Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
Mar 09, 2004 (8:16 am)
A 1996 LS 400 is more problem free than a 2003 BMW 7-series. That is incredible but at the same time doesn't surpise me. The 1996 car also had plenty of advanced technology on it. It just shows you how well made Lexus cars are, particularly the LS.
By the way CR is a BMW fan and in the past has said the 5-series is the best car they've ever driven.
It's inevitable that euro sales will fall at the high price levels that exist today unless the quality comes back. In the past depreciation was exceptional for many Euro lux brand. But now it is average and even poor in some cases. The Japanese cars are starting to get the grades Euro cars used to get in depreciation and customer satisfaction. I'm not sure the Euro brands ever had the reliability levels that the Japanese have today. But long-term - falling car depreciation makes the high upfront payment for a new car unsupportable - particularyly given the leasing nature of the most expensive cars.
Mar 09, 2004 (9:54 am)
I was surprised when I learned that back in 1990, MB led the JDP quality surveys. (Well, I didn't buy my first car until 1992, so maybe I'm excused for my ignorance.) So in a relative sense the Europeans, or some of them, did lead in quality. In an absolute sense (number of defects per 100) I think they never achieved current Japanese quality numbers...after all, all or almost all car companies have shown long-term improvements in problems per 100. That the Europeans now slightly trail the Americans in this metric is more due to improvements (or improvements at a faster rate) by the Americans.
Mar 09, 2004 (10:13 am)
I meant quality from a relative standpoint not an absolute standpoint. I don't think the Europeans as a whole ever dominated the top reliability spot the way the Japanes (as a whole) do. I'm pretty sure that in the past MB would have gotten the type of quality ratings (relative to the industry in the past not the problem occurence of today) that Lexus now gets. With all that said it is nice to see the improvement in the American cars.
Mar 09, 2004 (10:45 am)
We often hear from fans of German cars that Lexus "rides like a Buick". Well, maybe the refrain should be that "MB has worse reliability than a Buick". CR puts Buick as above-average in reliability for new cars, 3-year-old cars, and 5-year old cars, and MB as worse than average in all 3 categories.
problems per 100
2003s 22 13
2001s 79 48
1999s 87 72
Mar 09, 2004 (11:31 am)
I hope this isn't the beginning of another Lexus vs MB debate..The BMW statistic doesn't surprise me. The 1996 LS was alot less complicated than the current 7 series. Obviously the more complicated the system the more issues that can arise with it. From my own personal experience, my 92 LS has had fewer issues than my LS430. Of course the cars differ greatly in complexity.
Anyone want to postulate reasons for the European issues? (I'm NOT trying to start another Lex vs Germany thread here..) My feelings are that the autos are heavily concentrating on cramming electronics into these cars at a torrid pace. That works to the Japanese competitive advantage, as they are the unrivaled leader in this sort of thing. I think the main issues for the Euro automakers are electronics related. I somehow doubt I'd see a BMW, MB, or Jag with Engine or transmission issues..
Mar 09, 2004 (12:49 pm)
The problem is that the 7-series didn't need to be all that more complex than the 96 LS400. BMW went there because of a desire to lead in electronic auto technology. The real issue is whether the Germans will let the Japanese lead here because they are no match for the Japanese in electronics. My bet is that pride will not allow it and the quality slide will continue.
No - I don't want another Lexus vs MB debate either. We've been down that road a few too many times. But 10 - 15 years ago would anyone have ever thought the ratings would look like this for the Germans?
Mar 09, 2004 (1:19 pm)
Well, I'll bet pride has some bearing but then Porsche is using Japan supplier Aisin for the Cayenne transmission and that's one of the most complicated components in any car. It's that same pride that got the domestics buried in the 70's-80's. I'll bet 10-15 years back, German manuf. thought that the luxury market was all locked up for them, well til 86'(Legend)I guess but 89' was the 1st wake-up call.
Japanese don't just make great electronics, their mechanical stuff is top notch also as in long life engines. It's no surprise that Boeing awarded Japanese suppliers to do the electrical systems for their new upcoming jetliner. Talk about complicated electrical.
#4374 of 24726 Japanese engineering...
Mar 09, 2004 (2:04 pm)
Hmmm, I know very well that the hype says that they are virtually flawless; however, my experience has been anything but that.
My last (and only) Japanese car (a Mazda 626) was a nightmare (many mechanical and electrical failures), and interestingly enough, the only car I've ever had that had a transmission failure, and it was a 5-Speed manual. My last American car that had any failures at all (four American cars ago) had only two failures, the fuel pump, made in Japan, and the alternator, also made in Japan. Go figure.
Don't get me wrong, I believe that on the whole, the Japanese build generally more reliable products that do the Americans or the Europeans. Of course, then I look over to the next two houses on my street where a Honda Odyssey and two Accords live. One of the Accords is a 4-Banger with a 5-Speed manual transmission, and other than a bad cat (something like $1,200 to replace), it has been quite reliable. The Odyssey and the other Accord have required three transmissions between them. Hmmm, then again, maybe it's all hype.
Mar 09, 2004 (3:11 pm)
We are not compairing Mazda's to MBs and Lexus and BMW..Please.
Shipo someday take a lease on one of the top 3 and see if your attitude changes. Just test drive an MB or a Lexus or a BMW, it is a totally different experience then driving an old Accord or 626.
#4376 of 24726 Bzzzzt, wrong again...
Mar 09, 2004 (3:47 pm)
Sorry guy, I've owned four Audi's and I am now on my second BMW, a 530i this time that I had the pleasure of picking up in Munich and running it through its paces on the Autobahn. If that's not enough, I spent several years in the mid 1990s working for MB-USA in Montvale and Stuttgart, and I drove everything they had as well as all of their competitors that they would buy and MAKE us drive for a week at a time, just to get the feel of them. As such, I think I am very well versed in what the various cars have to offer.
That said, I stand by my statements, Japanese engineering is, IMHO, overrated. They're good, but there nowhere near as good as the hype would have folks believe. The opposite is true for the American and European manufacturers; they are not as bad as the rhetoric from the Japanese loving public would have us believe.
Oh, and FWIW, the Odyssey and the two Accords are not very old, maybe four years for the oldest. The 626 on the other hand was a 1993 model.