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      10-15-2012, 10:32 AM   #23
bimmerjph
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You know I have been thinking the same thing. I think its because we (Americans) don't recognize the difference between high maintenance and low reliability. Or at least most don't.
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      10-15-2012, 10:41 AM   #24
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Missing from the discussion is a comparison of dealer support. European makes generally have relatively thin dealer networks, but they have been prompted by Asian competition (where manufacturers seem to impose standards of customer service on their dealers, especially at the high end), to make some improvements. One of the big reasons I drive BMW is that I'm walking distance from a dealer with a decent (so far) service department. Even in a reliable car with low maintenance requirements, good dealer support makes a big difference.
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      10-15-2012, 01:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by sean10mm View Post
Yeah, the entire reason Japanese car sales exploded in America was perceived reliability. American cars broke a lot in the 70s and 80s and it enraged millions of people. Lexus blew up because it promised a super-reliable Buick basically.

For what it's worth the perception I always heard was that German cars won't break down and strand you, but replacing wear items is expensive as hell. Which is fair if you're comparing them to a Ford.
Very good post. Im glad you used the words Perceived reliability these words are key.

Im going to say this from an unbias point of view, because I do work for Ford Motor Co. While Ford has had their share of problems throughout the years, but our quality has drastically improved. Especially when compared to the domestic brands i.e. Chevy, Dodge/Chrysler. We still have small issues with the My touch software related stuff, but most people dont know how to use it and run to the dealer and say it does not work.


Now I get quarterly reports of all autmotive brands on the sales, quality, and projections. Honestly everything is based on perceived reliabilty. And Japanese cars are really known for this. Its not real world stuff most of the time. And everyone is so sold on how a Toyota is so known for being reliable. I see their report for TGW per unit. They are in the ball park of 109 things gone wrong per unit. Ford was around 92. I see this data and just think people dont really care. Toyota has a stamp on peoples perception on how reliable they really are, when in fact they have problems just like evryone else. The more units you push through the door the more things will go wrong.

Im originally from Serbia live in U.S. , and Geraman cars rule there. They prefer VW/Audi products over BMW. When I ask why they say BMW is so unrelable compared to VW/Audi. I laugh

They avoid Japanese cars honestly because the maintanance costs there are as German maintenance costs are to U.S. Very costly. German cars in Serbia are cheaper to maintan obviously. As long as VW exhists this will be the brand they turn to 100% of the time with Golf being the most popular car. Its also retains the highest markup/resale value and its also the most stolen vehicle there.
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      10-15-2012, 02:23 PM   #26
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I perceive the big three German luxury makers to make QUALITY cars. However, I do not perceive them to be any more RELIABILE than any other maker. If anything, they're expensive to repair here in the states. So if you take cost into account, then yea, I could understand how others perceive them to be less reliable.
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      10-15-2012, 04:48 PM   #27
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Good thread. I think cultural differences play a role in this. My experience working with Germans is that they tend to have a strong belief that their engineering is inherently better. I feel like the Japanese have more of a feeling that they always need to prove themselves.

Also, the Euros that I know are very detail oriented, so materials and fit/finish play a big role in what they perceive as quality. They look at a Japanese car and see bigger panel gaps and lower quality plastics and perceive that as low quality. They also consider themselves smart enough to fix little things like burned out light bulbs and I know someone who worked for VWAG who could not get his German colleague to understand why Americans thought it was such a big deal to change a tail light bulb rather than complaining about it on a survey.

Americans OTOH value a car that works, all the time. Free from defects and trips to the dealership for repairs, and a low ownership cost. To me it's quite clear that the Japanese have better understood this about the American market and that is why they dominate the mainstream. I read an article a few years ago that German companies give their design engineers the last say whereas in Japanese companies, production engineers have veto power. Kinda makes sense.

My own personal experience is that BMW is less consistent than the Japanese. My '99 Z3 was pretty good- a few little electrical faults and the onset of a known issue in which the shifter would not spring back to neutral from 5th. No regrets selling it at 60k miles though they guy who bought it from me has doubled up on that and still drives it. My dad's '07 E90 has 38k miles and zero defects so far. I know two people with nightmare E93s- HPFP multiple times, top mechanism problems, etc. Our new F30 has been ok but only has 500 miles on it. In terms of scheduled maintenance all new cars basically need nothing but oil for 100k, it's just that BMWs sometimes have "unwritten" consumables, like the entire cooling system on the E36 generation

At the same time, we have 3 Honda products, all purchased new, all made in Japan. Between 0 and 1 lifetime defects on all of them, never an unscheduled day in the shop. There is simply no comparison when it comes to ownership costs. Lower purchase price. Less depreciation. Lower long term maintenance costs. We bought a new BMW this time but not to save money.
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      10-15-2012, 04:53 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptt127 View Post
Good thread. I think cultural differences play a role in this. My experience working with Germans is that they tend to have a strong belief that their engineering is inherently better. I feel like the Japanese have more of a feeling that they always need to prove themselves.

Also, the Euros that I know are very detail oriented, so materials and fit/finish play a big role in what they perceive as quality. They look at a Japanese car and see bigger panel gaps and lower quality plastics and perceive that as low quality. They also consider themselves smart enough to fix little things like burned out light bulbs and I know someone who worked for VWAG who could not get his German colleague to understand why Americans thought it was such a big deal to change a tail light bulb rather than complaining about it on a survey.

Americans OTOH value a car that works, all the time. Free from defects and trips to the dealership for repairs, and a low ownership cost. To me it's quite clear that the Japanese have better understood this about the American market and that is why they dominate the mainstream. I read an article a few years ago that German companies give their design engineers the last say whereas in Japanese companies, production engineers have veto power. Kinda makes sense.

My own personal experience is that BMW is less consistent than the Japanese. My '99 Z3 was pretty good- a few little electrical faults and the onset of a known issue in which the shifter would not spring back to neutral from 5th. No regrets selling it at 60k miles though they guy who bought it from me has doubled up on that and still drives it. My dad's '07 E90 has 38k miles and zero defects so far. I know two people with nightmare E93s- HPFP multiple times, top mechanism problems, etc. Our new F30 has been ok but only has 500 miles on it. In terms of scheduled maintenance all new cars basically need nothing but oil for 100k, it's just that BMWs sometimes have "unwritten" consumables, like the entire cooling system on the E36 generation

At the same time, we have 3 Honda products, all purchased new, all made in Japan. Between 0 and 1 lifetime defects on all of them, never an unscheduled day in the shop. There is simply no comparison when it comes to ownership costs. Lower purchase price. Less depreciation. Lower long term maintenance costs. We bought a new BMW this time but not to save money.
Interesting read that, mate. Thanks
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