The law of line extension.

In introducing their new line of Dell XPS luxury computers, Dell fails to understand what Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti already know. Nobody will buy a luxury product from a discount brand.

Honda, Toyota, and Nissan were known for decent reasonably priced vehicles. In order to sell luxury automobiles, they created independent companies and premium brands Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti respectively, so that they could provide a different customer experience without offending an existing subset of those customers.

Though they claim to be following Toyota’s model for creating Lexus, Dell instead is going to put pretty much the same stuff in shinier case under the Dell name and charge a whole lot more, so that you can get a support representative in half the time of the unwashed masses of average customers.

Sadly the New York Times points out that Dell extolls the virtues of faster support for luxury customers:

But Dell says the real feeling of luxury will come from its customer service. Buyers of the XPS laptops will be connected with a customer service representative within five minutes of calling, about half the time that regular Dell customers wait.

Perhaps it would be better if they had spent the extra money to ensure that you didn’t need support in the first place.

Of course a post about Dell wouldn’t be complete without seeing what Jeff Jarvis has to say:

Dell announces a luxury line – its Lexus – with better computers and better service: … Which is to say that all the rest of Dells customers get crappy customer service and long waits and that in its other models, it doesnt sell quality and only sells price.

As I’ve said lately, if you want luxury and good design, buy a Mac.