safety as seriously as Volvo.

Best drivers marque: BMW seem to have that one covered. There are many good premium cars that drive well, but BMW have made this their signature. My take: If driving is your passion...

Upcoming marque: Land Rover sales have been galloping along lately and they have got a fine range of vehicles. They really are taking up the challenge and have most segments covered now. My tip: They need a model that's more affordable, now the Freelander is finished.

Most over rated brand: I would have to say Audi. I think their styling is repetitious and they lack real class. My tip: They have a nice interior.

Should be doing better: Apart from Lexus, all the Japanese and American marques. My tip: Take the segment seriously or get out of it altogether.

Least attractive: A subjective decision here but for mine it's Mercedes Benz. The big grill they stick on the cars looks over done, especially on smaller models. The style doesn't do it for me. My tip: The three pointed star sells them.

I find it unattractive, yet it sells

In summary: They promise to pamper and generally do. They make you feel successful and they have the latest features to play with and keep you safe. That sounds like having your cake and eating it. The problem is they are not as reliable as you would hope, but complexity has a price. A cake you can't eat then? Lexus delivers reliability but so does Jaguar, while the latter has style too. Maybe the new XE is the cake you will enjoy eating.

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