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    '04 LS430 Mercury/Ash Premium, Smart Access

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  1. My Lexus doesn't have a navigation system, so I am looking to buy one of the portable systems. Locally, Best Buy has these available: Cobra Nav One, Garmin StreetPilot 2620, Lowrance iway 500c, Magellan RoadMate 700. Can anyone give comments based on use, both positive and negative? The Cobra got a bad review from PC Magazine and the Lowrance 500c is pretty new and has a built-in MP3 player (not important to me). On paper, the StreetPilot 2620 looks the most attractive to me (price, features), but I'm hoping you guys can help educate me so I can make a more informed decision. Thanks for the advice. Mike
  2. I've seen this image before and doubt the '07 LS will have all the bling-bling on it. I think it will change more drastically than it has in the past, but I don't think Lexus will want to totally alienate its present customers. I believe the design will have more worldwide appeal since Lexus is going to start attacking the European market much more aggressively than in the past. Unless lexus decides to give us an advanced look at the new LS at one of the auto shows as it did with the GS, we probably won't know much about the design until late 2006. Mike
  3. Sorry the columns got screwed up when I posted. It makes it a little tough to compare the prices. Mike
  4. I was cleaning out one of my “catch-all” desk drawers and came across the window sticker for my 1998 LS400. I looked at the standard and optional features listed along with the MSRP, then pulled out the window sticker for my 2004 LS430 for comparison. I was pretty amazed to see that the ’04, with its additional features as standard, was cheaper. ’98 LS400 ’04 LS430 Base Price $53,200 $55,375 6 CD auto changer 1,050 0 Moonroof 1,120 0 Wood/Leather wheel & shift knob 330 0 HID headlamps 500 0 Carpeted Floor Mats 112 0 Trunk Mat 65 69 Wheel Locks 48 81 Total $56,425 $55,535 Then, add the additional equipment that is standard on the '04 LS430: 6-Speed Transmission 17” Wheels Curtain Airbags Knee Airbags Brake Assist Stability Control Adaptive Headlights Rain-Sensing windshield wipers Water Repellent front door glass Rear lighted vanity mirrors Electrochromatic Inside/Outside mirrors Power folding outside mirrors with puddle lamps Compass Power Trunk closer Rear Window sunshade It’s pretty amazing to me that Lexus has been able to hold the prices on the LS430. I hope when the 2007 model arrives, the price follows suit. Mike
  5. Robot-filled Tahara sets standard for Toyota, world Japanese facility puts focus on details By Christine Tierney / The Detroit News It is the benchmark of benchmarks: Toyota Motor Co.p.’s untouchable Tahara plant on Japan’s eastern coast. In 2003, for the second year in a row, J.D. Power and Associates bestowed its highest honor — the platinum award for best quality worldwide — on the Tahara factory that produces Lexus and Toyota vehicles. Owners of models built at the plant, including the Lexus GS 300 and 430 and LS 430 luxury sedans, reported 63 defects per 100 vehicles — about one-third fewer than owners of premium cars built at the best BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz auto plants in Germany, according to J.D. Power data. Conceived during Japan’s economic boom, the plant was filled with robots, amid fears of labor shortages and Toyota’s great faith in automation. As one of the automaker’s newer plants, it also allowed Toyota to experiment with new manufacturing ideas and production methods. Set on a small peninsula on the Mikawa Bay, the factory was designed to be “worker friendly” to attract a new generation of workers who had viewed factory work as dirty, arduous and dangerous. “It’s one of the most beautiful plants, and very neat and tidy,” said Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Koji Endo in Tokyo. The setting is lovely, too, with fishing on the quays outside. Built in 1979, “Tahara was actually considered a mistake because it was much too automated,” said auto analyst Maryann Keller of Maryann Keller and Associates in Greenwich, Conn. In terms of costs, “it was not a competitive factory when they built it.” The sprawling plant is air-conditioned. Computer-controlled robots do the heavy lifting and dirty work. More than 95 percent of the stamping, welding and