Audio Asylum Thread Printer
Get a view of an entire thread on one page
|For Sale Ads|
|'); } // End -->|
In Reply to: Looks like the press is finally catching on to the myth of... posted by Neil49 on March 1, 2005 at 02:07:55:
Most of my friends & family who've had German car problems had niggling electronic things - window regulators, power seats and the like. It's all the luxury electronic crap they've had to add to sell their cars over here. But in many years of driving Porsches and BMWs (currently an '04 M3), I've had virtually zero defects - and NONE that would render the car of lower quality than the American crap. And the German cars still enjoy a wide margin of handling, braking and all-around performance excellence.
You must also remember that these surveys are normally based strictly on number - not severity - of defects, and that perfectionist drivers of high $$ cars are more likely (rightly so) to bitch about minor problems which your average Taurus or Cavalier owner might ignore.
and would suggest that, based on my own experiences, the problems extend beyond those annoying electrical glitches to which you refer. I keep hearing that those glitches are the result of the adoption of "cutting edge" technology in the design of electronic controls and gadgetry. But what is so advanced about the design of power windows and other accessories, which fail with depressing regularity in so many German-made (or designed) autos? As a relatively minor but typical example, the power antenna on my Audi failed after less than two years, and I discovered the fault to be in the choice of a flexible plastic "tape" as the drive mechanism for the antenna mast. This material simply dried out and broke into multiple, unconnected segments, immobilizing the antenna in its retracted position. After being told by the dealer that the antenna was unserviceable and that the only remedy was a $275.00 replacement, I installed a $75.00 aftermarket unit, constructed with, guess what?--a proper, stainless steel drive cable, which worked flawlessly for the rest of the time I owned the car.
I wish those were the only types of problems I had, but major mechanical problems (fuel and coolant systems, a/c malfunctions, etc.) were all part of the fun, appearing well before one should expect such headaches.
As far as the breadth of the surveys, there are plenty which specify other than mere frequency of defects. Have you ever taken a look at (for the last several years) the Consumer Reports surveys? Internet complaint forums? The most amazing eye-opener I've read in recent years is the Tech Q&A column in Bimmer , the author of which is responsible for the most brutally honest assessment of the types of problems faced by BMW owners that I've ever seen. It's a wonder he's still an enthusiast!
Re: the proclivity of "perfectionist drivers of high $$ cars" to complain about minor problems: I would argue that just the opposite is true; that the greater the outlay, the more likely an owner is to deny the reality. I'm always amused to hear former owners, glowingly effusive during ownership, bemoan the experience once they've rid themselves of the burden.
I do think that duration of ownership is a huge factor, and for those who replace their cars while still relatively new, the experience may indeed include nothing more than an occasional failure of some electrical gizmo. But for those who purchase for the longer term, caveat emptor.
I know--I've been there.
Ok, lets take a closer look at these imposters.
Mercedes - Benz - key protoagonist in ChryslerBenz, and many toys are from the Chrysler parts bin. Competantly designed chassis, and body shell, and can be mechanically a bit wayward. Expect electrics and the odd mechanical to fail
VAG - Volkswagen Audi Group, includes Skoda, and SEAT, as well as large scale collaboration with Ford. Never owned one, never will own one. The number of people I know who've had major issues with VAG cars is very high - ironically Skodas seem to fair better than Audi's and Volkswagens, so the Czech quality control must be better than the homelands.
I liken audi to citroen - technologically interesting, but generally unreliable.
I have an e36 touring - 130k miles on the clock, drives like a dream on regular servicing (but then the garage I go to is good...)
Just my perspective after 6 years of ownership..
There is no way in my experience that high $$ buyers complain less than owners of "appliance" cars. These are demanding people used to getting their way. And "Tech Q&A" columns, by definition, are a forum to discuss problems - happy owners are out driving, not writing letters seeking help. I'm sure the tech columns in American car club mags are just as full of gripes.
And you conveniently ignored the point regarding the dynamic superiority of the German machines - setting aside the quality of the antenna or window switches, it's much more important to me how the car accelerates, handles, brakes, makes me feel.
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: