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Don't understand how Mercedes C can outsell Lexus IS

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Old 05-03-17, 08:15 AM   #1
sears1234
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Default Don't understand how Mercedes C can outsell Lexus IS

My wife and I sit in one friend's new IS350 recently, we think it is very nice, very smooth, and my wife like it very much.
Comparing with the 2016 Mercedes C 300 that we had for loaner car several times, I think Lexus IS is much better, but when you look at the sales number, they are not in same level, I don't understand why.
Maybe Lexus did something wrong on marketing IS I guess.
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Old 05-03-17, 08:32 AM   #2
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6 versions of the C class from C300 to C63S available

they even have a plug in Hybrid

the current IS still has lousy rear seat leg room and in my mind either out of date or not so hot power plants depending on which version you select
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Old 05-03-17, 08:33 AM   #3
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I've driven both and IMHO the C Class is a far superior car. Its more elegant, more luxurious, more nicely appointed, more available options, etc. I can easily see how it outsells the IS, the styling of the IS and the sportier demeanor is more niche oriented and less universally appealing than the C Class.

I wouldn't even consider an IS over a C Class.
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Old 05-03-17, 08:41 AM   #4
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Options are everything. If your friend's IS is nicely loaded and those loaner cars you receive are stripped models, there will be a perceived difference the two cars. A nicely optioned C class will be far superior. The IS doesn't get stitched dash, metal buttons, open pore wood... etc.
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Old 05-03-17, 08:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S2000toIS350 View Post
6 versions of the C class from C300 to C63S available

they even have a plug in Hybrid

the current IS still has lousy rear seat leg room and in my mind either out of date or not so hot power plants depending on which version you select
I saw some teenage girls riding in a C63 and told my wife, I bet the driver really doesn't know what she is behind the wheel of...man I was drooling, please folks, at the car!

Well, the C is better looking, so maybe it's looks, or, the name....I still think the rear tails which are a mini version of the S class, are "the" best looking tails bar none. They look like neon lights flowing.....the Koreans sure copied, but MB was the first....again, MB's badging has gotten confusing, I think they've diluted the AMG name just as BMW with their M sports....but I'm almost certain the C63 is the real deal....

what is fugly imho is the CLA, just awful. It's a darn shame that even MB and BMW have resorted to FWD platforms, when they know better, much better...
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Old 05-03-17, 08:47 AM   #6
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Nothing wrong with the IS. I think Steve's niche comment about the IS is part of the reason.

I've also driven both and IMHO the IS offers more bang for the buck to the driving enthusiast. The IS offers more options for the money, better handling and sportier styling cues than the C IMO, and that Nav screen, yuk! But like I posted, I agree with Steve, the MB is more of a mass-market appeal car, especially to 40+ buyers, which is a huge market nowadays, even though it is more expensive.

I'll counter Steve's comment in that I wouldn't consider a C over an IS, due to taste preferences and overall value, but I'm a driving enthusiast who likes the style of the IS. Goes to show, opinions will differ - if looking to buy, go with what you like, but make sure to drive both, so you get to know both cars beyond just the aesthetics.
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Old 05-03-17, 08:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SW15LS View Post
I've driven both and IMHO the C Class is a far superior car. Its more elegant, more luxurious, more nicely appointed, more available options, etc. I can easily see how it outsells the IS, the styling of the IS and the sportier demeanor is more niche oriented and less universally appealing than the C Class.

I wouldn't even consider an IS over a C Class.
It depends on trim and price. For ~$50k, the IS350 F-sport is a better sports sedan than the comparatively priced C-class as you get a pretty base C-class at that price level. When you go up in price the higher end C-classes are much nicer but again, easily more expensive than the Lexus. Frankly, their 2L turbo isn't anything to write home about. I'd have to go the V6 Bi-turbo and those things start at $52k without additional options. C class and the IS line barely compete.
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Old 05-03-17, 08:52 AM   #8
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I totally understand why somebody would choose the IS over the C, very different cars.