painting operations are automated, while plant workers focus on the trim and final assembly — the details a customer notices. Today, Tahara produces 460,000 vehicles a year in its two body shops and three assembly plants. In addition to Lexus exports, the plant complex assembles Toyota’s domestic luxury car, the Crown, the RAV4 sport-utility vehicle and three other models. Rival luxury automakers may murmur that Lexus cars are merely “souped-up Toyotas” because the two brands share a wide array of parts. But suppliers to Toyota know better. Tahara sets and demands the highest standards. Toyota, already a stickler for quality, will not accept components if defects exceed 50 per million parts shipped. In contrast, for Lexus vehicles, Tahara managers insist on fewer than 10 defects per million parts. From the outset, former plant manager Kousuke Shiramizu, now executive vice president in charge of product and product engineering, established that the margin for error for Lexus vehicles would be half what it was at Toyota. On average at Toyota, air leaks from car exhaust systems are held to 100 liters per minute, to reduce noise. On Lexus models produced at the Tahara plant, the ceiling is a stingy 8.6 liters of air per minute. The plant’s strict quality checks include a final stretch of inspections for cars coming off the line under the unforgiving glare of very bright lights. Toyota also tinkered with changes in the assembly line organization at Tahara, establishing several sub-assembly lines so temporary stoppages would not halt all production. “Tahara’s the next plateau,” said consultant Dennis Pawley, former manufacturing chief at Chrysler. “Rather than having one continuous line, they’re going against the old adage and breaking up the line.” Living up to Tahara’s standards keeps everyone at Toyota plants around the world on their toes. You can reach Christine Tierney at (313) 222-1463 or ctierney@detnews.com.
  6. Lexus set to expand product line; more engines, hybrids likely coming soon MARK RECHTIN | Automotive News Posted Date: 12/16/04 LOS ANGELES -- Lexus will expand its product line with more engines, two gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles and another SUV, all likely within the next 18 months. The move shows the intent of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. to challenge the German luxury brands, which have a choice of engines for nearly all of their nameplates. It also shows Toyota's commitment to use hybrid technology in premium vehicles. This expansion comes as Lexus looks to be the best-selling luxury brand in America for the fifth straight year in 2004. Toyota sources and U.S. government filings state that Lexus will offer more and larger engines in IS and GS sedans. The biggest change comes in fall 2005 with the redesign of the IS 300 sedan, which is powered only by a 3.0-liter inline-six engine. The next IS sedan will have a choice of a 2.5-liter V-6 or 3.5-liter V-6, according to Toyota sources and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings. Lexus executives have said broadening the lineup is necessary to challenge BMW 3-series sedans. The V-6s are from a new engine family that will have front- and rear-drive applications. Both Toyota and Lexus vehicles will use the engines, which can be as large as 4.0 liters. The redesigned GS sedan will arrive in the spring. It will come with either a 3.5-liter V-6 or 4.6-liter V-8. That is an upgrade from today's 3.3-liter V-6 and 4.3-liter V-8 engines. The GS sedan lineup also will get a hybrid derivative, called the GS 450h, according to trademark filings. It will team a 4.5-liter V-8 with an electric motor, which Toyota sources boast will create V-12 performance with V-6 fuel economy. The launch date for the GS 450h has not been established. Japanese media reports say production will begin next spring. The GS 450h will join the RX 400h hybrid sport wagon, which goes on sale April 15. On the SUV side, the LX 470 is showing its age. Lexus will give the high-end line some support in the form of the JX 470. The JX 470 comes from the Toyota Sequoia platform, while the LX 470 is derived from the smaller Land Cruiser platform. The JX 470 should arrive in spring 2006. It is not certain whether the JX 470 will replace the LX 470 or supplement it. Lexus this year has sold 255,446 units through November, a 10.3 percent increase over the year-ago period.
  7. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I know it must have taken a lot of time to research the information and find the pictures. Your article makes me appreciate my LS even more by knowing its history. I owned a '98 LS400 and now an '04 LS430, so it's great to have facts and pictures to fill in the gaps. I have added the link to my "Favorites" and will be using it as a reference often. Mike
  8. Thanks for the responses. Even with Toyota/Celsior badges, I would have chosen it over other luxury brands. But knowing the history behind the LS and that it was specifically designed to be a Lexus, quiets those detractors that say it is "just a rebadged Toyota". The Celsior is actually a rebadged Lexus. Of course "A rose by any other name....." Mike
  9. I was curious to know if Toyota introduced the Celsior and LS400 around the same time, or did Toyota sell the Celsior for years prior to the creation of Lexus. It would be interesting to know if Toyota had Lexus in mind when the Celsior was originally being designed and engineered. Mike
  10. I have a lot to be thankful for, especially being able to own one of the finest cars on the road, my '04 LS430, and for the great company of the LOC members. :D Mike
  11. Hmm....Paretti? :whistles: lol Blake ← .........not to mention any names Mike
  12. Blake, I have to admit I was initially disappointed with my Lexus service experience here in New Orleans until I expressed my feelings to the Service Manager and told him what my expectations were/are. Since then, he has personally handled my service calls and has given me his cell phone number in case I want to contact him when he is away from his desk. Now I feel much better about their service and believe it will get even better when the new facilities are complete. The local Jaguar dealer (same owner as in Baton Rouge) has a service manager that is abrasive, disinterested in investigating fixes to unusual problems and continually uses that hated term "they all do that". He became even worse after I got Jaguar Customer Relations involved in problems with my first Jaguar. I will never own or recommend a Jaguar, not so much because of the cars, but because of the local dealer and Jaguar Customer Relations' belief that their only customer is the dealer. Mike
  13. Sorry to say that has not been my experience with Jaguar. I bought an '02 X-Type and had many problems; drive shaft replaced, center console replaced, both front lower control arms replaced, rear shock mounts replaced, etc. The dealer was clueless each time I brought my car in for something new. I had to reaserch the problems, which were common to most X-Types at the time, and show then the TSB's. I got Jaguar Customer Relations involved, but dealing with them was as bad as the dealer. They completely denied any of these problems, even though others on one of the Jaguar discussion groups posted the TSB #'s. I finally got a meeting scheduled with a Jaguar After-Sales Rep and she mediated a "deal" with the local dealership to sell me an '03 S-Type for dealer's invoice and take my car in trade. The MSRP on my X-Type was $41,000 and after only 11 months and 5000 miles, it was only worth $23,000. Lost almost 50% of its value in 1 year. The S-Type was a better built car, but I still had problems with it. The transmission lurched when accelerating from a rolling stop. Jaguar issued a recall for that, which involved loading an updated version of the transmission programing. That changed the lurch from acceleration to lurching when coming to a stop. The transmission also began to groan, like it was slipping, when briskly accelerating. It also failed to start and had to be flatbedded to the dealer. Since I didn't have an appointment when my car arrived at the dealers, I had to wait a week for them to look at it. I was told they had no loaners to offer me, but if I wanted, I could call Enterprise and arrange for one. When I picked up my car after a week, it had bird droppings encrusted over the entire car and the one-touch operation for the windows and sunroof no longer worked. I also had problems with false warnings from the rear park assist. The dealer changed the control module and one of the sensors. I still got false warnings and decided to call it quits with Jaguar after having my S-Type for 22 months and 9000 miles. That's when I bought my LS. I still monitor the same Jaguar discussion group and it does seem like Jaguar has made improvements to the newer X-Types. The current XJ8 also seems to be pretty trouble-free. But from the comments I have read about dealer service would make me question the accuracy of the report. Some Jaguar owners rave about the service, while others have nothing good to say. Good Jaguar service seems to be very spotty across the country and, at least in my experience, if you need Jaguar Customer Service to help with an issue, you'd have a better chance in changing GW Bush to "Pro Choice". Mike
  14. I did exactly that. I tilted the sunroof up to get the rear and sides of the gasket, then slid it back enough to get the front. I used my car this morning after washing it yesterday and :D the sunroof was still quiet, no groans. So far, so good. Thanks guys. Mike
  15. 99lsguy & Steve, Thanks for the tip about treating the gasket with silicone. I did that this afternoon and took a ride around the block. The sunroof was quiet again. I did wash my car after I went for a spin, so I'll have to see if water washed away any of the silicone. My sunroof was replaced last month, so I don't know if it has the new thicker gasket or not. I did notice that the sunroof on the driver's side, sits a little lower than the passenger side when closed. I'll have the dealer check it out when I go in for my 5000 mile service, or sooner if I can't get the groaning to stop. Mike
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