As for cost, yes the C Class is more expensive, but they lease better and most of these cars are leased. MSRP isn't that big a factor with a Mercedes or BMW, the lease payments are as low as less expensive cars. You can drive a $60,000 C Class for what a $50,000 IS350 costs to lease.
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Old 05-03-17, 09:01 AM   #9
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You've experienced Loaner Vehicle cognitive bias. Loaner vehicles are not yours, they are stripped, they usually aren't the interior/exterior color you would have chosen, and you only have it for a short period of time. Subconsciously, you aren't going to enjoy it as much. The C Class is the segment leader for a reason. It's a great car. That plus the name cache and grown up looks make it an attractive car for the youngish middle class, the biggest demo in the market. The IS, IMHO, still has a hint of "boy racer" in it, and someone trying to impress others as much as they can might lean towards the mighty Three Point Star.
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Old 05-03-17, 09:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragingf80 View Post
You've experienced Loaner Vehicle cognitive bias. Loaner vehicles are not yours, they are stripped, they usually aren't the interior/exterior color you would have chosen, and you only have it for a short period of time. Subconsciously, you aren't going to enjoy it as much. The C Class is the segment leader for a reason. It's a great car. That plus the name cache and grown up looks make it an attractive car for the youngish middle class, the biggest demo in the market. The IS, IMHO, still has a hint of "boy racer" in it, and someone trying to impress others as much as they can might lean towards the mighty Three Point Star.
You would think loaners are stripped but I had a Q50S for a week when my G35 coupe was being serviced and it was completely loaded. They also provided me a Q50S Hybrid for 3 days (yes, my G35 was a pain in the *** in the last year of my ownership). The Lexus dealership though has mostly stripped vehicles.
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Old 05-03-17, 09:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragingf80 View Post
That plus the name cache and grown up looks make it an attractive car for the youngish middle class, the biggest demo in the market..
Regardless of whether it is a great car or has good performance, the brand cache is the number one reason. Most people, if given the choice will tell you than a Mercedes is nicer than a Lexus.

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Originally Posted by sears1234 View Post
, I don't understand why.
Maybe Lexus did something wrong on marketing IS I guess.
See above. Mercedes is the stronger brand. So people getting into a small entry luxury car for the first time will gravitate to Mercedes more than they would Lexus.
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Old 05-03-17, 12:16 PM   #12
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From previous automotive surveys, the number 1 reason is as Jill says - the name/brand/marque/prestige/history etc.
The number 2 reason is as Steve says - the styling, the space, ride comfort etc, as the mass market prefers elegant, spacious, comfortable cars over a niche sporty, tight, good handling racer.
Having more model variations also helps in a small way, though in truth, an IS V8 won't generate many sales...
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Old 05-03-17, 12:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S2000toIS350 View Post
6 versions of the C class from C300 to C63S available
Shame we can't even get the ISh on this side of the pond. Hopefully an IS400 and IS F are in the works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW15LS View Post
I've driven both and IMHO the C Class is a far superior car. Its more elegant, more luxurious, more nicely appointed, more available options, etc. I can easily see how it outsells the IS,

the styling of the IS and the sportier demeanor is more niche oriented and less universally appealing than the C Class.
The C-Class has more options because the IS has more standard equipment

Yes the IS forfeited the more luxurious appointments of the 2IS for the "fun to drive" factor on the 3IS. Nice point about the niche vs universal look between the C-Class and IS

Quote:
Originally Posted by RXSF View Post
Options are everything. If your friend's IS is nicely loaded and those loaner cars you receive are stripped models, there will be a perceived difference the two cars. A nicely optioned C class will be far superior. The IS doesn't get stitched dash, metal buttons, open pore wood... etc.
For a car so driver oriented, I'm surprised that HUD is not an option. For the luxury version the stitched dash and metal buttons would be desirable.

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Originally Posted by LexsCTJill View Post
Regardless of whether it is a great car or has good performance, the brand cache is the number one reason. Most people, if given the choice will tell you than a Mercedes is nicer than a Lexus.

See above. Mercedes is the stronger brand. So people getting into a small entry luxury car for the first time will gravitate to Mercedes more than they would Lexus.
To answer the OP's question. The Mercedes marque has a history and pedigree that Lexus can't match. Funny thing is, that's okay but people don't understand that. What Lexus has done in 28 short years is remarkable and continues to be a force in the industry. However Lexus is not trying to be a better German car, it can't. What they can do is make a better luxury car. Toshio Ashai chief engineer of the new LS had a great quote "Not only will the LS symbolize the Lexus brand, it will become the definitive new-generation luxury car embodying Japanese tradition and culture, as such, this global pinnacle must go far beyond what the world expects from a luxury car. Now this does not currently apply to the 3IS or a lot of their vehicles, but one could wager the LS will spawn more grown-up luxurious versions of the 5GS and 4IS (and others) in a few years with this philosophy. But currently coupled with all the above reasons posters mentioned about brand cache, options, niche vs universal, and number of versions, is why the Mercedes C-Class outsells the IS.


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Old 05-03-17, 01:04 PM   #14
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The bulk of C and IS are craptastic 4 cylinder models with most popular options. The sales mostly down to lease rates and badge preference.
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Old 05-03-17, 01:04 PM   #15
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Johnhav

The CLA is essentially the gateway to the brand drug.

Yes, it is a crappy FWD platform.

What is worse is when you get inside, things looks nice but once you start touching things you can tell what a cheapo ride you are in.

They sold well initially and have fallen off.
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